31st Mar2021

‘Blade Runner: Origins #2’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by K Perkins, Melloe Brown | Art by Fernando Dagnino | Published by Titan Comics

I really enjoyed last issue, and our jump into the past. That’s the past both literally, as it’s set in 2009, and the past in Blade Runner mythology/ timeline. It is, of course though, very much the future, albeit a nasty, dark, corrupt, neon lit and rain soaked future. The exact opposite of the optimism Star Trek exudes. 2009 is a time where the Tyrell Corporation is starting its ascent to be the major player in the corporate world, as their Replicants business goes from strength to strength. Originally designed only for slave labour or combat, Tyrell have been adapting them to be workers and domestic servants for an increasingly decadent wealthy elite. Progress doesn’t come without a price of course. Which is what our hero of the piece, LAPD Detective Cal Moreaux, is starting to discover.

Cal has been called in to help solve the suicide of Tyrell Corporation bioengineer Dr. Lydia Kine. By ‘suicide’ I mean murder, and by ‘solve’ I mean sweep under the carpet as quickly as possible. Cal’s boss has misjudged him on this one however as Cal can see what’s going on and is non-too happy. Throw in an attack on him and Marcus, Dr. Kine’s brother, by what seems to be a Replicant, and Cal’s about to make some serious enemies. Marcus’s comment that he was sent to Cal specifically by another police officer also raises an eyebrow. Cal’s being set up to take the fall. By who? It could be shady Tyrell exec Ms. Stahl, busy trying to recover whatever data Lydia Kine deleted before her death, and threatening her colleague if she doesn’t reveal everything she knows.

Cal heads back to the station, where his guesswork is proved right. His not just signing off on the paperwork has brought a load of heat down on the LAPD, including his clearly corrupt superior, and he’s told in no uncertain terms to sort it out. One quick trip to the morgue to once again look at the body, and then back to his desk where he left Marcus. Only Marcus is now gone, apparently after being taken away by people nobody will admit to knowing. Which kind of tells both Cal, and us, who they were. Marcus is, of course, being taken away by Ms. Stahl in a fancy hovercar to try and pick his brains over what he knew of his sister’s work. So she was probably as surprised as I was to see an experimental Nexus 5 Replicant throw itself into the car and destroy it, seemingly killing Stahl and Marcus. Didn’t see that coming.

Cal, of course, has a lead, and that’s the dead bioengineer’s colleague. She meets with him in secret, and spills the beans, or at least the beans she knows about. They are pretty big beans. This, it seems, is the moment when it all went wrong. When Tyrell pushed the envelope just that little bit too far. It seems they weren’t content with just improving what they had, the pretty impressive Nexus-4’s. They kept pushing and pushing for the engineers to advance them in new ways, and the Nexus-5 was born. These are different. They have been implanted with need, the ability to be curious, hopeful. To want more. You can see why it was just a matter of time until one stretched that concept to its limit. To realise that not only can Replicants be the equal of humanity, they can exceed it.

This was another fantastic issue, great pacing and nice new developments in the plot. It could have all easily slipped into cliche, but it never did. It was the perfect blend of murder mystery, tech-noir and the reluctant hero’s quest. As great as the writing was, a special mention goes to artist Fernando Dagnino and colourist Marco Lesko, who absolutely knocked the ball out the park this issue. It all felt very cinematic of course, but the variety of panels, page layouts, and use of space in general was just fantastic. A couple of the pages were literally jaw droppingly good. Can’t say enough good things about this creative team, just doing an amazing job.

This book is starting to overtake the main Blade Runner book it spun out of, it’s that good. Highly recommended for all humans and Replicants alike.

****½  4.5/5

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