Hasitha Fernando reviews Blade Runner 2019 – Welcome to Los Angeles…
The 1982 sci-fi classic Blade Runner envisioned its world as a vastly dystopian one. From up on high the city of Los Angeles, where the story is set, is wondrous to behold. Canary-yellow flying taxis zip through starless night skies bathed in the neon-haze of big corporate advertising, while the acute edges of civilization’s’ imposing high-rises pierce the heavens above. The view offered at street-level however, is a tremendously different one. The thoroughfares teem with cosmopolitan life and industrial grime, while the alleyways choke on domestic waste and abject poverty. The disparity between the have and have-not’s have never been more marked; society never more fiercely stratified.
The events of the film, based loosely on Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, unfold in November 2019. So now, what was previously a futuristic science-fictioner becomes a contemporary thriller, of sorts. But this writeup isn’t about Ridley Scott’s seminal masterpiece but about the new Blade Runner 2019: Volume 1 comic, set in the same world inhabited by Deckard, Replicants and the Tyrell Corporation. The narrative continuity between the comic and films are maintained in seamless fashion due to Blade Runner 2049 co-scripter Michael Green’s contribution here. Along with author Mike Johnson (Star Trek: Countdown), Green has crafted a gripping story that not only stays true to the essence of the Blade Runner world, but also expands upon the established mythos as well. The gorgeous artwork by Andres Guinaldo (Justice League Dark) perfectly complements the strong writing and also plays an integral role in keeping up with the unique neo-noir visual aesthetic; evoking Jordan Cronenweth’s beautifully lensed shots in the original Blade Runner film.
The story arc of Volume 1 concludes in a major cliffhanger. And with Volume 2 slated to come out in June 2020 fans will have a long and rather frustrating wait ahead of them. But all things considered Blade Runner 2019: Volume 1 not only functions as a great companion piece to Philip K. Dick’s source material, but also to the subsequent film adaptations based upon the property. Blade Runner fans, this one is for you.