Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer: Steve Wands
What They Say:
“THE DEAD SEA,” Part One The hit fantasy series from powerhouse creative team JEFF LEMIRE and DUSTIN NGUYEN continues! After a bruising escape attempt, Andy finds himself in the clutches of the Militia, which means the murderous Mother can’t be far behind. Meanwhile, Mila books passage on a ship piloted by none other than the irascible Captain Telsa!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While Ascender is moving along a somewhat familiar path to those that read either a lot of comics of this nature or novels of a similar kind, Jeff Lemire is doing exactly what I figured he would. The execution and “color” of the world, building upon the Descender storyline, is keeping it engaging and interesting as we move slowly onto a next-generation kind of approach. With Dustin Nguyen able to reshape the visuals a bit with great color design to separate it some from Descender and to show it as a new period and place in the scheme of things, there’s something more colorful and vibrant about it while still staying true to what came before. It’s an engaging balancing act to watch unfold and the results are strong.
Andy’s story is tied to Mother’s nicely here as we saw him survive the last time around, for which I was grateful. He’s not exactly dead here but not doing well when he’s rescued before being carted off where he and a number of other men are being held for foodstuffs for something much more sinister. It’s a delayed piece that plays well with the stinger page at the end to make you want more. But the story is balanced with the other half focusing on Mother, Vix, and her group as they try to understand where Andy and Mila are. The chase is on in its own particular way and I really like seeing how Mother handles her subordinates as they get close but ultimate far from their goal until a sliver of hope shines for her. More time with this group is useful to get a feel for them and how they operate and engage with each other.
The other main storyline unfolding with Mila is definitely interesting to watch as they’ve gotten away at this point and now just have to get off-world. Telsa’s getting that kind of acceptance from Helda in order to move forward with it but she’s also trying to find the right way to deal with Mila. That the two really do bond over dead fathers is really well done, even if Andy isn’t actually dead, and you can see how these two really can connect well – even if Telsa’s remembering TIM-21 more than anything else. Of course, we do get some action here because we have the arrival of some werewhales which are pretty dangerous as they try to overrun the ship. It’s got its moments of tension and there’s definitely a neat element to it but it’s just an obstacle at the moment and nothing serious, though more so because Bandit’s not firing up his beam weapon.
Ascender continues to deliver well for me with what it does. There’s a good pace about it, I love the artwork, I’m interested in seeing where it’s really intending to go and what it wants to reveal about the galaxy at this point in time. I’m curious for more connections from the past, and seeing sadness from the past still making an impact. Descender was a really big book for me in how well it delivered and this team has not disappointed me in the slightest here as it begins its journey.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: October 23rd, 2019