Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer: Steve Wants
What They Say:
“THE HAUNTED GALAXY,” Part Three (of Five) Andy, his feisty daughter Mila, and his faithful companion Bandit flee the deadly Militia and the tranquil life they tried to forge after the events of DESCENDER—dodging Froxes, Giants, and killer Vamps all the while! Plus: revelations of what really happened to Effie, and how they ended up on this strange planet.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Ascender’s use of the back and forth looks at what’s happened in the Descender book was something of a given, though the frequency is what has to really be managed with it. You want this to stand on its own and move forward to be sure and Jeff Lemire has handled that well in the first two installments. Tha continues here though it feels like it uses it a good bit more in order to set up the present day storyline better. It’s fun to see the characters from the Descender period again as Dustin Nguyen has them essentially looking as they should but the mild changes in the color tone and vibrancy of Ascender gives it a slightly different look that’s very appealing, an additional richness to it all.
With Mila as our central focus, this issue takes us back ten years prior to when everything went to hell and how Effie and Andy opted to find a place to hide out as she revealed that she’s pregnant. That they end up at his old home is amusing but makes a lot of sense since it is so isolated. That they spend a few years there raising her is tough because they have to go to other worlds for resources but Andy keeps finding more and more cut off, the communications of the galaxy dwindling out, which is very worrying. I love seeing these two as parents and a tiny Mila, but there’s a kind of haunting element about it as well because of the situation and how it plays out. But when they’re attacked, first by the dragons and then by the vampires for lack of a better word, it all falls apart so quick that you can imagine it took a long time for Andy to cope with, losing Effie in this way.
Which is why it plays so well in the present as we get Andy and Mila leaving their home, permanently, after what has happened and seeing the way it impacts Mila. She lost her mother the first time and almost lost her father this time. There’s an expected sadness from each of them over it and she’s feeling some blame as well, though he does what he can to reassure her on that front. I do like how their bond is shown and that when it does shift to action, thanks to a giant creature that’s now attacking them, that it seems like an easy setup to remove Andy from the picture and force Mila to the stars on her own. But it doesn’t quite go that way and Bandit, the little dog that got a lot of this going back in Descender, is able to show off some real power here as well to prove himself to be quite useful.
Ascender continues to deliver an excellent experience with each issue. I love that this one digs a bit more into the past to show us what went down in some slim way between the two books and to see more of Andy and Effie. I’m really liking what we’re seeing of this Andy and his relationship with Mila as there’s a lot of good ground to work with there going forward. Lemire continues to move all the right things here in an engaging way while Nguyen really is making this book distinct from Descender but very much of the same blood. I love the new things he’s able to play with within it as it’s exciting and unexpected, making for a great swipe to each page to see what will show up next.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: June 26th, 2019