• Blade Runner 2019 #1 (Titan Comics) Comic Review



    Blade Runner 2019 #1 (Titan Comics) Comic Review
    Released by: Titan Comics
    Released on: July 17th, 2019.
    Written by: Michael Green, Mike Johnson
    Illustrated by: Andres Guinaldo
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    "Early in the 21st century, the Tyrell Corporation advanced robot evolution to the Nexus Phase - creating artificial beings virtually identical to humans - known as Replicants. Superior in strength and agility, the Replicants function primarily as Off-world slave labor or in hazardous, high-collateral combat situations. After Replicants were declared illegal on Earth, special police operatives - called Blade Runners - had orders to kill or 'retire' and trespassers upon detection. Detective Aahna Ashina of the Los Angeles Police Department was one of the first to quality for the assignment. Her colleagues call her Ash. She was the best of them.”

    The first issue of this anticipated new series, the first comic to tell an original in cannon story in the Blade Runner universe, opens in the Los Angeles of 2019. Not our 2019, mind you, but the 2019 of the Blade Runner universe. Here, Ash talks to a perp named Benny about how much she could get on the black market for his different body parts. Benny’s killed five people so she doesn’t have a lot of sympathy for him. She gives him a choice – she can take him to a coroner she knows who likes to dissect living things or he can do it himself. He goes with the second choice, and Ash is impressed.

    She calls in a cleanup and laments how it’s getting harder to make a living hunting Replicants anymore. She meets up with Wojciech to get the details on her next job and is offered a missing persons case involving Canaan Corporation big wig Alexander Selwyn, specifically his wife and four year old daughter who went missing a day prior. Ash is told that Selwyn asked for her specifically and so she’s off to Santa Barbara – after all, she doesn’t get to say no to this. Ash, however, is impressed with how Santa Barbara has been built up, turned into a series of ‘sea locked estates for the blessed.’ She meets Selwyn, who tells her doesn’t want a corrupt department lifer to work this case, and how his wife took his daughter to a birthday party for Lydia Tyrell and how they haven’t been seen since. Without much of a choice, Ash accepts the case and starts digging around L.A., but then, well, we won’t spoil it but things go awry…

    Co-written by Michael Green (who also wrote Blade Runner 2049, Logan and American Gods) and Mike Johnson (who penned issues of Batman/Superman, Supergirl and, for IDW Publishing, Star Trek), the story here is off to a good start. At this point it’s a bit of a mystery what Selwyn’s wife and daughter are up to and what really happened to them isn’t clear yet. That said, the story sets things up nicely, giving us a good mix of background info on Ash and establishing her as an interesting character. There are things we want to know – why she does this, why she won’t take that trench coat off, and, well, that reveal in the last few pages. It stands to reason that, if we’re patient, the story will get there. This is well written, mature, noir-infused sci-fi and it makes for a very good read. The dialogue feels right, the characters are interesting and the Los Angeles of this world is setup in such a way that, yeah, this feels like Blade Runner – which is obviously key to making a series based on a super popular property like this work.

    The artwork from Andres Guinaldo, which is nicely colored by Marco Lesko and lettered by Jim Campbell, is excellent. There’s a lot of great detail here and while a couple of pages seem like they’re paying service to the fans simply for the sake of paying service to the fans (the two page spread of Ash in her Spinner above L.A. being the biggest example) it doesn’t matter simply because it’s so nicely illustrated. There’s lots of great detail in the foreground and the background of the pages, not just in the characters but in the vehicles, the outfits, the architecture and the building interiors as well. This is a very good looking book and the feel and tone of the artwork matches the feel and tone of the story pretty much perfectly.

    Where it’ll all go from here remains to be seen, but the first issue of this series opens a lot of doors to interesting story possibilities while clearly anchoring itself in the established Blade Runner universe. All in all, a very solid start to a series with a load of potential.