Image Comics has really been hitting it out of the ballpark lately. Outside of the superhero genre, which is owned by Marvel and DC, Image has the corner on sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural. They have so many new title releases I can’t possibly get them all, even though they’re cheaper than shoes.
Descender, which began in March 2015, is a sci-fi series about man verses machine written by Jeff Lemire and illustrated by Dustin Nguyen. But don’t let any of the clichés about this familiar sci-fi theme paint any pre-cog pictures.
The megacosm, a population of nine species across nine planets, is attacked by nine moon-sized robots that appear from nowhere. As a result, humans turn against machines and the rock star of robotics, Dr. Jin Quon.
Ten years after the attacks, the worlds are still recovering, living in constant fear of machines and another ‘Harvester’ attack. In a mining colony on a small, far away moon, the possible key to the attacks wakes up and the outcast, Quon, is pulled from hiding and given a second chance to save the universe.
“The focus of THE HARVESTER attacks seems to have been citizens of the UGC and our planetary infrastructures, while our mechanical companions and helpers were mostly spared…” – Descender, issue 1, March 2015, page 22, news feed
A look at Descender will show you the qualities that identify an Image Comic: adult themes, rich stories, colorful characters, and a modern approach to comic design.
Descender is not in-your-face with hard ‘R’ adult themes like in Sex Criminals or The Walking Dead, but there’s no mistaking they’re there. Post-war problems like murder, scavenging, torture, and genocide are layered with the complicated questions about what makes a family and what makes a human. Are you real only if you have dreams?
Tin Moon introduces us to the universe of the megacosm and a series of mysteries.
The Gnishians are the leaders of the anti-technology movement after the Harvester attacks but their zero-tolerance policy may put the recovery and defense of the megacosm at risk.
Although Dr. Quon may see himself as a creator, his robots see him as father. With the robots owning human relationships, maybe the technology got out of Quon’s control.
The United Galactic Council has a shaky hold on the nine planets where the Harvesters destruction of power, infrastructure, and communications has opened up old faction animosities.
In replies to fan letters it’s been revealed that Lemire has planned out at least 24 issues—plenty of time to begin exploring this new universe.
In the first arc, I don’t believe we’ve met all nine races of the megacosm yet. Dr. Quon is humanoid. The robo-phobic Gnishians have pig-like noses. Captain Telsa is an unidentified UGC representative with white skin and orange-red hair.
The robots are just as distinctive. Driller is a homicidal meathead. Bandit has the loyalty of man’s best friend but expressions limited to emoticons.
Imagine the possibilities with the species we haven’t met yet—a gaseous race called the Phages, the resilient survivors of the renaissance floating city on Mata, and the telepaths of Silenos.
Dustin Nguyen may have moved himself to the top of the pack with what he’s done on Descender. The images are some of the most beautiful I’ve seen. The watercolor panels are simply mesmerizing. The word is, Nguyen completes an entire book in a month!
Descender will return in November with its new story, “Machine Moon.”
The first story arc , “Tin Moon,” completed in August and the trade paperback is out this month. Get it and put it on your coffee table because it’s going to be gorgeous.
Descender: Tin Stars, issues 1 – 6, March – August 2015, Image Comics
Descender, issue 1, March 2015
Descender, issue 2, April 2015
Descender, issue 3, May 2015
Descender, issue 4, June 2015
Descender, issue 5, July 2015
Descender, issue 6, August 2015