Image: Dark Horse

Dark Horse’s Berger Books imprint was having a fairly quiet debut year—until The Seeds thundered in with its bleak and bold vision of the future. David Aja’s return to sequential comics after his groundbreaking run on Marvel’s Hawkeye, The Seeds features striking artwork that blends duotone coloring and screentone shading to add texture and graphic intensity to photorealistic images of a dystopian future. The four-issue miniseries is also an exciting return to form for writer Ann Nocenti, who tells a loose, free-wheeling story that shifts from apocalyptic sci-fi to socio-political satire to bizarre romance. This gives Aja the opportunity to drastically change the tone of his pages, while adhering to a nine-panel grid that keeps the story contained within a tight structure.

These exclusive preview pages from this week’s The Seeds #2 aren’t sequential, which highlights how well they function as their own individual entities. Perspective plays an important part, and each page takes a different approach to putting the reader in the characters’ heads. The first page opens with a wide panel from Lola’s point of view, throwing the reader right in the middle of the scene as she watches two aliens bicker with creepy gas masks on. The next page takes a different approach to a character’s relationship with the space around her, putting a photojournalist in the four corners of the page as she snaps pictures of the terrain. Astra’s not inside the scene like Lola, but on the outside looking in.

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The final page of this excerpt is a showstopper, contrasting the energy of a raging storm with the ominous calm of a silhouette that gradually engulfs each panel with darkness. It’s a page overflowing with doom and romance, and Nocenti’s sparse, stylized dialogue makes it easy to get washed away in the mood of Aja’s artwork.