Page 45 Review by Stephen
Now we pause for reflection.
Unfortunately not all the robots' metallic surfaces are as shiny as they used to be or were intended to be. Good old humans, always tarnishing and sullying stuff with their selfishness, disregard or outright viciousness.
So it's time for five warped recollections mirroring and marrying the present with the past, linking up with each other in unexpectedly intricate ways, then pushing events forwards far enough to make our wait for the next volume excruciatingly tantalising.
It's my favourite instalment so far. At least two of these chapters explore the past of protagonists you won't have imagined even have a back story, but they do, and one of those is of critical importance to what's gone before and why they've said what they've said, when what they said I dismissed as mere whimsy. It's not.
For extensive but non-spoilery analysis of the story and craft so far please see our reviews of DESCENDER VOL 1 and DESCENDER VOL 2.
As I've mentioned before, none of this would be half so effective or affecting had Lemire and Nguyen between them not made us care so profoundly for young Tim-21. Developed to be a personal companion to humans, he is compassion personified, his devotion matched only by the family's robotic dog Bandit, as you'll discover here. Originally Tim-21 awoke lost and alone, save for said dog, on a mining colony ten years after a disaster which wiped out all the colonists except one who went on to... well... none of it's pretty.
Ten years ago a cataclysmic disaster also struck each of the nine Core Planets, in retaliation to which all robotic life forms were outlawed and as many as possible have been hunted down to be thrown into furnaces while still functioning. Not everyone concurs with this, while some of the most passionate anti-bot bounty hunters are those you hope would most be not. These two paragraphs may be related.
Eventually we met Tim-22 on the cover, as did Tim-21, and they seemed to hit it off immediately until things took a worrying turn for the worst. But to some extent or another we are all the products of our past, humans and androids alike, and once again Nguyen and Lemire have here in these flashbacks imbued Tim-22 with far more tender humanity than those around him. It is very, very, very upsetting.
Each of the memories flash back as far as ten (or in one telling instance seventeen) years ago, before leaping forwards in jolts until they conjoin with the present and wham, we're off again. I particularly admired the three almost identical panels which moved forwards first then days, then ten months, then ten years.
That's all you're getting. Please see the two previous reviews.