Finished reading book number 27 for the year – “Trillium” the deluxe edition by Jeff Lemire which came out in 2014.

This mind-bending graphic novel had me confused a few times, although it’s a pretty simple tale involving time-travel and mixing up of two worlds. William and Nika are from different planets, thousands of years apart, but their fates seem linked. Throw in a devastating pandemic, blue aliens, a mysterious temple, time travel… and you get a complex love saga that transcends space & time.

The story starts with Nika going through a tape and talking to her AI machine, the year is 3797, humans are spread over the galaxy and earth is an ancient long-forgotten primitive planet. But while humans might have made progress with technology, their race is on the verge of extinction due to a highly adaptive and deadly virus. Nika is an important officer, tasked with gaining access to a rare plant that could hold key to a vaccine to help stop the spread. These plants grow within the walled premises of an alien community that worships a temple and is hostile to humans. While trying to establish contact with these aliens, Nika takes part in their temple ritual and finds herself transported to earth. The year is 1921, that’s where she meets William.

But William and Nika’s freak first meet lasts for less than a day and that’s when their struggle to find each other again and crack the mystery of the time-travel enabling temple begins. My interest sort of wavered towards the end of the story, it felt a little repetitive & a tad too dramatic for a science-fiction graphic novel. But overall it’s worth a read.

Jeff Lemire has a distinct art style that’s raw, dark and makes the comic panels feel oppressive. It works quite well for serious stories, but also tends to make the mood a little more depressing than needed. Trillium is not the kind of comic/graphic novel that you would want to finish in a day, because it can get quite heavy for the mind.

I really liked the fact that there are many strong women characters in this story apart from Nika. In fact, Lemire very cleverly reverses gender roles in his 1920s America in the second-half, so you have a matriarchal society, where men appear to be the ‘weaker’ gender. So while it’s women who are lead commanders at wars, it’s the men who do the ‘grunt work’.

Well, it’s a 3.5/5 from me for Trillium.

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