Family Tree #11 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. As the issue opens, Josh needs help. He uses his grandfather’s old wooden hand to communicate with the old man and ask for advice. With his mother kidnapped, Josh is responsible for his wife and child. But he can’t afford to leave her with the people who took her.
So after a brief conversation, Josh decides to go out in search of his mother. Meanwhile, in the past, the hazmat-suited attackers are quickly dispatched by Meg’s tree form. However, Loretta realizes that to keep her safe, they must move her from where she is rooted. Together Josh and Loretta begin to move his sister, as his future self plans an infiltration of the enemy base camp. But even the best-laid plans can fail, and soon the mastermind behind the enemy forces will make themself known.
With Family Tree #11, the final moves have been made, and all that’s left is to see the repercussions. But aside from a shocking finale, this issue felt a little more like setup than usual. The events are meaningful, but it feels like the eye of the storm. Everything is tense and on the edge of the precipice, and by the time the ending hits, I was left wanting much more. Usually, I really appreciate that kind of cliffhanger. But for some reason, it felt like this time there wasn’t as much meat to the story as I’d like to have read. It’s still absolutely compelling and is clearly helmed by an excellent writer. I just felt like it was too much buildup without enough payoff.
The art seems to be suffering from a similar lack of focus as the narrative. The usually clean and tight lines from Hester and Gapstur felt a little muddy. Characters faces lack definition in closeups at times. What is most strange is that it isn’t consistent. Some panels will lack details on backgrounds or character art, and others maintain a high standard. It’s a little distracting, but otherwise, it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. The colors from Cody are still extremely solid. The use of shadows remains an engaging aspect of every panel. The letters from Wands are similarly solid, though the lightened text has returned to some speech bubbles, and it remains difficult to read.
Overall, I have mixed feelings about Family Tree #11. The story is tense and compelling but also feels a little like it’s just spinning its tires. Outside of the surprising ending, it felt like very little was accomplished in this issue. The art is similarly unfocused, though still a treat to look at. Honestly, I consider this issue’s shortcomings a blip in terms of the quality of this series. I’m still chomping at the bit for the next issue, which is also the finale. But if you’re hoping for an explosive penultimate issue, you’re in for a bit of a disappointment.
Family Tree #11 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Family Tree #11
Honestly, I consider this issue’s shortcomings a blip in terms of the quality of this series. I’m still chomping at the bit for the next issue, which is also the finale. But if you’re hoping for an explosive penultimate issue, you’re in for a bit of a disappointment.