Descender #31 Review

Writer: Jeff Lemire / Artist: Dustin Nguyen / Image

In the second to last issue of Descender, humans, and machine-kind are in a frenzy to kill each other. The mutual hatred of each faction continues, and Tim-21 is the catalyst that both sides need to tip the scales in their favor. But he wants no part in this war. His motivations are rooted in trying to prove that robots and humans can coexist.

One of my favorite things about this series has always been its dialogue on oppression and equality. And ultimately, what constitutes life. Because we live in a time where we’re reminded every day that we are still capable of treating people less than human. Descender shows us a possible future where we’ve seemingly moved past our disdain for one another, but we fill the void by applying that same energy to our own creations. Descender is in a way, a study of the idea that humanity could never exist without the urge to try to impose our power over others.

This issue explored a lot of characters going against their protocol. I thought it was pretty fitting to show characters outgrow their shells and do something for themselves instead of whatever faction they serve. Andy comes to terms with his Scrapper past in order to help his childhood friend. Tim-21 refuses to be used as a tool on either side of the war. And Tesla, the most tethered of them all, disobeys her father and helps Tim-21 escape. By having all of these characters make bold decisions, it pays off the arcs that they’ve been on since the beginning of the series. And with one issue left, that could mean that we get a few deaths to really put the nail in the coffin of their development. I’m glad this comic is done in watercolor, cause I’m definitely gonna be crying.

One of the visual highlights for me in this issue was a beautiful purple & pink double-page spread that retraces Tim-21’s relationship with Andy, in an effort to show that humans and machines can live in harmony without hating each other and I’M NOT CRYING YOU’RE CRYING ? ? ?

Oh and there’s a Harvester so gotdamn huge, I don’t even think I can fully comprehend its scope. This thing was so big, it looked like it could palm a planet like a basketball and Steph Curry that shit into a black hole 100 lightyears away.

Descender #31 lays everything on the table in preparation for the finale. With big decisions made and major plot points resolved, everything is perfectly set up for an epic finale that will no doubt leave us all in a state of renewed appreciation for our electronic devices.

9 Mechanic Mind-Melds out of 10

Reading Descender? Find BNP’s other reviews here.

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  • Morgan Hampton

    Staff Writer

    Morgan Hampton is a writer--OH MY GOD I CAN ACTUALLY SAY THAT NOW. *ahem* Excuse me, sorry for that outburst. As I was saying, Morgan Hampton is a writer currently living in San Francisco with an obsession for all things nerd (except Medieval stuff. Get outta here with that mess), and a passion to represent the underrepresented. He's an aspiring comic book writer so catch him in the funny pages some time before the apocalypse. He holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from SFSU so he's broke.

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