23rd Sep2019

‘Blade Runner 2019 #3’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

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


Two issues in, this book has been as wild a ride as the one Ash finds herself in at the beginning of this issue. Her Spinner, you may recall, was crashed into in mid-air on the final page of last issue, leaving her plummeting down to those dark, rainy streets of Los Angeles. Was that a consequence of her report back to Selwyn on how the investigation was going? Was it a direct result of her confrontation with the artificially aged Replicant? Had someone got wind of things in the more corrupt than not LAPD? Whatever the reason, things weren’t looking promising. Which, to be fair, in the world of a Blade Runner is a pretty average day.

Ash survives of course, but not by chance. Knowing your ways through the back alleys of the city pays off, as she manages to find a place to crash and burn that doesn’t kill anybody, especially herself. I said survive of course, but not in great shape. Someone doesn’t want Selwyn’s wife and daughter found, and are happy to kill to get their way. If Ash didn’t realise how high the stakes were before, she certainly does now. To add to her woes, her secret, that she wears a back brace to help her walk, is now out and the LAPD don’t seem too keen on having her back. Not bad enough? Selwyn has kicked her off the job, claiming her progress is too slow. Ash points out to her boss, it’s not that the progress is too slow, it’s that her progress is shining lights on areas Selwyn doesn’t want lit up.

Possibly no job, less friends than ever, no paying case anymore, plus a broken arm and ruined back brace, Ash decides to go home, forget about it all, and get on with her life…is what should have happened. Instead, she jumps in a taxi and heads over to the Tyrell Corporation, all sly and stealthy. Only to discover she has an appointment she didn’t make with someone she doesn’t know. Big Brother really does see and hear all. Ash finds out Tyrell have been monitoring her case from the start, and even offer to hire her. Ash refuses, but then Ms. Elo happily gives up a whole load of exposition…er, important case details. She admits Selwyn’s wife, Isobel, was a replicant, given as a gift to Selwyn by Tyrell, to replace the real Isobel who had died of cancer. The daughter, Cleo, is a real person who believes the replicant Isobel is her real mother. Hmm. Then things get turned upside down.

Elo reveals Cleo has a gene mutation, one that apparently is linked to longevity. Tyrell, and Selwyn I assume, suspect replicant Isobel wants to harm Cleo, have her dissected to harness the gene and prevent herself and other replicants dying so quickly. Is Tyrell the good guy here? Ash seems to have to fight her better instincts on this, but decides to work for Tyrell, for Cleo’s sake, in return for a shiny new Spinner and a promise to replace her back brace. She follows up the various leads she can, now she has no police authority, and discovers there is a secret location that replicants have been going to, a beach over the border. That is where Isobel and Cleo have gone, to either find sanctuary from Selwyn or to harm Cleo, depending on which side you believe. Ash sets off, to tie up this case one way or another.

Another great script from Green and Johnson, and I loved the fact they turned everything on its head by making Tyrell the ‘good’ guys. Or at least the ‘not this time’ bad guys. Or did they? Are they playing with us? A good thriller has you questioning people’s characters and motives, and this one has it in spades. What looked on paper like a bad corporation doing bad things, being opposed by a feisty underground movement of do-gooders, has taken on a greyer hue. Great stuff. Andres Guinaldo keeps doing a grand job on the art, nicely detailed and immersive, and the colouring of Marco Lesko is as essential to everything as you would expect, making the muted colours and murky feel give this world its identity.

Sci-fi Noir is clearly a thing, and this book is the perfect example of it done right.

****½  4.5/5

Blade Runner 2019 #3 is out now from Titan Comics


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