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Descender #20 Review

4 min read

Descender Issue 20 CoverIt’s almost time for war.

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

What They Say:
“ORBITAL MECHANICS,” Part Four. The fate of Driller is revealed as he crashes on a dangerous new planet and comes face-to-face with something no one else in the DESCENDER universe has yet encountered…MAGIC! And Bandit makes a startling new discovery about the Tim-22 that will send shockwaves through the galaxy!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Descender moves into its fourth part of five for the Orbital Mechanics storyline and that’s setting the stage for what’s to come next with the five-part Rise of the Robos event. Descender has obviously won me over at this point and even with the one-off stories that we got, something that frustrated a lot of fans it seems, I found each installment to be thoroughly engaging and part of some fantastic character and world building. So an issue like this, one where we once again some utterly beautiful minimalist style artwork from Dustin Nguyen, I can’t help but to be taken in by it all and simply enjoy it. This is putting everything where it needs to be for the events to come and while that may be “boring” for some readers, it’s the important buildup that’s necessary to advance everything with all the details.

Most frustrating for some to be sure is that Driller gets a sizable focus overall after being ejected from the ship the last time around. He’s managed to survive and crash onto a world known as Woch where he’s encountered a mildly crazy old sentient named Mizerd. There’s an amusing odd couple thing going on here and you get a kind of cracked Yoda version with Mizerd in a way. This is all obviously leading to something important as there are nods to the planet being full of magic according to Mizerd and we also get Driller just wanting to seize up and stop working yet unable to do so. So having the two go on a journey to where Driller can get either oil or repairs at a scrap heap on the other side of the planet is fairly standard material but it leaves me really curious as to what purpose it will serve.

The rest of the book is spread across the other stories that we know but it all has a sense of coming together and the raising of the tempo. Telsa has put Quon in a cell on the ship as he can’t be trusted, something she practically puts into a bullet list for him, and that sets up its own tension as TIM-22 posing as TIM-21 is getting ready to make his move as they arrive at Mata and its mysterious of the codex. At the same time, TIM-21 is reaching through to Bandit to alert the others about what’s going on but it’s going to take a minute for them to really figure it out since it’s not what they expected. Most exciting for me, however, is seeing the UGC getting everything together for their attack on the Machine Moon in order to put down the robots once and for all. The fear is driving them in a huge way and they’re backing it up with some real military might, an area where I just love what Nguyen puts into it with the ship designs and the layouts as they break orbit. I’m hoping for a big war here, one where there’s lots of splash pages of material to drool over like this.

In Summary:
Descender continues to fire on all cylinders for me as the various stories get a good bit of attention and you see the way everything is coming together but at the same time operating its own event and thread. While I’m curious as to what the Driller storyline will reveal as that’s a big area of mystery at the moment, the rest of it is somewhat predictable but beautifully executed both in script and artwork. There’s a lot to like here from top to bottom and when you read it consecutively with other issues in this arc it feels like the book is racing to its explosive moment, which is what I can’t wait to see now.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: March 22nd, 2017
MSRP: $2.99

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