04th Nov2021

‘Blade Runner 2029 #9’ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

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

Last issue was certainly all go wasn’t it? Yotun went all in on his messiah complex and unleashed a near unstoppable Replicant army on poor old Los Angeles. He took over the highly symbolic LAPD HQ, though his ultimate plan seemed a little murky. Freysa had, of course, gone along with him, pretending for a time to be part of his crew but soon realised just how deranged he truly was, and sabotaged at least part of his plan. She paid a high price for this, being blinded in one eye and left for dead. Luckily Ash found her in the nick of time, though Yotun managed to escape. Things just got real personal for Ash.

We skip ahead of these past events a little, as things have calmed down a bit, and see what always happens after events like we’ve just seen. Suspicion. Deep suspicion by all humans towards any and all Replicants. Meet Ambrose, an excellent hospital nurse who’s never put a foot wrong and the patients love him. He’s also a Replicant. Meet Hendricks, he’s a Blade Runner brought in to help check for ‘bad’ Replicants. That means, of course, the fabled Voight-Kampff machine test. So, just who is Ambrose?

Ambrose, it seems, was a Replicant looking for help. He found his way to Ash and Freysa, who planned to help him with the Underground, but they were then attacked by Pekka, Yotun’s number two. Yotun had given up on Ash and Freysa, deeming them unworthy, but was still looking to recruit all the new Replicants he could. It’s my way, or the highway, in Yotun’s world it seems. Ash and Freysa fight their way past Pekka’s team, but Pekka escapes, with Ambrose. That’s bad, but something else is worse. The Replicants who attacked them were disfigured, raised veins prominently showing all over their bodies and faces. Maybe Yotun’s immortality process has a shelf life after all.

If you haven’t forgotten, Ash also has a day job, which is as an actual Blade Runner. She checks in with her boss, always giving them just enough to allay suspicion, but has some bad news. They want to partner her up with another Blade Runner, Marlowe. She threatens to resign, and is given one week to bring in Yotun, or else she will have to choose. Interestingly, this all seems to tie into the pre-history of the soon to be released animated Blade Runner: Black Lotus, in which Josh Duhamel voices a certain Blade Runner called Marlowe. Small World. In our story, what Ash doesn’t realise is that her superiors didn’t want Marlowe assigned to help her, but to watch and investigate her. Seems she hasn’t been as clever, or as careful, as she thought she had been. Her and Freysa are in a lot of trouble.

So what of Ambrose? He did indeed meet Yotun, but this is a very different Yotun. He’s hiding for a reason. He’s now old, and confined to a wheelchair. It seems his treatments are indeed no longer working. Is this why he needs new recruits? for their blood? Whatever the reason, he’s not looking good. I guess we’ll see next issue what he managed to get Ambrose to do, if anything. Nets are tightening every way you look right now.

Another great issue, and another slight curveball. I expected an Ash on the rampage issue, continuing straight on from last issue’s savage ending, but Johnson instead takes us a few months into the future and shakes things up again. Love his writing, always a surprise as well as a pleasure, and his characters do what real people would do, not just what the plot dictates. Guinaldo’s art was as strong as always, grungy and dirty LA never looked better, and Lesko’s muted colours always make everything look better. Or worse, which is better.

Another excellent issue, that promises yet another excellent issue to come. What a great sandbox the Blade Runner universe is to play in.

**** 4/5

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