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Descender #18 Review

4 min read

Descender Issue 18 CoverThe twists keep hitting!

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

What They Say:
“ORBITAL MECHANICS,” Part Two. The cyborg cult known as The Between are hit by a Gnishian attack fleet with only Andy, Driller and Tullis standing between them. Will Andy’s love for Queen Between be enough to save them? One of Decsender’s cast members makes the ultimate sacrifice.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the five-part Orbital Mechanics arc getting underway the last time around, Lemire and Nguyen are getting things in motion again. I really enjoyed the character issues that we had as it expanded a lot of things about them and the overall storyline and setting but there’s also appeal in forward motion. And Lemire definitely gets that going full throttle with this chapter while offering Nguyen a wide range of things to illustrate in a way that only he can. I love the rough and raw look of everything here as I have for its entire run, especially the color design of it all, as it just speaks to me in a kind of old school indie way but with modern sensibilities. Each panel offers so much to take in that you can’t help but get sucked into it, especially with a nice tablet and some zooming.

There are a lot of plots moving along here as everything is in motion once again. Telsa and her storyline with Quon and TIM-21 with their escape from Psius is a whole lot of fun as we see TIM-21 showcasing some weapons abilities and skill that helps them making their way out, much to the surprise of Telsa and a kind of pride from Quon that he gets smacked about. The escape fight and the flight aspect with a ship that they grab keeps it moving fast, even with it spread across the issue, and it’s just fun to see Telsa in full command and working her skill set to surviva. There’s a twist in the mix, though, as they do manage to escape from a sizable number of Psisu’ ships, but the reveal from Psius as to the true nature of TIM-21 is disturbing and has me hunting for my previous issues just so I can figure out the truth of it as it’s hard to take too much at face value.

The other big part of this book takes us back to Sampson where the group there is doing their best to get offworld after what the Gnishians did. There are a lot of tensions boiling to the surface here and it’s given the right amount of time to be explored. But we also get some good action here with the arrival of a sizable worm from under the surface that’s now hunting them. We get some sacrifice set up as part of the bigger picture, and a little thinning of the crowd that’s almost necessary, so it’s a good balance of material. This is also balanced with some intriguing time back at the UGC where we learn more about the prophecy some of the kids are dreaming about and what it is that the UGC has secretly been up to since the Harvesters first arrived. It really isn’t a surprise that such things are happening and what TIM-21’s real role may be, but you can see so many ways that it can go bad very quickly.

In Summary:
Descender’s picking up momentum again with the Oribtal Mechanics arc and it’s pretty clear here that there’s going to be some chaos ahead. Lemire and Nguyen continue to blend some solid pieces together to tell the tale with some emotional aspects, such as Andy and Blugger early on, to some fun action sequences and reactions, such as TIM-21’s abilities and Telsa’s views of it. There are a lot of pieces on the board and they’re definitely working well individually and as an interwoven tale. It’s a book that continues to work well in the individual issue form while taking on a bigger feeling when you read through a whole lot of it at once. Very recommended.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: January 18th, 2017
MSRP: $2.99

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