Descender reads like a perfect blend of Blade Runner, Steven Spielberg’s A.I., and Mass Effect: a sprawling world of alien species and intergalactic intrigue, the humanity of machines, and humankind’s deep existential questions.
The central narrative involves TIM-21, a child companion android, and his quest to be reunited with his assigned companion over a decade ago. We soon discover that TIM-21 is the most advanced AI prototype ever created, and may hold the secret of understanding a decade-old massacre by advanced machines from outer space. He is also being pursued by an entire galaxy of bounty hunters, radicals, revolutionaries, criminals, and government agencies. Somewhere in all of this, TIM-21 just wants to understand his own emotions and dreams. What does it mean that he dreams of robot heaven?
The downfalls of graphic novels are dialogue and story. Beautiful art cannot make up for a poor storyline. Flashy illustrations cannot carry limp and lame dialogue. Descender demonstrates not only a ghostly, haunting art style, but dialogue that shines with real meaning. The characters in Descender come to life in a way that is visceral and intimate. It is easy to care about these characters.
And if dialogue and story are the backbone of a good graphic novel, then artwork is its supreme capstone. The art in Descender, whether we are deep within the robot homeworld, spiraling into a psychosis-inducing plunge into the rings of a dying planet, or facing off against raging machines in a gladiatorial combat to the death, Descender just delivers. Over and over and over.
If you like good sci-fi, enjoy deep storylines, or just want to try something new, give Descender a shot. You can place a hold on it now.