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BLADE RUNNER: ORIGINS #1 [Advance Review]

BLADE RUNNER: ORIGINS #1/ Script by K. PERKINS, MELLOW BROWN & MIKE JOHNSON/ Art by FERNANDO DAGNINO/ Colors by MARCO LESKO/ Letters by JIM CAMPBELL/ Covers by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU, PEACH MOMOKO, FERNANDO DAGNINO, ROBERT HACK, PIOTR KOWALSKI & BRAD SIMPSON/ Published by TITAN COMICS

Early in the 21st Century, The Tyrell Corporation advanced Robot evolution into the NEXUS phase – a being virtually identical to a human – known as a Replicant.

Superior in strength and agility, the Replicants were created to be used as Off-World slave labor or in the hazardous, high-collateral combat situations or colonization of other planets.

Replicants who escaped and returned to Earth were hunted by special police squads – Blade Runner Units – with orders to kill any trespassing Replicant upon detection.

The year is 2009. The place is Los Angeles. This is the story of the first Blade Runner…

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The story set-up is pure Noir, with our protagonist Cal Moreaux being the classic world-weary knight in tarnished armor. A detective with the LAPD, Cal is on the outs with his bosses, which makes him the ideal stooge to handle a mysterious death at the Tyrell Corporation. The company wants it written off as a tragic suicide, but the victim’s family insist it had to be murder. Naturally there’s more to the case that meets the eye: a fact that’s obvious to Cal even before the murdered woman’s assistant comes to him with a shocking secret about their work. While the usual tropes one might expect from this sort of story are there, the writing team manage to make the story sing in spite of it.

Blade Runner has always been more about atmosphere than plot and Origins is no exception. Thankfully, the art team nail the aesthetic of the original films. The use of shading and light and the balance of colors is downright cinematic, showing a level of craft that’s all too rare. Fernando Dagninos style isn’t quite photo-realistic, so I can’t say that each panel of this comic looks like a still from an unreleased Blade Runner movie. I could, however, easily see some of these panels having been taken from a movie and run through a few Photoshop filters to make some dystopian movie look like a comic book.

Fans of the Blade Runner franchise will find Blade Runner: Origins to be a satisfying addition to the canon. Those who weren’t already won over by either of the films or the earlier comics probably won’t find anything here to change their minds. That being said, this comic convert a few cinephiles into comic readers.

Blade Runner: Origins #1 releases on February 24, 2021.

rating 4

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