descenderI’ve heard a lot of good buzz about Descender and I’m pleased to say that it lived up to all of it. It isn’t easy writing the first entries in a series without descending into character listing and lengthy explanations on setting.Descender manages to introduce itself completely without any of that boring stuff.

On a distant planet in a futuristic setting, an enormous robot lands on the government’s home world. Simultaneously, huge robots land on several other planets. These gigantic machines attack all at once without communication of any kind. Fast forward ten years. A child-like robot named Tim-21 awakens on a mining planet, but he is the only one there. The mining colony had an accident and he has been inactive for a very long time. Since then, all species have declared war on the robots because of the massive attack that occurred ten years previous. But, something about Tim’s operating system is special and now it is only a matter of time before he’s found by government scientists seeking answers or something worse… bounty hunters!


Photo from

Descender contains a lot of classic science fiction questions like: Can robots dream? Are they able to experience feelings? Do they have souls? And there is the mystery of where the giant killer robots came from and why they attacked. Actually, the beginning reminded me of Sleeping Giants bySylvain Neuvel but only for a moment… so if you didn’t enjoy that book, don’t let that turn you off of this graphic novel.

The artwork is rendered in (at least, it looks like to my very untrained eye) pencil and watercolors. It gives the panels a dreamy quality. I thought it was very pretty.

I highly recommend this graphic novel for fans of science fiction, ages 16+ because of some violence. Some read alikes: Saga, Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan (for adult audiences only) or Henni by Miss Lasko-Gross (ok for the teen set, similar themes but doesn’t take place in space).

Thanks for reading!


3 thoughts on “Descender #1 by Jeff Lemire, Illustrated by Dustin Nguyen

  1. Beautiful! This certainly sounds right up my alley. It’s been a while since I’ve delved into some of these deeper sci-fi questions. I look forward to reading this.


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