cover image Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars

Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars

Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen. Image, $9.99 (160p), ISBN 978-1-63215-426-2

This smart and beautiful graphic novel is an extremely promising start for a science fiction series. The nine planets of the United Galactic Council were smugly allocating their resources until gigantic threatening robots called Harvesters appeared from nowhere and sparked an anti-robot pogrom. Now, 10 years later, a little humanoid robot regains consciousness in a distant, dead mining colony. He is TIM-21, programmed to be the playmate and friend of one of the miners' sons. He wanders through the silent ruins, encountering mummified human corpses, until he is pursued%E2%80%94first by a gang of monstrous "scrappers," and then by a team from the surviving, splintered Galactic Council that wants to analyze him because his codex is identical to that of the Harvesters. Lemire (Essex County) smoothly doles out information while amping up the tension, and the innocent, friendly character of TIM-21 creates real heart in the midst of extreme violence. Nguyen's watercolor artwork is marvelous, using the medium's transparency to create fluid and subtly lustrous pages. (Sept.)