A Gentle, Sad Story Unfolds In Ghost Tree #3

by Oliver MacNamee

Ghost Tree continues to fascinate me with its gentle story of a man, Brandt, who would rather spend time with the dead than spend time on breathing life back into his marriage.

With elements of Japanese ghosts stories and a tone of gentle melancholy that permeates this issue, it’s not what many would possible expect from a story about the supernatural. The ghosts here are a distraction to the real story underneath. A story that seems to have resonance with Brandt’s grandmother who complains of her own husband – now deceased and part of the ghosts living around the eponymous ghost tree – being absent, at lot of the time, form their own marriage. Seems this trait runs deep within this family’s bloodline and is the true focus of this series, really. Although, with Brandt, his marriage was already under strain before he decided to run back to his childhood home and childhood memories. Which is a worry as he seem to be more than happy to keep talking to the dead, rather than correcting his mistakes in the land of the living.

Meanwhile, in case we forget, there is a malevolent force threatening the sanctity of the Ghost Tree and it’s denizens, but this subplot isn’t as investing for me as a reader as the family-focused drama unfolding.

Bobby Curnow sustains the appropriate mood for this book, with the odd dramatic moment too, and his script is only complemented by the art of Simon Gale, who brings the mountainsides of Japan to life with lush foliage and fauna decorating each panel. And, once again, the ghost tree looks ancient and amazing in equal measure. The colours bring a softness to the whole affair that reflects the tone of the book extremely well. This is a land of greenery, but not the bright, blossoming colours of spring, but rather the more muted colours of late summer.

With one issue left, I feel we’re only just getting to know Brandt and his whole family. I’d be more then interested in finding out a bit more about them, their links to the spirit world, as well as hearing more from the ghosts and ghouls that call this Ghost Tree their home. But, for now, I’m enjoying this gentle, somewhat sad story of a man full of life, who isn’t enjoying it for all it can be.

Ghost Tree #3 is out now from IDW.

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