Writing by Jeff Lemire, Art by Dustin Nguyen, Lettering and Design by Steve Wands
Ascender #2 picks up right where #1 left off: Mila was out and about when a mysterious BANG! took her by surprise. It turns out that whatever crash-landed was a remnant of the past, thought to be long-gone, and proof that robots still exist. This object becomes the desire of the "Vamps", who patrol Mila and her father's part of the planet Sampson, and it sends them both running. Meanwhile, we find out that Mother has a hold over entire worlds and is even more sinister and cunning than she was made out to be in our introduction in issue #1.
Lemire is a solid storyteller, painting this grandiose picture of worlds in a galaxy uncharted by our minds. His characterization and placement of these people within the grander context is brilliant. I already want to follow Mila and her father wherever their adventure takes them; I want to know the fate of those who cross Mother; and I want to know what happened to the "good" robots that may still be out there. The problem with the single issue format is that it leaves you asking questions, for an epic such as this that can be a really good problem to have. It's obvious from this issue that the story will take many issues to tell, and Image Comics produces some fantastic trade paperbacks. I have a feeling Ascender will read beautifully in that form. But, for now, this is perfectly fine, and that is owed much to Nguyen's wonderful art.
Again, juxtaposing the grand scale of space and interplanetary storytelling with the simplicity of water color is quite the feat. The details in the art are that much more enjoyable to take in. I can't wait to see what the rest of all of these planets, these characters, and the space in-between looks like. The lettering is fantastic as well. It appears hand-drawn which fits in with the aesthetic of the book so well.
I highly recommend Ascender. Even though it may play out better in trade form, it's definitely worth picking up in single issue format for the art work alone.