Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art, Cover: Dustin Nguyen
Lettering: Steve Wands
Issue #16 of Descender marked the end of a story arc in which the story hardly advanced: it was mostly focussed on flashbacks, through which we discovered many things about all the main characters.
This issue #17, opening an arc that will be called Orbital Mechanics, opens by quickly bringing us back to the action. On Machine Moon, the base of the Hardwire (the resistance robot-only group), TIM-21, who appears to have in himself (or should it be itself?) the plans to rebuild the Harvesters who nearly destroyed humankind, is hunted by his clone and nemesis TIM-22, upset at having lost his (its) uniqueness. On Sampson, Effie/Queen Between mourns the loss of her whole cyborg army consoled by Andy, her ex husband. In a detention cell back on Machine Moon, Telsa, betrayed again by the coward Dr. Quon, is trying to find some way to escape – only to be helped by Quon himself, who insists that his betrayal was only a way to buy time.
This new issue continues, like the first few pages, with each page divided into three panels, each following one of those three pairs of characters. Until… until something happens, read it and you’ll find out what.
The story seems to be changing pace now. Until this issue, something has been slowly building: the Hardwire’s recreation of the Harvesters. Now, it looks like everything is very, very close to happening. And we’re here, looking at the events pan out in Dustin Nguyen’s always amazing watercolours, trying to guess what destiny Jeff Lemire has decided for humankind.
Descender has been a peculiar series from the start, and not only for the extremely original (and wonderful) idea of having everything hand painted. The characters go very often against the stereotypes they should be adhering to while at the same time still playing with them, and now the plot has completely abandoned anything that may have been done before to venture into new territories.
Start reading this series: you won’t regret it.