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Ascender #11 Review

4 min read
Great stuff all around as it sets us up for this new arc.

“THE DIGITAL MAGE,” Part One

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

What They Say:
Captain Telsa is doing her best to shake off young Mila and Bandit, but things get harder when an old friend wants to tag along—DRILLER, the KILLER ROBOT!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With Descender having had some gaps between arcs before, having a nearly five-month break between the last issue and this one due to the pandemic isn’t quite as bad as it could be. Jeff Lemire has written a pretty smooth run so far and it was surprisingly easy to reconnect with this, especially since it was filling us in on someone we haven’t seen since the prior series. That helped to ease us back into things and reconnect us to the present. Dustin Nguyen makes it even easier because it’s incredibly welcome to have his artwork again and this cast of characters, particularly since it does focus on Driller for a good bit of it and that hulking, lumbering character is someone that we haven’t had in another form for a while. Nobody else filled that slot so there’s a lot to like there.

Driller’s story isn’t complicated and that most definitely isn’t a surprise. With Mizerd relating the tale, the end of events of Descender with the way the robots were wiped out had him in a panic and he had used his magic to return to Woch, grabbing Driller at the right time so that he wasn’t in the normal universe when it happened. The two weren’t able to stay there, however, because everything had changed because of that event. While magic was hidden away and hard to access, it was overflowing now and that meant the vampires from down below, hungry from being there for ages, had made it to the surface and were tearing it apart. All that they could do was flee once again, this time to Sampson as it “felt right” and there weren’t a lot of choices when abandoning a planet. With Driller being put under a glamour, it was easy enough to sneak him away and they spent the past decade hiding out until coming across Milla and the others.

That’s not a huge part of the book but it’s the one that fills us in on new things. While we get a little time with Mother as she’s stripped of more power by her sister and looks to just be used as a vessel for her machinations, the bulk follows Telsa and her group as they try to get the ship ready to fly and get off-world. Of course, she’s not interested in bringing Mizerd or Driller, but Milla’s fascinated by both even if she doesn’t like that Mizerd is basically calling her an incredibly powerful witch. What we do get is Milla insisting that they’re going with them and butting heads with Telsa again, which is fun to watch because they are both so stubborn. It plays out predictably and sets things up for the story to move forward into a new arena finally and with an interesting crew aboard the ship.

In Summary:
The reunion of the robot dog and Driller alone nearly made this issue worthwhile as both were quite happy in their own way to be reunited. I liked the story we got for what Driller has been up to all this time and the patience of his that is definitely a core character aspect. Things are ramping up more and getting off-world will definitely help to put a new spin on the series as it moves forward and more forces come into direct play with them. Lemire’s script gives us a lot to work with here with this cast of characters and Nguyen makes it look fantastic and easy as we flow between several stories on multiple worlds. Great stuff all around as it sets us up for this new arc.

Grade: B+

Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Image Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: July 29th, 2020
MSRP: $3.99


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