Monday, March 08, 2021

Review: Blade Runner 2019 Volume Two: Off-World

Blade Runner 2019
has earned much praise for its pich-perfect blend of hardboiled noir and grungy sci-fi that meant it hit all the right notes with fans of the movies. Little wonder, as its co-writer, Michael Green, was also the co-writer of the sequel movie, Blade Runner 2049

The first volume, comprising the first four issues of Titan’s Blade Runner spin-off, was set in Los Angeles and introduced Aahna ‘Ash’ Ashina, a Blade Runner. The initial storyline ended with Ash leaving Earth with Cleo Selwyn, a young girl who is being sought by the Tyrell Corporation for genetic experimentation.

As volume two opens, the year is 2026 and the two are hiding out with new identities at a mining colony. Snatched by a group of rogue Nexus 8 models, Cleo bargains her way to Ramanuja and the possibility of escape. Ash, meanwhile, meets Hythe, a British Blade Runner who threatens to arrest her for the murder of Isobel Selwyn unless she helps track down Cleo. With a newly restored cybernetic back-brace to help her walk, Ash accepts, but there are still twists and turns to go through before the three are reunited… but which three?
While Andres Guinaldo’s anime-tinged artwork is superb, this volume lacks that little something special of the first volume. The bustling, rain-soaked streets of Los Angeles are such a part of the original Blade Runner movie, that distancing the story from Earth – necessary for the plot – unfortunately, also distances the story from the noirish nightmare world of the Blade Runners, something that the next volume promises to remedy.

Blade Runner 2019 Volume Two: Off-World by Michael Green, Mike Johnson & Andres Guinaldo
Titan Comics ISBN 978-1787-73192-9, 15 September 2020, 112pp, £13.99. Available on Amazon.

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