Review: Descender Vol. 2- Machine Moon

Quick Summary

Pros: This collection proves that it can continue with the smart writing and intriguing characters from the first volume. It also plays up on its mysterious elements by answering questions while still giving out more. The art is still absolutely fantastic, possibly even better than the first volume.

Cons: The book uses terminology and references locations from its world that it assumes you know, making for a confusing first read.

Overall: This book proves that it can keep up with the pace established in the first volume. Not only does it keep this pace, but it improves on it. This book doubles down on its characters and plot in a way that will leaving ever reader wanting more.

Story

The last volume of this series was pretty short and left one wondering how the rest of the series would shape up and if it would be as good as it promises to be. This collection gives a lot better indication of what this series is going to look like, and it is looking like it will fulfill its promise. Descender Vol. 2- Machine Moon delivers where it needs to yet keeps fans on the hook for the bigger mysteries.

So far this has, overall, been a smart comic with a thought-provoking and mysterious storyline and some very interesting and fun characters. It isn’t just a story that uses its complex backstory to keep you reading or one that demands you read for its intellectual merits alone. Rather, it uses these in harmony to weave a smart story with mysterious motivations and backstory that keep the reader intrigued.

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This collection pulls back the curtain on a lot of things the first one referenced but did not reveal; including what Andy is doing, some connections to the Harvesters, and what the Machine’s ultimate goal is. These did excellent in providing some more backstory and enhancing the plot going forward. Some comics seems to drag out every mystery they introduce too far, causing the reader to lose interest after a volume or two. This comic plays it out even better by giving just enough information to keep things interesting while not showing you everything.

Not only does this book keep some questions unanswered, it also creates a few more. This book leaves the reader in a similar, yet more satisfying, place as the previous one did, on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next. I personally am particularly interested in the mystery of the Harvesters and what they have to do with both Tim and the ancient robot. This book does a great job at giving the reader plenty of reason to want to come back.

One of the only real problems with this collection is that it gets a little too confusing with its own world references. This problem existed in the first book but I overlooked it because of the introductory nature of that collection, however it is starting to become bothersome here. Basically what I mean by this is that when the book has a character reference “Planet Sampson” and its current condition it goes on as if the reader knows what that means despite not much being said about that location beforehand. While annoying, this problem is not too bad as this is a much better problem to have than a book that explains way too much and it also usually makes rereads a lot more enjoyable.

(spoilers end here)

Art

The art here is of a very similar quality to the first collection so make sure you read ComicBookWire’s review of Volume 1: Tin Stars (Review).

However, the story in this collection allows for a wider variety of ways for Dustin Nguyen’s art to shine. The first book was mostly relegated to hallways with a few exotic locations and places, yet the art still broke through as the highlight. Now, this book sees around half a dozen different worlds and a few different dreamscapes to boot. This means that the beautiful black and white look of the first look is preserved while still allowing for more. This leads to some spectacular scenes in the atmosphere of planet Phages, colorful character meetings on the ground of planet Sampson, and a colorful and trippy videogame mindscape. Overall the art in Volume One was amazing and this is beyond even that.

Continuity

Descender Vol. 2- Machine Moon is published by Image Comics, a creator owned publishing company who’s titles do not often crossover with each other. Thus this title, like many other Image Comics, maintains its own continuity. This means to understand the story all you must do is read Descender Vol. 1: Tin Stars (Review).

This story continues in Descender Vol. 3: Singularities.

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