17th Mar2020

‘Blade Runner 2019 #7’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

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


This arc, as I mentioned last time round, took something of a left turn by taking place several years after the first story, and by transferring the action off world. On top of that, the big bad Tyrell Corporation were essentially killed off panel, as we were told in passing of their demise. Things have been mixed for our ‘heroes’, if we can call them that, after the Replicant attack on the mining rig on which they were lying low. Cleo had to leave with the Replicants, her life saved by the fact she could be of use to them, Ash survived through pure luck. Ash, ironically, was found by a new Blade Runner, Hythe, who had been given orders to charge her with the murder of Cleo’s mother, Isobel, and the kidnapping of Cleo herself. Luckily for Ash, Hythe is a pretty realistic soul and offers her a great deal. Her Blade Runner status reinstated, along with her cybernetic back brace, in return for some Replicant hunting.

Ash is back in the game.

Ash is physically back in the game, but is she mentally? As she and Hythe start tracking the trail of the Replicants who have Cleo, she discovers that Hythe has a somewhat more heavy handed approach to investigation than she does. Ash likes to work with subtlety, teasing out information, whereas Hythe just batters them until they start talking. Where they are is Ramanuja, where a week earlier Cleo, Pelham, and the rebels were holed up. Cleo could have left by then, as the Replicant rebels kept their word to let her go, but is hanging around for the sake of Replicant Padraic, who had saved her neck earlier. Nice to see a bit of loyalty. What were they there for? Eyes. Replacement eyes, to fake new identities. Lovely.

One week later, Ash and Hythe rock up at the same establishment that was happily facilitating eye transplants for Pellam and the Replicant rebels. The trail is still warm, and a bit of gentle pressure sees the trail extend further ahead, Ash desperate to fnd out if Cleo is still alive. Padraic, it turns out, decided not to have the eye op, and Cleo wants to see him safe before striking out on her own, as she still has no awareness Ash is even alive. As we continue to hop between the week earlier, with the Replicants, and the here and now, with Hythe and Ash, the two threads finally connect as they face down one of the Replicants. He’s a tough one, but they take him down, and he reveals the others have left, continuing to free more Replicants until enough are free to instigate a full blown rebellion. Hythe executes him, to Ash’s horror.

So what happened to Cleo and the others? Let’s again rewind a week. Cleo, who most still think is a boy called Rabbit, has called in a favour with Hartawan, a former smuggling partner, to help Padraic. Back to the present, and Hythe has taken Ash to meet her boss. Turns out most Blade Runners now are not employed by the police, but by corporations to protect their bottom lines against Replicant riots. This time round, however, Hythe’s boss is not a corporation. It’s a person. A very familiar one at that.

Well I never.

The pacing of this book continues to surprise me, with each issue just perfectly pitched with plot development, character interaction, and great action in equal measure. No padding here. Every character actually has personality, every event has a reason, and every action has a consequence. Superb writing of course, aided and abetted by equally excellent artwork which really transports you to these smelly, neon drenched havens for lowlifes. The art gives the locations as much personality as the people. Excellent read.

A dystopian future that starts to look more and more familiar. Yikes.

****½  4.5/5

Blade Runner 2019 #7 is released by Titan Comics on march 25th 2020.


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