Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer: Steve Wands
What They Say:
“THE DEAD SEA,” Part Two As Captain Telsa struggles in the jaws of a massive WereWhale, the secret of what happened to her during the Second Descender attack is finally revealed!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The shift from Descender to Ascender was something that worked easily for me. So many novel series do generational shifts and uplift characters that are young into older positions and bring in a new generation or two. Ascender also changed the nature of this local galaxy where the former citizens of the UGC now find themselves stuck on planets while magic and dangerous creatures exist out there. Lemire and Nguyen have worked the tale well in introducing us to Mila and getting her on her journey while also ensuring that those of the previous generation are still having their tale told. Getting to see Andy in this form is definitely interesting and Telsa was one I had hoped for the most.
This issue is almost entirely about her and how she got from there to here in brief. The final moments of the Descender period were rough since it was esesntially a loss tinged with hope and we see that in the opening here with Quon getting Telsa to the ship and getting offworld so they can reconnect with a larger force. Unfortunate, Niyrata has fallen completely and there’s little left living there. While she turns to her duty in helping the people she can try and find here, Quon – in his changed form mode – wants to carry the fight back to the Descenders and to get TIM-21. It’s the last we see of Quon here and I suspect his story is going to be nuts if we get to it and if he made it into space where tales of beasts and other creatures began to be told.
The tale that follows over the eight or so years after that is interesting enough as she carves out a place to help survivors and even finds another UGC soldier that decides to operate under her command, Helda. Telsa and Helda are definitely solid together in how they help people out and try to build something from there, but the reality of the whispers from the stars finally hits as there’s basically a large scale vampire attack and her world falls once again. It’s hard seeing her going from disbelief to some hope and then to have her world taken from her again, causing them to flee to space and finding a refuge on Sampson where we are now. But all of this serves well to show us the path she took after the events that dominated the end of Descender and altered the UGC forevermore.
Though perhaps not as deep as I was hoping for when you get down to it, Ascender delivers some really good stuff in filling in some of the material of what happened between the two series. I like this kind of drop-in knowledge that fleshes things out and follows our known character while introducing a new one that’s operating in the present. Lemire keeps things moving at a good pace here without lingering in a place too long but also making it connect. Nguyen gives us a lot for Telsa to go through but watching that journey under his guidance is fantastic as we see just what she’s capable of and how her intensity drives her even as she plays at being tired and done with it all.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: November 27th, 2019