Review: Descender #15

By Robert Larson

Well, Descender picks up a little bit with this issue, though it’s not exactly by much. All it does is manage to avoid retreading familiar ground in the never-ending series of flashbacks postponing the revelation of Tim’s fate. Is it interesting? Not particularly, because what we some of what we could have easily guessed, and the other piece is somewhat interesting but ultimately rushed, so it doesn’t come with a whole lot of emotional payoff. Business as usual? I suppose, but that’s not a good thing for this book. At least we might finally be done with this flashback horse-hockey and get back to advancing the narrative. Warning: I will be discussing spoilers.

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Review: Descender #14

I can’t tell if this is a good turning point for Descender. The past few issues have nothing but a stall job, the equivalent of a guy who comes out during the climax of a murder scene in a play and tap dances on stage. It’s been back story we’ve already known about, stretched out far longer than it needed to be, just when the story was heating up. And that’s the first half of this particular issue, which had me just about ready to be done with this whole story arc. But then, there’s a little bit at the end that makes me hopeful we can finally get back on track. We see the day of the accident at the mining colony: how Andy was saved while his family was left behind. We then see bits and pieces of Bandit’s life until the day Tim-21 came back online, and how Bandit was involved in that. We then see Andy with the group of survivors trying to avoid the Gnishys, and how they plan to use Bandit to find Tim.

descender14_CoverThe first half, the Bandit storyline, is pointless. Bandit can sort of capture some audience investment by being a dog (except that he’s not like a dog), but that investment can only go so far with a protagonist who has no words and thoughts. The fact that he’s rehashing what is basically familiar, the disaster at the mining colony, doesn’t leave much to be interested in either. We get a hint of that with Andy’s mother, but we lose it because we’re separated from her after she saves Andy, and we don’t see what happens to the rest of the colony. It makes for such quick reading that you might be done with it in under two minutes.

However, the link between Bandit and Tim suddenly brings us back to the main part of the story. We have a way to join the two storylines and get things moving again. This might bring the book to #12, where there was a lot of momentum in the story and things seemed to be going somewhere. We’ve got the ancient robot to look for, the fallout of Tim-22’s betrayal, and the question of what will happen when Andy finally tracks down his long-lost robot. Who knows, maybe some of this back story will become relevant?

As this is the penultimate issue of the arc, it should be the penultimate back story issue. The promo materials for next time promise “revelations” about a main character’s sins, so that might make for better reading. If nothing else, this arc will be over and we can get back to business.

[su_box title="Score: 2/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Descender #14 Writer: Jeff Lemire Artist: Dustin Nguyen Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital