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Descender #23 Review

3 min read

Descender Issue 23 CoverWhy won’t they just stay dead?

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

What They Say:
“RISE OF THE ROBOTS,” Part Two The new DESCENDER event explodes as Tim-21 makes his daring escape from the clutches of the Hardwire. Meanwhile Andy, Effie, and Bandit are taken prisoner by the UGC until one of them shockingly turns traitor. And deep below the ocean planet of Mata, the final fate of Telsa is revealed.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the robots on the rise arc getting formally underway in the previous issue, this one moves things forward in another significant way. Everything may be broken into smaller arcs but the larger narrative is still the main draw for me here as it moves through all the pieces and maneuvers around so many characters and their situations. Jeff Lemire continues to do some really fun things with the characters in how they act as it’s easy to imagine some like Effie taking on a real life of her own as he writes her. At the same time we get Dustin Nguyen really expanding on things with some great layout choices, such as Quon and Telsa, and utilizing the minimal approach and color design to present something thoroughly engaging.

The events of this installment are certainly intriguing and are leading to more dangerous situations. With the Hardwire fleet jumping out, that has the UGC in a panic as they realize, too late, that it’s a trap. That only three ships escape in total including the command ship makes for an unmitigated disaster with a hundred ships being lost. That has the commander doing quite the interrogation on Andy and his group as he wants answers as to why they were there and their relationship with the now infamous TIM-21. It’s fun to watch this unfold since Andy and Blugger play it solid while Effie is totally self interested as one would expect. The scale of the loss of the fleet feels underserved here for the reader but you can and have to imagine the ramifications of it psychological throughout the UGC as the news spreads.

Events elsewhere are a little more sparse but no less interesting as the Hardwire fleet arrives at their destination to deal with the ancient robot only to have TIM-21 sneak away in the ship. While that sets up tension to come, Quon’s recovery of Telsa is a beautiful sequence overall to watch unfold thanks to Nguyen’s layouts and color work as he works to revive her. It’s a crazy kind of chaotic scene that’s very cinematic in how it unfolds and the kind of light humor that comes afterward. It’s really heartwarming in its own way as they react to each other and what’s gone down but that just means Lemire has to twist the knife just a bit more in order to really cement the situation in how dire it is. Which is why I’m so drawn to this book.

In Summary:
Descender’s building toward the crescendo of this arc, which will surely end on something really big happening before setting up what’s next, and this installment moves a few more of the pieces around. It’s definitely fun to watch play out because the cast are all so well defined at this point in their style and motivations that every action feels natural and right. The artwork and colors continue to delight me with the rawness of it all and it just gives the whole thing a really sweet kind of energy that’s such a draw. There’s a lot to like in this installment but damn if it doesn’t feel like it goes by far too fast, which makes me glad it holds up so well with repeated readings.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: August 16th, 2017
MSRP: $2.99

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