Writer: Jeff Lemire / Artist: Dustin Nguyen / Image Comics
Ascender #3 sprinkles in some flashbacks like Baskin Robbins on a hot summer day to help bridge the world of Descender to the upside down one we currently find ourselves in.
After the cliffhanger from issue 2 that left Andy and Mila on the run from vampiric cultists, we’re taken back and shown the moments after the finale of Descender that shows Andy and Effie in a similar escape from the robot resistance.
Lemire does a perfect job at picking and choosing what moments from the past to show us. Ya boi particularly impressed with the amount of time that we spend in these moments, as they’re always brief, while still containing so much information that informs the present. In the series of flashbacks provided in this issue, we see a lot of important moments: Andy and Effie’s seclusion on Andy’s homeworld of Dirishu-6, the birth of Mila, and Effie’s fate. These are all instrumental to the state of Andy’s mentality in the present because by choosing to show us these fundamental moments of the past ten years, it helps inform all of his hopes, desires, and fears when it comes to him and his daughter Mila.
What I find really interesting is that by showing us these moments from the past, we learn that Andy has a very limited amount of knowledge about this new world. He and Effie lived for years on Dirishu-6 before they were attacked by Mother’s followers. They weren’t around to see the rise of this new regime so one could only think that he knows about as much as we do, at least as it pertains to how Mother took control.
On the flip side of the craft, Dustin Nguyen must be having the time of his life. As I’ve mentioned before, Ascender allows him to use a different bag of tools when it comes to design, color palette, and overall aesthetic. A universe filled with magic calls for a look that sets it apart from one that’s filled with metal. But since we’re getting these flashbacks, and a lot of them, it allows Nguyen to jump back and forth in those styles in ways he hasn’t been able to do before. It’s a lot of fun as the reader. It further sets apart Descender and Ascender as a series, while somehow bringing them together as well.
I didn’t think we’d be getting this many glimpses into the past, especially not this soon. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m happy to see moments from the last series, however fleeting they wind up being in future issues.
Ascender #3 surprises with some welcomed flashbacks that really help you start to piece together the ten-year gap of time that bridges Descender to Ascender. As always, Lemire & Nguyen don’t mess around in the craft department.
9.5 Space Dragons out of 10
Reading Ascender? Find BNP’s other reviews here.