Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer: Steve Wands
What They Say:
“OLD WORLDS,” Part Two – The origins of the Harvesters are finally revealed as we jump back thousands of years to see the dawn of the robotkind and the the secrets of the Ancient Robot and how it connects to Tim-21 in the present. Secrets that have been building since issue one are finally revealed in this shocking new story arc..
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The back half of the Old Worlds storyline is one that again delivers exactly what I want out of this series. I see complaints from time to time about backstory not being important or this going too far back or some such, but I love what Jeff Lemire is doing here in establishing a much larger picture and something even more alien yet engaging to work with. It builds upon what we’ve seen before while also sending the right kind of chills with what we learn. Dustin Nguyen brings it all to life so beautifully here with the designs as we explore more of this world and its otherness in a way that’s captivating while avoiding being horrifying, an angle that far too many tend to go toward.
Osiris and Kelik’s coming to the machine world is definitely intriguing as they’re grappling with something that’s beyond their understanding. There’s an uncertainty as to whether there’s individuals, a hive mind, or some sort of shared consciousness to them but these creatures, which Osiris calls Descenders, are just as curious about them. There’s a good exchange of information and examination that goes on throughout this and Lemire and Nguyen show us this unusual world where they’re not like anything else that has been dealt with. It’s cold and chilling in some ways but Osiris is just filled with curiosity and it plays out well, though Kelik struggles and eventually succumbs to an undiagnosed illness that he had from before they went into space. It’s a troubling moment for Osiris, uncertain as to whether the Descenders could help him and whether he should return home as per Kelik’s wishes, making clear just how much he wants to continue on but knows he must do the right thing – even if it means he might never get to come back here.
To my delight, the book moves forward ten years from there and shows us how Osiris has transformed his homeworld with his knowledge. He’s trying to replicate what he saw in many ways but keeps coming up short. The rapid changes are frightening some to be sure as society is moving faster than it can accommodate but Osiris’s intensity and drive keeps it all moving because he knows. He knows what they can be and have and his desire to create consciousness is overpowering. And that hubris, naturally, is his and his world’s undoing. The Descenders, being as old as they are, likely view themselves as a kind of guardians of sorts and seeing how other races treat their own when created in their image tells them whether those races can participate in the larger galactic milieu. Knowing how Osiris is in that he misses the point of it all because he’s seeking achievement, his hubris is what brings his world to an end and sets the stage for what revolutionized our main storyline in the present and lead to the harvest…
The conclusion of this two-part arc reveals much of the foundations of the series itself and what our characters are facing and why. There are likely to be twists ahead still and some aspects that are different, but the crux of it is here and it’s going to come down to how everything is handled more than anything else. Jeff Lemire has been going strong with this project from the start and getting all this exposition, so beautifully illustrated by Dustin Nguyen, is exactly what I’m a fan of a lot of his independent projects as it’s easier to work this kind of stuff. The arc covers a lot of ground but never feels rushed and is able to breathe so that you soak up the details and the larger meaning while it also rolls around in your head afterward as you digest the ramifications. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: March 21st, 2018