Arriving at comic stores and on digital devices today is a new comic book series by Titan Comics. This series continues and is set, in the Blade Runner universe. Entitled Blade Runner 2029 and written by Michael Green (screenwriter of the Blade Runner 2049 movie) with co-writer Mike Johnson (Supergirl, Star Trek). This is the same creative team that brought us the prior Blade Runner comic book series set in the year 2019 and aptly named Blade Runner 2019. Welcome to our spoiler-free review of the first issue of the comic book Blade Runner 2029!
The World As We Know It
If you never watched the cult classic Blade Runner movie starring Harrison Ford you might be a bit lost on what this comic book series is about. Both the “2019” comic book series and this first issue of the “2029” series start off with a nice page that recaps the setting. The setting goes a bit like this.
Early in the 21st century, the Tyrell Corporation advanced robot evolution into what was called the “Nexus Phase”. This is the ability to produce a being virtually identical to a human, these beings were known as Replicants. Replicants were strong and more agile than humans and hence were used off-world as slave labor in environments that were hazardous on other planets where colonization was being done. Wanting to be “free”, sometimes Replicants would escape and return to Earth. Resulting in Replicants being declared illegal on Earth. Hence, Earth dwelling Replicants were hunted down by special police officers called “Blade Runners”. Blade Runners had a standing order to kill, or in canon “retire”, any Replicant upon sight.
By the way, the Blade Runner 2019 series, is available in graphic novel form told over three volumes. The last and final volume, volume 3, arrives in February. The 2019 series was considered the first comic to tell original, in-canon stories set in the Blade Runner universe. The main character was Detective Ash, a veteran Blade Runner, set on the trail of a kidnapped child in the streets of Los Angeles circa 2019. The excellent story-telling revolved around Ash dealing with her own moral contradictions as well as safeguarding a secret of her own.
Jump Ahead Ten Years…
While the timing is coincidental this book couldn’t come out at a better time as currently the game Cyberpunk 2077 is on everyone’s minds. Granted, while not related, both the game and this comic book series deals with cybernetic humanity.
While reading the predecessor Blade Runner series can’t hurt, based on what we’ve seen in issue one of Blade Runner 2029, you won’t be lost if you don’t. In issue one, the writing team gives us enough background information to keep us invested.
This issue takes place ten years into the future from Blade Runner 2019. Before the issue starts there are some historical events that the writing team summarizes for us. In 2022 a Replicant uprising destroys the Tyrell Corporation’s Nexus databases. This makes it easier for Replicants to integrate back on Earth. All replicants are banned and the Tyrell Corporation goes bankrupt.
In 2027 our prior character of main interest, Aahna “Ash” Ashina rejoins the Blade Runner department to hunt down fugitive Replicants. It’s now the year 2029.
Spoiler-Free Plot Overview
While this issue was a fairly easy read the veteran creative team did a nice job of setting the foundation for what’s about to come. The issue opens with a flashback which becomes pivotal for the end of this issue. The issue focuses on the morals and secrets that Ash needs to face. She’s then asked by her Sergeant to handle a special case which she’s initially reluctant to take.
All of this is told without an abundance of words and nice flowing panels that make it easy to read without confusion. Michael and Mike continue to flesh out the personality of a now older Ash who is seemingly starting to show hard years of aging. All this while she continues to safeguard secrets from her agency.
Beauty In the Eye Of This Beholder
The artwork is done in lightly colored tones that keep it slightly dark without being “horror dark”. Andres and Marco continue to capture the dreary, dismal, rainy atmospheric feel of a cyberpunk future without invoking visions of nightmares for the reader. I’m all into comic books because of the artwork. There have been books I’ve passed on because the art style was not pleasing to me. This book is not one of them! When I added this new series to my pull list it actually enticed me to pursue reading the “2019” series for the same reason.
Overall this issue was a nice enjoyable read that was pleasing to the eye. It left me wishing it hadn’t ended so soon. So now we wait until January for issue two! In conclusion, this is a recommended read for any Blade Runner fan. The creative team continues their engaging and winning streak of recreating an iconic and well-loved universe that has now flung into our not-too-distant future!
Title: Blade Runner 2029 Issue #1
Writers: Michael Green, Mike Johnson
Artist: Andres Guinaldo
Colors: Marco Lesko
Lettering: Jim Campbell
Release: December 16, 2020
Publisher: Titan Comics
Format: 28 pages, full color. Mature Readers
Expected cover price: $3.99.
Note: this review was done on a digital review copy provided by the publisher.