Thursday, July 08, 2021

Ascender, Vol. 2: The Dead Sea by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen

It doesn't count, since this book came out a year ago and I could easily have heard some facts about it and forgotten. But the two random predictions I made about this book both came true: the two "you think they're dead!" characters at the end of Vol. 1 were totally not dead, and even meet in this book. And the "Dead Sea" of the title is deeply literal.

I quote myself: "the deadness of the sea will definitely turn out to be vampires, or zombies, or something similar."


I don't think it's meant to be a joke, but I chuckled.

One last point: I also gave the first book partial credit for, well, "the Big Bad is a vampire queen named Mother - I guess it's positive that she's of the old and morbidly fat style of evil vampires, not the slim and seductive type?"

I regret to inform you that "the slim and seductive type" of evil vampire does make an appearance here, as I must have subconsciously known she would. And she does pretty much exactly what one would expect.

So this is Ascender, Vol. 2: The Dead Sea, written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Dustin Nguyen, the same creative team as the first volume and the preceding series, Descender. I thought Descender had serious ending problems, but was a relatively sturdy post-Star Wars space opera with some actual ideas and character development in it. Ascender, on the other hand, is a silly guilty pleasure.

Lemire is good at running adventure characters through travails and throwing in all of the generic plot furniture a story like this could need. Nguyen is game enough to draw it all, including werewhales that actually look creepy, and crafts strong action sequences. But I can't take more than one page of this seriously at a time, and often not even that much.

I don't know how long this series will run. It's so silly and kitchen-sinky that I can't imagine it can go that far, but on the other hand I bet Lemire wants to explore as much of this transformed universe as he can. (And the heroes haven't even gotten off their first planet yet.) Four volumes, maybe? Or six to be just as long as the first series? We'll see.

For me, the library has the third volume, and I want to see if it continues to be exactly this obvious and generically crowd-pleasing, and if the robots from Descender actually do ever show up and/or do anything. (Bandit, the robot dog, barely counts at this point: he's there and makes noise, but nothing else.) I don't recommend this series unless your criteria for reading are vastly different from mine, though.

No comments:

Post a Comment