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Review Brew: Descender 1

Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dustin Nguyen
Letter/Designer: Steve Wands
Reviewed by: Brett Israel

The Image tide continues in March 2015, with the newest number 1 issue by superstar creators in Descender 1. Lemire and Nguyen really came out of the gates swinging with this one, with an art style I’ve rarely seen in comics before, and the beginnings of what looks to be an intriguing story. I know I rave about art every week… this week will be no different.

Good lord this art is off the charts. Dustin Nguyen takes a departure from his usual style here and dips into full watercolors, noticeably on watercolor paper. As someone who has worked in watercolor work (albeit pretty poorly), just looking at the technique in this book is a real treat. Each page seems like a study in a certain palette base, and I devoured all of them. While the characters maintain the look Nguyen is known for rendering wise, this still feels incredibly fresh.

I also wanted to talk about the highlighting in this book. In many cases, watercolor is one of the best mediums to show highlight, due to the varying degrees of value in each page. Nguyen showed here that not only does he understand this idea beautifully, but it’s executed to the highest caliber. Yes, he’s had watercolors in his work before, but this is different; here he feels uninhibited.

I noticed a trend in Image number 1 issues. We are introduced to characters, with stories in the same world but not immediately attached, and we go on the journey with them to their eventual meeting or discovery of each other. This is no different. Lemire introduces us to two main characters in this issue, Doctor Quon, a young man who seems be integral to the solving of the crisis happening in the world of this issue, being one. We are met with a classic sci fi feel right off the bat with this character, and the discovery of these mammoth robotic creatures that more or less wipe out a world. The conceit is that there are a group of worlds called the Megacosm, and the United Galactic Council are the governing body. After a group of Robots called the Harvesters show… lets just say it doesn’t go well. I really don’t want to spoil anything else story wise, this is a story you’ll want to get in on the ground floor and discover.

The other character we are introduced to is Tim-21, more or less a robotic companion for young kids. He has the appearance of an adolescent and only at brief moments can you tell he’s anything else. What struck me here is the potential for a character like Gus from Sweet Tooth, which we know Lemire makes more compelling than any character in comics. That potential alone has me drawn in.  And with the potential of a Lemire section of art somewhere in this series, I’m drooling.

Even though this first issue is setting the scene for the series, I was loving each page. If the art stays at this level throughout, this has the potential to be top 5 books for me. I give a lot of high ratings, but I’m discovering gems every week, and this is looking to be one of the best.

5 color washes out of 5


About Brett I (152 Articles)
Born in Philadelphia and currently residing in Portland OR, Brett has been reading and collecting comics in some capacity since 2008 and is now fully immersed. Also, Brett is an avid follower of Professional Wrestling since the crumbling of The Alliance. Philadelphia/Chicago Sports consumed here.
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