Blade Runner 2019 Vol. 1: Los Angeles (Blade Runner #1) by Titan Publishing Book Review

Write on: Thu, 23 Dec 2021 by  in Charles' New Reviews Read 906


Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge BLADE RUNNER fan. I mean, I am a fan to a ridiculous level and I have an addition to not just the original film but the sequel, original DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP, its comic book adaptation, and even own a copy of the video game. So, I was definitely going to get these comic book spin offs even before I knew if they were any good. Are they any good? Oh hell yes. This is one of those rare comic books that I think is something that people should get even if they don't normally read comic books. You can even apply the snooty "graphic novel" term for them.

The premise is that this takes place shortly before the events of the first movie. Humanity has utterly destroyed the environment and the majority of the healthy among humanity have moved to the Offworld Colonies. The labor to provide the luxuries in space that humanity depends on are provided by Replicants but they are a slave race that has only a four year lifespan. You know, the basic stuff of the setting that the comic book makes clear for casual fans but doesn't feel the need to hammer home.

The protagonist of BLADE RUNNER 2019 is Aahna 'Ash' Ashina, a Indian American woman who is considered the best Blade Runner in Los Angeles. I was surprised at this because I thought Deckard was considered such but she quickly makes an impression by threatening to sell the organs of a Replicant she retires in her first appearance on-panel. Ash is a hypocrite because while she hates Replicants, she's a cyborg herself with a mechanical brace that provides her with mobility but would get her fired if it was discovered.

Nevertheless, Ash remains an intensely likable character and manages to update the classic film noir detective with a queer woman of color as the protagonist. She reminds me a lot of Renee Montoya from Gotham Central and there are much worse characters you could be similar to. I also like her design that manages to blend genres in a way that pops off the page. She may hate Replicants but she's not given a hackneyed backstory to explain why and still has a dogged determination to solve her cases against all odds.

The premise of this volume is Ash being asked to investigate the disappearance of a rich man's daughter. This doesn't appear to be Replicant related but Ash is swiftly drawn into a conspiracy dealing with the Tyrell Corporation, Caanan Corporation, and the Replicant Underground Railroad that is made up of ex-Tyrell scientists as well as those Replicants they've freed. Plus, at the center of it is a twisted story of how Replicants can be used to replace family members. It's not too dissimilar to Chinatown but if you're going to steal then steal from the best.

The art is excellent in this comic book and the action crisp. The biggest recommendation I can give about this comic book, though, is that it manages to tell a complicated and deep story within six issues. This feels like you really get your bang for your buck and I appreciate when writers don't talk down to their readers. The realization of Blade Runner's world is fantastic and while I do have a few small quibbles (why is there a tropical island anywhere in the world?), these are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. Strongly recommended.

Available here

Last modified on Monday, 31 January 2022 23:10
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.