Short-but-sweet reviews of three of Image Comics’ latest Sci-Fi series.
DESCENDER, Vol.1 – “Tin Stars”
Writer: Jeff Lemire | Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Young Robot boy TIM-21 and his companions struggle to stay alive in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet. Written by award-winning creator, Jeff Lemire, Descender is a rip-roaring and heart-felt cosmic odyssey. Lemire pits humanity against machine, and world against world, to create a sprawling epic.
Collects: Descender #1-6
This series has received so much love from critics and readers alike, and it’s easy to see why. Not only is Nguyen’s artwork gorgeous, but Lemire’s story and characters are fantastic as well. (Is anyone really surprised by either of those things…? No. Didn’t think so.) It’s an interesting setting and idea, pulled off with skill and deft characterisation. It’s a little unclear where this is headed, but the revelations at the end of the final chapter certainly suggest things are going to get very interesting indeed.
Tim-21 is an interesting character, as are the others he meets on his journey. His innocence is a great foil for the harsh universe he finds himself in, after awakening from years in sleep-mode. Different factions are after him, and this will, I’m sure, ultimately be the story of how he changes those he comes into contact with (as well as some interesting possibilities hinted at regarding A.I., spirituality and so forth).
A really excellent beginning to one of the year’s best new series. I really enjoyed this.
Writer: Gabriel Hardman & Corinna Bechko | Artist: Gabriel Hardman & Jordan Boyd
When a reporter unearths the secret history of the recently deposed dictator of a remote colonized moon, he discovers exposing secrets can be deadly.
Collects: Invisible Republic #1-5
The last couple of years have given readers so very many excellent new series (including Descenders, above). Invisible Republic, though, is possibly my favourite new series of the year. The story is told in two different time periods, 42 years apart. In the “current” time-period, a dictatorship has fallen, leaving a moon economically strained, socially unsettled, and politically a mess. Into the mix, a reporter stumbles across what appears to be a diary by the now-deposed dictator’s cousin. It offers an alternative perspective on the official history of the moon — upending the fabricated account the dictator used to solidify his mystique and legendary revolutionary status. It is a present-at-the-creation, type of diary. Naturally, this is explosive material with incredible potential for further disruption and lucrative media possibilities. The second time-line is focused on the months leading up to the coup and installation of the dictatorship.
That’s all pretty vague, but I came into the book knowing nothing about it (at all — didn’t even read the synopsis), and I loved not knowing anything that was to come. The artwork is great, reminiscent of a lot of DMZ and Epting’s Captain America, but by no means a rip-off — it has a distinct character of its own, which brilliantly evokes the characters, their environs and the situations they find themselves in. The dialogue is some of the most natural I’ve read in a comic in a while, and the story is perfectly-paced and gripping.
Really very highly recommended. I can’t wait for book two. Marvellous stuff.
Writer: Jonathan Tsuei & Eric Canete | Artist: Eric Canete
The Origami, a mysterious military organization, is on the hunt for one of their former assassins, Rain Oshiro. Their grasp over the city of Prygat is tightening and Rain has less than twenty-four hours to get out before she’s trapped forever. Rain must face the decisions of her past while using everything at her disposal to avoid capture or even worse, death.
Collects: RunLoveKill #1-4
Of the three issues reviewed today, this one was a bit of a disappointment. It wasn’t necessarily bad, it was just very busy. Rain is on the run from actions in her past; Origami agents are after her, and some of them have dino-suits and aren’t above destroying a nightclub packed with innocent bystanders; she has a friend who seems to control a teleportation device, has a lot of money and is clearly in love with her… Oh, and maybe she is special beyond the fact that she did something in the past…? (You find out at the end of the book. Sort-of.)
The pace is relentless, which can be no bad thing, but here it seemed that action and perpetual motion buried the story and context a bit. That the ending is so abrupt was also an interesting decision. I came away from this book not really sure what to think. I’ll certainly be reading volume two, if only to see if they give us a little bit more to go on. An interesting idea, a nice spin on the fugitive/sci-fi story-type. The artwork’s pretty nice, too — interestingly style, colourful, distinct.
A cautious recommendation, perhaps wait until you can get more issues/volume two as well…?