In Review: Descendent #1

I have no idea what's going on, but I have to keep reading!

The covers: Two covers to choose between and both will leave you with many questions. Juan Doe has quickly become one of my favorite artists for all his work I’ve seen on AfterShock books and this only solidifies my admiration. The center of the book has a thick red circle surrounded by the intersection of two thin golden circles. Emerging from the top and the bottom of the book are two dirty yellow pyramids, each containing an eye, with the bottom one having the circle within circles pattern repeated in thin black lines. Behind the pyramids is a giant image of person’s head, their age and gender impossible to discern. Giant green figures are on either side of this individual with a pair of hands on each side holding up a neon orange infant. At the bottom of this cover are hands reaching for the sky with flames behind them. Do not take drugs while looking at this cover. I love this! The Incentive cover by Andrei Bressan with Adriano Lucas has the three leads, Jo, David Corey, and Amanda Mansfield, standing atop a three story tall rocky outcropping. Jo holds a pistol low, David has made fists, and Amanda holds a file close to her chest. They are looking at the mob of cloaked individuals surrounding them. They’re in the desert and an apocalyptic explosion is going off in the distance. What the heck is going on? Yeah, this will definitely get potential readers wondering what this book is about. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant A 

The story: Senator Carter Miller looks in the mirror practicing a passionate speech about immigration when his wife Jean comes in. “I told you not to interrupt me. I’ve already explained how important today is. The club’s support in a presidential run will be invaluable.” She laughingly tells him if he continues to yell he’ll wake their toddler Jack. She leaves the room to check on their son and screams: he’s gone. There’s a ransom note signed with a strange black dot within two intersecting circles. The story by Stephanie Phillips then moves to Langley Air Force Base where a coffee cup has made a familiar circular pattern on a desktop. Two men on duty are discussing football when the sergeant decides it’s time to go outside for a break. What comes barreling at them is unexpected. There’s a solid action sequence on 7 and 8 that leads to Amanda speaking with David. Their conversation is excellent, with much revealed about each without it seeming like an information dump. There’s a transition to the Millers’ home where two agents, with Jo in charge, investigating the scene of the baby’s disappearance. Something odd is discovered on 15. Returning to Amanda and David, there’s a connection to current events and an infamous crime from 1927. If this doesn’t make the reader feel uneasy, the closing reveal will. This is a trippy story where I have no idea what’s going on or where this is heading. I love this! Overall grade: A+

The art: Artist Evgeniy Bornyakov has nothing outrageous to draw in this issue: every incident that occurs could happen in the real world. With this seeming like a liability, he pulls the reader into this book with his visuals. The first three panels is a neat cinematic pull back to show Carter Miller: beginning on his American flag pin, then his tie, and finally the serious look of the senator. Notice how the final panel is tilted to amplify his emotion as he hits the points of his speech. I like that when Jean gets close to him his demeanor softens, showing him not to be a one note character. The symbol left on Jack’s ransom note is odd. All I could think of was something from a David Lynch film, whom I’m a huge fan of. The return of the symbol in a different format on 4 increases the creepy feel of the story. I like the matter-of-fact comfort level the military men show to one another until things go wrong on 6. The action that follows is very exciting, with the flag being a neat inclusion into the proceedings. The full-paged splash on Page 9 is a neat introduction to a character. The introduction of the individual on 10 is neat for not seeing this person’s face until the bottom of the page — a neat way to build tension. The conversation that follows is good, especially with the emotion and actions from the handcuffed character. The reveal at the end of 15 ups the creep factor. I liked the way information is shown on the penultimate page, with Bornyakov aging it perfectly. The final panel has a look that tells the reader, without any dialogue, that a partnership has officially begun. If Bornyakov can make these normal proceedings interesting to see, I look forward to what he’ll do when the strangeness increases. Overall grade: A

The colors: Lauren Affe uses her color work to define Carter on the first page: his flag pin is outlined in gold, giving him the “golden boy” of politics tone, and his tie is red to represent his party. I like how his reflection in the mirror is given a blue background that makes him very personable. The brown colors that begin Page 4 are great. The color used for a flag makes it an instant attention getter when the action begins. I like the reds on 7 that up the intensity. The setting entered on 11 is fairly dark and symbolizes the speakers’ relationship. The colors on 19 set the images in their appropriate time. Affe is doing a solid job, though there’s no opportunity for spectacular reveals. Overall grade: A-

The letters: Dialogue, a scream, yells, the ransom note’s text, whispered speech, sounds, transmissions, and the three word tease for next issue are by A Larger World’s Troy Peteri. Every text he creates is solid, with the ransom note a particular standout, looking as if it was created by someone with a deranged mind. The whispered text comes right before the action sequence begins, which is neat because it’s a quiet moment before things get loud. The transmissions are differed from dialogue by their being in italics and they look fine. Overall grade: A

The final line: I have no idea what’s going on, but I have to keep reading! There’s a link between kidnappings almost one hundred years apart and two people look to investigate the current crime. The characters are intriguing, having a very Mulder and Scully vibe. The art is grounded in reality which only increases during the action sequence. I’m so on board for more! Overall grade: A

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Descendent-1/digital-comic/764411?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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