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Ascender, Vol. 2: The Dead Sea

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The hit fantasy series from powerhouse creative team JEFF LEMIRE and DUSTIN NGUYEN continues! After a bruising escape attempt from the planet Sampson, Andy finds himself in the clutches of the militia, which means the murderous Mother can't be far behind. Meanwhile, Mila has booked passage on a ship piloted by none other than the irascible Captain Telsa. And while vampires The hit fantasy series from powerhouse creative team JEFF LEMIRE and DUSTIN NGUYEN continues! After a bruising escape attempt from the planet Sampson, Andy finds himself in the clutches of the militia, which means the murderous Mother can't be far behind. Meanwhile, Mila has booked passage on a ship piloted by none other than the irascible Captain Telsa. And while vampires may rule this strange galaxy, they're no match for Kanto, the Blood Scrapper-the most badass vampire hunter in the universe! Collects ASCENDER #6-10


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The hit fantasy series from powerhouse creative team JEFF LEMIRE and DUSTIN NGUYEN continues! After a bruising escape attempt from the planet Sampson, Andy finds himself in the clutches of the militia, which means the murderous Mother can't be far behind. Meanwhile, Mila has booked passage on a ship piloted by none other than the irascible Captain Telsa. And while vampires The hit fantasy series from powerhouse creative team JEFF LEMIRE and DUSTIN NGUYEN continues! After a bruising escape attempt from the planet Sampson, Andy finds himself in the clutches of the militia, which means the murderous Mother can't be far behind. Meanwhile, Mila has booked passage on a ship piloted by none other than the irascible Captain Telsa. And while vampires may rule this strange galaxy, they're no match for Kanto, the Blood Scrapper-the most badass vampire hunter in the universe! Collects ASCENDER #6-10

30 review for Ascender, Vol. 2: The Dead Sea

  1. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I know I'm probably all alone with this, but I actually like Ascender even more than Descender. And I really loved Descender. Again, I think I may be in the minority here, but I thought this volume was fantastic! There were a lot of interesting new things being introduced into the storyline. Andy & Effie, Mother & her sister, Telsa & Dr. Quon, Driller, Bandit...and where the hell is Tim 21?! It may not be for everyone, but love the switch from sci-fi to fantasy and the melding of magic and machines I know I'm probably all alone with this, but I actually like Ascender even more than Descender. And I really loved Descender. Again, I think I may be in the minority here, but I thought this volume was fantastic! There were a lot of interesting new things being introduced into the storyline. Andy & Effie, Mother & her sister, Telsa & Dr. Quon, Driller, Bandit...and where the hell is Tim 21?! It may not be for everyone, but love the switch from sci-fi to fantasy and the melding of magic and machines. I've got so many questions and I can't wait to find out the answers. Gah! I wish I could say more but I can't think of a way to talk about this volume without giving spoilers. Highly Recommended!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    4.5 stars! I love this new series. But this one was a bit sad in some parts 😕 Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 BLOG: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot.... 4.5 stars! I love this new series. But this one was a bit sad in some parts 😕 Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 BLOG: https://melissa413readsalot.blogspot....

