Series Review: Descender

Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen bring us a gorgeous sci-fi series full of twists.

I don’t know what my deal is with science fiction in comics, but I love it. I think something about the visuals of all of it attracts me more than any science fiction novel would. It’s just such a great genre for a visual medium. The watercolors in this series are beautiful. I ended up following Dustin Nguyen on Instagram because I love his art so much.

Series Review: DescenderDescender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars
by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, Steve Wands
Series: Descender #1
Published 2015 by Image Comics
160 pages. Trade Paperback
Source: Purchased
Genres: Comics, Science Fiction
Rating:

Collects issues 1-6. Read in issues.

Companion bot, TIM-21 wakes up to realize the world has greatly changed. The last thing he remembers is going to sleep one night with his human companion, Andy. Now, many years have passed. The planet where he lived has been deserted save for a dog bot and large drilling bot. After a war between enormous killing robots–The Harvesters–and humans, androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters are looking for robots to scrap all over the universe. All TIM-21 cares about is finding Andy.

I fell in love with this comic from issue one. There’s a page in the back that describes some of the different planets in the universe and they all sounded so cool. I can’t wait for them to show up in the series. There’s some great formatting. The second issue does a lovely double story-line, with one side of the page showing the past and the other showing the present. There are heartbreaking moments in this and I’m thrilled to read a comic that’s both thrilling and touching.

Series Review: DescenderDescender, Vol. 2: Machine Moon
by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, Steve Wands
Series: Descender #2
Published 2016 by Image Comics
116 pages. Trade Paperback
Source: Purchased
Genres: Comics, Science Fiction
Rating:

Collects issues 7-11. Read in trade.

Once the Hardwire–a robot resistance group–show up, all hell breaks loose. They manage to help TIM-21, Captain Telsa, and Quon escape, but only to take them captive. The Hardwire have plans of their own that could mean destruction for all non-androids. Meanwhile, Andy receives word that TIM-21 is wanted by the scrappers and if anyone’s going to scrap him, Andy figures it better be him.

The twists continue in this second collection. I really started to love Captain Telsa in this one. I would love to do a cosplay of her. We also get even more of Andy’s past, which I’m eager to read more of. A great trade with another thrilling cliff-hanger.

Series Review: DescenderDescender, Vol. 3: Singularities
by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, Steve Wands
Series: Descender #3
Published 2016 by Image Comics
128 pages. Trade Paperback
Source: Purchased
Genres: Comics, Science Fiction
Rating:

Collected issues 12-16. Read in trade.

The third collection of Descender delves deep into the backstories of each character for a better understanding of how they became who they are and what is currently driving them. There are also short spreads at the end of each issue with the current action.

I generally don’t like serial comics that spend an entire trade going over the history of the characters, but it works really well in this volume. It’s obvious this was planned when they started the comic. There are pieces of each character’s life that make sense after learning more about what happened. Suddenly, it isn’t as hard to understand their motivations. I really enjoyed Bandit’s issue because it was such a perfect display of wordless storytelling. The connections to the current action are also really well done.

Series Review: DescenderDescender, Vol. 4: Orbital Mechanics
by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, Steve Wands
Series: Descender #4
Published 2017 by Image Comics
120 pages. Trade Paperback
Source: Library
Genres: Comics, Science Fiction
Rating:

Collected issues 17-21. Read in trade.

The fourth collection picks the action back up. Everyone escapes from Machine Moon unharmed, but the groups’ alliances are rocky. Dr. Quon, Captain Telsa, and TIM-21 head out on a quest to learn more about the Harvesters. Andy and Effie try to work things out and work together, but Drillers revelations may make it impossible for them to agree.

This was such a good volume! I just love the way the story is progressing. The addition of Effie’s character brings a whole new depth to what’s happening. I love all the layers. There are sacrifices, surprises, and a lot of action. Dustin Nguyen can also draw a hell of a human-humanoid love scene. I want Andy and Effie to make it work, even though there are a lot of obvious obstacles. I also think Bandit might be my favorite character. He’s pretty great, especially for a robot dog.

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