Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art by: Dustin Nguyen
Descender #1 introduced us to a world decimated by mysterious “Harversters,” robots the size of moons, who wiped out millions of the Nine Core Worlds of the United Galactic Council. The devastation created a backlash against robotic technology, outlawing robots to the point where robots were hunted down and destroyed. On a distant mining colony a young robot: TIM-21 awakens to find his world destroyed. Leaving Tim-21 and his human family left to fend for themselves as robot Bounty Hunters known as Scrappers have found his location when he comes back online. Descender #2 picks up with Tim and his trusty dog: Bandit on the run in this exciting and emotional science fiction space opera that has already demonstrated to be one of the best stories of 2015.
Jeff Lemire has the unique ability to tug at your heart while also making it jump out of your chest. By giving readers a panels that combine a chase scene with alternating flashbacks of TIM with his human family. Make no mistake this is not your typical flashback set-up! Chaos ensues as memory files are being rebooted in TIM’s system as the character is being run down by the Scrappers. When then see TIM leave Dr. Quon and meet the Tavers family.
Needless to say Descender#2 is an endearing look at how TIM has assimilated to his new family. Making what happened to them all the more heartbreaking. TIM now alone except for his trusty robo-dog has to escape this vicious band of hunters.
Already in less than two issues I’m fully invested in the story, the characters, and the plot. I want to know what happens to TIM as well as how his codex or “DNA” is related to those humongous machines that caused the massacre ten years earlier.
If you are not shedding angry tears at the end of this issue you might be a soulless machine yourself. Lemire weaves a fantastic tale that is enthralling and ultimately intoxicating. You can’t escape falling in the deep end of this emotionally charged epic.
As far as the art goes, what else is there to say about Dustin Nguyen’s magical touch? His watercolors add so much depth and character to scenes you can momentarily get lost in them, looking to see how he can create such beautifully haunting landscapes. He can turn around and make equally horribly fearsome monsters such as the bounty hunters who are human but also menacing and frightening. I’ve always graded artists on their ability to evoke emotions; the facial expressions of the characters of Nguyen can break your heart with a single panel. The flashbacks work because you can connect to those scenes based on the joy written on TIM’s face as well as the Traver’s child. As well written as Lemire’s script is it would feel hollow without Nguyen’s empathetic art.
Descender is the type of science fiction that is rare in its simplicity with more emotional heft than most comics on the market. The book has the ability to invoke the best of the science fiction classics of yester year ala the work of Lucas or Spielberg. It’s one of the best comics of the year that should resonate all the way through award season. It is a must-buy, get it now!