Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer: Steve Wands
What They Say:
“THE END OF THE UNIVERSE,” Part Three Tim-21 meets his makers…literally. The Descenders are here, and only Tim can save the universe from their apocalyptic judgement. But from out of the far reaches of the universe, the Gnishian king may be the wildcard that no one saw coming. The penultimate issue of DESCENDER is filled with shocks, twists, and goodbyes…and hints at things still to come.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Descender gets ready for the concluding issue of this storyline and the series itself with the next issue and that means a lot of big things are going on here. Penultimate installments can be really hit or miss in some ways and this one feels a little middle of the road in terms of story since it’s fairly narrowly focused in terms of characters involved. What helps is that once again we get some gorgeous pages from Dustin Nguyen who has really made me so incredibly happy issue after issue with this series as the designs have such a distinctive look and the color design has been very strong. It’s the kind of project that really hits the right kind of distinctive look to it.
Time is of the essence is the general tone here as we get Andy and his group facing off against what’s being thrown at them by Machinekind. Protecting TIM-21 has been Andy’s big goal now, overriding other things, and seeing him coming to understand TIM-21’s role in this UGC created Harvester cements it for him that he has to get him away. It’s a series of good moments unfolding as we see how he and Telsa go against each other over it, allowing Effie to stand out of the way a bit and try to ease things down. It’s not exactly out of character for Andy to want to protect TIM-21 but Telsa’s pretty spot on about all the things that he did to machines that he didn’t have a personal investment in and there’s a level of hypocrisy there to be sure.
The action for a lot of this moves pretty quickly as we get the Gnish forces arriving and doling out some immense damage as they’re just looking to wipe the slate clean of their enemies. Which, of course, is foolish when all the carbon based lifeforms really need to work together in the face of the Harvesters and what they represent. Which is what’s my favorite moment in all of this as Andy and his group end up in the presence of the Descenders as they’ve come not to pass judgment but to execute their punishment of extinction on the sentient races for enslaving the machines. TIM-21 has a fantastic moment here that doesn’t quite go as planned but the way the two interact with each other is so beautifully illustrated and filled with meaning that it’s one of the high points of the series, a culminating moment.
Descender has been building to some of these moments for a long time and I’m not sure they quite resonate as strongly as they should, though it could just be me. Jeff Lemire has a lot of things in the air here and I’m really curious to see what’s up with Driller and Mizerd with his talk of ancient mystical forces that are now being drawn into it. I really like what we get with the Descenders here as they are impressive looking as hell and I love the way that the interaction with TIM-21 plays out visually as there’s just so much detail to be had there. I’m excited and wary of what’s to come in the finale.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: June 27th, 2018