Well, it’s been half a year but yes, it’s a new review. I’ve been reading through a list of best comics and while most of them leave me mildly entertained at best, I found something more engrossing:
Descender by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen
Find it on: LibraryThing (link for vol. 1)
What it is:
An insanely well drawn space opera with existential tinges about robots and people (and swine-people, too) and the dangers they all pose to one another. I guess it’s fairly pessimistic, overall.
How I found it:
It was a LibraryThing recommendation, sitting right there on top of the list. I read some of Lemire and liked some of that some, so I was ready to give him another go.
This comic blew me away with its art and kept me interested with the story.
Best things about it:
Nguyen’s amazing watercolor art. It almost feels wasted here, not because there’s anything wrong with the story but because I’ve seen paintings less accomplished than single panels he drew for this comic. Watercolors is a demanding technique and not the most versatile in average hands so it impressed me all the more how Nguyen creates different worlds, different lights and moods with it. The surprise of pairing watercolors with science fiction truly pays off here.
Worst things about it:
By the end of the story I hoped for at least a slightly more optimistic conclusion but this one certainly made sense, much as I prefer my stories more cheerful.
✤ I like how despite the grand scale of the story Lemire manages to keep the stakes personal and the characters relatable.
✤ The story remains clear and easy to follow, even when it spans thousands of years and entire galaxies.
✤ On the one hand, I appreciate that Lemire keeps his series short, but I feel some characters or even planets would benefit from a little more backstory.
How it enriched my life:
I stared speechless at the art (even though it didn’t even make me want to paint with watercolors because I wouldn’t reach this level ever) and I thought about the future of AI a little.
Lemire has already promised the second part of the story, Ascender, and this time it will be science fiction fantasy. While I didn’t feel it gelled too well with the Descender story when elements of it appeared there, the idea itself feels promising and Nguyen will be illustrating so yes, I’ll be reading.
Anybody who feels a mix of science fiction adventure with watercolor art is a good idea. Which it is.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Next time: I can’t promise any kind of regularity for a while yet, but next stop is one of my favorite things ever, Veronica Mars