12th Jan2021

‘Blade Runner 2029 #2’ Review (Titans Comics)

by Dean Fuller

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

Last issue saw the book jump ahead a decade, allowing for a shakeup in the status quo of both Ash and the world she inhabits. This is deliberate, as this series I’m assuming was always intended to show how the 2019 world of the original Blade Runner movie became the world of the Blade Runner 2049 sequel. Major events have already happened of course, notably the destruction of the Tyrell Corporation in 2022, which had led to the Replicant databases being wiped. Many were stuck in their servant roles, but many other Nexus 8 models were helped to escape by the Replicant Underground.

Now in 2029, Ash has rejoined the Blade Runner unit, but is living a double life. Although happy to hunt down ‘bad’ Replicants, she is also locating Replicants so that her partner, Freysa, can help them disappear. To make matters more complicated, Ash’s back brace has been failing, and without that she cannot walk. So just the wrong time for a major Replicant face from the past to return…

That individual was a Replicant called Yotun. He had Ash at his mercy, but had let her live. He was supposedly dead, but clearly was just out of sight. The chilling first few pages show how dangerous he is, to humans anyway, and perhaps reinforce just why some humans are scared of Replicants. One Replicant servant, Ducasse, seems have been in a household where he was well treated and looked after. At Yotun’s behest he still murdered his employers (owners?). Why? I suspect harvesting organs from humans for Replicants. Replicant eye’s have a serial number on them, so I’m guessing if you exchange the eye for a human one, you can pass as a human. Ash muses over this, along with other concerns, at the autopsy of the man she chased down last issue. Was he a Replicant? He must be, and yet no serial number like Nexus 8’s have. A bootleg Replicant? perhaps.

While Ash ponders what she can do next, she stops by to see Freysa. Seems that not all the Replicant Underground actually trust Ash, being a Blade Runner and all, but she is allowed access to the Replicant only Diamant, a sort of underground speakeasy club away from prying eyes. Ash pushes for information there, and a fish takes the bait. She notices a Replicant redhead leave as soon as she hears the name Yotun, and Ash tracks her. Not for long, as the redhead attacks her in the street, and escapes. Luckily for Ash, she had dropped her bag with her address in, so herself and Freysa go take a look. Posh apartment block, but no sign of her. So, two recent Replicants, neither known to the Police or the Underground, so where exactly are they coming from? Judging by the final page, there’s a lot more out there already.

Another dependably strong issue, with just enough nuggets uncovered to keep the story developing nicely. I love the way Ash is still the classic outsider, split between the two worlds of the Blade Runners and the Underground, yet not really fully accepted in either. Makes for some great dramatic tension. What she is, though, is a great detective, and this is depicted nicely. Flawed, but her heart is in the right place. Guinaldo’s art is as usual suitably gritty and grungy, perfect for this decadent world, and always tells the story very cinematically. Great panel choices every time. A vital cog in all this is Marco Lesko, who’s muted colours and tones help create and fill out this world. Blade Runner is all about atmosphere, and Lesko helps provide that in spades.

A solid issue, like a good episode of your favourite TV show. Enjoyable by itself, but also to be watched as part of a greater storyline.

I like where this is all going.

**** 4/5

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