In the far-off future, man has travelled to space. We’ve colonised and live across planets. Our smartest scientists have even created robots. Both in and out of our likeness, working alongside us. Suddenly, without warning, planet sized mechanical beings appear and wreak havoc across the galaxy. Sending humanity into disarray. 10 years later, a Tim model android activates. Having no idea as to what has happened. Where his ‘family’ is. And why the mining base he is assigned to is suddenly abandoned. In the form of a young child, Tim-21 finds himself swept up in a situation he was never designed for. On the run from scrappers, and found by the government and his ‘creator’. There are so many questions that need answers, and how does Tim’s coding fit into all of it?
Taking its cue, and heavily reminiscent of Asmiov’s Complete Robot, and the Supertoy stories by Brian Aldiss. Jeff Lemire’s Descender is a fascinating and captivating sci-fi tale. The mysteries flowing through this first trade, the initial 6 issues, are engrossing to no end. The book is hard to put down once you are engaged. Every thread of the mystery keeps you going, wanting to know more. The characters are compelling, each providing their own voice to the story. Each memorable in their own way, with their own goal for discovering the truth. Weather it’s the answer to their research. Revenge for their mother’s death. Or just the whereabouts of their family. The core cast maybe small, but they play off both each other, and the people that cross their path.
The books use of flashbacks and jumps between pages, provides not only a greater depth to the story. But allows us to see the characters thought process in a more natural and compelling fashion, than simply in a dialogue exchange.
Dustin Nguyen’s artwork is purely stunning to the eyes. A beautiful, and minimalist watercolour approach to what could have been a bland and generic palette. A display of striking colour and warmth, to the cold reaches of space and metallic forms. He plays off Lemire’s story beautifully, to breath incredible life into the characters. Giving even small roles, a memorable presence.
Descender is a wonderful example of thoughtful science fiction, wrapped in a stunning watercolour shell.