A Murder Mystery In Toska, Russia – Trees: Three Fates #1 Reviewed

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
It’s 11 years ago; it’s the day the Trees landed. In Toska, Russia, Kiara is trying to get Sasha to come back inside, but he says he’s done letting Kiara tell him what to do. If he had listened to her, he may have avoided being crushed under a Tree. In the present, Lev arrives at Kiara’s house to tell her that he found a body at the base of one of the Trees. She goes to investigate, but it’s no one from Toska. This is going to require more investigation, but the power is down in Toska, meaning Kiara and the other police can’t access the database. This is going to be complicated…and more so than Kiara knows.

Trees: Three Fates #1 cover by Jason Howard
Trees: Three Fates #1 cover by Jason Howard

Trees: Three Fates #1 returns us to the wild and macabre world of Warren Ellis and Jason Howard’s Tree for a murder mystery in a small Russian town. 
Naturally, there is more than just a murder mystery going on; this is Trees and Warren Ellis after all. Hints of a conspiracy are at the periphery of the story, leading to a cliffhanger where we learn not everyone is as trustworthy as they seem. Plus, there is the inconceivably massive rod (aka, one of the titular Trees) sticking out of the ground next to Kiara’s house.
Full disclosure, Ellis is one of my favorite writers currently working in the comics industry, and Trees: Three Fates reminds me of the wonderfully pervasive feeling of dread which he can imbue into a comic book.
Howard’s artwork contributes to that wonderfully dreadful feeling. Even without the Trees, the murder, and the ominous cliffhanger at the end, there’s just something off about Toska and the people in it. Howard makes everything seem off, gritty, and a little menacing. Plus, his art just looks great. The color work, flattened by Dee Cunniffe, is similarly eerie. Everything is cold and grim, and it adds a lot to the overall vibe of the comic.
Trees: Three Fates #1 is a grim if quick first issue for this return of Trees. We’re brought to a small Russian town where a Tree landed, and there’s a dead body at its base now. What happened? What connection does it have to the Trees? Is there any connection at all? All of this we’ll have to wait and look out for in the issues to come. I’m already rather engaged, and I think you will be too. This one gets a recommendation. Check it out.
Trees: Three Fates #1 comes to us from writer Warren Ellis, artist and cover artist Jason Howard, color flatter Dee Cunniffe, and letters from Fonografiks. 
Final Score: 8/10

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