Review: Descender Vol.5 Rise of the Robots
Written by: Jeff Lemire
Art and Colours: Dustin Nguyen
Letters: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics
‘The first major DESCENDER event is here. This is what it has all been building to. The Robot Resistance rises up and tightens its iron grip on the universe as the origins of The Harvesters are finally revealed and the galaxy is thrown into all out war!’
For the benefit of anyone new to Descender, the series has been described as an epic space opera; one where a lone android tries to negotiate the perils of a universe where robots have been outlawed and humanity is embroiled in a multitude of conflicts, both against the machines and in some cases against their own. The world created by Lemire has danger lurking in every nook and cranny, and with a plethora of strange beings on hand, the series plays out like a sci-fi fable, offering morals and some genuinely heartfelt moments. Being the penultimate collection in the series, we can expect the action and drama to be ramped up as the world of humans and androids is about to meet head-on. But what else should we expect?
If it was a dynamic, high energy rolling plot you were looking for, you came to the right place. The action kicks off almost immediately and with pivotal climaxes well exceeding what would normally be expected to propel the story at the end of each chapter, it would be fair to describe the book as a roller-coaster ride through their universe. But it’s the maneuvering and political intrigue that binds the action together into a layered beast that squirms and writhes its way to the end of the book. Not unlike the tense, timing-perfect, coming together at the end of Return of the Jedi, the various threads all lead to one pivot point where the future will be shaped or destroyed.
There isn’t a lot to say about the watercolour style artwork that hasn’t been said before. Nguyen (Batman, Lil’ Gotham) truly makes his mark with his stunning, gallery-esque work. Each frame consists of a layer-upon-layer approach to the perspective so each sequence creates a sense of total immersion. On top of this, the colouring leaves a texture to the scenes depicted much in the same way a watercolourist would do on canvass. It makes for a beautiful book. The pained expressions on each character, at least the humans, are no less so, being watercolour, than art with a fine pencil definition. But this is something different. The ephemeral nature of life needed to be depicted with an ironic but lasting beauty and this has been done well. Take the sequence where 21 discovers 22 again, for an example of how powerful this can truly be.
As previously seen, the lettering is contrasted by a different shape of speech box for humans and robots, with an additional stiff, more distressed font for the latter, also. This is in itself a sign of the thought that has been the backbone of the series. This isn’t just a epic space opera; even that hyperbole doesn’t do the series justice. This is something more and that understanding only comes with its reading.
Skully’s Corner: Why buy this book? I originally bought this because I thought it was a manual on how to teach my robo-vacuum cleaner to behave. It keeps avoiding corners, see. Well, imagine my surprise when I found out what ROTR was really all about. I can’t wait for the final installment. Buy it now!
Thank you for reading our review of Descender Vol.5. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to check back with us soon as we post often. Or, you can follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page), Google+ (The Chico Comics Page) and Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Review written by Arun Sharma.
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