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"Ghost Tree #3" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by IDW Publishing

ghost tree 3 00

Written by Bobby Curnow
Illustrated by Simon Gane
Colored by Ian Herring with Becka Kinzie
Lettered by Chris Mowry
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 26th, 2019


Brandt's connection to the mysterious woods near his grandparents' home continues to deepen as he spends more and more time there. His childhood love, Arami, is there. She represents a simpler time in his life. Even though she's a ghost, it's easy to forget his troubles while he's out there with her. This can come at a cost, as the ghost of Brandt's grandfather tries to warn him. Not to mention the fact that there's a giant centipede monster floating around ready to get some ghosts.

There's this adorable relationship between Brandt and Arami that is full of temptation. Brandt can't help but look at her and wonder what his life could have been like. He's at a figurative crossroads right now as his marriage is falling apart. It would be easy for him to get swept up in this good feeling and leave the rest of the world behind, but that comes with a sacrifice.

Click images to enlarge

This is just part of how Ghost Tree pulls on the heartstrings. Writer Bobby Curnow fills this issue with several deep moments that work on a few different levels. We want what's best for Brandt, but he doesn't know what that is yet. The thing that's making him happy now will ultimately lead to his own destruction.

There's a particularly heartbreaking scene as Brandt's grandfather checks in on his wife. The old woman begrudgingly shares her thoughts on her late husband and how the love left their marriage due in no small part to how much time he was spending out in the woods. The old man stands there taking all this in, realizing how he wasted his life and hurt those closest to him. He's seeing history repeating itself now with Brandt and that's a terrifying thought.

Colorist Ian Herring shows the differences between the woods and the land of the living in subtle ways. The woods are shown in more earth tones. Despite being surrounded by trees, life is fleeting here. Contrast that with Brandt's grandmother's house that is full of color. We have to look forward, not dwell on the past.

Click images to enlarge

The ghosts are differentiated from Brandt, less by appearance than by sound. Letterer Chris Mowry uses light blue word balloons with a scratchy outline for the spirits, reminiscent of faded memories and regrets.

Artist Simon Gane delivers some incredibly solid work in Ghost Tree #3. Every panel is packed with emotion, both good and bad. So much can be said with a single, longing look. A great example of this is the full-page spread that comes up after Arami asks Brandt about his marriage. This is presented without dialogue, showing a relationship from its infancy to its height and then to a quiet, unsettling death. The two start so close and drift farther and farther apart, both physically and metaphorically. This speaks volumes.

While Gane excels at this personal work, his talents also lie in the horrifying monster that's terrorizing the ghosts in the woods. This swoops down from the air with not one but two sets of jaws full of razor sharp teeth. It represents a sudden shift in tone, reminding us that we're dealing with the supernatural here. It's not all friendly ghosts and lost loves.

Ghost Tree is like Neil Gaiman meets Ghilbi. It has a nice blend of horror and drama that delivers an incredibly moving story. This is the kind of book that makes you want to go out and hug your loved ones. It uses death and ghosts to create a life-affirming message. There's an undercurrent of terror as we see how Brandt can lose everything, including himself, in these woods.


Story: fivestars Cover
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Overall: 5 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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