By Jeff Lemire & Jose Villarrubia
Trillium is unlike any other comic book currently in publication; the overall plot is a unique enigma which slowly unfolds with each issue in tiny fragments of understanding and revelation. Yet, despite the mysterious and enigmatic nature of the story, each issue has a cohesive feel to it which doesn’t ever seem confusing.
The latest installment in this incredible mini-series was a slight departure from the tone of previous issues, but it was actually a pleasant change of pace. First off, we’re treated to a few glimpses into Nika Temsmith’s past and her own personal loss to the sentient virus, the Caul, which is ravaging the galaxy. While brief, this scene provided a greater sense of panic and destruction amongst the future human civilization that was only implied in previous issues. The bulk of Trillium #3 was concerned with Nika’s escape from her own people in order to warn the indigenous alien population of the impending human attack. Again, this development of the story was rather unexpected but made for an interesting direction for this issue, as Dr. Temsmith sneaks and zaps her way out of the compound and returns to the strange temple. While it feels as though Nika’s role in the story outweighs that of William, her escape in the future is interspersed with glimpses of William back in his time as he desperately tries to enter the temple. One thing that should be noted: the pages which feature the past are printed upside-down, which is a call-back to the first issue which was released in a “flipbook” format. However, this was much more effective in issue #1 given that each half of the book was consistent in this respect. The randomly placed pages in issue #3 which are printed in this manner aren’t subject to the same consistency and it was actually slightly irritating to be flipping the book around throughout the course of reading. Admittedly, however, when the two time-periods become linked again this aspect really shines on a beautiful splash page. There are many more shocking new developments in Trillium #3, but everyone should really be reading this series themselves; let’s just say that it looks like all Hell is about to break loose!
Fans of Jeff Lemire’s own creations are surely familiar with not only his wonderfully creative stories, but also his appropriately odd artwork. His illustration style is very raw and stripped to the foundations, particularly regarding character portrayals. The visuals have a unique minimalist approach that is well-suited to the often strange stories he tells, while also somehow conveying an attention to detail, particularly regarding lighting and other environmental effects. The hazy colors provided by both Lemire and Jose Villarrubia are also perfectly fitting for this series. This aspect also possesses a fairly minimalist sensibility overall, while the relatively light application of the colors is conveyed through a beautiful palette. The mix of Villarrubia’s more traditional coloring combined with Lemire’s water colors also help to emphasize the fantastic side of Trillium #3, particularly inside of the temple and within the panels featuring the alien landscape.
Trillium is just an amazing series. The story is unlike anything else and, while it remains enigmatic and very mysterious, each issue is easy to follow and magnificently paced. The latest was no exception, while providing a slight change of pace for the book and introducing a whole array of new problems for the characters to deal with. The story is unfolding slowly but with masterful precision. With only five issues left, there are sure to be some huge developments in the near future. This is one series that everybody needs to be reading.