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Trees, Vol. 1: In Shadow

(Trees (Collected Editions) #1)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  5,916 ratings  ·  676 reviews
Ten years after they landed. All over the world. And they did nothing, standing on the surface of the Earth like trees, exerting their silent pressure on the world, as if there were no-one here and nothing under foot. Ten years since we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe, but that they did not recognize us as intelligent or alive. Beginning a new scienc ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 11th 2015 by Image Comics
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  5,916 ratings  ·  676 reviews

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Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
When I read this today, I experienced a strange sort of excitement combined with dread.

I thought to myself, "Yay! Another Warren Ellis book!" Then, almost immediately, I thought. "I shouldn't even pick it up though. I'm tired of getting volume 1 of a story from him, then never seeing anything else...."

And yes, I'm aware of the irony. But to be fair, I only have one unfinished series. Ellis has teased my heart with Fell, Desolation Jones, Doctor Sleepless, Injection, Captain Swing, Ignition City.
mark monday
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: comicon
all sorts of things happen under the shadow of these monstrous "Trees" - silent alien invaders that appear to be giant pillars, reaching past the clouds. the story asks: can anything good grow under the shadow of a tree? the answer is mixed: in China, a new San Francisco is born as queers and iconoclasts of all stripes flock to a city that the Chinese government now wants nothing to do with (or do they?)... in Italy, a fascist gang finds itself at odds with surprising enemies... in the Arctic Ci ...more
Jul 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: comix
“A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;”

From the poem, Trees by Joyce Kilmer, who was named after a rest stop on the Jersey turnpike.

This is one of those high concept graphic novels that is supposed to separate the smarty pants intelleggshualls from the Neanderthal shallow comic readers like me. If I read it and like it and appreciate it for its obtuseness, my pea-sized brain will grow just a bit bigger.

I like Warren Ellis. I’ve liked his capes and cowls s
Sam Quixote
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-comics-2015
Ten years ago alien life made contact with humanity - by putting what look like giant waste pipes all around the planet and every so often pumping toxic waste out of them! But that was it. They didn’t bother making “first contact” or talking to us because it seems like we don’t interest them. As it says in the opening monologue, “we learned that there is intelligent life in the universe but that they did not recognise us as intelligent or alive”. Instead, Earth is to be their alien landfill - wh ...more
I liked the premise, and this is the kind of story that Warren Ellis usually excels at. 'Trees', however, is an example of his occasional tendency to burn out after a strong start, slowing the momentum to a crawl as if unable to decide on a direction... usually indicating that the project isn't premium-grade Ellis. To be clear: 'Trees' is definitely NOT premium Ellis. This is one of those scripts he writes with his left hand while his right hand takes care of the 'important' work. I'm not sure w ...more
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
Definitely not what I've come to expect from Warren Ellis. I typically love everything he does. This book is beyond boring. It moves at a glacier's pace. ...more
Mar 18, 2015 rated it liked it
This is a very interesting book and really strange as well. It's definitely unlike your average comic.

At a high level it's about these giant Alien columns that arrived on earth ten years ago and how it is affecting people around them and how they are trying to figure out what they are and what they are doing there.

However, there is tonnes more going on which I'm sure will come to fruition later down the storyline. Some of this is a bit like Zero if you've read that; secretive, not giving much
Apr 21, 2015 rated it liked it
This is an alien invasion story that isn't about aliens at all. In fact, the invasion itself acts mostly as a catalyst for stories that might have happened anyways, if slightly differently. And it's a book that I have some mixed feelings about.

I appreciate Ellis for writing a science fiction book that's so solidly human. There are a few characters and stories that I was able to care deeply about. But as a whole, this feels unfinished. Apparently, it's still an ongoing series. I think I'll watch
Nov 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, netgalley, digital
Thanks to NetGalley for a Free ARC of this.


So this is a book I'd almost put into a category with East by's by a talented creator, and published by Image, and most importantly, I have absolutely no idea how to rate it! (I'm thinking about 3.5 stars would be acceptable)

Warren Ellis is a very very talented writer, able to evoke and communicate great passions, and this book is no different...the only issue is, I'm not quite sure what's going on.

