Descender #3 has been released today, and I do hold a tinge of regret that I’ll now have to wait a month for the 4th issue, even one day removed from having read the first two issues, just jumping back into this third one renewed my appreciation for Dustin Nguyen’s art. Every pane wouldn’t be out of place across your wall. I’ve already heaped enough praise on Dustin however, art’s meant to be appreciated visually, and instead I’ll focus on the story at hand.
Much like the second issue, the story occurred on two fronts, though both in the present, between the engineer Quon and the UGC official, Telsa… though the ship pilot also got his tidbit of spotlight. The other story happened on what I first concluded to be robot-hell though soon after, robot-heaven. In this alternate world, TIM-21 found one of the millions of robots to have been a victim of the brutal culls brought forth after the Harvester attacks on the United Galactic Council. There’s still plenty of answers to be found, we understand the tragic aftermath of the robots who were victim to these culls, betrayed by their masters and killed – though I’m sure those murderers might dispute the term killed, after all Quon disputed TIM-21 even being alive last issue.
Before TIM-21 finds himself woken by his slumber, he’s treated to a sea of these victims whom identify themselves as the Harvested. The question that brought forth was, what’s the connection between the Harvested and the Harvesters? Those Harvesters had nothing to really do with the deceased Harvested, at least no physical connection with their end. I’m sure it’s a mystery to be answered. TIM-21 was also hailed as some sort of messiah as they tried to grab him so they could both join and save them. We learn by the end of this issue that this isn’t a dream, TIM-21 being unable to dream, he leaves this issue with the same question we’re asking, if it wasn’t a dream, what was it?
I’ll address the other occurrences shortly but again, I enjoyed the sort of philosophical questions Jeff Lemire brings forth throughout all these issues. Once we were question the nature of robots, are they or are they not alive? Now we’re questioning the nature of humans. TIM-21 being more or less innocent –and thus a very easy to like protagonist-, is at a loss as to why the robots received such a fate after one of those victims explained his brutal ending. That robots answer? “Because they fear us TIM-21. Because they were hurt and they wanted to hurt something back. Because they are humans?” I always enjoy this sort of thought provoking commentary, because in many ways they do ring true.
On the flipside we had Quon and Telsa who each have an ever lying tension between one another. Telsa’s a UGC thug, seemingly not really looked kindly upon, and by the way she was ready to go head to head with those scrappers, she’s certainly skilled in combat to. Quon’s still reeling from his life work tossed aside after the anti-robot cull, and though he’s been free of all charges, this new found connection between Harvesters and TIM-21 – his creation – could royally fuck him over once more.
For a second I thought poor Driller would meet his doom, they already killed off Ms. Tavers and all those Scrappers in one issue, you could understand my paranoia, fortunately the bulky ship pilot only disabled him and confirmed he could be rebooted. Let’s just hope Driller can look past his serial killing tendencies and hatred for anything non-robotic. I’m sure we’ll see Driller again and wouldn’t it be just neat if Mr. Pilot and Driller became friends? I’m shocked no one’s taken the pet-dog apart, everyone hates him, including Driller, apart from TIM-21.
In the end, Quon manages to wake TIM-21 back up just before the Harvested would’ve pulled him into their sea of deceased. It’s another terrific issue for Descender #3 and it’s taking a comfortable place alongside Saga as my favorite on-going comic book series.