Family Tree #2 Review

by Jay Hill on December 17, 2019

Written by: Jeff Lemire
Penciled by: Phil Hester
Inked by: Eric Gapstur
Colors by: Ryan Cody
Lettered by: Steve Wands
Published by: Image Comics

Loretta tries to get her daughter to safety as the bizarre illness plagues her. After the last-second rescue from the girl’s grandfather, we get more background into what brought him to save the day.

This is a weird comic. Little girl transforming into a tree is a weird concept, to begin with, but it’s weirder than I thought. Not to say any of that is a bad thing, it just makes reviewing it a little interesting. There are a lot of questions and this being just the second issue means I shouldn’t expect them to be answered, but man this is a weird comic. So, we get more backstory on the grandfather, Judd, and, consequently, the father. This affliction, as the title would suggest, runs in their family. Not only that but, as we learned in the last issue’s climax, there is some secret sect aware of this and is hunting down the family. The majority of this issue is built on giving the details to what happened to Loretta’s ex-husband, Darcy. Answers are so sparse now, but we are given some small hints at the motives of the enemies. The scenes of Judd taking down the mysterious goons were solid action, but it was the emotional elements that held everything together. A downside of the comic is the focus on Loretta’s hatred of Judd. Now that we have been given more insight into the backstory, seeing her act like that isn’t helping endear her to the reader. I hope we can get some resolution to that friction fast and focus on the bigger issues. Her view was understandable at the start, but now we know what happened to her husband. Speaking of the weirdness of this comic, the ending adds another completely perplexing element and without any other knowledge except the quick cliffhanger I can’t give any complex assessment of it. All I can say is, I didn’t see it coming, whatever it is. Jeff Lemire is strong at writing and focusing on the family aspect of the story and I hope to see that shine throughout. There is also the looming apocalyptic nature of the narrative hinted at in the #1, so the weirdness seems to only be starting.

Phil Hester’s art made this issue. The action scenes were executed brilliantly. His negative space usage and shadowy line work gave the entire issue an amazing feel. I already compared his art to Mike Mignola, but there was a Frank Miller feel to the movement in his action scenes. The way he draws an erratic action scene solidifies the feeling of a static snapshot capturing a scene of chaos. Eric Gapstur’s inks keep an angular jag that gives the art an unnerving effect. The colors also help with that effect. They can be deep and noir feeling or oddly popping for certain elements.

Without much answered, this comic is still hard to pin down. The family aspects, a strength of Lemire’s writing, are holding together the wild story and the questions sprinkled throughout leave you with desire for context. Although that same vagueness can cause the narrative to feel a bit thin. With only 2 issues to its name, Family Tree still has room to grow.

Our Score:


A Look Inside