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Descender, Volume 1: Tin Stars: 05/05/20
After being confused by the first volume of Ascender, I chose to purchase the six volume run of the precursor series. Descender, Volume 1: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen begins the series and ultimately also sets the stage for Ascender.
The book opens with a woman pushing a pram along a busy and advanced city street. There are flying cars and other signs of a far futuristic civilization. She's interrupted when everyone starts looking skywards.
In the sky, or rather, in orbit, is a gigantic — larger than planet sized — robotic figure. Thus begins the downfall of this advanced society.
The next scene shows a boy waking up and wondering where everyone is. A computerized voice tells him he's been sleeping for ten years. Around him are skeletal remains — everywhere he goes. It's quickly revealed that he isn't a boy, but a robot companion named Tim-21.
Tim-21 is the last surviving robot of a certain type of robot. He has the same code base as the things that attacked. His supposed creator is now en route to rescue Tim-21 before the scavengers can get him and melt him down.
Like every other Jeff Lemire comic I've read, this one is settled into the road narrative spectrum. As I continue to read and review the Descender series, I will plot later volumes on the spectrum to track the series' narrative progression.
Mostly Tin Stars is told from Tim-21's point of view. As such, he is the traveler for volume one. Although he appears to an orphan at his introduction, we quickly learn that he is a robot, a constructed being. As he was used as a companion to a boy named Andy, we could see him as a scarecrow, or protector character. The adults coming to get him, though, know of his ties to a cataclysmic force, and thus he can also be seen as a "monster in the middle" or minotaur. Either way he is in the 99 slot for traveler.
Tim's destination is uhoria (CC) — or no time. His immediate goal is to understand what happened while he was "asleep" for ten years. For the adults pursuing him, their goal is to understand how his code is related to the giants. That connection is rooted in the past in multiple layers.
The route to Tim's destination is an offroad one (66). First and foremost there is his journey through the mines looking for survivors or help. Second there is the space travel the adults take to find him. Then there is his space travel to the scavenger's planet. There are also the journeys through his memories which materialize as dreams.
All together Tin Stars is about a scarecrow or minotaur traveling to uhoria via an offroad route. It's thematically very similar to the second volume of Captive Hearts in Oz, which I will show when I post my review of it.
Volume 2 is Machine Moon (2016) which I am currently reading.