Story: Jeff Lemire
Art: Dustin Nguyen
Letterer: Steve Wands
What They Say:
In this stunning story arc conclusion, Andy and his wife-turned-vampire Effie are locked in a life-or-death struggle…with each other. Meanwhile, their daughter Mila encounters the familiar face of a friend thought long gone!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The danger of moving a series forward is that you get some characters meeting their end, or their fate just left unknown for so long, that you get more and more nervous about some characters. I do like that Jeff Lemire has kept things to just a couple of characters brought from the previous series and moving the story forward with them through Mila and what happened with her. The fun, I imagine, for someone like Dustin Nguyen is to take those familiar characters and age them up, working some good creativity in achieving the right look that feels natural. That’s even a challenge when it comes to bringing back a character like Driller, never mind the human characters like Andry and Effie.
I really enjoyed the storyline involving Mila this time around as we see her continuing to harden herself against what’s happening. She’s doing the trimming of her hair in order to be more streamlined and even Telsa notices that. She’s ready to get the show on the road and with the trio having arrived where they stored the ship years ago, it’s time to see what’s been going on there. The whole place has changed to a cold and icy bit of grimness but there’s also a ghost that has taken up residence on the ship that they run into. And aren’t exactly qualified to deal with as it lashes out. It’s a lot of fun in seeing how Helda steps up here to do the right thing so that Telsa can take Mila on her journey, but we get a little bit of help from Driller and his magical mystery friend from the last series as Driller is now apparently a Ghost Killer. I always liked Driller and his storyline before was one of the more unusual and intriguing, so I’m looking forward to seeing that expand here.
The other main piece we get here involves Andy as he’s all caged up and being watched over by the not in her mind Effie. Mother’s servant there is frustrated by all the noise Andy makes which is all about trying to wake Effie up from the control she’s under. It’s not surprising in how it actually does happen nor what results from there. Effie’s not been a complicated character but she realizes she’s completely lost to what Mother has done to her and her vampiric nature. With her gaining control even briefly, she just wants it to end and that’s a familiar story point. It’s not one I wish Lemire would use but it’s not a surprise and it plays out with the right kind of haunting element to it as she wants Andy to do everything he can for their daughter. Her belief and understanding that there’s no future for her, just more darkness and control, makes her want out this badly. And Nguyen delivers some really heart-rending panels for it.
Ascender moves along in its storytelling paths in the way I expect. After a good round focusing on Mother the last time around, this one splits its focus well to give Mila and her group some time and focus while also showing what Andy is having to deal with in trying to rescue the love of his life and get back to their daughter. Each has some good action to it and delivers some new things to explore along with changes to the characters themselves. It’s engaging and fun and I love the look of it all, especially as it brings back a favorite of mine from the Descender era. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: March 18th, 2020