Family Tree #10 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. It is the dawning of a new age in the world of Family Tree. With Megan’s transformation, nearly everyone on earth has changed into human-shaped trees. In the present, Josh and his mother live with his partner Sarah and their child Jesse. After Josh’s narrow escape from the mysterious soldiers who were pursuing him, Loretta decides it’s time to fight back.
Meanwhile, in the past, Josh picks up his grandfather’s wooden hand and searches for food. He witnesses the destruction that Meg’s transformation caused and sees the twisted tree-like bodies of her victims. When he arrives at a gas station, he finds a young Sarah and her father. The two ask him questions, but he cannot answer, instead offering to take them back to where he and his mother have been staying. But the forces at work against Josh and his family are greater than they are aware of, and trouble is always close behind them.
Somehow, despite having an explosive, apocalyptic climax, Family Tree #10 has brought the same intimate feeling of earlier issues back. Even though trees have overtaken the earth, Lemire’s focus on Josh and his little family trying to survive keeps the scale of things from getting too large. I do have to admit: I don’t love the switches between the past and present. Both narratives are compelling, but the progression through their respective plots feels stunted. If the story progressed more through arcs in each time period rather than multiple cuts per issue, I think it would considerably strengthen the narrative.
That being said, I still deeply love the story of this series. The constant guessing of whether the true danger is humanity or the trees remains compelling. At this point, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop with Meg and the people living in the great tree. We haven’t been given a reason why Josh and Loretta haven’t been brought to live with Meg and the rest of them. But why is that? This is just one of the mysteries that still keep this book a riveting page turner month after month.
Gapstur and Hester’s art continues the high quality that I have praised in the past. The way they manage to squeeze trees shaped like people or draped in clothes into most panels is delightful. It helps to keep the story feeling tense and eerie at all times. A constant reminder that there are corpses everywhere. Cody’s shift to a more green-oriented palette seems like it would feel a little stale. Instead, the use of shadows and the blue of the sky provide contrast to keep the panels interesting. Wands’ letters are solid and, thankfully, don’t suffer from being too light against the white text box like I’ve mentioned before.
Family Tree #10 pushes the series forward for better or for worse. I’d like to see more progress made through the two arcs separately instead of simultaneously. Despite this, it’s still a riveting and bleak story. The characters are interesting, and their plight stands out as unique even among apocalypse tales. I still find myself eagerly awaiting next month’s issue to see what happens next.
Family Tree #10 is available wherever comics are sold.
Family Tree #10
Family Tree #10 is still a riveting and bleak story. The characters are interesting and their plight stands out as unique even among apocalypse tales.