Review - The White Trees #1 (@imagecomics)

"Put down your sickle, Krylos, and reclaim your sword."

In a different time on a different world, it's a good bet there's a kingdom with some issue that needs warriors to resolve. In The White Trees #1 from Image Comics, that issue is familial. The issue is written by Chip Zdarsky, illustrated by Kris Anka, colored by Matt Wilson and lettered by Aditya Bidikar.

In the fantastical world of Blacksand, peace was hard-won, and three unbending warriors carry the scars to prove it. Now, almost twenty years later, their children are missing and war is on the horizon. Can they put aside their memories of the war—and each other—for one last adventure?

Zdarsky has a flair for investigating interpersonal relationships in his writing and he does so exceptionally well in the first issue. Krylos, Scotiar and Dahvlan are the three main characters in the series and their quest to discover who abducted their children is at the center of their reunion. Zdarsky uses their relationship as a means of exploring their past and building the world around them in general rather cleverly as it feels as if you as the reader is privy to a reunion of sorts. The dialogue reflects this as well, as Zdarsky offers relatively matter-of-fact language rife with innuendo towards grudges held for actions taken in the past by some of the characters. The fact that there are only two issues rushes things a little bit, although Zdarsky does his best to not make the book feel as if he's crashing through things too quickly.

Anka's artwork is gorgeous in its simplicity. Each of the three main characters boast appearances that are unique to each of them and reinforces the notion that Blacksand is a place with warriors of all shapes and persuasions. Anka's relatively thin linework gives the characters an airiness that gives the book a sense of speed that's somewhat appropriate considering the series length. The pages do feel light in some ways, as Anka primarily focuses on the characters and doesn't do much in the way of fleshing out the world around them for detail. Wilson's colors add a tinge of history to the book, in that the washed-out colors make the book feel as if its pages are from a bygone era.

The irony of a The White Trees #1 taking place in the Blacksand emphasizes the fact that things are never that cut and dried, as the main characters bring with them their own intrapersonal dramas. The trio on the quest to find their children are more than capable of handling anything thrown their way, although if it turns out the king who tasked them with this mission is behind the abductions there could be a fun reckoning. Zdarsky's script is quick and concise, effectively building up a new world in a short amount of time. Anka's illustrations are beautiful yet sparse in their presentation. The White Trees #1 is a good high-fantasy issue that promises an adventurous conclusion in the next issue.

The White Trees #1 is available now.