Every now and again there’s that book, that one series that differs from all others, that seeks to defy expectations and to surprise with every turn of the page. Jeff Lemire’s Trillium is one such book; inventive and original, this is a love story not to be missed.
Whereas issue #1 was a grand exploration of our two main characters and their respective backgrounds, issue #2 focuses almost entirely on their first interaction. Upon meeting, soldier William and scientist Nika attempt to overcome the language/time barrier to mixed results. When technology and charades don’t work, they’re forced to turn to ol’ reliable – pictionary! This meet-cute is pretty entertaining really, as Lemire jumps back and forth from perspective to perspective. Each character is obviously aware of the other’s differences, but there’s also a similarity summarily noted by both. We are led to believe that this is their first ever meeting, but certain tones of the text and one panel in particular muddy up that conclusion.
Given the all encompassing reach of last issue, this one feels more contained. Much like William and Nika, we don’t quite know what’s going on, and that’s a good thing. Lemire’s pacing is great; open enough that we can follow along, but not so transparent as to guess where he’s going next. The back and forth between the two leads is engaging, as they have a certain comfortability for being strangers. Lemire allows us to see a flicker of what could be before splashing cold water in our flushed red faces at issue’s end. Like all (literally) star-crossed lovers, this relationship is going to take some work.
On art, Lemire continues to deliver, his “Lemirian” influence strong as ever. At this point you either dig the art or you don’t, and while issue #2 isn’t as visually striking as the debut (with its time hopping visuals), there’s still plenty to enjoy. Lemire manages to turn an issue that’s all about a failed conversation into something appealing and engaging. The back and forth between Nika and William is wonderful, as you can read their emotions from the expressions on their faces. We need to be sold on the connection we’re reading about, and I think in that regard Lemire succeeds.
Trillium was one of the more impressive debuts of recent memory, and issue #2 serves as more of the same. Jeff Lemire really has something here, and with our lovers again separated and more danger looming, it’s safe to say we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.