‘Blade Runner 2019’ #1 – Review

“Escape to the colonies, Earth is no haven anymore.”


Get ready to revisit the neon-soaked streets of LA once again, as this 12-issue series takes you back into the world of Blade Runner (itself based on the Philip K. Dick masterpiece Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). Set in the futuristic year of 2019 – the same as the original 1982 film – Blade Runner 2019 fills the gap between the original classic and the Denis Villeneuve sequel. From Michael Green, writer of Blade Runner 2049, this comic may exist in a world we’ve seen before, but it’s a fresh take on it. And it’s a world I couldn’t wait to return to.

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The comic follows a ‘Blade Runner’ named Aahna Ashina, or just Ash to her colleagues. A Blade Runner, of course, is a kind of police office/bounty hunter that is hired to hunt down replicants. It’s what Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard did in the original and Ash has a few similarities. Firstly, they both have an awesome sense of style, Ash’s tie and trench-coat look is killer. They both have a penchant for Asian cuisine, preferably eaten outside surrounded by steam vents. They’re both characters that exist in a morally grey area of the law. When we first meet Ash she’s in the middle of an ‘interrogation’ – trying to harvest a replicant’s corneas for a quick buck.

Ash and Deckard are also both loners – like many hard-boiled heroes – preferring to work alone and brood in silence than cooperate. But Ash has a good reason for being so standoffish, for not mingling with her colleagues. It’s a reason that’s sure to be explored in later issues but it’s intriguing to say the least.

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The story is suitably noir-ish. Ash is recruited by a rich businessman to find his wife and daughter, but things are not as simple as they first seem. It’s a plot that promises twists and turns, and Ash quickly finds herself in way over her head. The plot also touches upon the Tyrell family – major players in the plots of the films. I’m not sure how much this will connect to the films, and it doesn’t really need to, but these connections ground it in something familiar. I’m not expecting Harrison Ford to show up, and I’m torn if I think he should, but we’ll see.

In something like this, the world itself is an important character. And it is so so cool here. The world looks bustling and lived-in and so vibrant. The art and colours by Andres Guinaldo and Marco Lesko, respectively, are phenomenal and they bring this world to life more vividly and in more detail than I’ve seen in a comic in quite a while. As Ash flies across LA in her spinner, and passes over the familiar sight of the LA police station,  you can practically hear the dark synthesizers of the original Vangelis score in the background. You can tell that Titan Comics is really going all out with this and I hope, unlike Blade Runner 2049, this finds an audience.

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I couldn’t recommend this comic more. Fans of the films will adore revisiting the world, which is so strongly brought to life again here. The story is hard-boiled gold, full of the gritty streets and dubious characters like Ash that make the genre so interesting. And with screenwriter Michael Green penning it, it’s sure to be cinematic and true to the film. This is only the first issue, of course. But the promise is there. I can’t wait to see where it goes.

Jack

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