The Seeds #1 (of 4)
Writer: Ann Nocenti
Artist: David Aja
The Seeds is a book that comes packing heavy questions. Technology, walls, law and the survival of humanity are all broached within the first few panels. Society is slowly collapsing, with people streaming to the other side of a wall to a lawless, technology-free zone. Back in the modern world, people are taking drugs that replicate the experience of dying. The ennui afflicting society as a whole is palpable, and the exciting stories on the lawless side of the wall are deemed to humdrum for a pleasure-principle focused culture. While on a boring assignment in exchange for eventually covering the stories she’s after, a journalist stumbles upon a big scoop.
Acclaimed artist David Aja, perhaps best known for his run on Hawkeye, has given writer Ann Nocenti’s noir story the perfect illustration. The three-color art of The Seeds is understated and powerful, and many of the panels are evocative of Darren Aronofsky’s Pi. This kind of minimalist art in conjunction with the writing is used to maximum impact. Where the story is headed is anyone’s guess, but The Seeds gets its hooks in quickly and it gets them in deep. Wherever this gem is going to pull, it’s sure to be powerful and profound.
Mr. Miracle #10 (of 12)
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mitch Gerads
The man behind the man behind the cape and cowl of Batman has more than one epic story up his sleeve. Tom King, most recently known for one of the most frustrating wedding ceremonies in comics, keeps busy. The concept of heroes as damaged goods is certainly one King has been exploring with his run on Batman, but it takes center stage with his Mr. Miracle story line. The legendary Jack Kirby’s Scott Free is a hero known for his abilities to escape any trap. In King’s vision of Mr. Miracle, the hero’s own gravity is something even he can’t escape. This highly emotional tale deals with the thorny issues of PTSD, loyalty, and family seemingly effortlessly. Scott Free starts the story in issue 1 bleeding out on his bathroom floor, but as the first few panels remind us, “Darkseid is.” The final showdown is inevitable, but the ride there, thus far, is incredible.
Mitch Gerads’ illustration is nothing short of amazing. From the dramatic use of repetitive panels to the digital scrambling of the visual narrative, echoing Scott Free’s own psyche, the artwork is spellbinding. One of the most compelling aspects of this arc is that our narrator is firmly established as unreliable in the first issue. Paired with the philosophical and logical puzzles posed by King’s story and dialogue, this is a heady read. It’s not without its humor, however, with Scott Free delivering glib gallows humor, or minor characters tapping on the Fourth Wall with reflections on what the Fourth (or Third or Fifth) World is. Comic fans would do well to get interested in Mr. Miracle. Darkseid is.
Infinity Wars #1
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Mike Deodato
The best rock collection in the universe is inarguably the Infinity Stones, at least as far as Marvel is concerned. Gerry Duggan, responsible for one of this year’s breakout hits in Analog, gives us the opening shots of a massive Marvel Universe crossover event. While the last several Civil Wars and Secret Empires have scarcely left the surface of the Earth, this story promises readers a tale on a grander scale. For those paying attention, that big purple rock hound, Thanos, is already off the board, before the opening shots of the Infinity War have been fired. Duggan has a lot of epic material to work with, and he manages to pack a lot into the first issue.
While it can be easy to get wrapped up in the galactic scale of a story like this, it’s a credit to Duggan that he takes time to hit on artful details; moments like Bullseye meeting Rocket Racoon and Groot for the first time are what makes comics amazing. What makes comics epic is illustration like Mike Deodato’s. This book boasts an almost inordinate number of full page splashes. The highly intricate and layered art is atmospheric and the De Stijl-esque layout of the panels is rhythmic and keeps the pacing from running away with itself. Infinity Wars is stretching all the way to December, over 25 books. It’ll be a long haul, but if the next books are even a fraction as good as this issue, it’s a War worth reading.