Over the past few months, Vertigo has released a string of #1’s (The Wake, Astro City, Brother Lono, Collider, American Vampire: The Long Road to Hell), and all have been of outstanding quality. As the author of the sixth book in this set of new series (both ongoing and limited), Trillium author Jeff Lemire had a lot to live up to. And, as with many of his other books, it’s so resoundingly different, so fresh, that it’s hard not to love it, if for that reason alone.
As a first issue, this book does everything it should; it establishes the characters, the setting, and the plot, but leaves the reader hanging on a strong cliff hanger. In that respect, it’s your typical first issue. But this isn’t exactly your typical comic. Lemire’s art style alone gives it a look and feel that stands out from the rest of the books on the stand. It’s an odd look, and an odd feel, but, then again, this is an odd book. Trillium also does something that, as an idea, seems like it wouldn’t work at all, but, in execution, actually serves to better the experience. That idea, almost as odd as Lemire’s art style, is having half the story from the front cover to about halfway through the issue, and then flipping the book to the back cover in order to read the other half of the story.
It sounds gimmicky (and I guess it kind of is), but Lemire uses it to his advantage. From what I understand from this issue, Trillium is a time travel story (sorry, slight spoilers), so we get one half that takes place in the distant future, and one half that takes place in the past, and they come together at the end of the issue(s).
Above all else though, the reason that this book is so different is because it’s hard sci-fi. I get that that isn’t for everyone, but I love it. The heady concepts, at times, are almost reminiscent of Grant Morrison (seriously, this book has a sentient virus that’s smarter than humans), and I’m entirely Ok with that. It’s a testament to Lemire’s flexibility between genres, and, despite the aforementioned virus, it’s not exactly an apocalyptic story. It’s got all the best elements of sci-fi, all mixed into one; time travel, first contact, space viruses, odd aliens, new planets, and Lemire takes all of those concepts and merges them into a great book.
That being said, it feels like there may be too much to this book. In the past, Lemire has always done a great job of bringing his stories down to the characters, and it looks like that’s what he’s doing with Trillium. To an extent, however, I also feel he has way to much going on to be able to focus in in the characters without the everything else becoming muddied, and vice versa, but, for now, Trillium is a great comic done by one of the industry’s best creators.
Score: 9.0, Amazing
Blending numerous hard sci-fi concepts, Jeff Lemire creates an excellent start to his new series. It’s so out there, so different, that it’s hard not to enjoy it, if only because of how fresh it feels. So far, it’s introduced some great characters, who hopefully will become fully fleshed out over the next couple issues. And, even if it does collapse under it’s own weight, which I doubt it will, at least this issue was outstanding.