DECSENDER Shatters Expectations on Its Rise to Greatness – Comic Review
The two superstar comic creators Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen have teamed up to create a universe sprawling sci-fi adventure titled Descender. This new series has gained a lot of attention through advertising, the Image expo earlier this year and the news that it has already been picked up for a big screen adaptation! With all the hype before the first issue release Lemire and Nguyen had their work cut out from them. Their first issue more than delivers. Fast and fun writing is complemented with loose and colorful painting to create one of the most lush galaxies ever seen in the first issue of a comic.
Author of the award-winning love story Trillium Lemire is no stranger to the sci-fi genre. However, even fans of Trillium will likely be blown away by the instant and epic feel of Descender. The strength of Lemire’s past books generally originate in his characters. That is not to say that the worlds and situations he creates are weak. It is quite the opposite in fact, his characters are just so overwhelming strong, relatable or interesting that they seem to cast a shadow over the setting. In the first extra long issue of Descender Lemire introduces Tim-21, a robot boy that has woken from a long sleep to find himself in the middle of a war between organics and robots. Instead of changing a situation or setting Tim, along with other characters, act more as view points to their environment and situations. By introducing readers to the stories setting through the character’s small scale views Lemire creates a galaxy that has weight and a sense of wonder. The character, setting and plot are balanced masterfully as new character’s appearances are strategically used to introduce new plot beats. There are no wasted pages or word bubbles in this tight nit fast paced read. The rate at which things escalate is accentuated by the amazing colors throughout the issue.
Nguyen (Lil’ Gotham) has one of the most unique and easily recognizable styles in comics today. His watercolor brush work can go from dark and brooding (Streets of Gotham) to fun and lighthearted without missing a step. This means that his art style is conceptually ideal for a space adventure featuring a boy and his robot dog! In Descender Nguyen seems to have completely moved away from inks and the use of dark outlines in general. The absence of the complete blacks may seem weird for a comic set in space but instead of large spanning flat black backdrops Nguyen has opted for ethereal looking darkness. Skillful and clearly purposed bleeds in the water colors direct readers eyes through the pages and add a sense of depth not found in black ink. Even the texture of the paper Nguyen used is visible, increasing the ever present otherworldly feel. Never before has a planets atmosphere looked so beautiful and menacing at the same time!
This book is everything readers could want! Even the possible complaint about a lack of character development (an overly common problem with first issues in series) gets shut down by this read. Carefully crafted dialogue and some standard but enjoyable character archetypes provide readers with a solid grasp on every major player revealed so far. The vastness of the galaxy is also established through dialogue while the variation of life (or lack of ) has begun to be clearly presented through the imagery. It is no wonder this series has already been tapped for the silver screen. Get the first issue while you can! Descender is a must read book that will surely be flying off the shelves!
Published by Image Comics
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Dustin Nguyen
Lettered by Steve Wands