20th May2021

‘Blade Runner Origins #4’ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

This book has been a little cracker as far as I’m concerned. Not sure what the sales figures are like, but I’m betting it’s flying somewhat under the radar, as many very good books are at the moment. As Marvel and DC continue to pump out ‘event’ books and more monthlies than they need to, smaller publishers with high quality books tend to be the ones pushed aside. Yes, it’s all a business but using market power to try and kill off the competition, or make it harder to make a profit and continue publishing, has history in the comics industry. Titan, though, is a pretty resilient publisher with a loyal readership, so fingers crossed that great quality books like this continue to be made. If they make ’em, we’ll buy and read ’em. But I digress.

This issue is the one we’ve been waiting for, the classic Issue 4 wrap up for the first story arc. Detective Cal Moreaux has been dragged much further into the Tyrell Corporation rabbit hole than he ever planned, making enemies faster than he’s having hot dinners. He’s been investigating a murder or suicide that we now know never happened. Dr. Lydia Kine didn’t die after all, she transferred her consciousness into a Replicant body, calling herself Asa. Asa tried to convince her brother Marcus he was actually Lydia, but Marcus wasn’t having it, so Asa returned to her old apartment to try and find proof to show him. Cal’s investigations had also happened to draw him there at just the same moment. Both were less than happy to see each other and the Tyrell goon squad who also showed up. Three’s a crowd after all.

It’s never a bad thing when an issue starts with a roof top chase, so Cal and Asa do some rooftop parkour to get things started. It’s a cracker of a chase, nicely scripted and beautifully rendered by Dagnino. No conventional 6 panel grids here, we get a whole selection of panel placement and sizing, all designed to give a sense of motion and working wonderfully. You really feel the chase, nearly as much as Cal’s old knees. The chase hits street level, and ends at a traditionally dramatic showdown local, a museum celebrating (commemorating?) Venice, and its final submergence under the water. As cal and Asa lurk in the shadows of faux Venetian buildings, Effie (Lydia’s old lab partner who has been helping Cal) also appears. She has something to tell Cal it seems, which is why she ends up with a bullet in her back. Tyrell ‘fixer’ Ilora has also put in an appearance, and she’s taking no prisoners.

Actually Ilora is happy with just the one death for now, and orders Cal to find and kill the Nexus-5 running around the slums, or she will kill Cal’s sister. Once she leaves, what she has actually created is an uneasy alliance between Asa and Cal, both wanting to avenge Effie. They pick up Marcus too, and enlist the help of a local bar owner. This is clearly going to take a little time so, in the meantime, Cal pretends to his corrupt boss that he accepts Lydia’s death was suicide and its case closed. Time for this uneasy alliance of police detective, replicant with a human mind, Marcus (still confused as hell brother of Lydia), and assorted street level friends to swing into action. Next time. Although this sort of wraps up the first story arc, it’s really the start of the next. Past is prologue after all.

Although a little disappointed that there wasn’t more resolution after four issues than poor Effie getting shot, this still was a solid read. Perhaps this whole four issue story arc format, for trade paperback collection purposes, needs to be retired, as it creates a sense of expectation that almost traps the creator at times. I liked where the writers left this story though, giving a real sense of ‘if you thought this story was big…’. Our ragtag band are ready to go. The art and colouring were as excellent as always, the art driving the pacing superbly at times.

A solid wrap up to a solid launch story arc, with the promise of much to come. This is one book to keep your eye on.

**** 4/5


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