Note: This review was originally published at ComicsBulletin.com
Those that haven’t jumped on the Descender bandwagon yet better make the leap soon. The Image Comics collaboration by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen has been a fascinating journey for readers, a journey which continues in Descender #2. The beautiful, emotive artwork from Nguyen invites readers into a fully realized world. That world is fleshed out by a narrative structure that thrusts readers into our protagonist’s plight while filling in his back-story as the issue progresses. That the creators can make their audience connect with an android on an emotional level is all the more impressive.
Color plays an important role in Descender #2’s narrative structure. Not only does the shifting palate inform readers as to which timeline is the focus, but it also informs the book’s mood. Cold grays and blues combine with thick inks add to the gravity of the situation faced by TIM-21, hunted without mercy in his lifeless home. Conversely, a range of red hues give the issue’s flashbacks a welcoming warmth – fitting for the details of TIM-21’s arrival at the mining colony. Readers are shown a world full of life and kindness. For an android seeking to understand humanity and his place in the universe, this timeline is practically a utopia. The range of emotion that can be inferred from a simple shift in color palate is a testament to Nguyen’s skill as an sequential storyteller.
There have been many stories featuring androids and the eternal question “what is human?” Some are good, some are bad, and a bunch fall somewhere in between. Then there are the few that make the ascension into greatness. Descender is on that ascent.