July 16, 2024

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Comic Review: Descender Volume 2

Far too trusting companion android TIM-21 continues to look for his lost human brother in this Image Comics series.

Yeah, I really have been on a push lately to revisit series I liked but didn’t get back to for a while there.  For example, the Image series Descender last got a mention from me here in December of 2016.

Regardless, here’s a look at the second volume, subtitled Machine Moon, as the sci-fi adventure continues.

When last we saw TIM-21, a childlike android in more ways than one, he was being “rescued” from the anti-robot fighting arenas by the robotic revolutionaries/terrorists from the Hardwire.  They have a special need for TIM-21 despite already having a TIM-22.  21 won’t go anywhere without two organic companions, a badly injured roboticist who is something of a fraud and a military officer that tried to rescue him for her own purposes.  Left behind is another officer, the old mining robot Driller, and a robotic dog called Bandit that is the closest 21 has to a longtime companion.

Of course, the only thing 21 wants is to reunite with his “brother,” a human child named Andy.  The thing is, 21 had been offline for a decade, and Andy did grow up.  So, where is he?

We find out in the opening pages of this issue, as well as learn more about Andy has time goes on.  Andy learns 21 is awake again himself and wants to find his brother.  The thing is, Andy is a robot bounty hunter who goes around blowing robots up.  Does he want to save 21 or kill him?  It’s hard to say.  He was antisocial to begin with, but his mission soon has him acquiring a crew of his own, including Driller and Bandit.

Jeff Lemire is a hell of a good writer, and it really helps to see what he can pull off on his own, away from mainstream superhero work.  Descender isn’t my favorite work of his, but he’s building something here.  Dustin Nguyen’s artwork also helps, but the problem here for me is 21 isn’t much of a protagonist.  His overall naivete doesn’t make for a particularly smart main character, as he is constantly trusting everyone as his programming wants him to.  He also imprints on people depending on how much time he spends with them, so that’s a concern for some characters.  Still, learning more about Andy actually made for a more interesting second volume, so hopefully I get to the third volume a little quicker.  8.5 out of 10 haunted planets that aren’t really haunted.