REVIEW: ‘Ghost Tree,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 3 minutes

After three tender issues, IDW Publishing‘s Ghost Tree #4 brings the series to its end.  Written by Bobby Curnow, with art by Simon Gane, colors by Ian Herring and Becka Kinzie, and letters by Chris Mowry, Ghost Tree #4 lingers long after the final page. Melancholy, heartfelt and in all things gentle, this issue just might break your heart. 

The Ghost Tree is under attack. A demon surges through the forest as its fangs drip a poison fatal to both the living and the dead. Among the slain lies the Ghost Tree’s protector, a silent spirit know only as Zero. Left unstopped, the demon will destroy the Ghost Tree, erasing all of the souls drawn by the tree’s power. Brandt Kinoshita, a man whose words comfort the dead, must find a way to stop the demon before it destroys all that he holds dear.

 Throughout its run, Ghost Tree set itself apart from the pack with its tranquil artwork. Simon Gane’s expressive figures and stark linework carried readers through every emotional hurdle, while Ian Herring and Becka Kinzie’s subtle color pallet tied the series to traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock art.

Ghost Tree #4 is no exception. Gane, Herring, and Kinzie finish the series as beautifully as they started.  The demon brings death to everything it touches, transforming the lush greenery of the forest into an autumnal array of oranges and yellows. Witnessing the clash between life and death play out visually through color was remarkable.

As beautiful as Ghost Tree #4‘s art is, the issue’s greatest strength stems from its central narrative. At the root of Ghost Tree was always the story of Brandt Kinoshita. Struggling through a failing marriage, Brandt was called to the Ghost Tree just as the dead are. But Brandt is alive, a man capable of choosing his own path. Caught up in memories of yesterday with the ghost of his first love, Brandt must choose whether to live in the past or brave the future.  

How Brandt makes this choice I will leave for readers to learn for themselves. Ghost Tree #4 asks many difficult questions of not only its characters but its reader as well. Throughout the series, we’ve learned the secrets of the Ghost Tree, a locus for souls whose hearts are to burdened by regret to pass over. Consumed by their memories, they wish only to speak the truths they hid in life. They want their deepest selves to be known. But with their voices silenced by death, those truths trap them in a spiral of regret.  Yet the living scramble for words, cradling the secrets of our heart. 

Ghost Tree #4 reaches its conclusion with the same melancholy grace emblematic of the series. But as much as Ghost Tree #4 concerns death, it also challenges us to live and eventually die with nothing left unsaid. Similarly, Ghost Tree #4, the final chapter of a beautiful story, leaves nothing left unsaid. 

Ghost Tree #4 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Ghost Tree #4
5

TL;DR

Ghost Tree #4 reaches its conclusion with the same melancholy grace emblematic of the series.