REVIEW: ‘Family Tree,’ Issue #6

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Family Tree #6

Family Tree #6 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.

Issue #6 forgoes a continuation from the shocking cliffhanger ending of the fifth issue and instead picks up in 1995. Judd sits alone in a bar, until Darcy approaches him. The two briefly reacquaint themselves before Darcy gets down to business. He takes Judd out behind the bar to show him that he’s begun the transformation that his daughter will in the future. As Judd tries to process this information he realizes that something is wrong.

Darcy begins telling him that he “can’t die yet”. At first confused, Judd soon realizes that he is having a dream and rouses himself. Now, face to face with the cultists who attacked his family, Judd must make a choice. Tell the cult what they want to know, or face a terrible fate at their hands.

Family Tree #6

With Family Tree #6 Lemire’s storytelling is as strong as ever. Judd is a fascinating character and I am glad to see he hasn’t kicked the bucket quite yet. However, it is a truly cruel tease to come back from a hiatus after a huge cliffhanger, and set it aside for a different plot thread. But this stands as a testament to Lemire’s ability, that I am still entranced by this story even as it twists away from what I anticipated. I would like to learn more about this cult-like group who are antagonizing the main group, though. Currently their motivations are fairly thin, and they seem completely inept.

I’ve heaped praise on the art for this series before, and that all remains true. The grittiness of the characters lends itself well to the bleak tone of the story. Hester and Gapstur continue to impress with their presentation. Of particular note is the page when Judd awakens from his dream, like a pane of glass breaking. These types of third-wall breaking visuals help keep this series at the top of the heap of horror comics. Cody’s colors are solid. Particularly the heavy shadows that always seem to encroach on the characters. The letters from Wands are clean and easy to follow, but could use a little more by way of visualization for the sound effects. It can be a little jarring to see glass shattering or hard impacts without accompanying letters.

Overall with Family Tree #6 this return to one of my favorite horror series was a little weaker than I’d hoped. It still remains an excellent, and compelling horror tale. But the failure to follow-up on the outstanding cliffhanger is cruel. Regardless, I give this strong marks and will continue to recommend this series to horror fans. Its bleak, heartbreaking, and thoroughly engrossing.

 


Family Tree #6
4

TL;DR

Overall with Family Tree #6 this return to one of my favorite horror series was a little weaker than I’d hoped. It still remains an excellent, and compelling horror tale. But the failure to follow-up on the outstanding cliffhanger is cruel. Regardless, I give this strong marks and will continue to recommend this series to horror fans. Its bleak, heartbreaking, and thoroughly engrossing.