22nd Aug2019

‘Blade Runner 2019 #2′ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Michael Green, Mike Johnson | Art by Andres Guinaldo | Published by Titan Comics

BladeRunner2019-02-cover

Well issue 1 of Blade Runner 2019 sure lived up to expectations, did it not? Although the events of the Blade Runner film were never directly mentioned or referenced, we were in no doubt this was the same world, just a slightly different corner of it. The same, bleak, dystopian future we all know and love, and one that with every passing year seems to be sliding from fiction to fact. Just taking a little longer than the 2019 Ridley Scott’s film guessed at. Our hero, who met last issue, is Blade Runner Detective Ashina (we’ll call her Ash) of the LAPD. Not a perfect cop by any means, hiding her own secrets of course, but not one of the corrupt ones. Which is why she got lumbered with investigating the disappearance of the wife and daughter of Alexander Selwyn, a vastly wealthy corporate tycoon…

Things, as they usually turn out to be, were not quite as straight forward as they seem. Blade ‘Runner’ Ash, we discover, is reliant on a hidden cybernetic back brace without which she cannot walk. Isobel and Cleo Selwyn it seems were not kidnapped at all, and are actually searching for a man called Malek. Did Alexander Selwyn lie? Is Ash being set up to fail? Is Mrs. Selwyn even human? We were left with a ton of questions to answer by the end of last issue.

The first of which is dealt with straight away, as we learn Ash had spinal issues from when she was a young girl, and her mother had to go off-world to send money back to pay for treatments. No wonder Ash is a tad emotionally stunted. The second mystery solved is where the Selwyn’s last visited, which turns out be a lower class chop shop where the mother was enquiring about a birthmark consult. We know something Ash doesn’t, that Isobel has taken her daughter to an underground community, sent by someone called The Skin, to meet someone called The Lung. What are they running from? Who?

Turns out Ash is getting warmer than it first looked, as that low class chop shop is actually the place where The Skin operates. She finds this out when talking to a Mr. Bellingham. An old man, he obviously couldn’t be a Replicant, could he? Ash trusts her instincts, and turns out he in fact certainly can be. The Skin is something of an artist when it comes to skinjobs, and he deliberately aged Bellingham so he could blend in. Bellingham fights back, more in self defence it must be said, and before leaping out the window leaves Ash a cryptic clue. Look into why Alexander Selwyn wants his daughter dead. Hmmm. Something smells rotten in the Selwyn Corporation.

Ash checks in with Selwyn, still maintaining his facade of being upset at his wife and daughter’s disappearance. She decides he is being economical with the truth, and doesn’t give up what she knows. Isobel and her daughter are still in hiding, but it seems Isobel realises she is going to have to change her appearance and get far away from there. Is she a Replicant? seems so. Is Cleo one? hard to know. Is Cleo a Replicant/ human hybrid? If she is, you heard it here first. Ash, meanwhile, now has a name for The Skin. A certain bioengineer called Richard Slattery, now officially ‘dead’ but once of the Tyrell Corporation. Ash sets off to find him. Or she would have, if not for an assassination attempt on her in mid air. That landings gonna’ hurt…

While not quite as drop dead gorgeous as the first issue, this was still an excellent cover to cover read. The story moved along at a fantastic pace, never giving Ash or the reader time to catch our breath. You really get the feel of Ash having to think and move fast, dodging enemies both obvious and ones less so. Green and Johnson have a great eye for action, and ear for dialogue. The art, by Guinaldo, is also perfect throughout. It really captures that grungy tech look and feel, that cyberpunk aesthetic, throughout. The creative team have really made the effort to tell their own story, with their own protagonist, but making sure it can fit seamlessly into established continuity. Got to love that.

Blade Runner 2019 #2 is another lovely slice of cyberpunk goodness. If you disagree, I may just have to run my own Voight-Kampff test!

****½  4.5/5

Blade Runner 2019 #2 is out noe from Titan Comics.

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