Trillium #1 by Jeff Lemire – Friday Flash Review [Bane of Kings/Shadowhawk]

Trillium 01

Bane of Kings and Shadowhawk review the first issue of Jeff Lemire’s brand-new series for Vertigo Comics.

An excellent start with some incredible artwork told in a unique vision, this book is one thing that you should certainly pick up. Original, enthralling – count me in for #2.” ~Bane of Kings, The Founding Fields

A bold and beautiful vision matched with a most unique art style makes Trillium #1 one of the best series opener issues I’ve read.” ~Shadowhawk, The Founding Fields

Bane of Kings:

Art: Jeff Lemire | Colours: Jose Villarrubia | Letters: Carlos M. Mangual | Cover: Jeff Lemire

It’s the year 3797, and botanist Nika Temsmith is researching a strange species on a remote science station near the outermost rim of colonized space. It’s the year 1921, and renowned English explorer William Pike leads an expedition into the dense jungles of Peru in search of the fabled “Lost Temple of the Incas,” an elusive sanctuary said to have strange healing properties. Two disparate souls separated by thousands of years and hundreds of millions of miles. Yet they will fall in love and, as a result, bring about the end of the universe. Even though reality is unravelling all around them, nothing can pull them apart. This isn’t just a love story; It’s the LAST love story ever told.

Trillium is an 8-issue series that combines rich historical adventure and mind-bending science fiction into a sprawling, unconventional love story by Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH, CONSTANTINE, ANIMAL MAN).

This amazing miniseries kicks off with 28-pages of story in a flip-book with two covers and two separate but connected stories!

Jeff Lemire is one of my favourite writers in comics at the moment and he’s excelled himself with the first issue of the new Trillium mini-series, which, if not for Green Arrow #23, would certainly be my pick of the week. The flip-book style is something that I’ve not encountered before, and it’s very interesting to see what Lemire is capable of when he’s doing both writing and artistic duties – something that I only have previously encountered in a mini- Adventures of Superman oneshot.

Vertigo seems to be putting up another impressive stack of titles now, and whilst I’ve so far had the chance to read Trillium and The Wake, I can certainly tell you that Collider looks interesting as well. The first issue of Trillium is certainly a promising debut and I will no doubt look forward to more work from Lemire in the future on this title, with a very interesting premise, and a stunning story split between two tales that meet in the middle to create an end result that is really something special.

Like Green Arrow, Lemire really shines here – and I haven’t read a bad work from him yet aside from the disappointing first two issues of Constantine – although that was co-written by Ray Fawkes. Regardless, Lemire is quickly moving up to be one of my favourite DC writers with this issue, and I can’t wait to see what he can come up with next.

The two tales are really contrasting and different – Nika Temsmith’s side of the storyline reads like a unique science fiction book, whilst World War One survivor turned explorer William Pike’s tale is a more down-to-earth adventure. Lemire really knocks it out of the park once more here, with some of his best work to date, making me really want to check out Animal Man when I can.

A great thing about this issue was that you could choose which way you wanted to read it – it doesn’t matter whether you start from the front or the back and the story, you’re pretty much guaranteed to enjoy it either way, with some equally stunning artwork from Lemire that’s unlike anything that I’ve seen before outside of his own work in the aforementioned Adventures of Superman oneshot.

If you’re unsure as to what to pick up and for whatever reason haven’t quite made it to your local comic store yet, then Trillium #1 really deserves a buy. It’s a very strong read, and I can’t wait to see how the mini-series unfolds. Highly Recommended.

Rating: 5/5

Shadowhawk:

It could be said that I’m a fan of Jeff Lemire, based on his work for Justice League Dark. It is a series that I’m definitely enjoying, even though I still have to catch up with all the volume 3 issues. The last issue, the third chapter of the “Trinity War” crossover event, was one of the best he’s written and I’m definitely eagerly anticipating the next issue for that. I picked up Trillium because of all the buzz surrounding the title, and because this is from Vertigo. I’ve only experienced three of their series previously – The WakeFables, and Fairest – but I have to say that they are definitely among my favourite publishers. They publish some really out-of-this-world stuff, and Lemire’s Trillium is a solid testament to that fact.

This issue is a story that is told from two completely perspectives. The first, a female scientist by the name of Nika Temsworth is far, far into our future, a future where a deadly self-aware virus has decimated the human population down to just barely 4,000 people. The second is in our past, with WW1 veteran William who also happens to be suffering from a classic case of PTSD. They are both driven individuals and who have their eyes set on their goals and will go to great lengths to achieve those goals. Both characters are nuanced and interesting and they show a lot of room to develop in future issues.

Its made quite plain that there is going to be a romantic subplot here, and I can see how its going to develop (to a degree of course), given how the comic ends. Or rather, how the arcs for both characters end here. I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how Lemire approaches that element. In the meantime, I’m definitely soaking up all the space opera goodness in the book, which is contrasted excellently with its jungle adventure. This is a book where Lemire has really gone to town with his work.

Where the art is concerned, it is a rather unique approach that I haven’t seen before. To be honest, it is the kind of art I’d expect to see from an “artsy” artist, but given the way the script and setting go, it is just short of being amazing. The characters’ faces aren’t always as expressive as they could be, given the nature of the problem facing the team, and that’s perhaps the most damning thing I can say about the book’s art. For Lemire to be doing both the scripts and the pencils on this book, with colours assist from Carlos M. Mangual, it is honestly quite surprising how it has all turned out. The art style used is a bit funky and weird, but it fills the bill for the script, and that’s what matters here.

Just a general criticim, there is a particular scene early on in Nika’s chapter of the story, where there is an absolute ton of exposition. All monologue exposition, but exposition nonetheless. It was really odd, to see those huge box outs on what is, essentially, a book that seemingly delights in its artwork. And the pacing is a bit on and off some places, so its not as if Trillium is going t be a comics regular!

So if you are looking for some more non-superhero goodness in your comics, don’t hesitate to check out Jeff Lemire’s latest. It is a one-of-a-kind story.

Rating: 8.5/10

Shadowhawk is a regular contributor to TFF. A resident of Dubai, Shadowhawk reads, reads and reads. His opinions are always clear and concise. His articles always worth reading.

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