FAMILY TREE #9, available Wednesday from Image Comics, is the beginning of a new story arc. It’s amazing how much change one family can bring with it, even in a short five-year time span. Yet the world is undoubtedly changed in this series.
The family drama and horror series known as Family Tree is still on a roll, leaning more towards horror and science fiction for it’s newest plot arc. This one family has been through so much, and we’re not even at the ten-issue mark.
Created by Jeff Lemire, Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, Ryan Cody, Family Tree #9 is yet another issue full of intriguing and shocking combinations of themes. In many ways, it has changed so much from the first issue. And yet the tone is still as strong as ever.
Josh’s narrative takes center stage in Family Tree #9. Once upon a time, he was just a normal teenager. In this instance, once upon a time was only eight issues ago. It’s amazing how much things change, in such a short period of time.
That almost feels to be the theme of this month’s issue, as the story unfolds through two specific points in time. One set in the present, with the struggles surrounding Meg still going strong. The other? A mere five years in the future, and yet so much has changed.
In many ways, the story has changed dramatically, with this forward leap into the future. It’s showing the diversity of writing involved, while also sticking strongly to the creative elements that make this series stand out.
Josh’s story is also proving to be as full of action as before. No, that’s not quite right. His world is full of fighting, that much has already been made clear. He’s taken up the family business, it would seem.
Despite all of the violence, that sense of hope from earlier issues is back, and it is stronger than ever. The world may still be a little too dark to fit that pure solarpunk aesthetic, and yet it’s very much hovering on the edge of it.
As with the rest of the series, Family Tree #9 is full of bold artwork that fits the unique voice of the series. Even the fighting scenes (of which there are several) feel like they stand out, thanks to the narrative, color palettes, and highly stylized feel of it all.
There are times where it really does feel like every part of this world is made up of trees. Everything from the people, to the items they interact with, they all have a rougher organic look that feels shockingly similar to bark. Something that was almost certainly done with intention.
The two time periods are so distinct as to be immediately identifiable. There’s no need to waste time telling the readers of the switch – the setting alone makes it clear, all thanks to the artwork, of course.
Family Tree #9 took a slight change in direction, both by allowing Josh to drive the narrative, and by jumping to the future (once again). The horror elements are still strong, yet there’s a feeling that something else is growing alongside it all.