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Descender #29 Review

4 min read

A black and white choice.

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

What They Say:
“THE END OF THE UNIVERSE,” Part One A new, and possibly final (?!), storyline begins. As robots rise up all over the universe, overthrowing their human and alien persecutors, Telsa is faced with the ultimate decision: save Tim-21 or hand him over to her father and the United Galactic Council, which would end the war and uprising, but it would also be the end of Tim-21.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
When things keep going wrong because of bad choices made over and over you have to start questioning what it is you’re doing. Most people will do that but as a species it’s much slower to change because of the forces that operate within it. Jeff Lemire has show the tug and pull of mankind and its relationship with machinekind in this series with its overreactions and lack of clear thinking and it’s made for a great story with great characters. As we near what may be its end, at least for the here and now, events are building up and we’re getting some fantastic visuals out of it and reaction shots as Dustin Nguyen captures the panic, chaos, and the weariness of a war that has gone on for far too long.

There are a lot of things going on in this issue that all have key moments as part of the larger whole. Seeing the UGC being overrun by the machinekind as they’re ready to wipe out anything living after all that’s gone down is no surprise. They’re throwing off the oppression and cruelty of their masters and they are simply too many in comparison, making for a real bloodbath. That has Nagoki, facing the main Hardwire fleet over Mata, ready to use the ultimate weapon to fight back with. It’s the kind of thing that you can understand in creating their own Harvester but it also shows one more bad decision after another in trying to survive. There’s validity to protecting yourself and reaching out to coexist but humanity tends to lean toward protecting itself far more and the reactionaries tend to gain a lot of power.

While this plays out above, events below Mata are in a dangerous place as well. With Solomon having revealed a lot and Quon’s role in it made clear, they’re looking at a plan where through TIM-21 they can contact the Descenders for help, primarily in segregating machinekind from the human and alien-kind as they simply can’t work together. That doesn’t go as planned because the Descenders view things in that binary way and it’s definitely clear that they’ve chosen poorly over the years since the arrival of the Harvesters. There’s a lot of good character bits mixed into this with Telsa getting more and more frustrated while also seeing how Effie is reaching through to Andy over Bandit and what the right choice is there in saving the poor robo-dog. You can see a through line in how it could end based on these characters, though I’m hoping for some twists in the mix, and it’ll all work in the right way. But if this is the final arc I’m going to be just a bit wary when it comes to easy solves.

In Summary:
Descender continues to do some great stuff here for me as there’s a lot at stake for just about everyone. With the backstory given recently with the Descenders themselves, the plans in motion by the UGC, and the more human aspects of what Andy and the others are doing alongside the machinekind under Psius doing their best to free themselves from being hunted into extinction, there’s a lot of sides where they’re all very valid – though one could take issue with the Descenders binary view of how they operate. But even with all that we got on them it feels like there’s an open ended amount of material to explore there. I’m excited about the potential for what’s coming next and hoping for some fun twists and just a whole lot more great artwork from Nguyen. I just love the way he captures the look of these worlds and the ability to still capture the innocent of TIM-21 even as he starts to stand firm and making real decisions himself about his future.

Grade: A-

Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: April 18th, 2018
MSRP: $3.99

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