Comic Review – Descender #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he is going to attempt a mini review of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

This week will have to be a quick one, as I’m in the middle of moving house so a bit pressed for time! I picked up Descender from Image Comics, a new sci-fi series written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, lettered by Steve Wands.

Descender starts on the planet Niyrata, the technological and cultural centre of The United Galactic Council, comprising 9 different worlds. The roboticist Dr. Quon is woken by a call from the council – something has appeared above each of the core planets. As everyone planetside stares up at the sky, Quon is brought aboard a ship facing down a gigantic robot, later referred to as a Harvester, waiting dormant. Before they can study it though, the Harvester suddenly attacks, all of the Harvesters attack on every planet, killing billions. 10 years later, a young boy awakens on a lunar colony to find he is the last left alive. Sort of. Tim-21 is a robot, a child companion, but the mother and son he is attached to are nowhere to be seen. Back on Niyrata, Dr. Quon is approached again by the government. They have found a link between the Harvesters, who disappeared after their terrible wrath crippled the UGC, and the Tim series of robots via a shared codex. And one has just reactivated on the moon of Dirishu-6. Now they just have to get to him first before any scavengers or anti-robot fanatics do.

Lemire does some excellent world building (worlds building?) with this first issue, that shows a colossal enemy wreak havoc on society, disappearing as quickly as they appeared. We only get a glimpse of Dr. Quon, Tim-21 and Telsa, the government agent sent to pick up the doctor, but they all seem to be diverse and interesting characters that will hopefully be fleshed out as the series progresses. I really liked the way the sense of scale of the UGC and the utter devastation wrought on them was underlined by having the population counter for the moon and on Niyrata adjusting for events, at 5.53 billion before the arrival of the Harvester, dropping to 1 billion 10 years later. Nyugen’s art is sketchy and lush, with a washed out watercolour feel to the colours too. The Harvester looming above the planet is haunting, especially as it looks totally lifeless until it’s too late, and as a double splash page it is gorgeous.

Jeff Lemire tends to write interesting sci-fi, and here is no exception. It reminded me a lot of the Mass Effect universe, mixed with The Day After Tomorrow. If you like sci-fi, be sure to check this one out. Pick it up at your LCS or digitally.

Score: 8 Harvesters out of 10


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