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    Just a glance at some of the reviews already posted for this second volume of the sequel? extension? of the highly successful Descender series by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen (who are listed as co-storytellers) reveals a kind of unanimity: The shift from sci-fi in Descender to fantasy (and horror) in Ascender, the challenge of creating new characters while reaching back to integrate characters from the original series, keeping all the back story plates spinning on all those sticks, well, it slo Just a glance at some of the reviews already posted for this second volume of the sequel? extension? of the highly successful Descender series by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen (who are listed as co-storytellers) reveals a kind of unanimity: The shift from sci-fi in Descender to fantasy (and horror) in Ascender, the challenge of creating new characters while reaching back to integrate characters from the original series, keeping all the back story plates spinning on all those sticks, well, it slows things down. But I have to say: This is highly ambitious epic space opera storytelling, with a very wide reach, even as its main appeal (as with Star Wars, its central inspiration) is a YA audience. The artwork by Nguyen is the ongoing centerpiece of the work, with warm watercolors and a nod to Lemire's sketchy artistic approach (call it minimalist, maybe?). But the challenge is to make the shift to fantasy/horror as we head to the Mothers' Coven and a battle for power in the vampire-controlled universe. Okay, the overall storyline doesn't move too much forward, but at the same time, there are a couple of Big Deaths to pretty major characters that happen here. We see Andy trying to find Mila, who is on a ship with Telsa and a new character and Telsa admirer ("once my captain, always my captain") Helda. We get a cameo appearance from series favorite Driller the Killer. Oh, and just for random fun: Werewhales? It's maybe not running on all cylinders yet, but it's still one of the best series out there.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    More 3.5 stars, I suppose. But I haven’t quite made up my mind about this series. There were a couple of flashbacks to fill in the gaps between Descender and Ascender. That’s something I was hoping for, as I loved that series and its characters, and I need to know what happened to them in the ten years that lie between those two. At the same time Lemire has to do a lot of worldbuilding to explain this new fantasy-setting that has replaced the SciFi world of its predecessor. It doesn’t leave him More 3.5 stars, I suppose. But I haven’t quite made up my mind about this series. There were a couple of flashbacks to fill in the gaps between Descender and Ascender. That’s something I was hoping for, as I loved that series and its characters, and I need to know what happened to them in the ten years that lie between those two. At the same time Lemire has to do a lot of worldbuilding to explain this new fantasy-setting that has replaced the SciFi world of its predecessor. It doesn’t leave him with a lot of room to move the actual plot forward. Don’t get me wrong. I’m enjoying this quite a bit. But a huge factor in that are the characters that I know from a different series and the occasional look back to that world. And the thing I’m still most excited about is for more of those characters to show up here, and to find out what has happened to them in the meantime. Of course this is part of the appeal, as this is the follow-up to Descender after all. But almost all of the new characters leave me rather cold. Except maybe for Mila. And the backstory for Mother, which we got here, was so confusing that Lemire lost me somewhere along the way. Add to that the glacier-like plot progression at this point, and it becomes a little hard to give this volume another 4-star-rating. There are some developments, though, that had quite an impact on me. And Nguyen’s artwork is still something special. Oh, and werewhales! So, yeah, 3.5 stars it is.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stacie

    Came here for the color story, stayed for the space vampires. Thoroughly enjoyable volume in this universe!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    This series isn't as good as Descender and it's taking a while for it to get going, but there are still things I love about it. Individual issue reviews: #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 Total review score: 3.4 This series isn't as good as Descender and it's taking a while for it to get going, but there are still things I love about it. Individual issue reviews: #6 | #7 | #8 | #9 | #10 Total review score: 3.4

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tobin Elliott

    I will fully admit to being a touch underwhelmed by the first volume of this Descender follow up series. The hard shift from SF to Fantasy threw me a bit. It also created a lot of work for Lemire and Nguyen to lay the foundations for this new universe, while also catching us up with the players from the last series, and introducing new ones. But now that the first volume did all that work, this one simply hums along with that trademark Lemire/Nguyen brilliance. I enjoyed it immensely.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    Somehow, the mixture fell in all the wrong places.It's not a bad comic, but it's not memorable also. Still, art is the strong card of these series, as it was with its prequel, Descender.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Samuel

    Magic has taken the place of technology. The story is really starting to gain momentum and the artwork is top notch. Darker and rawer than Descender.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris Lemmerman

