5 Skull Review: ‘Trillium’ #1

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In Jeff Lemire’s new science fiction series from Vertigo, a interesting premise is met with rich characters and incredible art. In one of the most anticipated debuts of the year, Lemire succeeds in creating a thoroughly compelling story. Ripe with excellent dialogue, fantastic world building, and just the right amount of intrigue, “Trillium” is a must buy.

WRITTEN BY: Jeff Lemire
ART BY: Jeff Lemire
PUBLISHER: Vertigo
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASE: Aug 7, 2013

Upon holding “Trillium” in your hands you’ll come to realize that it’s not like other comics. It sports a duel cover, and halfway through the issue you are asked to turn it over and start again. It’s a fantastic device, especially given the moment centered around… the center. Lemire weaves an interesting story into a wildly unpredictable midpoint.

We’re given brief insight into the dire straights of the future, and how the remnants of the human race have come to rest their fate on a flower. The whole thing is given immediacy with a gaping black hole in the distance.

We follow Nika. A scientist stationed with the remnants of humanity on the planet Atabithi. Nika is intelligent, a little reckless, and a leader. She is surrounded by conflict, but serves as an emissary of the human race. The native population of the planet is in control of Trillium. Yet, we know that the flower can be deadly when humans encounter it, do to a fantastic first page.

Lemire almost drowns the reader in exposition in this first issue. As he must. The world of Trillium is dense and different. The balance is not quite struck between action and dialogue, however it doesn’t matter. Typically exposition heavy issues collapse under their own weight. Trillium defies the odds and is built around so many unique and exciting moments that the pacing never sags.

Our other protagonist is William. A solider who suffers from PTSD, but spends his time traveling the globe. He is excitable and troubled. Still we cannot help but sympathize with him. Lemire takes us on an exciting traipse through the rain forest that hints at things on Atabithi. Things get dire, and William is forced off alone.

It is here that our issue ends, and seemingly our story begins. I won’t spoil the midpoint for anyone, but if you’ve seen any of the promotional artwork than you have an idea already. Needless to say Lemire pulls it off with a masterful touch.

Lemire is a unique presence in the comics industry. Not only are his stories known for their incredible emotional depth, but he often does his own art. The art here is by his hand and is perhaps his greatest achievement to this day. So many panels evoke an incredible sense of scope and wonder. One splash page of Nika driving over the surface of Atabithi will show you just how big his muscles have become.

Paneling has always been one of Lemire’s strong suits. He channels a more cinematic feel to even the dullest conversations. What results is a fantastic pace that doesn’t bog down in dialogue. Instead conversations are met with facial and body language through a multitude of panels. There are a few splash pages here that will blow your mind. On top of all this, William’s PTSD results in one of the most haunting things I have seen in a comic.

“Trillium” might be too dense for some. For most however, it will be compelling. Lemire doesn’t have time for those who can’t keep up. Make no mistake that “Trillium” is fantastically paced, but don’t go in expecting a balls to the wall action fest. This is a slow methodical look at the stakes of the future, and the concept of dare I say… star crossed lovers.

I cannot urge you enough to pick this book up. “Trillium” is changing the way we read comics, tell stories, and experience character. Get on board, and be part of the conversation.

5/5 Skulls

Reviewed by – Jimbus_Christ

  • JorgeSolis

    You had me at 5 star review! That’s it! Shut up and take my money!!

  • Canucklehead

    Picked this up today.If this has been done before it probably wasnt with the ease with which Lemire does it. Although it did seem we’re dealing with multiple timelines here didnt it? The whole war thingy seemed out of place from a historical perspective. That small comment aside, a great read.

  • Cmon

    “The whole war thingy seemed out of place from a historical perspective.”
    Uhh…Ever hear of this little “war thingy” people refer to as World War I? Ended Novemeber, 11th 1918. So, in 1921 he’d only be three years out from that experience. Not sure what you meant there.

  • Canucklehead

    The next thing you know you’ll be telling me there was a 2nd “world war’!?

    As a matter of fact I did miss the calendar reference on the title page and just assumed there was a quantum leap forward in time.

    My bad.