It’s been about four issues now, and I think I can start speaking with some certainty about this gem of a science fiction comic by Jeff Lemire, “Trillium”.
Some of you more graphically interested folk may know Jeff LeMire’s name. He’s won awards for his ‘Essex County Trilogy’ and has a very distinctive art style. The rest of you comic book fans might be thinking, “hold on, is that the guy who did that digital ‘Batman’ comic with Damon Lindelof?”
Actually, he’s worked with Lindelof before with ‘Time Warp’, but really this me trying to legitimize a man that doesn’t really need it. After all, Jeff Lemire has been nominated for Eisner Awards.
And, yes, I say that, but the truth is Lemire’s style is very different from what are used to seeing in our comics these days, and his story telling is also very different. It makes sense, then, that this unique concept is sort of flying under the radar.
I’ve decided to take a stand against that, because science fiction in comics has been waning, and whatever this comic is, despite it’s copious amounts of exposition via dialogue, it’s a welcome return to the days of yore.
‘Trillium’ starts two ways in an issue that is read upside down no matter which way you start from. If you start from the back, you read the story of William, someone who seems to be exploring South America looking for ruins and grappling with a serious case of PTSD brought on by the first world war. After things on the journey go very south (arrow in your friend’s eye kind of south), he runs into a temple and runs into Nika. From there, you flip the issue over and read Nika’s story, who is investigating that same temple in the future as a way to escape The Caul, a sentient virus that is capable of out thinking humanity. After entering the same temple as William in the future, Nika makes contact with an alien species that feeds her a Trillium flower and sends her back in time to feet William.
The two meet in the middle of the issue, though the middle is the end of the chapter for both.The two sides of the story on the first issue.
From there, the two have communication issues as they try to discover why they both ended up where they are, and I love it. One of my biggest pet peeves in science fiction is how easily two separate cultures are able to communicate (e.g, ‘Stargate: SG-1’). The two are separated, and that’s when the plot really kicks into gear. As humans in the future are desperate for a way to survive, they discover that Nika traveled to the past and how she did it.
See where it’s going? Yeah? Pretty cool, huh.
Really, the heart of the story revolves around Nika and William, and how their two worlds (times?) connect. It’s full of alien races, intrigue, time travel, psychedelic drugs, and deserves a whole lot more credit than it gets. I’d love to tell you a bit about the story, but it’s a bit hard to say after only four issues, but I’m grateful to Halley’s Comics for pointing out to me, because it’s something new and interesting on my pull list.