The 1982 Ridley Scott classic Blade Runner is a seminal piece of not just filmmaking but an integral block in the greater code that makes up modern science fiction’s DNA. The aesthetic, seamlessly blending hard-boiled noir with bleeding-edge futurism, would go on to inspire countless works across the decades that followed. But while the film would always be looked at as a groundbreaking work, it didn’t garner a sequel for another 35 years, and the history of the world Blade Runner inhabits would remain largely mysterious and unexplored, vaguely hinted at and referred to outside the bloated metropolis of Los Angeles. That is, it was unexplored. Until Blade Runner: Origins hit the stands.
Blade Runner: Origins took on the daunting task of further defining and expanding upon the setting, and it does a remarkable job. The writing team, comprised of K. Perkins, Mellow Brown, and Mie Johnson have all obviously done their homework on the source material as well as come up with some impressive concepts to lay into the world that help breathe life into it. Fernando Dagnino on art does a commendable, outstanding job of rendering that world. His art is lush and stylized, beautiful to look at and packed with details, his characters nuanced and emotive.
Taking place in the year 2009, Blade Runner: Origins tells the story of Cal Moreaux, the man who will become the first Blade Runner. It’s a story of mystery, action, and betrayal that explores an array of existential themes; identity, meaning, societal collapse and more are explored via the vehicle of mining the history of Blade Runner’s world. It all begins with a death, and as one character remarks, “death opens doors.” From there the story spins out and out and out, part noir detective rag and part non-stop action joint. The writing is top notch, the dialogue well-crafted, but it’s the art that really steals the show and draws the reader in. Gorgeously stylized, intricately rendered, every page is a tableau to pore over and the compositions are sometimes cleverly pieces together to impart an inspired sense of movement and flow.
For fans of the original movie who want to know more about the world, or even just lovers of hard-boiled science fiction with major doses of action and intrigue, Blade Runner: Origins is is perfect to scratch that itch. Once you dig into the series it’s hard to look away from, hard to set down, as the story draws you in and unfolds before you. The characters are interesting and diverse and include heroes with hard edges and sympathetic villains you still can’t wait to see get their come-uppance. All in all, Blade Runner: Origins is a tight, sharp series that I can’t recommend highly enough.