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Descender #21 Review

4 min read

Descender Issue 21Ending an arc with everything in a bad place. That’s Descender for ya.

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

What They Say:
ORBITAL MECHANICS, Finale Tim-22’s nefarious plans are revealed, and the results are deadly for Quon and Tesla. Meanwhile, the UGC confronts the Robot Resistance, putting the galaxy on the brink of war with Tim-21 and Andy at the center of the conflict. As this story arc comes to its explosive conclusion, the stage is set for the coming DESCENDER “event”: RISE OF THE ROBOTS!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With this issue we get the end of the Orbital Mechanics storyline and the nod that the next five-part piece will kick off in a couple of months with Rise of the Robots. Lemire and Nguyen’s arc approach largely works well for me as each piece expands on the larger universe while keeping things moving along with the characters and the overall threat. That threat continues to shift to varying degrees with what it is in any given moment but there’s that background fear of the Harvesters coming back that just looms over everything. There’s a lot to like in what this series does with its cast and situations and Nguyen just makes it appealing through and through with the ethereal and raw nature of it that clicks in a big way for me.

With this storyline having moved a number of pieces around and the group in general spread across different areas, it tackles a lot of them in decent ways. It may not hit a crescendo, but there are intense pieces. I’ve enjoyed watching as TIM-22 has pulled one over on Telsa and Quon and is now in full control of the ship as they begin to check out Mata. While the reveal is intriguing but without any real substance yet, the fun is in seeing how the group dynamic plays out, especially with Quon getting told to shut up by everyone it seems. The back and forth between TIM-22 and Telsa is interesting to be sure as is his wonder at thinking of what they’ve discovered and the excitement of getting in touch with Psius. There’s something that’s almost magical that’s under the sea there and I’m excited to get the reveal in the next arc.

The other pieces are a bit less engaging to some degree but have their moments. Psius is getting ready lan and TIM-21 is mostly along for the ride, though he did get his message off previously. Seeing the time with Andy and the robot dog is fun as they try to understand the message and how it ends up drawing them into the same place as the Machinekind fleet. Though the scale of the action isn’t quite played out for us, more just in the interior and panic over what’s happening, it’s a reminder that Andy and company keep falling into bad places far too easily. How Blugger doesn’t just stop listening to him is beyond me at this point. The buildup in this area definitely feels like it’s about to sprawl out in a big way that’s going to ratchet things up, which with the title of the next arc is no surprise.

In Summary:
Descender continues to be a book that I thrill to with each new installment and am excited for the day that it ends so I can just burn through it all in one massive reading to see the themes come together in clearer ways. Jeff Lemire has largely impressed me over the year with an array of titles, though his original creations are what really click the best as opposed to playing in other people’s sandboxes. Descender has been firing on all cylinders from me from the start and his work with Dustin Nguyen is one of those fantastic partnerships that just results in wholly unexpected and wonderful ways. This is another great looking book that I could just spend hours poring over the details of the designs and expressions of the characters and the worlds that they’re creating.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: April 19th, 2017
MSRP: $2.99

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