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Descender #17 Review

4 min read

descender-issue-21-coverThe next arc gets underway with dangerous reveals already.

Creative Staff:
Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer: Steve Wands

What They Say:
“SINGULARITIES” continues as the mysteries of Telsa’s past are finally revealed. They may threaten not only Telsa, but the universe itself!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the Singularities arc concluded, though the promo material for this issue still talking about it, Descender moves into its next arc with Orbital Mechanics, indicating a five-part story. I know a lot of people really disliked how Descender slowed down with the flashback arc that we had but I enjoyed the hell out of it since it filled in a lot of gaps and avoided doing it in the midst of action and other stories. Yeah, Lemire could have found another way to do it that would have felt like padding in its own way as well, but I liked that we had all these threads dealt with that connect to the present story and enhance it rather than detract. The individual character focuses were also a plus just because the cast has grown and there are a lot of moving parts to deal with.

With that sprawling cast in mind, this chapter deals with three stories and a larger focus on one of them. That one is with Telsa trying to figure out how to escape only to run into Quon, who manages to be a little bit convincing about how his betrayal was in order to buy them time. He’s intent on getting out of there as Psius has proven himself to be really dangerous and Telsa is kind of reluctant but without a lot of choices. It’s a nice bit of action with a white/minimal approach to their panels as we see Telsa showing her skills. But the reveal of the warbot army that Psius is building there and the threat he now represents is a shock to both of them and that opens up another front in this already sprawling story where there are so many things going on. Nguyen really nails this in the way the motion of Telsa works as she runs and fights but I also just love the expressions and roughness of it all.

The other two stories are definitely solid for different reasons. Andy and Effie provide an emotional component as he still sees her as he did years ago, though she’s resistant to that view after all that has happened. While they do have sex it’s something that pushes her into a hardline position again as she doesn’t want to fall back into who she was. Running that in parallel to TIM-21 being chased by his similar type and doing his best to escape and yet having to destroy someone he thought was a friend is definitely an interesting balance. There’s not a lot of dialogue to this book overall but TIM-21’s expression and eyes really showcase a lot here, as does Telsa and Quon when he comes across them with the body draped in his arms. You can see just how much it’s impacted him and that could really spiral.

In Summary:
Descender gets all stories on track in the present, at least for the three we get here, as Orbital Mechanics gets its arc underway. It’s definitely a lot of fun though it did leave me wishing for more dialogue and exposition since there’s a lot of dialogue-free material here. That said, it’s a definite treat to get some beautiful Dustin Nguyen artwork in this way as we see just how well he conveys the story without words. Between the designs, the roughness of it, and the color work, this continues to be a great looking book that makes me want a whole lot more of it. I don’t think the series suffered under the Singularities arc for me but I suspect for many that this issue is a “return to form” for it.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: December 14th, 2016
MSRP: $2.99


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