I really enjoyed the first issue of Jeff Lemire’s Descender a lot. Maybe there are some things that could have better, but all in all, the comic easily had the best start and showed the most promise of any new Image comic that I’ve seen so far this year. The latest issue has just arrived, so let’s take a look at it and see if it can keep this excitement going. Is it good?
Descender #2 (Image Comics)
Picking up where we left off, Tim and Bandit are on the run from this nasty and dangerous group of Scrappers. They’re people who specialize in hunting down and destroying robots, which means Tim is in a bad spot. While running through the remains of this desolate mining colony, looking for someplace to hide, Tim’s memories start backing up and we see his past…
To start with, I’m pretty pleased with the second issue of the series and can assure fans of the first will enjoy this as well. Sure, the plot and story didn’t really make much advancement until the end of the issue, which had an absolutely brutal and shocking ending (one that I had reread just to make sure I just read what I thought I did). However, what we get instead is Tim’s backstory, something that I’m sure a lot of people were hoping to see soon. It turned out to be pretty good and well written here.
The comic can be divided into two parts, with one focusing on Tim in the present as he makes his escape from the Scrappers and the other being flashbacks as the comic goes through his memories (up to the point where he went to sleep for 10 years). Both parts are pretty good and interweaved very well, switching back and forth between each scene with every page flawlessly. The story in the present is pretty tense (right before it punches you in the gut) and the flashbacks are heartwarming and really let you get to see how Tim has evolved from a robot to what is, almost essentially, human. It definitely makes the ending a lot heavier and sad thanks to this development.
Lemire keeps up the good work with the writing here. The pacing is solid and works well alongside the strong story structure. The comic never feels too fast despite the hectic nature of the story taking place in the present, or too slow in the more quiet flashbacks. Regarding the characters, only Tim and Bandit return from the previous issue (we see Quon in a flashback, which can offer insight into what he was like in the past more) and he’s given much more character here. We get a look into his past, how he developed into this robot we see before him, see the growing bonds between him and the entire mining colony, and more (in some ways, it reminds me of Astro Boy). It’s well handled and makes you care for the character. Overall, no complaints with the writing this time around.
Dustin Nguyen’s artwork is still really damn good and really makes this book look incredible and powerful. The layouts are put together well, eye catching, and easy to read most of the time (on occasion it can look slightly off). The characters and designs are well done, showing a pretty good range of emotion and drama in their faces and body language. The coloring is fantastic and gorgeous, really sitting the mood and tone in every scene perfectly. The imagery is striking at points with how it depicts certain scenes, including that big moment towards the end. Honestly, this is one of the best looking science fiction comics I’ve seen in a long time.
Is It Good?
Descender #2 is a really good continuation to this new comic series, diving into the heartwarming and eventually tragic backstory of Tim and then proceeding to hit you with one hell of an ending. Combined with fantastic writing and absolutely gorgeous artwork, Descender has quickly become one of the best new series Image has to offer. If there’s one new Image series you have to read this year, make it this one.