Updated: Jan 25, 2020
FAMILY TREE #1
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Phil Hester
Publisher: Image Comics
To say I'm a Jeff Lemire fan would be putting it mildly, he's in my top favorite writers working in comics today. Having been responsible for some of my g=favorite books, I'm always excited when he announces a new project. So when he announced this book I was absolutely thrilled. Not only was he launching a new series but he was collaborating with an artist that holds a special place in my little fanboy heart, Phillip Hester. Hester solidified himself as a favorite of mine with his work on GREEN ARROW. To this day that is my favorite run if the Emerald Archer, due in large part to Hester's art. This book sounded like a match made in heaven. Lemire's dark script mixed with the heavy shadows of Hester's art ??? I was sold. And after reading this first issue I can report that I was right.
The story opens up in the small town of Lowell, Maine. It's here we meet Loretta, the cashier with an attitude. During her encounter with an annoying customer, we get some narration from an unknown source, stating that this is the day the world ended. What that means, we don't really know. But the weirdness ensues from here on out. Some weird guy comes into the store staring at Loretta before booking it out the store. Cue the cigarette break.
From there Loretta has yet another problem to deal with, her son's getting into trouble at school again. As she heads over to pick him up she stops off to pick her younger one up. This is the first glimpse we get of the strangeness of the book. Her daughter has this weird "rash" on her arm. As Meg sits in the hallway a mysterious old guy comes up to her and offers her help. We later learn he ends up being her grandfather. The imagery of this rash literally made my skin crawl. I can't remember a comic book that had that kind of an effect on me. It's a testament the amazing art of Phil Hester.
This little family has a dark cloud hanging over them throughout the book and it only gets worse when this weird shit starts growing on the young girls arm and starts spreading throughout her body. The imagery created by Hester makes you cringe as you see it. Hester has brought his best work to this book and is the perfect fit on this book.
The first issue sets up the inevitable future of this book where it appears that this "rash" that Meg contracted has spread out over the entire town. The mystery of the grandfather showing up at the end to save them from these strange people that were trying to kill them absolutely hooks you in. The grandfather had the same vibe as Jeppard from another one of Lemires books (SWEET TOOTH). Overall this is yet another great addition for all of you Lemire fans, or a perfect place to check out his work. What he and Hester have given us with one issue is absolute brilliance, horror mixed with a lot of heart.