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Trillium #5

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By Jeff Lemire & José Villarrubia

The story of Trillium has been a wild ride since issue #1. The plot is unlike anything else and is absolutely steeped in mystery and enigma. The latest installment doesn’t really do much to move the overall story forward, but there are some incredible insights gleaned throughout.

Although the main plot doesn’t really progress in issue #5, Jeff Lemire’s writing is consistently intelligent and moving. The voices of the protagonists feel very sincere and their current confusion feels tangible. Furthermore, Trillium has been a wonderful experiment in form; a number of issues have used novel story layouts, such as the flipbook style of the first installment. Similarly, issue #5 contains two sides to the story; the first following Nika living an alternate timeline of William’s life, while the second section of the book flips and covers William living an alternate version in Nika’s time at the bottom panels of each page. Lemire’s visuals have a lot of charm and character with a uniquely simple overall design, but it’s the panel layouts that really shine in this issue. While the two sections begin at opposite ends of the book and appear upside down relative to one another, there are some excellent story match-ups where the two characters’ current situations appear to synchronize across the whole page. Furthermore, the division of color duties between Lemire and José Villarrubia are much more distinct in Trillium #5 as each artist colors one of the substories, which also serves to emphasize a distinction between the two worlds.

Again, Trillium #5 didn’t seem to push the overall plot forward in grand leaps. However, the enigmatic nature of this story has mired readers in confusion since the beginning, yet Lemire’s writing and story pacing have somehow kept the book engaging and incredibly interesting. This is truly masterful organization of the various story elements, with each issue offering a tantalizingly obscured glimpse of the truth behind Trillium. These moments remain abundantly clear in issue #5, as William sees another individual from the future that he has come across in the past; Nika’s situation offers some insight into their current predicament without being overt or direct, and also serves to further emphasize the importance of the mysterious temple. If you’ve been keeping up with this incredible mini-series, you know to expect the unexpected and the latest issue continues this trend. However, Lemire’s storytelling chops are such that the story remains interesting despite any potential slowing of the plot.

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