Family Tree #3 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.
At the end of the previous issue, it was revealed that Loretta’s husband, Darcy, is somehow still alive in Judd’s wooden hand. Family Tree #3 immediately elaborates with Meg in a dreamlike state inside of what appears to be a giant tree. Here she meets a vision of her father who claims to still be alive before she awakens in the back of Judd’s truck. According to Judd, the family is on their way to New York as it is shown that Meg’s condition is worsening.
Finally, the group arrives in Manhattan. The tension between Judd and Loretta continues to deepen as they seek help from one of Judd’s connections. But who this connection is and why they have the answers the family seeks is still unclear. With Meg slowly losing herself to this wooden transformation, it seems the worst is still yet to come.
With Family Tree #3, Lemire deepens the narrative even further and pushes its implications to colossal heights. The visions that Meg begins having are equally bizarre and haunting. As a result, this issue is easily the most unsettling of the three that have been released so far. This is especially noteworthy because, outside of the expected body horror, all of the tension comes from something just feeling off. At this point, Lemire has proven that he is fully capable of presenting information that seems harmless at face value. But, despite that, it causes the hairs on the back of your neck to rise. When the final twist happens it manages to be shocking and expected all at the same time.
The art continues to be perfectly fitting. With every passing issue, it becomes increasingly clear how integral Hester and Gapstur are to this book. Their art is simultaneously uniquely stylized and human. They portray horrific body transformations that are believable while not being difficult to look at or process. There is a beauty to it, but it is not beautiful. A world as dark and twisted as the one in this comic would not be suited for something beautiful. The colors from Cody are well implemented and help inform the tone of each page. Likewise is Wands’ creates understated but commendable lettering.
As it stands, Family Tree #3 is in direct contention for my favorite horror comic currently running. While the competition is stiff, Family Tree stands out. Few comics are as forthcoming and also as mysterious as this one. It is absolutely worth your time. Even if you’ve missed the first couple issues, if you enjoy horror or a good story then pick this one up.
Family Tree #3 is available wherever comics are sold
Rating: 5/5 Branches in an open field
Family Tree #3
As it stands, Family Tree #3 is in direct contention for my favorite horror comic currently running. While the competition is stiff, Family Tree stands out.