Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art, Colours, Cover: Dustin Nguyen
Lettering: Steve Wands
Descender #9 showed us robo-child TIM-21 and his “brother” TIM-22 reflecting about humankind and humanity, a trait that they seem to have more than any of the human characters we have met in this series. Meanwhile, on planet Gnish, we see the funerals of King S’Nok, killed by the robot resistance group The Hardwire while rescuing TIM-21 from his grasp; during the ceremony we also meet the new king, S’Lok, who promises to increase the kingdom’s effort against robots and androids. The scrapper Andy, who as a child had TIM-21 as a companion, is there to hear this. Leaving the throne room, he happens upon the arena, where he recognises Bandit, his and TIM-21’s old robo-dog, left there to fight in gladiatorial challenges alongside powerful Driller (who will remind you time and again that it is a killer) and a non-robotic member of the crew that was transporting TIM-21. Andy thinks that, if he can hack into a tracking system that links Bandit and TIM-21, he will be able to find him.
This issue #10 opens with the TIMs being welcomed to Robot City, where all robots live in peace and the two robo-children will finally be able to act according to their programming: like children. Dr. Quon and Telsa are the first biological beings seeing Robot City. Ever. Which creates an issue: they can’t stay there, but they can’t be allowed to leave either. Psius, the apparent leader of the Hardwire, suggests to run some tests on TIM-21: once, he/it had a dream. Which should be impossible. And they want to find out what happened.
Descender is a brilliant, complex series about acceptance and belonging, about childhood and memories, about war and racism. Oh, yeah. Big topics, hidden under a story concerning child robots and a race whose (deceased) king would make Jabba the Hutt look cute. And I will never tire to praise the art in Descender. Justin Nguyen hand-paints every single frame, every detail, everything. I’m not saying that it looks like an oil painting: the art in Descender actually is a series of oil paintings.
Once again, read this series. It is even better than it looks. And it looks great.