Updated: Jan 24, 2020
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Dustin Nugyen
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics
After months since the conclusion of DESCENDER, ASCENDER has arrived. Just like the series that preceded it, we get a great story by two masters of the medium, Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nugyen. The world of Descender was a world fraught with war, mainly between Robots and Man. It the end of that series we see all technology destroyed and magic return to the galaxy. If you haven't yet read Descender, I highly recommend picking it up. Not only is it one of Jeff Lemire's best books but it is one of Image's best as well. The great thing is, whether you've read it or not, this is a great place to jump on. For new readers, you won't feel like your missing to big a piece of the puzzle. Old readers, well... you're gonna love it.
We pick up years since the conclusion of DESCENDER and immediately see, that this isn't the world we left behind. The world is teeming with magical creatures born from the creative mind of Dustin Nugyen. The world building is where this book really shines. From four eyed dragons to flying turtles, desolate worlds and planets full of life, this book is gorgeously illustrated.
From the first few pages we are introduced to our main antagonist, Mother, she's a vampire witch who seems to have amassed a lot of power in the years since the war has ended. She has wiped out any surviving technology, she even request that her ship be fed after a long flight. She has prisoner from the rebellion that she goes to question, who happens to be dead. She breathes life into him with her magic only to be thwarted by some unseen force. The body disappears with only a root head left in it's place. While the prisoner was being questioned he spoke of a great wizard, the one that Mother seeks. Mother is evil incarnate and Jeff Lemire did a great job in those first few pages, giving us reason to hate her.
On another planet we meet a little girl, Mila, the daughter of Andy and Effie from DESCENDER. She spends most of her time getting into trouble and not listening to her dad. While in town trying to sell something to a merchant, she is stopped by guards who reveal a rune on her arm. From what I gathered this shows that she is not a disciple of Mother, she's a free person. After they let her go she returns home where Andy, yells at her. She questions why they can't be "saved" so they can live in town. He tells her, that her mother would never want that, she despised Mother. At the end of the issue she sits thinking about how there most be more "out there" and at that moment an old friend crashes into the woods nearby.
DESCENDER was a special book, and this continuation with ASCENDER feels like it's shaping up to be another great title. Lemire and Nugyen have done it again.