    More familiar faces come back to play as Andy and Mila attempt to escape from Mother, even if it means asking people they never wanted to see again for help. There's still a lot of world building going on, as the post-Descender world becomes more apparent - there's an entire issue devoted to Mother's backstory which I really enjoyed, for example, but it does mean that the main plotline feels like it's moving along at a glacial pace. It's still great reading, of course, but it's also a tad frustr More familiar faces come back to play as Andy and Mila attempt to escape from Mother, even if it means asking people they never wanted to see again for help. There's still a lot of world building going on, as the post-Descender world becomes more apparent - there's an entire issue devoted to Mother's backstory which I really enjoyed, for example, but it does mean that the main plotline feels like it's moving along at a glacial pace. It's still great reading, of course, but it's also a tad frustrating. Nguyen's art remains beautiful, but it definitely relies a lot on blank space.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cathleen

    First, it must be said: Werewhales. Who knew? It can be difficult to edge back into an ambitious-but-not-quite-established story after months away, and the quick-cut episodic style doesn't help, especially when we're also juggling jumps back in time. I did appreciate the nods back to the Descender series to help pull together backstory with present, but it's an encouraging sign that the extra aid seems less essential as the narrative establishes itself independently. Frankly, I'm not sure I care First, it must be said: Werewhales. Who knew? It can be difficult to edge back into an ambitious-but-not-quite-established story after months away, and the quick-cut episodic style doesn't help, especially when we're also juggling jumps back in time. I did appreciate the nods back to the Descender series to help pull together backstory with present, but it's an encouraging sign that the extra aid seems less essential as the narrative establishes itself independently. Frankly, I'm not sure I care about the dark creatures' game of thrones and (view spoiler)[Effie's return wasn't entirely welcome as I long ago soured on her transformation (hide spoiler)] , but the images have incredible power of mesmerism, so I don't mind as much as I would otherwise. I could gaze at Nguyen's art for ages, and that goes almost equally for the grotesque as well as the emotive. His use of color and stroke is not only what anchors me in these imagined worlds but also lures me to linger. Mila is still the star, and thus far is underserved. Here's hoping we spend more time with her in next chapters.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth A

    This installment of the Ascender graphic novel series is slow. The story doesn't move forward much, and characters from the original Descender series keep making an appearance. I like the loose watercolor illustration style and color palette. There are poignant moments, yes, but I for one look forward to getting to know "Kanto, the Blood Scrapper-the most badass vampire hunter in the universe!"

  13. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie (aka WW)

    I love this story and its artwork. It’s as good as Descender if not better. Can’t wait for the next installment.

  14. 4 out of 5

    RG

    Still not hitting the highs of Descender

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jake

    I can't think of another comic series that is as much of a new-story sequel as it is an immediate continuation of its initial story. I supremely dig it, as it has all the curious heart and wicked adventure of Descender, but from a lovely new angle. I like that there's a young character of optimism surrounded by a smattering of logical adults who have reason to be cynical. Sometimes, the things-will-work-out crowd is right; sometimes, the things-will-get-worse crowd is right. It's ups and downs w I can't think of another comic series that is as much of a new-story sequel as it is an immediate continuation of its initial story. I supremely dig it, as it has all the curious heart and wicked adventure of Descender, but from a lovely new angle. I like that there's a young character of optimism surrounded by a smattering of logical adults who have reason to be cynical. Sometimes, the things-will-work-out crowd is right; sometimes, the things-will-get-worse crowd is right. It's ups and downs within a structured, well-handled narrative arc, and I never quite know what's coming next.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    More table-setting, but not much else. Also, Nguyen's art is a bit of a mess this time--a lot of it looks dashed-off, not as controlled as in earlier volumes. I love this story, but I was really hoping for a bit more out of this arc.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    In volume two, Mila’s journey continues to evolve as an any epic adventure does. Her party has close calls, victories, and adds heroes. We also flashback to learn the backstory of unfamiliar characters of Ascender. Jeff Lemire puts the emotional spectrum of his writing prowess on full parade. We get treated to the ache of losses, the relief of narrow escapes, and the soaring heart of companionship. Dustin Nguyen’s panels are self-contained works of art; each one harnessing the emotions of the sto In volume two, Mila’s journey continues to evolve as an any epic adventure does. Her party has close calls, victories, and adds heroes. We also flashback to learn the backstory of unfamiliar characters of Ascender. Jeff Lemire puts the emotional spectrum of his writing prowess on full parade. We get treated to the ache of losses, the relief of narrow escapes, and the soaring heart of companionship. Dustin Nguyen’s panels are self-contained works of art; each one harnessing the emotions of the storyline and focusing it into haunting, heart-wrenching, and triumphant frozen moments. The pair of creators achieve the nigh-impossible—Ascender’s impact grows with every page. Driller a killer...Driller a real killer.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    I loved reading this book for the (familiar) characters, the storyline (what’s going to happen to those characters), and especially the artwork which is a beautiful and evocative kind of water coloring. I don’t even want to find fault with this but I suppose my only complaint is that I wish the overall story would move faster, but that’s my impatience for more story and I must admit that Lemire does have several threads he’s weaving at once and a fair amount of world-building to accomplish.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The story continues and again, I cannot speak (or write) more highly of Lemire's works. I am not a fan of everything he has written, but still, this series (from DESCENDERS to ASCENDERS) is just magical in a way that feels like folktale tellings around a ceremony. It is beautiful to look at, and compelling to read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul Swanson

