Publisher: Dark Horse Comics (Berger Books imprint)
Writer: Ann Nocenti
Artwork: David Aja
Release Date: 1st August 2018
The latest offering from Dark Horse Comics’ “Berger Books” imprint, THE SEEDS is a title I was completely and utterly sold on from the very first page I saw. And, after being able to take an early look at the entire first issue, I’m happy to report that this new series more than lives up to my lofty expectations, managing to be by turns epic and intimate, blending a massive, world-altering story with some finely tuned character work.
Writer Ann Nocenti’s narrative is immaculately structured, subtly intertwining the different plot threads with ease. Every note of the story is delivered subtly through character beats and dialogue, providing an incredible level of world building without the need for any awkward or jarring exposition dumps.
Throughout the course of the first issue we get to find out a little more about this doomed version of Earth and the aliens who are living in secret amongst the human population, extracting and cataloguing its many biological treasures before it’s all too late. We also get to find out about the technology exclusion zone that has been set up, serving as both an alluring prospect and a focal point of frustration for the world’s increasingly disillusioned inhabitants. Along the way we’re also introduced to a few key players in the coming story, including journalist Astra and wheelchair-bound Lola, the latter of whom is in the midst of a fling with one of the aforementioned aliens.
For my money, David Aja’s artwork has honestly never looked better, with a typically stripped-down style that comes packed with detail and expression. Everything is understated and shrouded in heavily-inked shadows, with key moments delivered in unconventional ways and a grounded sense of realism throughout the course of his panel-heavy pages.
The use of colour is kept to an absolute bare minimum, making for a stark, surprisingly effective aesthetic. This isn’t a book that relies on overstated splash pages or cheap visual tricks, instead telling its story slowly and methodically, with Aja bringing Nocenti’s intertwining narrative to life in a truly striking way.
What’s perhaps most impressive about this first issue is that for a story about aliens, doomed planets and the polarising nature of technology, THE SEEDS manages to be remarkable intimate. Nocenti’s dialogue is beautifully restrained, with every word meaning something and the story being pushed along at a steady pace without the need for self-indulgent monologues or over-explanation. There’s nothing revolutionary or overly punchy here, but the delivery is absolutely immaculate, and there are so many intriguing moving parts here that it’s difficult to even begin to predict where this story is going.
Every now and again, a comic comes along that grabs your attention and simply refuses to let go, and THE SEEDS is a perfect example of that. It isn’t flashy and it doesn’t lean too heavy on the broader aspects of its premise, but there’s just something truly mesmerising about the way Nocenti and Aja work together seamlessly here to bring this fully-realised, utterly captivating world to life. A masterclass in precision and understatement, THE SEEDS is a new series you need to add to your pull list as soon as possible.