06th Sep2021

‘Blade Runner 2029 #7’ Review

by Dean Fuller

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

Things moved along a lot last issue. Yotun’s campaign of terror against mankind stepped up a gear as Freysa led a small group to infiltrate Yotun’s base to try and free Ash. Ash has been ‘resting’ in one of Yotun’s rejuvenation tanks, after being put through a drug induced brainwashing. Yotun’s a pretty nasty piece of work in case you were in any doubt at all. Then we had the good and bad. The bad was Freysa, trying to convince Yotun she was on his side, had to go with him on a mission that sounded like one that neither one of them might return from. The good was that was enough distraction for the others to find and free Ash. She seems ok, actually more than ok. Her broken back seems to be fixed, which I guess is a good thing.

Let’s start with that classic first page trope, the flashback. A young Ash has been arrested and is being questioned by the LAPD. Full of corrupt cops, she knows what to expect. This time though, she’s interviewed by Detective Wojciech, who seems to actually be one of the good guys. The two bond a little, before Ash absconds. Why the flashback? Ash is remembering how she has woken up every day of her life in pain, relying on that back brace to ease the pain and allow her to walk. Now, no pain. First time in a lifetime, she’s pain free. She also no longer needs her glasses. This is Ash 2.0. Although she’s got Yotun to thank for this good fortune, she’s going to repay him the only way she can. Kill him. He’s got Freysa after all, his insurance policy. Or so he thinks.

Time for another flashback, this time with Freysa. I get suspicious with flashbacks, usually means someone’s not going to be around much longer. Freysa was, in a former life, a combat medic. She was always a bit different, as she possessed compassion where most replicants didn’t. Her last action was at the Battle of Mesa Echo on Erebus in 2021, before she started to live a new life. back to the present, and she’s back in a war of a different kind. Replicants v humans. Yotun’s force launch an assault on the LAPD HQ itself, taking the building and a huge symbolic victory. Freysa still tags along, continuing the pretence. Then Yotun drops a bombshell. He saved Freysa back on Erebus. She owes her life to him. As LA burns, Freysa has tough choices to make. So soon will Ash.

This was quite the morality bending issue. Yotun’s the bad guy, right? He’s a terrorist. Or is he? One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. He has helped free and guide the enslaved after all. He fixed Ash’s back, saved Freysa’s life, along with saving and helping literally hundreds of replicants. Is he actually the good guy? Your mileage may vary, but for me he is still the bad guy. Much like in Watchmen where Ozymandias killed millions of people because the end justify the means, Yotun’s destruction and death is merely proving to humanity that replicants cannot be trusted, cannot be free, and should be kept in their place. Rather than free the replicants, Yotun is condemning them to many more years of oppression. I like the shades of grey storytelling, though, it does give you pause for thought.

Excellent issue as always. Mike Johnson delivers the expected brisk, no nonsense, film style script and characters, Guinaldo supplies the grim and gritty art to perfection. The writing and art remind us we are reading a tragedy. Humanity could have created utopia with their technology, instead the average life is lived in a rainswept, neon wasteland.

Thank God it’s only fiction.

For now.

**** 4/5

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