By Jeff Lemire & José Villarrubia
By now, everybody knows that Jeff Lemire is a rockstar writing talent over at DC Comics on some of their big titles like Green Arrow and Animal Man. However, like any great writer, creator-owned work is where he really shines. Everybody in the comic book community has been captivated and astonished by his latest mini-series for DC’s Vertigo imprint. Trillium has felt like a breath of fresh air in every possible respect. This month brings us to the halfway point of the story with issue #4 and it doesn’t disappoint.
At this point in the story, the plot is leaning very heavily on character interactions that limit the amount of meta-knowledge provided to the reader. All of the crazy events occurring are understood through the lens of the characters, and this includes the confusion and haze that they are experiencing; but it works, and it works very well. In the first few issues, background details were still relatively sparse, but there was enough information provided to understand the basics of the overall plot. Now we are being taken along for the ride with the protagonists, making the same attempts as the characters to understand how this mystery will unfold. It is an interesting way to reveal this type of story which makes the reader feels like one of the adventurers at times, navigating the same labyrinthine clues. Furthermore, the story continues to evolve into something more far-reaching with each new issue. As the story continues to expand, the background knowledge of the characters remains in place which gives the reader a sense that they are not alone in any confusion they might experience, which makes the whole tale that much more enjoyable even under the presently cryptic circumstances. The only minor issue observed in Trillium #4 was the overabundance of Atabithi speech, which has yet to be fully deciphered and felt slightly detracting at times. Overall though, this issue continued the marvelous pace that has been set with previous installments, and there are some excellent new discoveries and plot developments that have been accomplished.
It’s always a bonus when the writer is capable of providing the artwork for his own story, and this remains the case with Trillium. Lemire knows exactly what he is looking for, particularly regarding the visual reactions of the central characters as they endure more of this mystery, which he delivers with excellent precision. His simple but charming style is perfectly suited to the mind-bending plot. There are some big scenes in issue #4 that all look fantastic, but one of the best visual features of this latest installment was the color swaps between Lemire and José Villarrubia. It appears that one takes on color duties for the central scenes following William and Nika, while the other uses a classic watercolor style to depict the Atabithean homeworld in the future. This provides a nice change of pace that never feels out of place given the consistency of the switches and the contexts they are used in.
Trillium #4 was yet another great issue in this astonishing, wild, and fresh story. There were some huge events and, while the story was moved forward, the mystery deepened again! The cliffhanger ending will surely leave readers guessing what will come next.