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Ascender #2 Review

4 min read
Some friendships are forever.

Some friendships are forever.

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

What They Say:
“THE HAUNTED GALAXY,” Part Two (of Five) Mila reunites her dad Andy with his old robot pal, Bandit, but their heartwarming reunion doesn’t last for long. It’s forbidden to have robot tech, and soon they’re on the run from a troll militia with a vampire commander. Meanwhile, the vamp witch Mother moves to consolidate power on Gnish.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The start of Ascender was something where I kind of wish I hadn’t read Descender beforehand so I could go into it fresh without preconceptions. The weight of the Descender series and its events will definitely make an impact here but I’m trying to not make it too much about that book and just what the focus is here, but that’s never going to be a clean thing. Jeff Lemire is continuing to expand on what happened there and it’s getting beautifully illustrated by Dustin Nguyen. I love that this feels a little more colorful in a way but still with the same overall design aesthetic. There are areas where things feel more vibrant in a way that I can’t quite pin down and that gives it a little more texture and flavor.

Mila’s discovery of Bandit, not knowing what it is, make for an absolutely delightful moment as she’s excited and curious about it but has to keep it hidden from her father. That, thankfully, isn’t overdone as Bandi runs right to Andy upon hearing his voice and Andy knows exactly who it is and is just thrilled. This is a nice new way for the father and daughter to bond since it’s something she didn’t know about and she’s able to see a new side of her father through it. The problem is that Bandit’s arrival did not go unnoticed and it doesn’t take long for the local constabulary to show up and demand what it wants. What’s exciting is that as it plays out in certain predictable ways is that it doesn’t just kill off Andy but rather sets the three of them on a journey after a flurry of violence that keeps them alive and binds them together more. As much as Andy really wanted to just settle down and live quietly, there was always that spring to action ready to be launched at the right moment.

With that in motion, we also see events on Gnish taking shape. The arrival of Mother and she’s displeased that the King is basically hiding out away from her so as to not get caught up in anything. Her arrival really makes clear that she is in control of everything and that S’Tok is little more than a mouthpiece that gets to play at being king most of the time, largely just allowed to work as “garbage men” in collecting technology – something that they’ve been slowing down on. I like what Mother presents here in getting things done and how she’ll keep an “eye” on things as it gives us a good view of what the apparent dominant power in the galaxy is like. Gnish has been through a lot of changes since we left it ten years prior and I’m hoping we’ll see a bit more on that.

In Summary:
The bulk of this issue focused on Mila and Andy and that’s for the best. I like what we get on Gnish to help set more of what’s to come but seeing Andy and Bandit back together again is delightful. With a tease of what’s to come, the family bond that exists here unfolds just right. Seeing the way Mila looks at her father anew is almost comical but this is a whole new side she hadn’t seen before and it’s very understandable. The action within the home is also dealt with well and while the bit with Mila taking a stand may be a bit forced in some ways it’s also an area that you can work with easily enough knowing that she was pretty much out in the wild whenever she could and has been learning how to take care of herself even a little. When you protect family, you can go the distance.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: May 29th, 2019
MSRP: $3.99

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