The Seeds #1
By David Aja & Ann Nocenti
From the cover art to the final page, The Seeds seeps into the subconscious with very deliberate iconography and sharp prose. Ann Nocenti and David Aja, no strangers to political fare, infuse this comic with poignancy by setting the story in a world that could be reality for our current society. In a world where the truth barely has any worth and people are separated literally and figuratively by technology, this creative team leaves no doubt that this limited series (four issues total) is a clear commentary of our current social and political climate and the dangerous road that could be.
As overtly political as the comic is, it doesn’t choke the narrative. At the core of the issue is a compelling, suspenseful quagmire. It is a bit of a slow-burn, especially with the scenes involving one of the main characters, a reporter named Astra, but that’s to be expected since this is the first issue and has the responsibility of exposition. What works extremely well and shows the intelligence and skill of these creators is how they cut to another character, Race, whose journey is far more intriguing, as well as his appearance. With these plots and characters juxtaposed, the comic feels off-kilter and uneasy; tense. It keeps readers glued to the page.
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The monochromatic palette and use of Ben-Day dots in the artwork is an odd choice, but so is the material of this comic. David Aja makes the pages and panels feel alien and noirish, which complements the story and writing. It’s a synergy that enhances the overall experience. There are motifs and images within the comic that may not make sense at first glance, but after reaching the penultimate page, things click and the work put into this comic reaches a whole new level of appreciation. Also worth noting is the use of nine panel grid format being used quite often lately. It’s becoming a bit tiresome, but, of course, Aja puts his own beautiful stamp on the storytelling technique. This book is gorgeous.
The characters read and look unique set against a mundane, almost indistinguishable backdrop. It was a smart move to make them very distinct considering how dense the plot appears to be. The writing may seem a bit aloof at times (perhaps this is intentional), but the devices are executed incredibly well. The use of foreshadowing in the dialog and visuals is very refreshing because it isn’t obvious. The audience needs to be an active participant in this book or they won’t receive all that these creatives are delivering.
Overall, The Seeds #1 is a fascinating study and looks to be another great title in Dark Horse’s new creator-owned imprint, Berger Books. It’s only four issues, so it’s not a major investment on the reader’s part. There are very few comics that can walk the fine line of being obviosuly political, while maintaining a good, entertaining story. Ann Nocenti and David Aja are top talents and the seeds of their collaboration are bearing unnervingly good fruits.