Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer: Steve Wands
What They Say:
“RISE OF THE ROBOTS,” Part Three The fall’s big DESCENDER event continues in the strangest and most shocking issue of DESCENDER yet, as the fate of the fan-favorite robot, DRILLER is finally revealed! Stranded on the planet Woch, Driller meets an old nomad called Mizerd. But he soon realizes that Driller may be a real killer and Mizerd is a real wizard! Magic comes to DESCENDER, and the universe will never be the same!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the way Jeff Lemire works his stories, especially once you’ve been into a series that runs for any length from him, you know the kind of ebb and flow of his work pretty well. Descender works some big ideas, interesting characters, and a scale that definitely appeals to me. But like a lot of novel works it takes these detours to set up other areas where there may not be any payoff for a while, or at all for some readers. That can make issues like this difficult for many and it’s even one that kind of leaves me a little less enthused, but it’s still a delight just for the approach it takes and actually taking the time to work these characters that will have important roles. Plus it’s just another great issue of Dustin Nguyen artwork even if the character and story material doesn’t grab you and worth it for just that alone.
The focus on Driller is something that I definitely enjoyed previously with that it unearthed with his past and why he is the way he is. With him having been lost previously and on the planet of Woch where he met Mizerd, his journey continues toward the scrap heap with what he’s looking for there. But like any journey, there are a lot of things to be faced along the way. Mizerd’s a decent companion as you can kind of seem him as a Yoda-like character in a way, not in that he’s teaching but more that he’s just frustratingly wise and weary while understanding the landscape and how to navigate it. The two make for an unlikely pair to be sure and Driller’s dialogue, frustrating as it is for some, is simple but clear with a real sense of how unhappy he is with himself and that he is a real killer.
What this installment gives us is a little more look at the world of Woch and how Mizerd brings into the dialogue things about how it’s a world of magic, which sets itself apart from other worlds that we’ve seen. Driller doesn’t really register this much but for the viewer, we get to see goblins and vampires in this journey before it arrives at civilization where Driller’s role is about to change. The goblins don’t get too much attention beyond being savages but I really liked what we got from the vampires as the pair is trying to cross the quicksand only to get sucked into the cavern below where there’s a vampire nest. The visuals and color work for this section is fantastic and really made me want to see Nguyen work a serious vampire story somewhere even as a one-off to showcase his talents.
Descender issues that work with certain characters aren’t going to fly for a lot of readers and especially ones that seemingly take us far away from the main storyline that’s going on in all its wonder. I get that and have a low level of frustration myself considering the scale of events going on. But with this issue, we get a really fun little story with Driller that showcases his hero’s journey nicely and has me curious once again as to what his larger role will be in all of this as it progresses. It’s not a game changer but it introduces some fun elements and it simply a delight to look at if nothing else.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: September 20th, 2017