The "Trees" arrived from space 10 years ago,
Jeannette Nikolova
Apr 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

Yes, please.

I really, really enjoyed this volume. It was what Arrival would be if it was a comic book, except with a lot more characters.

After my streak of bad comic books, I didn't even expect much from Trees. I was definitely pleasantly surprised.

Trees tells the story of the world 10 years after people discovered that aliens exist. The "trees"  appear all over the world. Wherever there is a tree, life is much darker and harder, and bad people choose
Dave Schaafsma
Trees, Volume 1 sets up the situation; it's in the pretty near future ten years after aliens have come to Earth and set up posts people name "trees." Not much happens in various city scenes like Cefalu and Shu or barren regions such as Spitzbergen and Mogadishu. I thought the art was okay. We shift back and forth between three basic sites. See Sam Quixote's review for more details.

One group of young people seems to be researching some kind of black flower that is spreading. One old guy is drawi
James DeSantis
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm really beginning to enjoy Warren's style of slow build. It reminds me of stories like IT or 20th century boys and that's a good thing.

So Trees is about 3 individual stories all somehow connecting in small ways. One is about a boy going to a place that is accepting of all styles of life (sexually as well so like trans/gay/bi, so on) Another story is about a woman trying to figure out her needs and wants and meets a older man who may be able to gift her with those abilities to gain that. Last
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Earth has been invaded by a very different form of extra terrestrial, trees. They landed on earth 10 years ago and remain a dormant but intrusive presence. Mankind is forever changed by their landing and in the 4 separate storylines we see a young artist come to the big city to draw the trees and experience life outside his small village, a research team that is studying the trees and finds black flower
ash | novelly rooted
This didn’t work for me. I was at my library over the weekend, browsing the graphic novel section. I was drawn to the cover of Trees and the science fiction/ alien plot pulled me right in. Listen to this: ten years ago, these massive alien like “trees” (giant massive pillars reaching far beyond the clouds) landed on the ground within several major cities. These structures have shown no overt activity towards the humans – with the exception of removing its waste every so often, which lands outsid ...more
Kosta Voukelatos
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Volume 1 of Trees was an intriguing read that I managed to get through relatively quickly. I found it to be very fascinating as it examined the impact of an extraterrestrial arrival on every facet of life spanning from everyday relationships to the world's climate and politics. ...more
Myke Cole
Jul 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've had a tough time with Ellis' comics in the past, almost always because of my own expectations/baggage. Transmetropolitan is an objectively a fantastic comic, but after a career in intelligence, the military and law enforcement, I have an allergic reaction to crime and those who stick their fingers in the institutional eye. Needless to say, Spider Jerusalem is not my friend. I am also intensely character focused, and Supergod is a reflective/epistolary style tale which is long on plot and sh ...more
Jan 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: image
I read this as it came out monthly and didn't care for it much. It would always be put at the bottom of my pile and was one of those 'I guess I better read this now' titles.

It reads so much better closer together and in a couple of sittings, and turns out to be a good science fiction thriller.

Faith in Warren Ellis - restored!
Is this Warren Ellis' "Blue Period"? Is he not-so-secretly a nihilist and he's returning to the kind of bleak futures of Transmet, without the anger to fight back against the force that keeps people from having a happy life? ...more
Nicholas Talty
4.5 Stars rounded up

I don't really actually have much to say about this one (obviously a good way to start a review.)

The beginning is meh; it takes the first four comics to get a good feel of whats going on. It's fairly difficult to pull off four different storylines in comics that average somewhere around 20 pages. But Ellis and Howard successfully manage it.

Would I recommend this for everyone that enjoys mature content comic books and graphic novels? Ehhh, no. It's really about what speaks t
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ten years before the story begins, alien "trees" landed all around the world. These massive branchless pillars emplaced themselves and then...just ignored us.

