“Descender” #6 delivers the series’ first flashback issue, detailing the origins of Quon’s robot revolution and placing a dark mark on his legacy. The issue doesn’t entirely take place in the past though, and the final moments are sure to leave you hungry for more.
WRITTEN BY: Jeff Lemire
ART BY: Dustin Nguyen
RELEASE: August 12, 2015
The truth about Quon’s “genius” isn’t entirely unexpected, but this kind of moral transition is something Lemire has perfected over the years (see “Sweet Tooth”). Moral ambiguity is an important theme in this series, and part of the big mystery: who or what are the ancient machines that decimated the core planets? After discovering the robot that seems to predate all recorded history on artificial intelligence, it is even less clear who the true villains are here. The robot’s final words were cryptic, but most certainly hold big clues for the future of “Descender”.
Reading “Descender” it is evident that Lemire has really developed as a script writer. Where he has developed a reputation for incredible emotion-driven plots, I didn’t always feel that his dialogue and narration were of the same caliber. Quite often less was more, as was the case of “Underwater Welder” for example, where his art really took charge of delivering theme and story. Here, though, I consistently take notice of how strong the dialogue and narration are and I see the words pushing the story a lot further than most of his previous work. There is an incredible bit of monologue as the issue transitions from past to present as Quon explains how easy it was for him to betray his mentor that nearly had me applauding.
Speaking of art, Dustin Nguyen has been such a perfect match for this series. The kinetic, non-precise use of line conveys such an intricacy to the machines and settings, and implied motion gives this sci/fi a spooky dream like quality that I think adds so much to the tone. The most important character, the Tims, are rendered with so much care and expressive detail that their image is burned into my brain. I legitimately care for the Tim-21, and I mostly has Nguyen to thank for that.
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