REVIEW: ‘Family Tree,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Family Tree #2

Family Tree #2 is published by Image Comics. It comes from the creative team of writer Jeff Lemire, artists Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur, colorist Ryan Cody, and letterer Steve Wands.

After the shocking events of the first issue, the story takes a pause to give readers some answers. The perspective shifts to 1996 and the old man, soon identified as Judd, as he enters a motel room. Laying in the bed is a humanoid tree that the old man refers to as Darcy. Judd takes a moment to speak with Darcy before a car slams into the building and a gunfight ensues. Back to the present, Loretta tries to get Judd to leave her and the kids alone. Judd tells her that their attackers will be back and with greater numbers.

Despite this, Loretta is unphased and insists Judd go. However, Meg and Josh are the voices of reason and convince her that they need help. Judd packs everyone into his truck and they drive away, hopefully toward safety. The perspective shifts once again as more about the past between Judd and Darcy is revealed. With unknown assailants on their tails and Meg’s condition worsening, things look bleak for the foreseeable future.

Family Tree #2 focuses less on the dread and outright horror of the first issue. Instead, Lemire takes this issue in a more action-oriented and equally tragic direction. The history of Judd and Darcy, though brief, is heartbreaking. They also provide a valuable perspective and dramatic irony for the reader to help keep the story in perspective. By the issue’s end, the story and its stakes have been raised, and new twists have arisen within it. Normally it would feel a little off to switch from eerie to sad so suddenly’ however, tragedy is an important aspect to the horror and as a result, the reader finds themselves more attached to the characters. Obviously this will set up for devastating outcomes in the future and Lemire’s work ensures that it will be all the better for it.

The art from Phil Hester and Eric Gapstur translates well from the grim dread of the first issue to this one. Maintaining a tense and serious narrative with a humanoid tree is no small task, but these two pull it off. That the reader can see the emotion on Darcy’s nearly petrified visage is legitimately impressive. The colors from Cody are well implemented. The clever contrasting of light and dark carries over from the first issue and continues to work. The letters from Wands are solid and the effects carry a lot of weight. There is one spoiler instance of lettering towards the end that is extremely well done and I wish I could say more about it.

Family Tree #2 is a strong follow-up to the first issue. Lemire is doing a lot with very little time and space in this series. Despite a premise that seems oddball at best, this is creepy, sad, and very earnest series. I am excited to see where the story goes from here and I highly recommend it. Honestly, you could probably start here if you missed issue #1 and not feel like you’ve missed out on too much, but you should definitely read both if you are able.

Family Tree #2 is available wherever comics are sold.

Family Tree #2
5

TL;DR

Despite a premise that seems oddball at best, this is creepy, sad, and very earnest series. I am excited to see where the story goes from here and I highly recommend it.