Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer: Steve Wants
What They Say:
“THE HAUNTED GALAXY,” Part Four (of Five) The hit series continues as readers catch up with the evil vampire witch Mother inside her floating castle on the planet Mata. She’s been tipped off that a force for hope has come to free the oppressed people of her galaxy, but she won’t give up her power without a star-spanning magical conflagration.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Ascender has definitely been an interesting book so far even if I do feel like I’m “reverse engineering” the thing to understand what’s happened in the decade or so since Descender ended. That’s always a rough kind of place to be but I like the way Jeff Lemire is teasing it out for us but actually giving us things to work with. This issue gets us on the move again with some fun creativity to work with and that lets Dustin Nguyen take flight. I never realized just how much I wanted to see him illustrate giant turtles flying across the ocean until the scene actually took place. Nguyen’s artwork is always great, which goes without saying, and I love the different color palette he’s working with here compared to Descender. There’s a richness to it that lets certain scenes shine even more and it has me fully invested.
With Andy and Milia, which is still the main story here, we see how they’ve managed to survive after Bandit went all psychobeam killer on the creature and really shocked Andry. There’s no time to relax though as the militia in the form of flying dragons have arrived and that puts them on the run since even Bandit is afraid of them (and likely recharging). It’s a fun little chase sequence that leads to a leap of faith that puts them on the aforementioned turtles, giving them a chance to escape as the dragons won’t go there. This does eventually take them a seaport and I love the way the two interact with each other, making me glad they haven’t been separated (yet) since that’s such an easy cliche. Of course, what Andy is looking for there isn’t in the condition he needs it to be in, which is going to complicate matters in getting offworld.
The book does deal a bit with the other storyline but this one hasn’t come together as strong for me yet. It’s focus on Mother is interesting in showing us how the main power in the galaxy is operating and we see the kind of intensity that comes from it, such as how she deals with the twins that have been tasked with their own missions. As it turns out, their trap laid out for the UGC has succeeded and they’ve captured the rebel leader while the UGC rebels were attacking Amun. That’s exactly what Mother has been waiting for and actively moves quickly to get to Amun to see the man as this was a trap that she wanted exploited. What’s intriguing, however, is that the UGC gentleman, a colonel that’s leading things, knew what was coming and made their own longterm plans to deal with Mother. The idea of magic in the hands of the UGC is definitely one to carry forward as it’s a big change for them over the Descender-era and I’m really curious what they’re like these days.
Ascender is definitely doing what it needs to for me even if the storyline focusing on Mother and their control over the galaxy isn’t quite grabbing me yet. It’s seeding plenty and exposing some aspects of it that should be interesting if they’re really pulled out. The main fun, however, is in watching what Andy and Milia are up to – along with Bandit – as I continue to be thrilled that they’re together. I keep waiting for them to be split and for Milia to be on her own with Bandit but I really crave the idea of a solid adventure with Andy as a proper father and working with her instead of them split up. The bits we get here are a delight with some great visuals and a fun escape that leads to what should be a wonderful reunion next time around.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: July 24th, 2019