Ellis uses this backdrop to hop around the globe and tell small local stories. A young artist from a tiny village moves to the city and has his mind opened. A scientist discovers a mysterious flower at an Arctic research station. A professor mentors a dissatisfied neo-fascist trophy girl in the Italian countryside. The trees are largely in
'kris Pung
Nov 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Man this was bleak but the cliffhanger has me tottaly wanting more.
Feb 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, sci-fi
Ten years prior to the start of this story, aliens had arrived on Earth. Unfortunately, all they did was plant/land massive Trees, which messed with the local environments. For the most part this was through seismic change and people’s fearful reactions, but some did eventually release toxic acid which killed everyone around them, while another has strange flowers growing near it. In the entire time the Trees have been there no alien has made contact, regardless of how hard humanity has tried to ...more
I loved almost everything about this book. For starters, it was probably the most original sci-fi story I've seen in a while. The pacing is incredible: considering it's Warren Ellis writing another book about first contact with alien life, I thought it would be a slow, heady series of interlocutors used by Ellis as pawns. Instead, we're eased into the world in a way that allows for intrigue, real characters with depth, possibly untrustworthy narrators, and by the end of the thing, we get to real ...more
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I love Warren Ellis's work.Transmetropolitan and FreakAngels are in my top 5 graphic novels and even Planetary is very good in pulpy kind of way so naturally I had highest expectations, after first volume I am not sure what to think or how to feel about Trees.Problem is that there are to many parallel stories and Volume 1 just feels like small intro into all of them I will need to see more to fully form opinion ( except for story in China, I like that one a lot already).

One thing is sure, this i
Peter Derk
Huh. This isn't one that I would rail against, and I probably still won't, but I see a lot of people I follow on Goodreads rated this really highly. I like Warren Ellis a lot, and I figured this one would be a slam dunk.

The quick version here is that I count 5 storylines (Utopia Sex Town, NYC, Africa, Arctic, South America) and 2 of those 5 were compelling to me.

NYC made no sense to me. At least one of the trees (these giant alien things that plant themselves into the Earth) vented a bunch of ac
Maxine Marsh
5* Received from Netgalley.

Trees is a truly original graphic novel which I enjoyed very much, predominantly sci-fi in genre. There are multiple story lines running concurrently throughout the story, all with a backdrop of the "trees," alien edifices which one day landed on earth and have since sat dormant and uncommunicative for a decade. Though dormant, the fear surrounding them has wreaked havoc on human society. The individual story lines progress to a breaking point by the end of the first v
Aldo Haegemans
Not bad. Weird. If I would not have owned the TP I think I would have given up already. Issue wise the story would have been to hard to follow.
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: series, sci-fi, adult
From the first few pages, you can tell this is going to be a different kind of science fiction story. Perhaps it will tread some familiar ground, but I knew Warren Ellis would not disappoint me. Need to read book two ASAP!
Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this book through

This story is about trees. Not real trees like we know them; made of wood, with a trunk, roots, leaves, and maybe flowers (although there are flowers here). But huge alien columns, almost sewage pipes that apparently just popped up all over the world 10 years before the story starts.

And actually, the story is not really about the trees since these absolutely do not interact with humans in anyway except by releasing some toxic
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I wish that Chenglei's narration had actually been the narration of one or more of the Trees. And i wish i'd been able to see more interconnections between the many stories. And i wish that the New York wannabe politician segments hadn't been the bookends to the whole volume. And i wish that EVERYfuckinTHING hadn't devolved into violence. But still, i'm intrigued by what seems to be a truly alien set of aliens for a change. And i hope that some of the characters whose lives seem to've been extin ...more
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Warren Ellis is the award-winning writer of graphic novels like TRANSMETROPOLITAN, FELL, MINISTRY OF SPACE and PLANETARY, and the author of the NYT-bestselling GUN MACHINE and the “underground classic” novel CROOKED LITTLE VEIN, as well as the digital short-story single DEAD PIG COLLECTOR. His newest book is the novella NORMAL, from FSG Originals, listed as one of Amazon’s Best 100 Books Of 2016.


Other books in the series

Trees (Collected Editions) (3 books)
  • Trees, Vol. 2: Two Forests
  • Trees, Vol. 3: Three Fates

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