The future is now, and if movies and media are to be believed, we should have flying cars and trips to Mars that take a few hours. Unfortunately, reality has not caught up with science-fiction yet, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t have some fun. Case in point, Titan Comics spin on the popular Ridley Scott franchise, “Blade Runner 2019”. This ongoing series from Titan Comics has just released their first trade paperback to help new readers catch up, and this comic is well worth looking at.
Written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson with art by Andres Guinaldo, “Blade Runner 2019” follows Detective Aahna Ashina of the LAPD. Ashina was one of the first Blade Runners on the force, a special unit ordered to “retire” Replicants, bioengineered humans with augmented abilities but limited lifespans. Many have fled the, but plenty are still on earth in hiding, attempting to blend in among real humans. Ashida is tasked with hunting these Replicants down, but she has some secrets of her own that could be her downfall.
Wealthy businessman Alexander Selwyn, whose wife Isobel and daughter Cleo have gone missing without a trace, hires Ashida to find them. As the reader learns, there was no kidnapping, but rather Isobel and Cleo are on the run for reasons we find out later. Whether she wants to or not, Ashida pursues whatever leads she can find, ultimately crossing paths with the infamous Tyrell corporation, and eventually Isobel and Cleo, where Ashida comes face to face with a shocking discovery about the Replicants.
This book contains the first four issues of this series, and leaves off at a stopping point that I wish I could spoil. Green and Johnson are taking the series in a direction the movies have dare not tread, and has opened the universe up to new ideas and stories. This cyberpunk film noir retains the same feel as its silver screen predecessors, but expands on what the world of “Blade Runner” is all about, and what it means to be a human and Replicant.
Guinaldo illustrates this futuristic but rundown Los Angeles with as much attention to detail with machinery as there is for the characters. Marco Lesko handles the colors in this series, which do as much storytelling as the artwork. The use of tone and color is especially apparent in the last issue, and partnered with Guinaldo’s drawing abilities makes for a great experience.
The most recent Blade Runner film took place in 2049, but this series brings us back to the original movie from 1982. This begs the question, will Ashina run into Deckard or Roy Batty, or some of the other familiar faces from the movie that started it all? Even then, this comic doesn’t need to relay on rehashing characters we already know for shock value, and is busy building a world of its own to stand on its own merits.
While this first volume was interesting, I am far more excited to pick up the next batch of issues which take the comic to some unfamiliar territory in “Blade Runner.” It’s a tight four issues in this trade that solve one mystery, but unlock the door to more. I can’t wait to see where “Blade Runner 2019” goes next, and this is the stepping stone you need to get started on your journey with Titan Comics.