Thursday, March 5, 2015

NB of the Week


Descender #1 - Tin Stars: Part 1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Drawn by Dustin Nguyen

Docor Jin Quon is the foremost expert on robotics for the United Galactic Council, the coalition of nine planets all living together through a united (obviously) front. Today, Quon has slept in which is very bad for him and possibly everybody. As he finally comes to, he is rushed to space to see what everybody has been seeing: giant, seemingly robotic entities looming over all nine planets. Unfortunately Quon is too late as they all begin to act. And begin to destroy everything they can.
Ten years later, on the moon of one of the nine planets, a young boy wakes up in a mining colony. As he walks around, searching for his family (or any semblance of life), he begins to interact with the colony's computer system. Tim-21 is the only one left and has been asleep for the last ten years. The humans he calls "Andy" and "Mother" are among all the dead after a gas pocket was hit, poisoning the atmosphere and killing everyone. As he walks through the building, uncertain of what to do, he is startled by a robot named Bandit. A robot he not only knows but fixes after finding it has been slightly damaged. And of course he fixes it with his own body for Tim-21 is also a robot. As he continues to search for his "family", he sees that two shuttles are gone so it is possible they got away before it was too late. As he turns on the computer system, he is alarmed to find out what has all happened over the last decade he missed. The giant robots, dubbed Harvesters, began their attack, killing millions. All planets tried to evacuate as many as possible before all nine giants simply vanished. The Harvesters appeared to have only gone after the citizens of the UGC, leaving most "mechanical companions and helpers" unharmed. The fear spread from there, causing a Robot Genocide as most people made a connection between the Harvesters and the robots they spared (sadly it sounds a lot like real fear mongering that happens on this planet too).
We cut back to a still living Doctor Quon as he is once again woken up, this time by an armed guard and an important looking lady in uniform, wanting his to help once more. The lady, Captain Telsa, wants Quon to explain his Codex Theory to her. A theory he has that all robots have a base machine codex similar to human DNA. That every part of their AI is built upon that, creating something akin to a digital fingerprint. Quon theorizes that if they could read the codex of the Harvesters, they could find a link to their origins and even to who possibly created them. Telsa tells him after his years of nothing, they have finally done it. A check on all know AI brought back a match to an existing model: the "Tim" series that Quon created fifteen years ago and child companions. They need Quon to help them because a Tim just activated on a neighboring moon. And they had better hope they find him first.
Cut back to Tim-21 and we're ended with a final page of ah shit, somebody else has just found Tim.
Sci-fi doesn't do much for me. I enjoy it enough but mostly it seems to be the same two stories: planets at war and people trying to run from it or invading aliens and we have to defend ourselves. This one feels different. Yes it starts as the second type of story but mixed in with it is a mystery that comes off stronger than any other aspect it has. Nothing is known of these Harvesters. No clue was given as to why they did what they did. This is a space crime. A space murder mystery and this first issue was great at capturing my attention. Dustin Nguyen's art has always been cartoony and mostly bright but it all somehow works with the dark reaches of this space. And Lemire is brilliant as always. He writes amazing characters and even his sci-fi murders feel realistic and down to Earth. This title is another winner in a good string of Image books that are giving DC and Marvel a run for their money. This is definitely one to keep an eye on.

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