Trillium #2 by Jeff Lemire (Comics Review)

As someone who is increasingly delving into Vertigo Comics, with titles such as Fables, Fairest, and The Wake, Jeff Lemire’s brand-new series Trillium is another experiment that I’m quite happy to say succeeds. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Vertigo publishes some really far-out stuff, often edgy and completely different from the norm, and they do it really well. Fables and The Wake are two of my favourite series from this year, and I’ve enjoyed the whole ride so far.

With Trillium, Jeff Lemire does some pretty crazy far-out things, whether that be for the script itself or the art.  Its comics like these that are often make or break for me, because they go either too far out or they play things too safe, and rarely is there a balance, such as with Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga. So yeah, Trillium #2 is definitely a winner for me, and here’s why.

Trillium 02

Trillium #1 was a very, very bold series-opener. More so for the print side of it than the digital because in the former format, it was offered as a flip-book. The issue is divided into two stories that happen concurrently and each is told by a different character. In digital, it is a bit more straightforward, but still, I really wish I’d been able to get a copy of the print issue. I don’t know how the second issue was offered in print, but its certainly a great strategy to draw interest, without being too gimmicky or weird.

And just apart from that, Jeff Lemire’s pencils and Jose Villarubia’s colours were just amazing on that issue, and that’s the case here as well. I’m used to comics where the art is well-defined, with clear, realistic proportions (hah!) and solid character-work and rich colour palettes. With Trillium, Jeff and Jose go in a very different direction. The art is very sketched with a painted colour palette. It is different and unique, and it works really well for the type of story that he is trying to tell here. I was a bit iffy on the art for the previous issue, but here, I’m definitely enjoying it. As the story goes on, the art becomes very complementary and it doesn’t jar at all.

With the script itself, where before the story was divided into clear separate halves, this time we get an alternating page. What I mean by that is that we get one page from Nina’s (the scientist from the future) perspective and then a page from William’s (the explorer and WW1 veteran) perspective. Given the incredible time different between their timelines, they don’t understand each other at all, which was a really nice tough, and the dialogue reflects that. In Nina’s pages, William’s dialogue is all gibberish. In William’s pages, Nina’s dialogue is all gibberish. It makes for a really fun back and forth between the characters as they try to communicate with each other but completely fail.

Typically, a second comic like this would have a lot of plot progression (I think), but Jeff curiously stays away from that approach. The entire issue is about bringing Nina and William together and getting them to interact with each other. The series is marketed as being part-romance, and while we are still only seeing glimpses of that plot element, the characters are growing closer because of their shared experience, an experience that has hurled one, or both, of them out of time and out of place. Which brings me to the whole adventure nature of the story and I’d have to say that Trillium #2 is definitely an excellent issue in that regard. There is adventure here in a very non-typical but very familiar way. And there is so much character-interaction here, which I loved.

Again and again through the comic, the art stands out. Its not exactly as refined as the dominant styles in the industry, but it does have a certain polish to it. As a reader I think that the dominant styles are easy to emulate and thus difficult to make mistakes with unless you just have no idea what to do. Unique styles like Jeff’s here are tough to execute, but when they work, they work wonders. They need to have a certain polish to them, certain kind of clarity to work. And that’s what Trillium #2 is all about.

The pencils are, of course, one thing and the colours are another. Throughout, Jose’s colours stand out as much as Jeff’s pencilwork does, and every bit is just as impressive, if not more so. The two of them make for a really good, solid art team and I want to see more of them

Also, there’s a really, really great splash page towards the end, which showcases Jeff and Jose’s artwork in all its brilliance. If the issue had ended there, it would have been a perfect ending, I think.

This is a story that succeeds on every single level possible. The pacing is consistent throughout right up until the final two pages when it kicks into overdrive and ends on a really great cliffhanger, something that was touched on in the previous issue but took a temporary backseat to all the time-crossed adventures of Nina and William. The wait for the third issue is going to be really, really long.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Trillium: #1.

Posted on September 22, 2013, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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