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Ascender #5 Review

4 min read
Bandit makes everything better.

Bandit makes everything better.

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

What They Say:
“THE HAUNTED GALAXY,” Conclusion The first arc of the hit fantasy series comes to a pulse-pounding conclusion! The evil vampire witch Mother discovers that the planet Sampson may hold the secrets to her undoing. While on Sampson, Andy, Mila, and Bandit reunite with an old frenemy fans of DESCENDER will be thrilled to see!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
There are times where I read something where I have to hope that the writer doesn’t go for such an obvious and easy route. Jeff Lemire is not one that I think about that often with but he gets me there with what he does to Andy in this book – something that I’ve been glad he hasn’t done in the prior issues. Thankfully, he makes it clear it’s not an all-in event by the last page but I’m already frustrated at the separation he’s put into play. That said, what a great looking issue. Dustin Nguyen has been killing it since day one but Ascender has let him play with color more and some more creative layouts. Plus, Telsa is here and that means a great character for him to work with in both expression and color intensity.

The material with Mother is a bit lighter this time around once again and that’s not exactly a bad thing. Her temper with the twins over being lead into a rebel trap has her ready to kill one of them since they’re both to blame for allowing it to happen. What helps ease the moment is that some of Vix’s men have come with information that she needs and that sets them on a journey to Sampson since that’s where Bandit is going to be found. But what we do see is just how twisted Mother is as she does still deal with the twins, fulfilling her promise for there to just be one of them. Blending them into one distorted being through magic makes me cringe and feel quite glad that they didn’t show it clearly and up close because just the mid-range shot had me wanting to look away.

The bulk of the book focuses on the events on Sampson where Andy has managed to wake up the very drunk Telsa. With what he’s done, it’s no surprise he’s trying to get him, Mila, and Bandit off-world and Telsa is truly his only hope. But she’s really gone down a hole here and wants nothing to do with him or even with helping Mila. The only spark we see is when she sees Bandit since that brings TIM-21 back to mind and hopes that he’s there too. But without TIM-21, she just retreats into doing nothing, even when the militia shows up. It’s only because events are forced by this and Andy himself that she ends up getting involved but it plays out as I’d expect it would. Telsa lost so much in Descender and the time between that you can imagine easily numerous reasons why she wants nothing to do with Andy or anything else unless it involved TIM-21.

In Summary:
The first arc for Ascender draws to a close here and we get a skip month ahead before we get on with the next one. As an opening arc, it sets up everything it needs to and teases a lot of what can still come. I’m glad to see things moving forward as it did, bringing in some second-generation characters, and playing with a vastly different galaxy that I still don’t have a firm handle on. Jeff Lemire has given me a lot to enjoy and look forward to with it, especially once Bandit appeared, while Dustin Nguyen makes every panel a delight in seeing its details and more. I can’t wait for the next installment as this one definitely ends with a lot of chaos.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: August 28th, 2019
MSRP: $3.99


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