It’s that time again. This time though I’m sticking with a book that released this week (sorry about last week). We got ‘Ascender #1’ on the docket! This is the sequel to sci-fi series ‘Descender’. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to read ‘Descender’, due to catching it late around issue #30. I think we have some trades here in the shop for it though, so I might try to get into it. Lucky for all the readers out there though, you don’t really need to read the previous series to get into this one. I’ll get into that in the review. Ready! Go!
Ascender sets its story 10 years after the events of the Descender series. The universe has been completely taken over by “Mother”. Mother seems to be a vampire of some sort, and she has banned/disposed of all technology unless approved by her. Instead she relies on magic to control the masses and is considered the most powerful mage around. There are those that oppose her rule though and there are also rumors that a mage has appeared to oppose “Mother”. The main character of this tale is a young girl named Mila. She lives on the planet Sampson, and spends her life living secluded in the mountains. The reason for this is explained in the story, so I won’t spoil anymore. You don’t have to read Descender to get into this story. It would help, but not required. Some characters are carry overs, but the main one is new and the “world” they live in is a bit different. It never hurts though, to read the true beginning of a series to better understand some of the finer details.
When I first started reading this book, I wasn’t immediately captured by it. There is absolutely zero action in the entire book. Instead it focused more on laying the foundation of the story. Setting the state of the world and establishing that there was a rebellion going on. In the beginning of the story I was left confused why the characters called a dragon a “ship” and why they called “mother” a “vamp”. It was explained a little by the end of the book, but I’m assuming these things were established in the previous series. When I saw the final page though and collected my thoughts about the story, I’m starting to be intrigued by this one. I’m a fan of sci-fi, and I thought the genre of this series was gonna be that. Instead the writer is introducing a world that once relied on technology, now has none, but at the same time being controlled by magic? A lot of stuff going on, but creates something unique, and I’m interested where things will go.
Just a couple of issues with this one though. First off, the art is beautiful. But, when you use a “watercolor” style you run into moments where certain characters and backgrounds begin to blend. This is an issue because sometimes while reading comics, you don’t scrutinize every single panels artwork. If the blending thing happens you could miss an important detail in the art and get ahead in the dialogue wondering what the characters are talking about. Turn a few pages back and realize you missed that part where the dragons torso opened up like a spaceship. Secondly, and this is a preference thing, this series is probably going to be long. I recently had a discussion with a customer about what is the preferred length of a comic book series that will keep you interested from beginning to end. The consensus ended up being six issues. After about six issues, most stories hit a little lull or switch to a new act. This is the moment a reader decides if they will continue to “buy” a story or move onto something else. Unfortunately for a writer, this is the situation that every reader has to go through. Comic books aren’t cheap and sometimes you get caught up in life. Even if the writer had a grand story to tell, it can be difficult to capture a readers attention through a 50 issue series. I worry that even though this book started strong, it might get caught up in its big story and lose quite a bit of readership by the end, which sucks for the readers and the creators. Just my opinion.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. The art was great. The story is unique and leaves me hungry to see what’s next. It’s a solid beginning to what looks to be a long running series. That being said, if you’re gonna buy into this one, commit to it. I’m guilty of giving up on most books after awhile. I would like to promise that I’ll read this one to the end, but the scope might be a bit too much for my preference. It’s to bad though because the story looks to be a good one, if you can get to the end. Stop by your local comic shop and check this one out, or any of the other new titles this week. And as always; SUPPORT LOCAL COMICS! Peace!