Lemire & Nguyen continue their climb as master storytellers with "Ascender #3"

Ascender #3 by Jeff Lemire (Writer), Dustin Nguyen (Art), Steve Wands (Lettering and Design)

"Ascender #3" Cover Art

Mila's story continues in Lemire and Nguyen's epic Ascender. On the run from Mother's Militia, Mila and her father, Andy, make their way for the shore to go off-planet. But their plans change when they encounter a sinister new enemy. Sprinkled in this issue are flashbacks to Andy's old love and Mila's mother, Effie and what happened to her. It's a riveting adventure, with beautiful exposition that speeds it along at a super fast pace. Oh, and Andy's old robot companion, Bandit, may come in handy in fighting enemies.

I'm still really enjoying this series. Lemire knows how to pack a punch when it comes to emotion and there's plenty laid throughout the books 20+ pages in flashbacks; a story of despair and how love can conquer it. It's really fitting that the book lists Lemire and Nguyen as "storytellers" rather than pitting them as artist and writer because there's a great symbiosis between them that reaches depths further than just the two complementing each other.

Nguyen's artwork, specifically the way he jumps from present to past and back again, is so seamless. The reader knows where they are without the "10 years ago" that mark the page just by the color hues used. Granted, each time is on a different world, but it feels like the choice of color and shadow is deliberate. Nguyen's style is gorgeous; watercolor fills each page. And the juxtaposition of the rustic and futuristic, even more apparent in this issue, is ever present. Wands' lettering and logo are complementary to the book's style, both in narrative and visuals.

The one thing that I do dislike is that each issue is so fast-paced and packs such a punch that it leaves you wanting more; the end of each issue is sort of anti-climactic. Serialized stories are great, but I do feel with this series I'm not getting the most bang for my buck. That's not to denigrate the story or art in any way. With the rising cost per issue, I just expect to not be able to breeze through each issue so quickly. Alas, that's not anything on the creative team, but rather a complaint about the industry as a whole. I digress.

Pick up this issue if you've been reading the series. If not, pick up the first two and dive in. There are only two issues left in this arc, so you'd be safe waiting for the trade, and I'm honestly okay seeing how the story looks in that format. All in all, still one of the best series on the stands.


Descender (2015) Image Comics

Ascender #1-2 (2019) Image Comics

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