Blade Runner ‘Black Lotus #2 is the second installment of the miniseries sequel to the popular Cartoon Network anime starring Jessica Henwick and WIll Yun Lee. Set between the two Blade Runner movies, it follows the adventures of a specially designed Replicant named Elle. The anime was enjoyable but had some questionable animation and a somewhat action heavy plotline versus character development.
After a somewhat rocky start, this issue jumps into the action and is almost entirely combat from beginning to end. In this case, the settlers that Elle is living with are attacked en masse by the mercenaries of the fracking plant that powers Fracktown. The story takes a sudden swerve into darker territory than expected as the attack is motivated by human trafficking. Yes, the Fracktown folk want to kidnap a bunch of women and use them as sex slaves for the miners due to the lack of Replicant women to abuse after Niander Wallace cancelled their contract.
I have to say I was surprised the comic would get this dark despite Blade Runner routinely dealing with issues of Replicant slavery. The fact the art style remains somewhat cartoony, fitting the anime origins of the character, is something that contrasts poorly with this revelation. On the other hand, I have to say that at least it provides some stakes that had previously been absent from the book. With only four issues, having Elle need to go rescue a bunch of women kidnapped by the crooked oil riggers is at least a goal.
The book’s aethstetic remains more Wild West and post-apocalypse than cyberpunk, which is something that I’m reasonably okay with. As a big fan of Fallout, seeing the scavenger society in the wastelands outside of Los Angeles was something that may not immediately inspire one to think of Blade Runner but it at least is a recognizable genre for our heroine to participate in. Sadly, with half of the series already over, it seems clear this is going to be mostly a side story with little real development in Elle’s story.
One element I do appreciate is that a character among the settlers is revealed as a Blade Runner. With no few ties to the main series, it’s nice to incorporate some more into the story. The fact that she just randomly stumbled over one of the profession stretches credibility, though. It just makes me think the story would have benefited from including Joseph instead. It’s still better than not incorporating that element in the story, though.
In conclusion, I still very interested in where the story is going and am glad that we’ve introduced the main “plot” for the four-issue story. The art style remains a bit too cartoonish for the style of story they’re telling but the action was well done.