Michael Green, screenwriter of Blade Runner 2049, returns to an earlier version of Los Angeles in Blade Runner 2019 #1, a new comic series co-written by Mike Johnson with art by Andres Guinaldo (Captain America).
With an intro page similar to the opening credits of the 1982 film, readers are introduced to Detective Aahan Ashina—Ash, as she’s known by colleagues. Ash is outfitted in the tan overcoat of a Runner, similar to detective Blade Runners Rick Deckard and Officer K. In what is most likely a nod to the visual cues of the cyberpunk genre, Ash also has the standard blunt-edge bob that graces many protagonists.
After her latest Replicant hit, Ash is tasked with finding the missing wife and daughter of Alexander Selwyn, founder of the Canaan Corporation. Begrudgingly, Ash begins to track their trail. Her narration hints that Ash has the same background of those she interrogates—underground, unlikely society members stuck on Earth. Ash is able to locate the missing Selwyn’s abandoned spinner, but is overcome by searing pain from an “itch.” She calls it into her chief before rushing home for a fix, saving herself from who knows what? Cut to Mrs. Selwyn, escorting her daughter through the city in the hopes of meeting with a contact who will let them slip through a door.
Moody, subdued colors lend the same sense of dystopian drudgery to this series that defines rest of the Blade Runner universe. The comic hits all the right notes, from nostalgia to pacing to the new, foreboding angle, and the latest brooding protagonist. Parts of the first issue seem to draw direct inspiration from cyberpunk anime series such as Alita and Ghost in the Shell, while nods to Philip K. Dick’s original book (like the electric lion cub) are present. It will be interesting to see how Blade Runner further fleshes itself out, and where it ends up in the lore.
Los Angeles 2019 is an imagined future both familiar and new in this latest addition to the Blade Runner universe. And that’s exactly what the comic is right now—an addition that provides a new perspective. It is unclear so far whether this story takes place before the events of the 1982 movie, or concurrent to it. I’m hoping the series answers the question of why replicants were outlawed in the first place, and I’m intrigued as to why Ash need their parts. And I’m looking forward to seeing how these new ideas are fleshed out in future issues.
Blade Runner 2019 issue #1 is available from Titan Comics.