FROM THE PUBLISHER: Powerhouse creative team JEFF LEMIRE and DUSTIN NGUYEN launch an all-new sequel series to DESCENDER with the launch of ASCENDER! Set ten years after the conclusion of DESCENDER’s storyline, magic has taken the place of machinery and the rules are very different indeed… Mila, the daughter of Andy and Effie from DESCENDER, spends her days exploring the lonely wilds of the planet Sampson and trying to stay out of the clutches of the evil disciples of the all-powerful vampire witch known only as Mother. But, like her parents, Mila doesn’t like to play by the rules, and when a certain robot pal of her dad’s shows up, nothing will ever be the same! With all the scope and heart of the sci-fi classic DESCENDER, LEMIRE and NGUYEN reunite to take readers on an unforgettable fantasy quest!
So here’s the thing ok? I’m going to come right out and say it, I haven’t read Descender, the pre cursor to the sequel Ascender.
I’M SORRY OK!!! I AM A TERRIBLE PERSON AND DESERVE EVERYTHING BAD THAT HAPPENS TO ME!!!
With that out of the way, my preamble puts me at a bit of a disadvantage reading and understanding Ascender to its full potential. I am left with some inexperience towards what is happening, who the characters are and where this is all occurring. With that knowledge or lack there-of, I will still do my best to review this book. From what I gathered reading issue #1, I can pick up bits and pieces as I go. And I promise, scouts honor, in the future I will read Descender and all its 32 issues. But for this purpose, I shall start with Ascender issue #1.
Jeff Lemire was born a couple hours south from where I grew up in Ontario, Canada. Lemire has written some of my favorite Canadian stories, Essex County, Roughneck and Secret Path to name a few. He is a comic legend as far as I’m concerned. His being from Canada only adds to his fable. I first became aware of Descender closer to the end of its run. When I first heard there was to be a sequel, I was beyond excited. American Vampire was when I first became aware of Dustin Nguyen; his water color-esc art certainly was an eye catcher. His work on Descender and now Ascender should make him a staple for your top artist and creators working in comics today.
Issue #1 for Ascender works on many levels. One thing I noticed right away was that it the encouraged a second read through, and a possible third. With Lemire’s writing and Nguyen's art, you are forced to pay attention to every detail. Nothing is wasted, no word spoken in vain or character art squandered. Right from the first page, I asked myself, who or what is that? What they do they want? We learn so much so early about the history and technology of the world. The banning of technology and the emergence of magic is such a twist for sci-fi stories of today. Magic is brought into the universe, as much as technology and robotics were used in Descender. For first time readers like myself, it’s really interesting to see magic in a sci-fi fantasy story. Big switch from the usual space ships, blasters and gamma rays
The Vamp Witch Mother embraces the bad “guy” role pretty early on, with some good old fashion torture and some body manipulation. The story of the Mothers and Daughters, as well as the Coven on whole, is something that really interests me. I want to see how bad they can be, what powers they have and how far Mother will go to get what is needed.
Mila our young protagonist, brims with adventure, someone who has and was born with nothing, she wants to see what being free actually means in the universe. Every young kid who looks up at the stars at night and wonders, what is out there? That is Mila. She knows she is meant for something greater, held back by her father’s own fears (Doing a little research of Descender, he is correct to have those fears). She is not afraid to get her hands dirty, not afraid to go towards danger. Danger/adventure falls into her lap at the end of issue #1. Ready or not Mila.
Issue #1 does it’s best to bridge the gap for new readers. I hope going forward more can be explained about who these characters are, and what has happened to them, Mila along with her father and the witch Mother being some prime examples. Half my fault for not reading Descender, half the creators fault for assuming I have. One month until the next issue of Ascender, any bets on if I can successfully read 32 issues of Descender by then? I'll bet some frox fur on it.
RATING: LET’s GO!