Title: Descender #7
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Release Date: 11th November 2015
After a stunning opening arc, my expectations for the second instalment of Descender could not have been higher. The work done by Lemire and Nguyen in those opening six issues culminated in some of the finest comic book sci-fi in recent memory. As always with such a strong beginning, the worry is the standard takes a dip, but my fears were quickly allayed over the course of a wonderfully composed opening sequence, which introduces us to both a new locale and a new player in the game; one who also seeks TIM-21 for his own ends.
Lemire’s expert world building continues unabated, as we venture to barren ice planet Hepton, where our mysterious new character goes menacingly about his business. The sequence highlighted to me once more how recognisable the plethora of influences on Descender truly are. Some of the locations, characters, and tropes used are assuredly familiar, but in tandem with Nguyen’s gorgeous watercolour visuals, Lemire’s worlds are rich and vibrant enough to feel completely fresh at the same time.
Family and belonging have been strong themes on the series thus far, with TIM-21’s primary motivation being finding his brother Andy. He’s been pulled in a variety of directions already, with the intentions of his would-be saviours perhaps more uncertain than of those who would do him harm. As if the arrival of The Hardwire, a political assassination, and being separated from his new companions wasn’t enough, the issue’s climax sees Lemire deliver a fantastic emotional twist, which is sure to complicate matters even further for the little bot.
Of course, Lemire has found the perfect foil in Dustin Nguyen, whose artwork simultaneously conveys the complexities of the alien worlds, creatures, and technologies, whilst lending true emotional weight to the ‘human’ elements of the story. You can almost feel the icy winds of the tundra, and the heat on people’s cheeks, such is the depth of the image, and some exquisite framing helps the story flow beautifully from cover to cover, so much so you’ll want to experience it again and again.
Polished, elegantly paced sci-fi, sublime visuals, and a cast of authentically engaging characters. Quite simply, this is a series you cannot afford to miss.
The Writer of this piece was: Martin Doyle
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