Blade Runner 2019: Volume 1 – Los Angeles

A classy addition to the Blade Runner universe co-written by a scriptwriter from the latest Blade Runner movie

Aahna Ashina in Blade Runner: 2019

The recent cinematic Blade Runner sequel gave us exactly what the fans wanted: more intellectual, dark-science fiction in a dystopian technological future. This new graphic novel takes us back to Los Angeles in 2019, the same year as the original movie was set, and is marginally lighter than the films have been, at least in terms of plot if not in setting.

Harrison Ford’s character Rick Deckard doesn’t appear in the comic. Instead we find our first female Blade Runner, a veteran of the LAPD, who prefers to use her intuition and instinct to interview replicants, rather than the electronic Voight-Kampff emotion detectors we saw in the original film. Relying on her intuition rather than machines brings her a significant level of success, but she’s got her own secrets, which have a detrimental impact on her status in the police department. In this story, with a shortage of replicants to hunt (Deckard must be doing too good a job), she’s assigned a missing person case. However, this being a Blade Runner story, don’t expect it to ignore its roots and stay entirely human-based for long.

Co-writer Michael Green was one of the writers on the sequel so is well placed to produce a compelling story within the official universe. It doesn’t have the same depth and complexity, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Instead we get something different: a rip-roaring thriller that channels the key themes of the films (what it means to be human; the evils of unaccountable corporations) but presents them in an arguably more accessible package.

Andres Guinaldo captures the spirit of the visuals, particularly the neon lights of the city at night, which leap out from the page. The action moves out beyond the city — which is a little jarring — and out into an environment we haven’t particularly seen a Blade Runner in before, but between them the writers and artist manage to hold it together coherently.

Overall, then, this is surprisingly fun addition to the Blade Runner ensemble, which should appeal to anyone who’s enjoyed the movies. Even if you found the films a bit slow, the added action and tempo in this graphic novel should help , and adds a little more action for anyone who found the movies a little high-brow.

Blade Runner: 2019 by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Andres Guinaldo

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