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Family Tree 3 Main

"Family Tree #3" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Image Comics

article-cover

Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur
Colored by Ryan Cody
Lettered by Steve Wands
2020, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 22nd, 2020

Review:

Megan’s horrifying transformation into a tree continues as her mother searches desperately for answers. Her father-in-law, Judd, knows quite a bit about this disease, as he saw his own son go through it years ago, but he’s been playing his cards close to the vest. There’s a larger conspiracy at play, as many others are interested in Megan and what she’s becoming.

Family Tree starts with a disturbing premise that is a bit silly on the surface. A young woman is turning into a tree. The reality is far more terrifying, hitting with some riveting body horror. Take a moment to look at your arm. Really look at it. Move it around. Stretch your fingers out. Make a fist. Now imagine that freedom of movement going away as bark starts to grow along your arm. Your skin changes color as the limb stiffens up. Your fingers turn into thin, immovable branches. Then a little leaf sprouts from one side.

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The horror of Megan seeing this on her own body represents only a portion of the scares in Family Tree. A large chunk of them come from her mother as she struggles with this change. Artist Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur capture the look of shocked terror on this poor woman’s face. You know that if the devil showed up in this moment with an offer to cure Megan, she would sign her soul away in a heartbeat. Her face is one of desperation, sadness, and a tinge of anger. Why does this have to happen to her poor girl?

Letterer Steve Wands showcases the stress Megan’s mother is going through with some loud choices. You can hear the tension in her voice. She’s ready to crack at any moment.

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This issue gives us a deeper insight into what exactly is happening to Megan along with a check-in with her father. who was presumed dead. We don’t have a ton of information here just yet, but writer Jeff Lemire certainly presents some interesting ideas. I’m very much looking forward to how these are developed in further chapters.

Colorist Ryan Cody plays with the tone in Family Tree #3. We’re mostly dealing with the present and Megan’s worsening condition. While there’s a fair amount of dread here, shadows are few and far between. The characters are shown in full lights when indoors, giving us a full view of Megan’s tree arm and the scared looks on everyone’s faces. The scenes with Megan’s father have some hope to them, like there’s a light at the end of this tunnel and a utopia awaiting on the other side. It creates a juxtaposition of feelings. Could something so heartbreaking and tragic lead to a peaceful existence?

Family Tree is a conspiracy-laden thriller mixed with body horror and family drama. It’s an intriguing combination packed with tension and excitement. In short, this comic packs a punch.

Grades:

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

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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