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Family Tree 11 Main

"Family Tree #11" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Image Comics


Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, and Ryan Cody
Lettered by Steve Wands
2021, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 17th, 2021


The world was shaken and society collapsed when a young girl was planted in the ground and turned into a tree. People the world over followed, transforming from fauna to flora in the blink of an eye. A small amount of people were able to survive and they're fighting back as a group called the Arborists, but the girl's family is doing anything they can to protect her.

Family Tree has been a creepy read so far, but I was never quite sure where to put it. It leans into horror, but it's also dystopian fiction. This is the second-to-last chapter in the series and it hits with such a bang that I had to talk about it.

Family is a central part of this story and not just because it's in the title. The characters and their connection to each other is what powers this whole thing. It shows the lengths that someone will go for a loved one, even if that means potentially losing them forever.

Click images to enlarge

The heartbreak that Loretta feels watching her daughter, Megan, turn into a tree cuts deep. Despite this transformation and being unable to communicate with Megan, she will still do everything she possibly can to protect her. You can feel that love and it is so very strong.

This carries over from the present into the future, as Family Tree #11 bounces between the two. You see how Loretta's actions in the present lead to the desolate landscape we see in the future. The shift in color works well here, as the current timeline is brighter than that from five years ahead. The ramifications of what's happening now aren't known or felt for some time.

Artists Phil Hester, Eric Gapstur, and Ryan Cody are all credited together, so I'm not sure who did what, however this issue reads pretty seamlessly without any disruptions in the artwork. The differences in the characters between the two time periods shows not just growth and aging, but real change. They've been hardened by what they've gone through, but they've managed to stay together and that's what's most important here.

Click images to enlarge

Silhouette is used sparingly and to great effect in Family Tree #11. It puts an exclamation point on certain key scenes, showing you that this is a moment you really need to pay attention to. It simplifies the artwork down to its base elements and gives it some added weight.

Letterer Steve Wands delivers some great work in this issue, particularly with the sound effects. The sound of someone being turned into a tree scratches across my brain in an unforgettable way. The font used makes it look so very painful.

There are still a bunch of open questions about Family Tree, but they've become less and less important as the series has gone on. Now, as we approach the end of this story I wonder how this is going to wrap up. I'm not looking for answers. Instead, I'm more concerned about this family and how they might survive. After the jaw-dropping cliffhanger that literally made me gasp when I read it, I cannot wait to find out. Family Tree is a dystopian horror story strengthened by the deep connections between its central characters, all wrapped in this strange premise about a young girl turning into a tree.


Story: fourstars Cover
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Art: threeandahalfstars
Overall: 4 Star Rating

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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