By Jeff Lemire & Jose Villarrubia
If there’s one new story out there that will really make you gasp and your jaw drop in amazement, Trillium is an incredible candidate. This series is blowing minds left and right, and with good reason. Jeff Lemire is one of the rockstar writers over at DC Comics, and like any artist, this really shines through on a book of his own creation. Trillium features a story unlike any other, where two individuals from vastly disparate time periods stumble upon each other through enigmatically mystical circumstances.
The plot is strange and very unique, but also easy to follow. Despite all of the mystery surrounding the characters and various aspects of the plot yet to be explained, Lemire has perfectly communicated his story thus far. With only two issues released, it is already evident that these more intriguing elements are building the basis for an incredibly gripping tale, delivered with a masterful pacing that avoids outright confusion while simultaneously providing a number of mysterious hooks.
Although it seemed difficult to top the first issue, Trillium #2 was more than a worthy follow-up. The latest installment was simply beautiful, not only in terms of appearance, but the story itself was touching and heartfelt. Nika and William are now interacting with one another, but there is an obvious language barrier. Their attempts at communication and understanding are terrifically well-imagined, and there is a real sense of payoff when some meaning gets through and they smile at one another. Simple moments like this are what make this latest installment so beautiful; these characters possess a sincere humanity and emotional depth that Lemire is developing beyond expectations. The highlight of this context in #2 is when the protagonists share visions of each other’s background through a trillium-induced “mind-meld” of sorts. Following this interaction, it seems that Nika and William finally understand one another; their expressions in this moment are astonishingly powerful.
This, of course, is aided by equally powerful visuals. Jeff Lemire’s relatively bizarre character style does not hamper the expressive nature of his characters in any way. The look of frustration on their faces as they struggle to communicate is palpable, and the moment when they simply laugh and smile is almost accompanied by a sense of relief. The look on Nika’s face after she experiences visions of William’s past is probably the most visually powerful moment of the entire issue. This visual sincerity lends tremendous depth towards further character development to a point where speech becomes unnecessary, which is one of the core beauties of the entire medium. The coloring further enhances the beautiful visuals particularly the borders ringing each page which feature grassy vegetation and jungles, as well as astronomical scenarios. This particular element wasn’t completely necessary, but it shows the love put into this book and furthers the immersive nature of the story. Although Villarrubia does a terrific job in this department, it is Lemire’s own watercolors that are really amazing. They are only featured in a single page of issue #2, but they really capture the setting well with the fantastic blending of colors depicting the alien sky.
Trillium is a beautiful new mini-series, both in terms of visuals and story-telling. It was originally intended to be a “love story”, albeit in a relatively bizarre setting, but this aspect seemed elusive in the incredible first installment. However, the beauty of Trillium really begins to shine through in issue #2. Aside from this, the story is wonderfully inventive, intriguing, and mysterious and will surely be recalled as one of the greats from Vertigo.