Writer: Jeff Lemire / Artist / Dustin Nguyen / Image
For the past two issues, Descender has given us some hearty backstory that gave some context to the Harvesters and their role. We also learned that life in the galaxy may not have progressed the way that we thought it had. Did man make machine, or was it the other way around?
But this issue?! Ohoooo this issue of Descender was madness! The Hardware are comin’ for them bodies. You got skin? You bout to get incinerated. Who can blame them, though? Machinekind have been slaves their entire lives, and since the Harvesters came, they’ve been hunted. Their entire life is the confused Nick Young meme. But it’s time to tip the scale of balance a bit. Probably a little more than a bit, honestly.
While the UGC is crumbling Tim-21, Tesla, and Quon have just met Solomon and that Ancient Robot from the flashback issues. They face a task that will have ramifications across the entire galaxy. This issue acknowledges that Tim-21 is pulled in so many directions all the time. He rarely gets to make his own choices. He’s the messiah figure of this series, and instead of people following him, they want to control him. That trend continues in this issue, as both the machines and humans need Tim-21 to end this war before lives are lost.
I really like how distinct all the robots look. 29 issues in, and there are so many different machine classes to pick apart. The OG robots look about exactly how you’d expect them to. Exposed metal, clunky joints, fixed faces. Then you’ve got the androids who are created in our image (Tim-21), so they look like us. What follows are the Harvesters. And they look like Gods. Their sheer size and presence in relation to a planet is enough to convey their power. Then you’ve got the Ancient robot, who was created on Ostrakon thousands of years ago as a test. He looks like a mix of man and machine. I wouldn’t call him an android because he looks almost transcendent. He’s transparent and has a glow that matches his wisdom. Ngyuen does a really good job at making all of these different machines look and feel unique. For something that’s more or less expendable in a lot of movies and video games, it feels fresh to have a story centered around robots in a way that broadens your perspective on what they could be. That wouldn’t be possible without Ngyuen’s designs.
Issue #29 of Descender provides action that propels the story forward. If you’ve been reading the series in real time, this is the issue that responds to that cliffhanger from a few months ago. It seems from here on out, the narrative is gonna get a little bit tighter as characters that were separate, are now getting closer together.
Reading Descender? Find BNP’s other reviews here.