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

Gideon Falls 1: Discussion

by Ryan Desaulniers and Mark Mitchell

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

…nothing is so alien to the human mind as the idea of randomness.

John Cohen

Ryan D: Pattern recognition plays an integral role in the human cognitive process, with comic books being a particular medium which simply wouldn’t work without that ability to see and recognize patterns in visual symbols, icons, and shapes, as our brains wrestle a slew of static visual images into a narrative. The images are coherent because they are created together purposefully to be consumed in relation to each other. However, the human brain can still find patterns where there is no direct correlation. In 1958, the term “apophenia” came into being to describe that ability to take unrelated things and tie them together with connections which might not exist. We can observe this phenomenon every day in the form of confirmation bias, or, in more extreme cases, the claims of paranoid schizophrenics who may find the most benign details to be irrefutable proof of a grandiose conspiracy. So what happens if two seemingly unrelated people in different parts of the world — one embroiled in this hunt for clues in an outlandish pattern, the other just trying to adjust to a new life — both find the horrifying answer to what seems to be delusion? Herein lies the crux of Gideon Falls 1 by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino, backed by a decorated team on colors and lettering of Dave Stewart and Steve “SWANDS” Wands. Continue reading

The Terrifics 1: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Ryan Desaulniers 

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

Michael: We live in a curious world where Marvel hasn’t published a Fantastic Four comic book since 2015. To fill that Fantastic-less void, DC has given us an analogue team out of a few lower-tier heroes in addition to a new one. The team that has not yet become a team consists of the eponymous Mr. Terrific, Metamorpho, Plastic Man and Linnya Wazzo. The FF analogues are pretty obvious from the outset, the only thing that’s different here is the stretchy guy is occupying the “youthful/obtuse” role of The Human Torch. 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

Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 1: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Spencer Irwin

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

slim-banner

Michael: A common criticism of a piece of fiction is “nothing really happened.” The meaning of that blanket statement can vary depending on who the critic is and more specifically what they’re expecting. A great example of this is the Season 3 Breaking Bad episode “The Fly.” Critics praised the bottle episode as a brilliant character study while it left many audiences unimpressed with the fact that “nothing really happened.” While I try to appreciate the deeper meaning of a piece of work, I must say that in Deadpool vs. Old Man Logan 1…nothing really happens. Continue reading

Flipping the Revenge Narrative in Bloodshot Salvation 1

by Patrick Ehlers

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

What would it take for Bloodshot to settle down? Easy answer, right? Wife and kids. Classic motivators for a cowboy to hang up his boots. We’ve all read enough genre fiction to know what happens next: the quiet of the Bloodshot/Magic Jessie household is violently shattered, sending the hero on a revenge rampage. Hold the phone — writer Jeff Lemire is flipping that trope on his head, instead killing off Bloodshot and making Magic and her daughter the heroes of our story. 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