Image Comics’ Descender takes place in a distant future populated with space faring humans, aliens, and most importantly, robots.
At least for a little while.
Although there are collections of planets who work together, this is not your parents’ Trekkie universe. Many of the alien groups dislike each other. The same can be said for the humans within the collections. However, all of this becomes of secondary importance after the arrival of The Harvesters, giant robots who decimate the populations of entire planets without warning, then disappear again.
The events of Descender: Tin Stars take place over a decade after The Harvesters attack. In the aftermath of the assault, almost the entire robot population has been destroyed by tech fearing people. The remaining robots live in hiding, fearing that they will be melted down or worse, thrown into the fighting pits.
We follow Tim 21, a child sized companion bot whose codex might hold the key to understanding The Harvesters. Some think that possessing him could lead to recreating The Harvesters as defense against future attacks. Searching for, and then attempting to protect, Tim 21 are his creator Dr. Jin Quon, Captain Telsa and Tullis of the UGC, and others.
Writer Jeff Lemire has created fascinating characters for this world. Often the robots are the most human creatures on the page. They show emotions, valor, and courage which the humans around them often lack. Dustin Nguyen’s artwork is immersive. At times he uses simple line drawings to illustrate the enormity of an area, the facelessness of a populations. Other times people, robots, and ships are detailed down to the millimeter.
Descender: Tin Stars is interesting, but lags in some areas. There was a definite benefit to being able to read the collected issues in one go, rather than month to month. The final issue of the volume holds many surprises and a twist ending that will make readers wish there were more pages to turn.