27th Oct2020

‘Blade Runner 2019 #11’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Mike Johnson | Art by Andres Guinaldo | Published by Titan Comics

If one central theme has run through the first year of this book, it is trust. Who should you trust? Who can you trust? When you are dealing with Replicants, that’s no great surprise I guess. People Blade Runner Ash should have been able to trust have betrayed her, and the people you expect to be the enemy turn out to be the opposite. The approach writers Johnson and Green have taken is very similar to Kirkman in The Walking Dead (and indeed Romero before him) that the worst enemy is sometimes man himself, rather than the zombies, or here the Replicants. This obviously makes for some very juicy writing opportunities, and this book has certainly gone down some unexpected avenues for sure.

So, Ash has been on that old classic, the hero’s quest, trying to find the location of Selwyn before he can track down and recapture his daughter Cleo and her Replicant mother Isobel. This has taken her all over the place, notably to the now abandoned Tyrell headquarters, where she learned of a secret project called Isobel. Selwyn has learnt of Ash coming for him and managed to engineer her arrest by the LAPD, only for the Replicant resistance of all people freeing her and helping her escape to a remote farmhouse. Turnabout is fair play as they say, the enemy of my enemy is my friend. That being said, can Ash really trust them? Will they trust Ash? We’ll soon find out.

The Replicants start by telling Ash what they want. Not violent overthrow, or killing all humans, merely to just blend in, masquerade as humans and live out the rest of their artificial lives as free as possible. As no more Replicants are being manufactured their numbers are dwindling away anyway. To add to Ash’s reassessment, she finds out this group have taken in a human orphan boy to look after him, and they also help Ash repair her failing back brace. Bonds, it seems, are being formed…. Which then is not the perfect time for Selwyn’s attack dog Hythe, or the Replicant copy of, to arrive at their farmhouse. Seems one of the Replicants has sold Ash out. These Replicants though aren’t going down without a fight, and they provide cover for Ash to escape, with the human boy and the Replicants leader.

They head to another secret hideaway back in the city, and Ash learns a little more about what they wanted her to help with. Selwyn. Turns out that when Tyrell Corp went bust, Selwyn hired all the engineers and had them illegally continue to manufacture new Replicants, despite a Government order to cease production. Selwyn is essentially a futuristic bootlegger, supplying illegal Replicants to whoever can pay. These Replicants though are different. Their free will has been curtailed, so they are more controllable, less like real people and more like servants. Not something ‘real’ Replicants like. Ash is told the trail can be picked up in Selwyn’s officially abandoned (but not really) Santa Barbara mansion, which she heads off for. When she gets there, it’s not a trail she finds. It’s Selwyn himself. Time to resolve all this, one way or another.

With only one issue left in this storyline, this issue had a lot more exposition in it than others previously. Action was in very short supply. That’s fine by me, though, as plot holes were filled, and plot points explained. We now know where we’ve been, and where we are going. Ash continues to be the hero the situation needs, if not a classic hero in the purest sense. Definitely a Blade Runner, though, in her persistence and tough as nails approach. The art, as always, by Guinaldo was excellent, this era perfectly captured by his expressive pencils. As good as the foreground stuff is, I love the backgrounds, and what’s going on behind the scenes. Very nice stuff.

So, 11 issues have all led to next issues finale, as the long standing enmity between Ash and Selwyn comes to a head. Lone wolf against corrupt tycoon, individual vs. Corporation, and human against human.

Or is it?

**** 4/5

Blade Runner 2019 #11 is out now from Titan Comics.


Comments are closed.