Love Doesn’t Conquer All in Descender 32

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Much like our own, the world of Descender is full of prejudice, hatred, and war. These various traits all fuel each other in some sort of endless, infinite loop — the only way to break the cycle is to come together, to learn from each other, to empathize with each other, to love instead of hate. Like in so many stories — and, again, perhaps like our own world as well — love is the answer, but it’s not a solution that comes easily. In Descender 32, the final issue of Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s saga, love may be the answer, but love doesn’t conquer all. Continue reading

The Power of a Clear Trajectory in Descender 30

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Descender has a sense of trajectory unlike any other series I’ve ever read. From the very first issue, Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen have made their young protagonist, Tim-21, the focal point of the entire series — he’s not just the star, but he’s like the horizon point in a drawing, that one spot in the galaxy that all other figures are drawn to. Even as more and more characters have been introduced into Descender‘s world, all their various agendas have continued to lead straight to Tim-21. In Descender 30, Lemire and Nguyen continue to bring more and more factions drawing inevitably closer to Tim-21, all while upping the stakes — if Tim is captured, it’s not just his life that’s in danger, but the safety of the entire universe! Continue reading

Family in Descender 29

by Ryan Desaulniers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

You can choose your friends but you sho’ can’t choose your family…

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

How do you define “family?” The answer to this may differ drastically depending on a number of factors, but as subjective as the idea is, many social and medical science disciplines use “family” as a basic unit of study. A UNESCO report claims family to be “a kinship unit and that even when its members do not share a common household, the unit may exist as a social reality.” That strikes me an appropriately broad definition, but could we include robots in it? Descender 29 returns to the “present” after three issues chronicling the first interactions with the eponymous machines which may have created organic life in this universe to a galaxy on fire, but despite the huge plot pieces moving here, the development and dissolution of family units takes center stage. Continue reading

Tim-21 Goes Full Hero in Descender 25

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I’ve come to love Descender for a number of reasons: the vast universe and mythology Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen have created, Nguyen’s lush, gorgeous backgrounds and designs, Lemire’s complex characters and intricate web of events. The very first thing that drew me to this series, though, was Tim-21 himself. The concept of a young robot on the run for his life, combined with Nguyen’s adorable design for Tim, immediately made me want to follow this series simply because I felt protective of Tim-21. As the series progressed it found Tim-21 slipping into the background, but Descender 25 serves not only as a grand spotlight for Tim-21, but a testament to what makes him great — and what he may be able to accomplish in the future. Continue reading

A Widescreen World in Descender 24

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The action of Descender 24 takes place on a new world to the series, a small, fringe planetoid known as Woch. And while the issue gives writer Jeff Lemire a chance to sharpen his focus a bit to just Driller (and eventually to reintroduce a bit-player who will seemingly become an important villain in the future), my favorite part of this issue is just getting to see Dustin Nguyen bring life to yet another new world, one with landscapes and features unlike any we’ve seen before. It’s no wonder that he uses so many double-page spreads this month — it’s the only way to fit that much wonder onto the page. Continue reading

Descender 23: Discussion

by Ryan Desaulniers and Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Ryan D: After last issue‘s cliffhanger, the audience wondered whether or not the self-serving Quon would risk his neck by leaving the relative safety of the ship into the deep waters in which Captain Telsa currently languished, lifelessly. Well, he did, and the sequence of Quon retrieving Telsa looks beautiful. Continue reading

Descender 22 and the Art of the Opening

by Ryan Desaulniers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The curtains rise in Descender 22 on a stage which is nearly bare.

The only indication in the first panel that the comic has begun is the indication of the location, the planet Mata. A gentle blue irises on the right-hand side of the panel, and as your eye travels down the page, it’s difficult to tell that there even are panels. A fish glides into view, adding context to the first panel, then the next panel brings a flurry of fish and introduces an element of direction and movement, down and to the right. The gutters between the panels become more distinct here, before artist Dustin Nguyen, in the last image of the page, gives us the gloved hand, bare wrist, and a touch of the signature red of Telsa’s hair. The reader barely has time to think “oh shit!” before the page turn smashes us into a two-page spread of Telsa, floating and limp, wrapped in a hard layer of bubbles, hopeless. Continue reading

Weekly Round-Up: Comics Released 3/22/17

Look, there are a lot of comics out there. Too many. We can never hope to have in-depth conversations about all of them. But, we sure can round up some of the more noteworthy titles we didn’t get around to from the week. Today, we discuss Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 68, Lumberjanes 36, Curse Words 3, Descender 20 and Reborn 5. Also, we’re discussing X-O Manowar 1 on Tuesday and Bloodshot Reborn 1 on Wednesday, so check those out! As always, this article contains SPOILERS. Continue reading

Descender 18

descender-18Today, Spencer and Ryan D. are discussing Descender 18, originally released January 18th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: In Descender‘s earliest issues, Tim-21 was easily its star attraction. That’s not to say I didn’t love everything else the series had to offer; it’s just that the sweet, adorable, largely helpless companion bot instantly captured my heart. Throughout their third and fourth arcs, though, Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen have doubled-down on fleshing out the rest of their cast, allowing them to keep pace with Tim’s massive appeal. Descender 18 feels like the culmination of this work, yet throws in an ironic twist; the series distances itself from Tim-21 just as he becomes more important than ever to its central mythology. Continue reading

Descender 16

descender-16

Today, Ryan D. and Spencer are discussing Descender 16, originally released October 26th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Ryan D: Descender 16 drops the reader directly into the past, without even stopping to say hello to the cast from last issue’s focus on Andy and Effie/Queen Between. From the cover and the lovely introductory spread, it is clear right away that it is now Driller’s turn to get the spotlight treatment. As soon as we see the two robots being dropped from orbit into the Dirishu Mining Colony, it became very clear to me where this issue was heading: we met Driller alone on the planet, so something needs to take us from Driller having companionship to its solitary, human-hating life. Though the arc seemed fairly obvious, it was still a treat to see this robot get some well-deserved further characterization, not to mention the big reveal at the end. Continue reading