Tshinanu Reviews – Descender #2

The second issue of Descender focused solely on TIM-21 (we’ll call him Tim for ease of writing). The creative power behind the Descender alternated, page by page, between the life of Tim before his 10 years of sleep, and his present-day evasion of Scrappers. Scrappers are introduced as sort of scavengers/bounty hunters/pirates, they hunt down A.I. and sell their processors for credits (the cliché’d futuristic monetary currency). The fact that Tim is wanted by the United Galactic Council basically means he’s worth a helluva lot more, so in Telsa and Quon’s attempts to keep Tim safe, they’ve effectively endangered him further.

Tim’s backstory immediately provided a conundrum, Quon built him up to be a child-companion but he also wanted him to assimilate with the child, essentially becoming a child himself. Despite that, he often reminded Tim that he was a robot, he wasn’t “alive.” That brings forth the obvious question, what would you define as alive. Clearly Tim has thoughts, he’s a thinking sentient being with a brain as complex as a human (or any number of aliens that inhabit Descender’s world). And while Quon often reminds him that he’s still just a robot, he still treats him like a human, such as wondering if he wanted to experience his first space-faring voyage or sleep through it, can something that isn’t alive really experience?

I am... IRON MAN.

We also discovered the identity of Andy and his mother, the adopted family he was meant to assimilate with, Andy being an adopted brother of sorts. The colony was quick to look past the fact that he was artificially created, Andy was like a brother to him, miss Tavers like a mother, to the point that they even celebrated his birthday. Unfortunately, he soon finds the decayed body of miss Tavers and we thereafter discover she was one of the first to go identify the pocket of gas they’d hit. Nevertheless, Andy’s body has yet to be found and by now he’d be a young adult, so I wouldn’t put it past an eventual meet-up between Andy and Tim, though it’d be disheartening if Andy was also unable to make it out of the colony in time.

You can’t help but feel for Tim who has an underlying identity crisis – is he alive or not? -, and after waking up to find everyone he knows dead, he has to avoid death himself at the hands of heartless aliens, fortunately he’s not entirely defenseless, with some hand-blasters that brings to mind Iron Man. That, however, doesn’t prove enough to take out all of the Scrappers. The issue ends on a somber note, Tim’s got a hole in his chest, and likely would’ve had his corpse sold if it wasn’t for a nearby “HRRMAN” hating Driller taking the entirety of the Scrappers apart relatively easily – and brutally.

No, he's left. GET IT!? No? Tough crowd.
No, he’s left. GET IT!? No? Tough crowd.

Unfortunately, by the time Driller’s done with the Scrappers, Tim’s damn well near dead, and we’re left hopping Quon and Telsa arrive in time to save Tim. There’s some very fun stuff happening this issue, the interchange between the shades-of-brown past and shades-of-blue present is a fun mechanic, and it goes without being said, the art style still mesmerizes me. It’s a very fun focused issue, where the first one got us involved with the world, the second really focused on Tim and his past, and there’s still four more issues left in the Tin Stars arc so it’ll be awesome to see where we go from here. Will we perhaps get a flashback filled issue with Quon and Telsa or was this a one time thing, though I don’t doubt we’ll get some more fleshing out of those characters (Telsa in particular could use it) next issue.

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