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The first word which came to mind after getting to the first page of Descender was “wow”. Not only has artist Dustin Nguyen taken my breath away, but has also blown my mind with the amazing use of space and colours throughout the book.
Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen are a match made in heaven. Within only the first few pages, Lemire managed to build up his universe and tear it down before I could even catch my breath.
Descender is set in a universe where androids have been outlawed following an attack by massive robots of an unknown origin. These machines devastated the nine core planets of The United Galactic Council. Descender becomes immediately intriguing, and Lemire sets the uneasy tone of the book almost instantly. He makes the threats known through the narrative of the book simply and effectively.
With already a lot going on you would think that you wouldn’t have time to take in the characters. The main character, the young boy robot TIM-21, stands out among the rest of the characters we’re introduced to. His innocence is immediately played off in the first few panels he makes his appearance. Lemire significantly uses this innocence to his advantage, focusing on who TIM-21 is rather than what he is, giving him some endearing human-esque qualities, and by the end of the issue you’re completely invested in the character, especially with the questions that are left open as to what the future holds for TIM-21.
What truly brings Descender together is Nguyen’s artwork. The book wouldn’t be what it is without it. Nguyen manages to make amazing use of the space he’s given, making everything pop and drawing the eye to every panel. He has also done something which I haven’t seen in a long time. Nguyen soaked Descender in vibrant watercolour, making everything pop. Just the visual experience of the book made me go through it again just to look through the images that Nguyen has created. His artwork definitely brings Descender above and beyond, simplistic yet beautifully crafted.
A fact which I simply can’t leave out is that Sony, before the first issue has even been released, has picked up the film rights for the sci-fi series. Lemire and Nguyen are set to be the executive producers of the film adaptation, while Josh Bratman will produce it. Having only read the first issue of the series so far, I believe Sony has struck gold with Descender, and in all likelihood will thrive on the big screen.
Lemire and Nguyen are a match made in heaven, already making the world of Descender captivating and mesmerizing. Lemire makes TIM-21 a character that everyone can cheer on and fear for in this dangerous universe, while Nguyen’s art gives the book the extra flourish that it needs.
“Descender #1” earns 9/10