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"Ghost Tree #4" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by IDW Publishing

Ghost Tree 4 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 July 17th, 2019

Review:

Brandt retreated back to his grandmother's house after his marriage began to fell apart. It was there he met the ghosts that live in the woods around the home, including his grandfather and his lost love, Arami, not to mention a hideous flying centipede monster. The longer he stays out amongst the spirits, the more and more reclusive he becomes, losing sight of what matters to the living to revel in the feelings of the dead. He's going to have to make a decision soon before he loses everything.

Ghost Tree is not your typical horror story. Some could definitely argue that it's not a horror story at all. Yes, there's the aforementioned giant flying centipede monster and that's pretty creepy, especially in the hands of artist Simon Gane. Where Ghost Tree excels is how it pulls on the real-life fears facing those in the stage between young adulthood and middle age. It strikes hard at the doubts, anxieties, and crippling terror that can hit you during those years, as you're just starting to figure out who you really are.

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Brandt comes to realize that fear and sadness is part of life, but it doesn't make it less worth living. It can help strengthen you and push you forward. I realize that sounds pretty cheesy. It definitely doesn't come across that way. Writer Bobby Curnow handles this with care, tugging on the heartstrings while adding a layer of supernatural to the story.

One of the most gut-wrenching aspects of Ghost Tree comes with Brandt's grandfather and the uneasy relationship with his wife. You can tell there's love there, but also a lot of regret. This comes to a head in a touching scene as the old man's ghost speaks through Brandt to tell his widow all the things he should have said when he was alive. This is part of the theme that Curnow has weaved through the story, showing us how we shouldn't take things like this for granted.

The ghosts, including the grandfather, speak in a haunting tone thanks to letterer Chris Mowry. Their word balloons appear in light blue with a squiggly outline to differentiate them from those in the living. It's just close enough to show how human they are, while different enough to show their spectral quality.

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Gane adds to the emotional elements of Ghost Tree with some pitch perfect facial expressions that convey so much. He delivers a great sequence showing pieces of Brandt's time with Arami that say so much without having to spell out all the details. Ghost Tree doesn't hold your hand with the storytelling. It allows you to fill in some blanks and take some meaning from them. You're certainly given enough pieces to come to your conclusions. This is just one example.

I'm sure you want to hear more about the big centipede monster. This is supposed to be a horror site, right? This is a terrifying creature that towers over the humans. Every part of it looks menacing and unsettling. Colorist Ian Herring gives it a sickly yet rough appearance, like its harsh shell would cut your arm clean off if it even brushed past you.

Ghost Tree hit me hard and at the perfect moment in my life. It speaks to my very soul. This is a comic that's going to stay with me for a long time and I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels that way. It simultaneously filled me with fear and life-affirming hope. This is what the comic book medium is capable of.

Grades:

Story: Fivestars Ghost Tree 4 Small
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Overall: Fivestars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
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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