BooksOfTheMoon

Descender, Vol. 2: Machine Moon

By Jeff Lemire

Rating: 4 stars

Picking up from where volume 1 left off, this volume continues the story of Tim-21, a child’s companion android, who has just been introduced to another of his siblings, Tim-22, in the middle of a daring rescue. We’re introduced to both the Hardwire (the robot resistance) as well as another pivotal character who joins the manrobot-hunt for Tim-21. And all the poor kid wants to do is to find the child he was assigned to and drop out of galactic politics entirely.

The art is still gorgeous, with that watercolour style that lends the whole work a slightly surreal or dreamlike quality that you might not think would work in a sci-fi space opera setting but it really does.

Beyond Tim-21, there are some interesting new, and recurring, robots, chief of whom is Psius, the head of the Hardwire. We also get to spend a bit more time with Driller (who’s a real killer, as he never gets tired of reminding us) and the irritatingly yappy robo-dog Bandit. The organic characters are worth mentioning too, from the cowardly roboticist Dr Quon (who’s got more revelations to come, after the biggie in volume 1) to Captain Telsa, who’s just trying to do her job and stay alive in a universe that seems to have gone mad in the last week or so. I look forward to meeting them all again.

Book details

ISBN: 9781632156761
Publisher: Image Comics
Year of publication: 2016

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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