Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars

By Jeff Lemire

Rating: 4 stars

In a future galactic civilisation, robots live and work amongst their biological cousins. One day, giant planet-sized robots appear out of nowhere, wreak havoc and then disappear just as mysteriously. Ten years later, anti-robot feeling has run rampant, and most robots are hunted down and destroyed. However, on a distant mining colony, a child’s companion robot wakes from a ten year sleep and, as his codex matches that of the now disappeared Harvesters, he is suddenly wanted by half the galaxy.

I really enjoyed this really wide-canvas story. Tim-21 is disoriented and afraid; this makes him relatable (and not as annoying as I often find children in these sorts of scenarios – or even pretend children). The back story of a galactic civilisation pushed to the edge and falling apart in the wake of the attack is nicely played. Some infodumping, but minimal enough to be unobtrusive and almost expected in the comic format.

The art, by Dustin Nguyen, is rather lovely, the watercolours lending a surreal or dreamlike effect to the whole thing, which somewhat offsets the hard SF tone of the story, not to mention some of the horrific things that happen (on- or off-page)!

While the dialogue can sometimes be a bit clunky, the story is compelling, the world-building is well done, Tim-21 himself is someone who you just want to protect (even though he’s supposed to be a protector himself) and the cliffhanger has left me wanting more. Roll on volume 2.

Book details

ISBN: 9781632154262
Publisher: Image Comics
Year of publication: 2015

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