Writer: Jeff Lemire / Artist: Dustin Nguyen / Image Comics
Issue 7 of Ascender was all about Captain Tesla and what she’s been up to for the past ten years since the events of Descender took place.
Following through with the cliffhanger from last issue, Tesla is getting dragged underwater and into a giant werewhale’s mouth. And as soon as she gets there, accepting certain doom, we jump back to ten years prior in the aftermath of the major events of the end of Descender. This is how this issue is framed, and it works really well to not only advance the narrative but provide information that bridges the past to the present in a way that is wrapped up in the character’s desires.
These flashbacks don’t feel like they were just shoehorned in because they needed to be. They feel like they fit right into the only slot they could fit in. Because Tesla feels like she’s about to die, it’s like these flashbacks are her life flashing before her eyes– at least the last ten years of her life. It’s a way for her to go over every major moment that led her to this exact situation, but it’s also a way for us to get some much-needed info about what her life has been like while time has passed and how the galaxy has descended from a galactic federation of planets to a desolate wasteland full of a religious vampiric army. We still don’t have all the answers, but we’re well on our way due to the context of Tesla’s memories.
We also get to see how Tesla and her first mate Helda’s stories got intertwined, which again provides context as to why she’s having these memories in the first place.
All in all, everything in this issue provides desire for Tesla’s character and in turn makes us want to care about her and Helda more so than we might have been inclined to without these flashbacks. That’s hard to do when you’re a series that’s continuing a narrative that started in another series. You’ve got a built-in fan base who already knows and loves these characters. But there are also new readers that don’t have the same knowledge. So, you’ve got to reintroduce them in new ways that both reaffirms why the fans who are coming back care for these characters, while at the same time introducing the new ones to their more personal side at the same time.
Ascender #7 uses a handful of Captain Tesla’s flashbacks to help bridge the gap between Descender and Ascender.
9.5 Space Pirates out of 10
Reading Ascender? Find BNP’s other reviews here.