BLADE RUNNER 2029 #1/ Script by MIKE JOHNSON/ Art by ANDRES GUINALDO/ Colors by MARCO LESKO/ Letters by JIM CAMPBELL/ Creative Consultation by MICHAEL GREEN, K. PERKINS & MELLOW BROWN/ Published by TITAN COMICS
Set in the futuristic city of Los Angeles, Aahna “Ash” Ashina returns to the pages of Blade Runner 2029 #1 as well as the Los Angeles Police Department to hunt down fugitive Blade Runners. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the franchise, Blade Runners are specialized police officers tasked with hunting and killing any unauthorized replicants (synthetic beings virtually identical to humans) found on Earth.
The story picks up 10 years after the Blade Runner 2019 series that ran from 2019 through September of this year. Admittedly, I did not read that series. In fact, aside from the original 1982 film starring Harrison Ford and Sean Young, I have not absorbed any of the franchise until picking up this book. My overall impression is they stayed true to the franchise. The pacing and tone immediately drew me back into the mythos. If, like me, you did not read 2019 or see the movie Blade Runner 2049, you should feel right where you need to. Johnson does an amazing job of preparing you in the first couple of pages with minimal exposition. In fact, you feel like you’ve been reading this the whole time!
One of my favorite aspects of this book is the way that it is depicted. I do not necessarily mean the art (which is phenomenal as well), but the near story-board feel that rises a few notches above simple sequential art. If this book seems like a movie to you, good! Michael Green, creative consultant on the book, co-wrote the screenplay for Blade Runner 2049. The story is slow when it needs to be, fast when it has to be, and engaging the whole way through.
This project was the perfect opportunity for Andres Guinaldo to show off what a powerhouse he is with a pencil. His smooth curves and sharp lines fully define the story with matched mastery. With breathtaking cityscapes and gorgeous architecture, the city of Los Angeles comes to life as a character of her own. As a native to southern California, I approve of the familiarity of the City and the excitement of the neoteric shape she takes. Guinaldo’s perspectives certainly help to establish the classic noir feel of the story by keeping the reader at bay. As an outsider across the street, our dialogue feels that much more intimate.
I believe the deliberate shots established by Johnson and Guinaldo create a unique opportunity for Marco Lesko to take a story that should feel dark, seem bright. While the use of darker colors is traditional to a noir setting, Lesko beautifully combines neutral colors and tones to link the dichotomy of the world to that of our protagonist’s inner struggle of badge versus heart.
Blade Runner 2029 is a buckle-in-for-the-ride of a book that keeps you interested from cover to cover with a fantastic bombshell at the end. I cannot wait for the next installment! What are you waiting for?! Go pick up a copy already!