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‘Ascender #1’ (review)

Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Dustin Nguyen
Published by Image Comics


The series called Descender was one of that more incredible series that has come out in recent years. The story by Jeff Lemire was completely excellent and the painted art by Dustin Nguyen was spectacular. It was such a nice and fully realized universe that it only makes sense that the creators would want to continue with their story.

And it feels like a new direction they are going off in with this book, just from reading the very first pages.

The series starts with a bunch of strange aliens watching the arrival of a living  spaceship. The ship carries a prisoner it seems.

These aliens and the setting they are in look like something from Game of Thrones a bit, but there are enough differences to really be distinct.

A few things happen. It gets downright strange and even a bit mystical. And then we are shown a metal head that they find.

The metal head seems to be the thing that starts the story off in its new direction. One of the character’s remarks that it’s a message. And then the title sequence comes up! It’s bold and exciting and I just loved the way Lemire begins this epic space journey. Incidentally, the metal head may look familiar to readers of the previous series.

We then cut to the planet called Sampson. We see Mila,  the daughter of Andy and Effie from the previous series, going about her day. Mila is quite a rascal too and has many traits from her parents. It isn’t long before she gets into trouble. First she has a fight with her dad about the world and the “freedoms” they have now. And then she leaves her home fast in an angry huff. Then, she comes across something that she cannot ignore.

By the end of the issue, we see a lot of the forces that are going to be in play for the series. We have the villains of the piece established. We also have the path of adventure for Mila open itself up to her. It’s looks it’s going to be one hell of a fun ride!

I do enjoy the story by Lemire very much. It’s the artwork, however, that makes this series sing. The watercolored illustrations by Nguyen are something to behold. They make the series for me. It’s some of the best imagery we have in comics presently and he really makes this series a book that is its own thing. Bravo to him and his work here.


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