Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer: Steve Wands
What They Say:
NEW STORYLINE! “RISE OF THE ROBOTS,” Part One THE FIRST DESCENDER EVENT STARTS HERE! Tim-22 makes his move on Telsa and Quon, Andy and Effie attack the Machine Moon, and Psius and The Hardwire have Tim-21 in their grips. As the various factions hunting Tim-21 close in, the galaxy is on the verge of all-out war. This is it! Everything DESCENDER has been building to begins to erupt in the most important and surprising DESCENDER storyline yet!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Descender returns after a few months off to get things done so that this next five-issue arc, called “Rise of the Robots,” will run smoothly. Lemire and Nguyen are juggling a fair number of subplots at this point against the big picture of what’s going on and each of them has been interesting, especially with some of the character shifts along the way. This installment doesn’t touch upon every character, which is smart, and keeps things moving along in a fun and brisk way while sticking to large movements in the story and some solid smaller and more personal ways. The shift back and forth may be a bit frustrating but it all ties together well by the end that it has the right impact.
Quon’s dealing with TIM-22 is certainly delightful as Quon is still looking to ensure his own survival, which he knows is best tied to Telsa at this point. But with her being tossed off and likely close to dead at this point, well, he’s not above trying to get on TIM-22’s good side. But he’s programmed him too well as even as good as a liar as Quon is, TIM-22 sees right through Quon’s attempt at pledging allegiance to the machinekind and using his skill set to serve (and service) them. It’s definitely fun watching Quon run out of options but it also turns wonderfully as he’s taking on some of the machinekind aspects as well when he discovers his hand really is capable of helping him. He’s had a lot of spastic moments over the course of the series but here he gets so aggressive and forceful in a way that he hasn’t before that you really expect him to be completely caught off guard by himself.
As all of this plays out we get Psius ready to make his move as they know that the human fleet is coming and they’ve set everything in motion to deal with it, all while moving forward with their true goal as well. That’s kept more toward the end as the initial focus is on dealing with Andy and his crew that arrived in the area beforehand. It’d be easy enough but it gets slowed down and made difficult because TIM-21 knows that his brother is in there and is trying to save him through Psius. Realistically, this is where Psius should just do what needs doing and deal with TIM-21 afterward but he instead makes it clear that Andy is not really his brother and that he must let go of the humanity he’s engaged in as a TIM unit. It all plays nicely just as the fleet arrives and you see what Psius is really up to while waiting for the bigger details to surface.
Descender gets its new arc off in a big way while not providing much in the way of answers. Lemire’s keeping the pacing at a good level where there’s a lot of tension and sense of urgency about things while still expanding on what’s going on and how it’s going to impact the bigger picture. And just like past issues, Dustin Nguyen makes this an absolute delight to read multiple times. I love the way the pages come across, the texture of it all, the color design, and just the rawness of it where sometimes it almost feels like storyboards taken a step further and about to be fully animated. It has its own life that just draws me in, panel after panel. Very good stuff that has me eager to see what else this arc has in store.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: July 19th, 2017