Mother may I? (Ascender #1 Comic Review)

Ascender #1 Review

Storytellers: Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen

Cover Artist: Dustin Nguyen

Letters & Design: Steve Wands

Ascender #1 cover by Dustin Nguyen


The galaxy is in chaos…worlds under the complete dominion of the maniacal Mother, latest in a long line of witches from the planet Knossos, she’s taken the formally small, insignificant world and made it the heart of her new tyrannical empire…but a strange challenger to her power seems to have surfaced. As the rebels Mother so desperately wants to stamp out are now protected by the light of the great wizard…

Something is beginning to stir (from Ascender #1 by Jeff Lemire & Dustin Nguyen)

Opinions on story and art

This is a very engaging, beautiful start for this sequel series. The issue does a decent job introducing us to the new status-quo of the world(s) of this galaxy after the cataclysmic ending to Descender. And it’s very interesting to see a complete inversion of the genre. Ascender is dripping with fantasy imagery, but it never feels jarring or out of place, showing just how well constructed the setting of this series (and the prior one) are/were.

The new fantasy aspects (the goblins, magic, and attire) fit artist Dustin Nguyen’s style and aesthetic very well, creating a realm of both dread and at parts, awe and splendor. If not for the massive oppression by Mother I’d love to visit this place! Speaking of Mother, Nguyen’s water-colours are perfectly suited for conveying magic and spell-casting, making said energies feel ethereal on the page. Few comics can depict sorcery or spellcasting in such a way.

Between Dustin Nguyen & writer Jeff Lemire, they create a very compelling, likable new character with Mila, suffering from both being trapped in her surroundings and living in isolation with her father. She and her father are living in the woods, hermits because they’re barred from the town. Why exactly this might is unclear at this point, however, it may have to do with Mila’s mother.

This is a sequel series to Descender, however how long it’s been since the ending of that series and the start of this one is a bit unclear, building both mysteries for readers of Descender, and allowing for an easy starting point for new readers. If you never read Descender, you can start to read this series with little to no difficulty, and if you have, your reading experience will be enhanced.

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Ian Cameron

Ian Cameron

A comic-loving doofus eager to see the worlds on the page reflect the wonderfully diverse world we all share!
After concluding such an excellent sci-fi adventure like Descender, Jeff Lemire & Dustin Ngyuen reunite to begin a sequel ripe with the same charm and beauty of its predecessor, while still feeling entirely unique. I can’t wait to see what new tales they weave with more Ascender!
  • The atmosphere of this new series is rich with mystery and intrigue from the first few pages
  • Dustin Nguyen’s art is ideally suited for the heavy fantasy elements in the story
  • The comic is very new-reader friendly, no familiarity with Descender is required
  • Lemire & Nyguen continue to craft very sympathetic, compelling kid-characters.
  • For those familiar with Desecender, while there is some connective tissue, some details are left potentially too vague
Art - 10
Writing - 8
Plot - 8
Character Development - 8
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A comic-loving doofus eager to see the worlds on the page reflect the wonderfully diverse world we all share!

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