Image Comics has canceled retailers' orders for Ascender #15 and Ascender #16. These are the first two issues of the planned final arc of the sci-fi series by writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dustin Nguyen, which is a sequel to their previous series Descender.
Newsarama has learned that this decision comes as a member of the creative team has been dealing with a personal matter.
The last new issue of Ascender was October 28, 2020's Ascender #14, with skip-months planned for November and December before the series resumed January 20, 2021 with #15 - the beginning of a new story arc titled 'Star Seed.' Ascender #16 was to follow in February.
"What are the twin hearts of the galaxy? As our heroes reconvene, the origins of man, machine, and the unknown are at last revealed," reads the combined solicitations for #15 and #16. "Startling secrets are unveiled as Andy, Effie, and their allies fight to make it off Sampson alive. Meanwhile, Mother's forces narrow their sights."
Both #15 and #16 are complete according to Lemire in his latest newsletter, with the script for the entire series completely done.
"Ascender will be finishing with a double-sized issue 18 later this year and I have finished all the scripts for that series, Dustin is drawing issue 17 now," Lemire wrote.
Despite #15 and #16 being completely drawn according to Lemire, Image Comics told Newsarama Wednesday evening that it was "adjusting their release date and waiting to resolicit when confirmed on updated dates."
Lemire and Nguyen have already made plans to continue working together after Ascender, with a small project and then a second, larger one nicknamed 'Project Pavement' that is penciled in for a 2022 debut.
Ascender #1 - 14 is available now on all major digital comics service. Check out Newsarama's list of the best digital comics readers for Android and iOS devices.