Are you looking forward to a new comic book but it’s impossible for you to wait for its release before you know what we thought about it? That’s why there’s DoomRocket’s Advanced Reviews — now we assess books you can’t even buy yet. This week: ‘The Seeds’ #1, out August 1 from Berger Books and Dark Horse Comics.

The Seeds #1

Cover to ‘The Seeds’ #1. Art by David Aja/Berger Books/Dark Horse Comics

THIS REVIEW OF ‘THE SEEDS’ #1 IS SPOILER-FREE.

By Arpad OkayThe Seeds is another coup for Berger Books and Dark Horse. Two legends, missing from the scene for too long, back, together. New work from David Aja fills a gap in your soul you didn’t know was missing. Ann Nocenti is a titan of the industry and any chance to experience her craft is a gift. Bringing eminent aesthetes together on something hard-edged and felicitous is what Berger Books is here for and, folks, The Seeds 100% knocks it out of the park.

Ann Nocenti’s deeply visual storytelling in this debut contributes to the reason why people often muddle film and comics. The Seeds shows how a curated selection of static moments can transform a montage cut with the skill of Elizaveta Svilova into the steady pace of Tenzin Gyatso’s heartbeat. A story forms, splits, ties itself together, its flow complicated, full, and smooth.

Nocenti’s voice is a sailor who reads Nietzsche. The dialog in The Seeds is indecent, intelligent, and authentic. Beyond the words, Nocenti’s ideas about characters, plot, and even design are multifaceted: everything from action to set dressing tells the reader about the history of the world and the personal lives of its populace. We watch each piece as it’s laid in place in real time, forming a mosaic from nothing.

Not nothing, The Seeds has its roots in our experience. The car crash of the natural world we’re buckled into, our love of technology, urban ennui, the powerful bonds we forge between each other to keep shit together while everything else burns.

Given the reigns, Nocenti elects to write about women. About people who are differently abled. People of color in places of power. Her valkyries of bullpen and cell phone and sex are fierce. Flawed. Cynical dreamers. Working stiffs. First issues should have you caring for their characters like new friends, and The Seeds achieves this goal, easily. The cast is likable, intriguing, no-shit for-real, and the dynamics between them is fascinating. Their stories and how they overlap is compelling.

Plus aliens.

And look. David Aja bringing his heart-stoppingly stark aesthetic to the page in high-relief black and white. His gorgeous, confident linework is launched into utter greatness with layers of Zip-A-Tone texture everywhere and monochrome faded sage color plates. Less is more with Aja, and The Seeds can be barren, it can be cluttered, but it is always the most. Add to this visual mirrors, optical illusions that become thematic parallels. What do bees, punctuation, and apertures have in common? The Seeds.

He draws sci fi how we like it. Dirty and domestic. Crowded with screens and ads. The city a cacophony of the crap we affix to buildings to make their insides pure. Then we choke up their rooms with our detritus anyway. Aja turns it into pop art, yet he keeps it relatable, touchable and, somehow, beautiful.

Included is a catalog of ancient objects like the reporter’s SLR point and shoot, her handheld film camera, 8-bit stencil art on the walls, cigarettes (and their cases), journalism. Anachronisms juxtaposed against dystopia. The Seeds isn’t post-apocalypse so much as during. The look, and the writing beneath, is highly stylized and provocative. Both Aja and Nocenti are showing us how much more we could be doing with comics.

The Seeds tackles the grimy world on the wrong side of the tracks, what life is like on the shadow side of a wall. Congested. Collapsing. Our home. And everyone on our side wondering what it’s like on the side with the phones unplugged. Idolizing (or defaming) the lives of luddites who cut their modern ties and disappear into the land beyond. The other side of this wall is myth, where dark dreams can come true. The devil you don’t.

The Seeds is also the shifting nature of the news. When you give philosopher nihilists power, those who understand but don’t care, you are cultivating danger. A newspaper run by someone who grasps that reality changes depending on how the public perceives it can make anything true. If enough people believe a lie is the truth, that’s what it becomes. To put it another way: if you hunt monsters, beware becoming a monster yourself.

Berger Books/Dark Horse Comics/$3.99

Written by Ann Nocenti.

Art by David Aja.

Colors by David Aja.

Letters by David Aja.

10 out of 10

‘The Seeds’ #1 hits stores August 1.

 

Check out this three-page preview of ‘The Seeds’ #1, courtesy of Berger Books and Dark Horse Comics!

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