Blade Runner: 2019 #1 is a new story set in the universe of the films of the same name. The comic is published by Titan Comics, written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson, with art by Andres Guinaldo, colors by Marco Lesko, and letters by Jim Campbell.
The series takes place in the setting of the original Blade Runner film. Los Angeles is a grim cyberpunk city where there are deep divides between economic classes and a technological boom in artificial humanity. Replicants, beings made well enough to pass for human, are illegal on Earth. The police use Blade Runners to stop these replicants and terminate them. Runners are special investigators who relentlessly hunt down these powerful beings. Yet the Runners are human, hunting down androids far more powerful than themselves in the crime-ridden back alleys.
Blade Runner: 2019 #1 is about one Runner in particular, Aahna Ashina, better known to her coworkers as Ash. She is a second-to-none Runner, so good at catching replicants that there are few left in the city to hunt. The first issue begins with a gruesome example of Ash’s encounter with one. There, Ash commits illicit activities with the replicants in order to survive in this near hopeless metropolis.
Ash’s skills leave her with almost no other replicants to run down. Because of this, her boss gives her a side job, a missing persons case. While Ash usually chases factory made humanoids, not real people, the missing persons in question come from a wealthy family, and the rich run the police. Ash has no real choice but to take the case. The case initially seems pretty run of the mill as Ash searches for a missing mother and her child but things soon take a turn. Blade Runner: 2019 #1 ends in a classic comic book cliffhanger. Ash has a secret, but not what you would expect. The issue ends on two surprises that twist the narrative.
Blade Runner: 2019 #1 is a fitting account of Ash’s view on the disparate world she lives in. The issue reveals a vast chasm between rich and poor in the indifferent, faltering society. It takes what is shown on film and translates it well on the page.
Johnson and Green clearly know the material they are working with as Green co-wrote of the script for the sequel film, Blade Runner 2049. The duo writes Ash as a complex, driven main character. Even with the case, Ash is the focal point of the story. Her struggle to exist in this bleak hellscape is the main narrative being addressed. The writing is pristine and the accompanying art helps pull the reader in. The entire creative team shows great respect for the films within the pages of Blade Runner: 2019 #1.
Guinaldo illustrates the Los Angeles of this fictional 2019 as a slick, dirty maze of skyscrapers and flying spinners. He captures the overwhelming sense of alienation extremely well. Guinaldo illustrates the technology Syd Mead crafted for the film. Lesko subdues the color palette in order to keep Los Angeles gray and dreary.
Blade Runner: 2019 #1 is a fantastic comic to expand the world of the films. Ash is a perfect introductory character to this world and the story makes for a good crime drama that is a must-read for anyone who enjoys police procedurals. Titan Comics put their best foot forward representing this universe with this series.
Blade Runner: 2019 #1 is available wherever comic books are sold.
Blade Runner: 2019 #1
Blade Runner: 2019 #1 is a fantastic comic to expand the world of the films. Ash is a perfect introductory character to this world and the story makes for a good crime drama that is a must-read for anyone who enjoys police procedurals.