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Descender vol 4: Orbital Mechanics

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Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen


Page 45 Review by Stephen

I've just figured it all out: the connection between tiny Tim-21 and the planetary-sized Harvesters.

What am I talking about?

I'm talking about Tim-21's codex, his electronic DNA found in the human-hating Harvesters. To be more precise: the organic-hating Harvesters.

Which is impossible, obviously: for a start the Harvesters devastation of the Nine Worlds occurred when Tim-21 was but a stripling in human terms: but a few years off the assembly line. How could it reside in these vast Celestials of carnage? Also, Tim-21 adores humans. He was created to be a family companion, an android brother, child or grandchild.

What am I talking about now?

Please see all three substantial, spoiler-free reviews of DESCENDER. I know I repeat this too often to endure, but even a third book is reviewed at Page 45 without spoilers for the first because we want new people on board. A fourth is more difficult.

DESCENDER is phenomenal, space-born science-fiction which plays about with story structure so satisfyingly and successfully (see DESCENDER VOL 3) and does so again in the first chapter here, with three contemporaneously occurring fight and / or flight scenes each allocated a single-panelled tier per page so that you can read two at a time across a double page if you fancy, or just the one. There's a slight glitch when they switch, but it's still pretty thrilling stuff, with a huge, horizontally enhanced sense of trajectory, even for the couple who aren't even running but lying flat on their post-coital backs.

As to the pencil, ink, and watercolour-wash art, it's been lambent from the start but have you noticed that, as time moves on, everyone on active duty is growing increasingly ragged? Frayed at the edges, or buggered up completely inside.

You're going to love the assembled space fleet here. It's "An armada to vada!", as they say in Polari.

Is it a big nod to Babylon 5...? I believe so!

So here's a not-unrelated question for you: whatever happened to Tim-22?

Others may wish they'd asked the same question.