    Fantasy sci-fi quest with mind blowing watercolor and painfully lovable characters. At times a little underwhelming and even disappointing. But then absolutely amazing and beautiful and touching and making me wet. So good. Helda is fracking awesome.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Wesley

    Best book out there right now? Best book out there right now.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Connolly

    Good stuff.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Theediscerning

    Much more so than the previous volume, it's obvious that this book is a sequel to both the Descender series as well as Ascender Book One. We get quite a bit of flashback, via touches of both Pinocchio and A Christmas Carol, and some effort is made to flesh out the gaps between the two cycles of books. All of which is a little irrelevant, for this is never really going to be your starting point of choice. If you're returning, you might not quite get the book you assumed you would, but there is ac Much more so than the previous volume, it's obvious that this book is a sequel to both the Descender series as well as Ascender Book One. We get quite a bit of flashback, via touches of both Pinocchio and A Christmas Carol, and some effort is made to flesh out the gaps between the two cycles of books. All of which is a little irrelevant, for this is never really going to be your starting point of choice. If you're returning, you might not quite get the book you assumed you would, but there is action here, and some surprise, at least where Mother is concerned. The artwork is still Dustin Nguyen's cool design – art that is wonderfully painted, but can make it hard to tell gender at times, which might make you turn against it. So, escaping questers, manic sororities, and the usual mix of cyborg vampire action – all turn up and are present and correct, but I didn't find it quite as appealing as the first book's blend of the familiar and the new. Three and a half stars, perhaps.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cale

    This volume doesn't move forward a whole lot, but it does fill in a lot of the holes left over from volume 1, as we find out more about Telsa's travails post-Descender, and get some more back-story on the villains' past and ultimate goals. It also undoes one of the cliffhangers from the previous volume, about which I'm not sure how I feel. But really, not a whole lot happens here; it just feels like it's setting the pieces in place for the next part of the story. But even without big set pieces This volume doesn't move forward a whole lot, but it does fill in a lot of the holes left over from volume 1, as we find out more about Telsa's travails post-Descender, and get some more back-story on the villains' past and ultimate goals. It also undoes one of the cliffhangers from the previous volume, about which I'm not sure how I feel. But really, not a whole lot happens here; it just feels like it's setting the pieces in place for the next part of the story. But even without big set pieces Dustin Nguyen's art is amazing, and he gets several chances to shine here, which makes it worthwhile just for that. I'm assuming the next volume will do more and this does provide some world-building details that were sorely lacking in Volume 1. But as a standalone, it's definitely not the best of the saga.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Robert Kirwan

