Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art, Cover: Dustin Nguyen
Lettering: Steve Wands
Issue #17 of Descender, that opened the Orbital Mechanics story arc, showed us the parallel progression of three stories. First, the fight to the death between child-bots TIM-21 and TIM-22, the latter jealous of the former who somehow contains the plans to rebuild the Harvesters, the gigantic robots that nearly destroyed humankind; TIM-21 comes out the winner, carrying his/its clone and enemy’s body in its arms. Although the two bots are so identical that we’ll never be sure. Then, we see the very sweet reconciliation between bot-hunter Andy, who owned TIM-21 as a child, and his ex wife Effie, now a cyborg who led an army of which she’s the only survivor. Finally, Dr. Quon betrayed Captain Telsa’s identity as the daughter of the leader of the UGC, ruling most of the free Galaxy, in order to save his own life; we soon find out that his was only a ruse to save them both. As they flee, they are met by TIM-21 carrying TIM-22’s lifeless body.
Issue #18 brings us back to the planet Sampson where Effie is still grieving for her lost men – consoled by Bandit, Andy’s old dog-bot, and observed longingly by Andy himself. Meanwhile Blugger, Andy’s co-pilot and fellow bot-hunter, tries to bring the focus back on their hunt for TIM-21, unaware that Andy’s intentions are not exactly to kill the child-bot, as it represents the last link to his childhood and to his lost family. But there’s something strange in the ground…
First of all, let’s get one thing out of the way: the usual but fully deserved praise for Dustin Nguyen’s glorious watercolours that illustrate the whole series. Definitely a highlight.
Descender has definitely changed pace in the last couple of issues. Things are happening fast, shocking surprises follow each other (at least three in this #18 only), the story is changing direction fast taking a very, very unexpected turn…
What is Descender? It started like a sweet little story about a child-bot, it moved on to focus on Andy’s struggle between his job and his feelings, then it became Quon’s story of betrayal and lies, it moved on to the clash between the two TIM units… what now? Follow it and you’ll find out!