Family Tree #5 is published by Image Comics. It comes from the creative team of writer Jeff Lemire, artists Eric Gapstur and Phil Hester, colorist Ryan Cody, and letterer Steve Wands. Following the previous issue’s tragic ending, Family Tree #5 opens with a flashback. The reader is treated to a look into Loretta and her family’s life in the past. Josh recounts a simpler, albeit more dysfunctional, time in his life. Moments spent with his sister in their parents’ absence and the happiness they shared.
In the present, the family and their new doctor companion are on the road. Meg’s condition continues to worsen and her body has become almost entirely tree-like. As she drifts in and out of a feverish stupor, Loretta grows more concerned. But her greatest transformation is yet to come, and when it does the world will be transformed with her.
I have to give credit to Lemire as the story in this issue went in a completely different direction than I anticipated. The script for this series has been excellent throughout, but this one felt particularly potent. The plight of the family is absolutely heartbreaking. The use of flashback at the beginning really drills home how easy it is to hurt those we love. These regrets and old pains permeate this issue and make the resulting events all the more painful. I wish I could go more in-depth as to how it all ends, but it deserves to be read. Suffice to say this issue shakes up everything you thought you knew about Family Tree.
The art by Gapstur and Hester maintains the high bar that the pair set back in issue #1. Despite being ever-present since the beginning, Meg’s transformation remains horrific thanks to their efforts. But more than that, the art helps keep a thoroughly outlandish premise grounded. Loretta’s fear, Josh’s anxiety, and Meg’s placid acceptance are all clear thanks to the artist’s efforts. All of this is bolstered by the solid colors and letters from Cody and Wands respectively.
Family Tree #5 felt like a sucker punch. From the unexpectedly heart-wrenching beginning to the devastating conclusion, every moment of this story hits like a freight train. I was stunned by the end of it. I knew this series was special when I started reading it, but I truly believe this will go down as a classic. Everyone on the creative team is performing absolutely lights out, and as a result, they have created a truly excellent series. If you haven’t been reading this from the beginning, then you’ll absolutely want to start there. But if you’ve been there from the start, this issue can’t be missed.
Family Tree #5 is available wherever comic books are sold.
Family Tree #5
Family Tree #5 felt like a sucker punch. From the unexpectedly heart-wrenching beginning to the devastating conclusion, every moment of this story hits like a freight train. I was stunned by the end of it. I knew this series was special when I started reading it, but I truly believe this will go down as a classic.