I was a little late to the game to pick up Blade Runner 2029. I found issue three while visiting a comic shop on a little weekend getaway and immediately recognized Peach Momoko’s distinctive art style on the cover. I bought it almost on a whim, consciously breaking my own self-imposed rule of never buying a comic when the first couple of issues aren’t available on the shelf. It was worth it, I reasoned, because I love Peach’s artwork almost as much as I love Blade Runner.
When I got home, I requested that my local shop order me issues one and two and, per usual, they came through. It’s always a gamble when you pick up a comic to read without finding the first couple of issues and, this time, the gamble paid off.
In more ways than one, as it would turn out, because the comic had the same sort of feel to it that the original 1982 movie is known for. Based on Philip K. Dick’s short novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the movie took place in 2019 and introduced the viewer to an alternate futuristic world in which androids called Replicants are nearly indistinguishable from humans. Created by the Tyrell Corporation to work off-world as slaves, the Replicants rebelled against their slavers and many escaped back to Earth, where they could blend in with humans nearly perfectly and attempt to lead “normal” lives. It was up to a group of detectives called Blade Runners to hunt down these assumed dangerous Replicants and “retire” them.
Taking place ten years after the movie, Blade Runner 2029 is the tale of Aahna “Ash” Ashina, a retired Blade Runner who has returned to the force in Los Angeles ostensibly to track down and retire Replicants. Unbeknownst to her superiors, Ash’s loyalties are divided. Her lover is a female Replicant named Freysa, who happens to be a leader in the Replicant Underground. Although some Replicants are violent and must be retired, Ash finds herself helping the innocent ones disappear into true anonymity.
The plot gets complicated further when Ash makes the shocking discovery that a Replicant that evaded her capture years ago is causing trouble once again, especially given that his lifespan should have expired some time ago. Somehow, he is tied to the mysterious events that start piling up around Ash, she just has to figure out how.
Written by Mike Johnson (who also co-wrote Blade Runner 2019, a series which also featured the character Ash), Blade Runner 2029 really exudes the same atmosphere and spirit that the movie capitalized on. Dark, apocalyptic, and with almost constant toxic rain, the comic is both a mystery and a deep look at humanity itself. Although it was Peach’s cover art that first caught my eye, it is artist Andres Guinaldo’s realistic styling inside the comic that truly ties everything together. Guinaldo was also part of the Blade Runner 2019 team and his attention to detail and mastery of expression really bring Blade Runner’s neo-noir world to life. Blade Runner 2029 is like a new chapter in a beloved cult classic, and I’m eager to experience more of it.
Angela “LaLa” Rairden is an avid fan of comic books, Star Wars, and most things nerdy. A cosplayer, she loves to attend comic cons dressed as her favorite fictional characters, particularly Harley Quinn. Although her day job is at a grocery store, writing has always been her true calling. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is currently writing her first novel.