Writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dustin Nguyen are teaming up for Image Comics’ Descender, a monthly, ongoing science fiction series set to launch in March 2015.
Set in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet, Descender is a story about a lifelike artificial boy named TIM-21 and his struggle to stay alive as the entire universe hunts him down.
Mankind’s persecution of machines stems from a tragedy that takes place 10 years before Descender begins. Planet-sized robots called The Harvesters suddenly appeared and wiped out entire planets before disappearing without a trace. Out of fear, humanity blamed millions of its robotic companions for the Harvesters’ massacre, outlawing them and dispatching bounty hunters called Scrappers to scour the universe for any surviving bots.
“Despite the sprawling sci-fi mythology we’re building in Descender, it is at its core a story about a boy trying to find his place in a world that fears and hates him,” said writer Jeff Lemire in an email to EW.com. “Working with Image also gives us the creative freedom we need to let the story unfold at its own pace. We never have to let the plot mechanics take over and dictate the story. We can keep it very much centered on TIM and the emotional core of the story. Do a small, character driven story that just happens to be set in a big sci-fi world.”
It’s familiar emotional territory for Lemire, whose work on titles like Sweet Tooth, Trillium, and The Underwater Welder frequently uses elements of surreal fantasy to highlight themes of loneliness and a desire for connection.
“There is definitely a thematic lineage between Descender and my previous work like Sweet Tooth and Trillium,” says Lemire. “TIM-21 does not hate humanity … if anything he was built to love and protect humanity. Which makes the fact that humanity now hunts him even more troubling for him. Driller, the mining droid who comes along with him, isn’t so keen on people, however. Driller definitely hates humans. And as we learn more about Driller’s history we’ll see why.”
“It’s a real thrill to finally have Jeff doing something at Image,” said Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson via press release. “We had the opportunity to work with him at the very beginning of his career and kind of flubbed it, so after watching the rest of world fall in love with his work in the years since, it’s really great to have a second shot at working with such a wonderful and unique talent. The fact that he’s bringing an artist as insanely talented as Dustin with him just makes it even better!”
As for artist Dustin Nguyen, whose ethereal work earned him praise on titles like Wildcats 3.0, The Authority: Revolution, and a slew of Batman titles, he’s excited by the chance to determine the look of a completely new universe. But there’s more to it than that.
“Although our book isn’t just about robots and space, that’s a heavy aspect of the sci-fi genre I grew up with, and I’m dying to draw some Mecha. Big, small, simple, complex—you name it,” Nguyen tells EW. “[But] there really is a grand sense of wonder and awe in this book, and not just for —but also for our main character, TIM!”