    ❤️❤️❤️ and 😢😢😢 all in one volume. This continues to be epic with twists and turns around every page turn. The artwork is sublime!!! There’s not an issue that this slips in and even more reveals!! Ugh this series is just amazing

  26. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Beautiful artwork, the shift from sci-fi to fantasy has resulted in a slow moving plot line.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Roberts

    I have loved the Descender series and the first volume of the Ascender series but this trade left me kinda disappointed. I went back and forth with whether this is three or four stars.....and the fact I waffled means it should be three. Not sure why but it just didn’t sit well with me.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Vol 2: The Dead Sea Illustrated by Dustin Nguyen Andy gets fished out of the ocean and healed only to be sent to a Vamp Camp as food. Mother arrives in the nick of time to “save” him, but only to use as part of her tracking spell to find Mila. Telsa and Helda take Mila to an island where they have hidden their space ship, and a daring rescue reveals Helda’s love for her captain. Meanwhile, an attack on Mother’s coven forces her back to her lair, where she discovers all of the mothers, and the sou Vol 2: The Dead Sea Illustrated by Dustin Nguyen Andy gets fished out of the ocean and healed only to be sent to a Vamp Camp as food. Mother arrives in the nick of time to “save” him, but only to use as part of her tracking spell to find Mila. Telsa and Helda take Mila to an island where they have hidden their space ship, and a daring rescue reveals Helda’s love for her captain. Meanwhile, an attack on Mother’s coven forces her back to her lair, where she discovers all of the mothers, and the source of her powers, is gone. She is visited by her former self, and we see her terrible path to become Mother. There was a lot of backstory given in this volume, but it wasn’t overwhelming. I feel like Mother has a lot more dimension now, and I really need to see what happens to her, as this volume left her in a bit of a pickle. At the end of volume one, I really didn't have any sympathy for her despite having hints that she had a hard life. We also see how Telsa and Helda got to Sampson, as well as some snippets of what happened after the Descender attack. Most of what happened in that second battle at the end of the Descender series is still a mystery, so hopefully we get some more insight as Ascender goes on. A parallel between the two series is the reader knowing so much more than the characters, and Lemire really building on this frustration with every issue. Dustin Nguyen's beautiful and ephemeral watercolors once again build a vivid galaxy. Image rates this as a Mature title, but the only thing in this volume elevating its rating is language. In Descender, there is an adult scene and a bit of gore, so I am curious to see if Lemire adds any of those elements into Ascender. Sara's Rating: 9/10 Suitability Level: Grades 11-12 Read more graphic novel reviews at www.graphiclibrary.org.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alex E

    Lemire and Nguyen are now definitely getting into a groove with this new version of the story. The story is new, but it is seeded from the Descender story line. Not to say new readers cant jump into this story and have no problem with it, I think it is certainly accessible to new readers. But if you have read Descender, the level of depth from the story increases substantially. This is especially true at the end of this volume as certain characters are reintroduced, which was an awesome and welc Lemire and Nguyen are now definitely getting into a groove with this new version of the story. The story is new, but it is seeded from the Descender story line. Not to say new readers cant jump into this story and have no problem with it, I think it is certainly accessible to new readers. But if you have read Descender, the level of depth from the story increases substantially. This is especially true at the end of this volume as certain characters are reintroduced, which was an awesome and welcome development. The art as always is handled beautifully from Dustin Nguyen. I cant say this enough, this guy doesn't get the credit he deserves based on this comic alone. Some of the designs are so effortless and look so beautiful at the same time. The scenery for Ascender is so far pretty different from Descender, but Nguyen gives both an amazing look that is unique and gorgeous all at once. I think this volume was one of those volumes that moves the plot along mostly, and cements our emotional connection to new scenarios and new characters. But it is also re-establishing our connections to old characters. Cant wait to read the next volume.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sesana

    The exposition volume, which means that there's not much forward momentum here.

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