Not content with writing half of DC’s superhero comics (Matt Kindt is doing the other half, ‘natch), Jeff Lemire returns to creator-owned work with this exciting new mini-series. I’m a big fan of Lemire’s writing in general, and when he’s doing the art as well… I like it even more, especially when it’s as good a package as this.
It’s hard to really say what Trillium is about at this point, it’s been marketed as an epic love story, but the two central characters only meet at the end (or the middle), so what we really have is an insane sci-fi story that spans millennia. That’s interesting enough on it’s own, but the way Lemire tells it makes it even better. This first issue is split into two stories, and is in flip-book style. You read one story, then flip the comic upside down and read the other one. It’s not clear which story you are meant to read first, and I don’t think it matters.
I personally read the story of William first, which probably makes me sexist (This could be a great barometer to weed out sexism from comics fans, people who read the man’s story first are SEXIST, and people who read the woman’s story first are FEMINIST and that’s that. I’m joking, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some people actually thought this way). William is a British WWI veteran who is leading an expedition deep into the heart of the Amazon to find a secret temple and loot it for treasure. His party is attacked by a tribe of ‘savages’ and he runs off, coming face to face with… a female astronaut?
You find out who this woman is by reading the second story. She is Nika, a scientist who is trying to broker peace with an alien race in order to access a plant that could help protect the dying Human race from a virus that is sweeping the galaxy. She visits the aliens, eats one of these plants (they are the titular Trillium) and trips the fuck out. She goes into the temple, comes out the other side and meets, you guessed it, William.
I think it actually works better if you read the William story first, as it means the sci-fi stuff comes as more of a surprise, but as I said, it could work either way. It’s a unique way of telling a story, and for me, it works really well. It will be interesting to see how this book carries on from here, will Lemire continue to experiment like this? Or now that William and Nika have met, will things be a bit more conventional? I doubt it, Lemire’s previous Vertigo series, Sweet Tooth, was never afraid to mix things up. I’m already excited to see where this story goes, how are the Amazonian tribe connected to the Alien tribe? How did Nika travel to 1921 from 3797? This story is already weird, and it’s only going to get weirder.
I said before that I like Lemire’s work even better when he pulls double-duty, and that’s definitely true here, the art here looks fantastic, and I found it interesting how often he used 12-panel grids here. It’s rare to get comics that use so many panels on a page these days, but it was very effective, especially when he deviates from the pattern. I suppose it was necessary, Lemire has 28 pages to tell two stories here, but out of necessity, comes greatness. Yeah, I said it, unless things get seriously off the rails, this story is going to be great. Vertigo is back, bitches! Ahem.