COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Descender #30 (Man or Machine?)

Tim-21 is needed for the UGC’s ultimate weapon. The Hardwire has infiltrated every known human settlement in the UGC and started their uprising. Tim-21 has a choice to make: go back to the Descenders, or help stop the machine uprising and help humankind to a better path.


Authors: Jeff Lemire
Illustrator: Dustin Nguyen
Letters: Steve Wands
Publisher: Image Comics

What You Need to Know:

Ten years ago, giant robots called “Harvesters” appeared near every planet in the United Galactic Council (UGC) and wiped out a majority of their inhabitants. This attacked caused a backlash towards all of machinekind, ensuring their genocide at the hands of assassins and military alike.

In the present day, the UGC has become aware of the reactivation of a little companion bot, Tim-21, who’s data programming shares a remarkable resemblance to that of the Harvesters. A race begins as many groups become interested in this little robot boy, including his old companion Andy.

Tim-21, Telsa, and Quon and found Quon’s old mentor, Doctor Solomon, and the ancient bot Quon stole technology from to create Tim-21 under the seas of Mata. They tell the group about The Descenders, an ancient race of robots that once tested humankind by sending their technology to be used. The test was failed when machinekind was turned into slaves instead of companions and was wiped out. The ancient bot warns that humankind is on the precipice of another failure judgment.

The Hardwire has started their infiltration by attacking the UGC council, ready to eliminate humankind themselves. The Hardwire has also surrounded Nagoki’s ship outside of Mata, but he reveals he has one last weapon to use. The UGC has built a Harvester.

What You’ll Find Out:

Ganishian Lord S’lok, with Driller and the old man in his possession, has used Driller’s memory to discover the location of the Hardwire’s location and is ready to lead an attack. Upon arriving to find the Hardwire and UGC ships all outside Mata, and they discover the Harvester that the UGC has built. After S’lok and his men leave to deal with the new threat, the old man reveals his walking stick is actually his wand, and he has a plan to escape.

Under the Southern Seas of Mata, Telsa discusses the Harvester the UGC has built with her father, Commander Nagoki. Nagoki is pleading with his daughter to bring him Tim-21, as he is the only way they will be able to operate the Harvester they have built. Obeying the order, she takes Tim-21 and Dr. Quon captive and gets on the ship take Tim-21 to the UGC agents inside the Harvester.

Meanwhile, the Hardwire figures out that the Harvester is not active, and that until they have Tim-21, their giant machine is merely a bluff. They decide to stage an assault on the Harvester and follow the ship Telsa has taken inside to deliver Tim-21.

Andy and Effie, with Bandit’s help, figure out Tim-21 is close by, and take Andy’s ship from their UGC ship to pursue Telsa and the group. Once Telsa lands in the harvester’s bay, the Hardwire attacks, but Andy quickly destroys the assailants. After stepping out of the ship, Andy and Tim-21 embrace, but the moment is short-lived when they realize that the Hardwire has many more agents coming for them.

What Just Happened?

Quickening as the comic reaches its climax and end, all the groups and people who have been pursuing Tim-21 have all come together for the final showdown. The UGC’s threat of a Harvester looming, Tim-21’s importance to the Council has become alarmingly clear. Once a story about genocide, Descender has expanded to the story of building entire civilizations on the backs of those considered “lesser.”

Humanity has suffered this trial before, over 4000 years ago, but they are at the edge again, waiting to see what will happen. Telsa’s internal conflict, to either hand over Tim-21 to her father to be used as a weapon that can win a war, or to see Tim-21’s humanity and realize he has much more power than she knows in this conflict, will ultimately decide the fate of the universe.


After thirty long issues, Tim-21’s goal has been met as he is finally reunited with Andy. But the short-lived reunion doesn’t allow for any feelings. Andy has struggled with the dissonance he has felt about machinekind since he has heard about Tim-21’s awakening. He will soon need to rectify his feelings to determine if he believes machinekind is worthy to live as companions to humankind. This dissonance is evident on his face during the embrace.


Rating: 8.5/10

Final Thoughts: The climax is near and the future is standing on a pin. The personal decisions and dissonances of many of these characters are what will ultimately lead to what the fate of the universe is. With only 2 issues left, the conclusion isn’t far off, and uncertainty is all around.

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