Comic Preview: Blade Runner 2019 by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Andres Guinaldo!

 

2019: The year in which Rick Deckard was tasked with hunting down the Nexus-6 replicants in the original Blade Runner. This year Titan Comics published – and have now collected –Blade Runner 2019.

We’re the more selective in the tie-ins we cover next to entirely original works. But then this is co-created by Blade Runner 2049 screenwriter Michael Green along a writer who’s no stranger either to high profile adaptations having written more Star Trek comics than anyone else – Mike Johnson with whom Michael collaborated on Superman / Batman. And that’s not forgetting artist Andres (Justice League Dark, Captain America) Guinaldo!

Here’s what we thought of it – followed by preview pages of the first issues and more below…

Our protagonist is Aahna “Ash” Ashina – one of the first Blade Runners – who is introduced in a scene resonant with the tone and themes of the films: visceral noir, amorality and empathy in a hopeless corporate dystopia, the question of what it is to be human. Ash is required to take a missing persons case, the wife and ‘exceptional’ daughter of corporate tycoon Alexander Selwyn who is woven into continuity as the friend of Eldon Tyrell. No surprise they’re missing by the mother’s volition and heading into the company or replicants, but why we won’t spoil. We do discover early that Ash’s rights are somewhat on the way to those of a replicant, having been indebted her whole life to a corporation for technology that allows her to walk, which provides a similar dialogue of capability verses repression as the films.

You’re immediately drawn into the work, script and art working together seamlessly. Andres Guinaldo continually serves up treats of panels, capturing future LA with a mastery of depth and angles and detail, delivering small frames that leap off the page and some stunning splashes – and he doesn’t skimp on the rain. While we’re on visual credits it would be hard to imagine the pencils and inks being better elevated than by Marco Lesko’s work; he demonstrates a command of contrast, inferring both darkness and light in his palettes to render Guinaldo’s art continually vibrant.

The story is well paced and characters human and replicant superbly conceived and executed, their personalities succinctly expressed by the dialogue. Our sympathies of course cleave to the replicants, but the authors show their expertise in a protagonist who presents initially as utterly callous, then reveals herself a product of the setting to conjure sympathy herself. Similarly we’re almost drawn in by the apparent sincerity of a corporation that tempts with an offer she justifiably accepts. But as the plot continues to unfold with revelations of deals and motives and the exceptional nature of Selwyn’s daughter, there’s the faintest possibility that through what empathy remains in Ash she may transcend from who she’s been without selling her soul.

This first arc is essentially in the setting we know. We’re left with the distinct impression both writers and readers will get to explore what is noted in the films but not yet shown in the next – and we’re very much looking forward to it.

All round a first rate piece of work remaining true to the original vision and something special in its own right, with the promise of more to come…

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Blade Runner 2019 #1 – Preview pages (1 to 6)

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Blade Runner 2019 #2 – Preview

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Blade Runner 2019 #3 – Preview

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Blade Runner 2019 #4 – Preview

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Series Trailer

 

From Titan:

Return to the original world of Blade Runner 2019.

Welcome to the rain soaked world of Los Angeles 2019 – a dystopic world of Replicants, Spinners and hardboiled future noir. There’s a new Blade Runner in town, and she’s out for blood. Replicant blood.

From the pen of Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Michael Green (Blade Runner 2049, Logan, American Gods) and longtime co-writer Mike Johnson (Batman/Superman, Supergirl, Star Trek), illustrated by Andres Guinaldo (Justice League Dark, Captain America) comes the first comic to tell original, in-canon stories set in the Blade Runner universe.

Check out more comic and book previews on Carabas here…