Blade Runner 2019 #3 really kicks this series into high gear. Up until this point, Michael Green, Mike Johnson, and Andres Guinaldo have been laying the groundwork for an intriguing mystery. With some fascinating reveals in the last issue as well as some hard-hitting questions, it is only natural that the next issue would be a massive turning point. Blade Runner 2019 #3 might very well be the best issue in the series to date.
The walls are tightening around Ash as she gets deeper and deeper into this mystery that is more complicated than initially thought. With her Spinner explosively crashing at the beginning of Blade Runner 2019 #3, Ash ends up severely injured. With her injury comes a revelation to her fellow Blade Runners and boss that she has to use a back brace in order to walk. Despite her consistent success rate as a Blade Runner, she is fired, losing her badge and all the privileges that come with it.
Ash is now effectively a rogue agent. She can’t let this mystery pass unsolved. It gave her direction and she is going to see it through. And, of course, where is the one place you go in the Blade Runner universe when you are looking for a person that is working with Replicants? The Tyrell Corporation. But as with all noir detective stories, this new avenue of information comes with secrets of its own. There is always a catch.
The Tyrell Corporation wishes to hire her. They even knew that she was coming to the building. As a matter of fact, Tyrell seems to know a bit too much about Ash. This leaves the lasting impression that there is even more going on than it seems. Perhaps the Tyrell Corporation initially got her fired? They are clearly using her as the ending reveal seems to point towards that in some way in my opinion. The development in Blade Runner 2019 #3 has me thinking about the implications for the future, and Tyrell’s involvement has me very excited for future issues.
As with anything in the Blade Runner franchise, Blade Runner 2019 #3 is chock full of social commentary. The reveal of a safe haven across the border in Mexico for Replicants is fascinating. Michael Green, the co-writer of this series, also co-wrote the film Logan which is well known for its commentary on the USA’s treatment of immigrants. As this is pretty much the ending reveal, we don’t have a whole lot of discussion of the implication of this refuge. However, I’m interested to see where they take this as the commentary on the previous issues has been spot on.
Perhaps the most interesting bit of social commentary is when Ash is hired to work for the Tyrell Corporation. They offered to “fix” her, stating that she would no longer need her back brace. They wanted to take away her disability. As Ash rightly says, she isn’t in need of fixing. Her disability is something that is apart of her. It informs her identity and she can live life just as fully as anyone else. This is a great message to have for disabled people.
In a genre such as cyberpunk, where pessimism is key to the themes of the story, it is important to include some positivity in order to even things out. If you make something too bleak, the harshness of the world becomes meaningless. If you make it too light, then the quieter, darker moments become meaningless. It’s a careful balance that is pulled off to perfection here.
Blade Runner 2019 #3 Is More Comic Than Comic
Blade Runner 2019 #3 brings us to new territory along with Ash. The status quo has been broken, the mystery deepens, new insights into the world are given, and Ash’s character truly shines as one of the franchise’s best. If you are looking for more noir or cyberpunk fiction, then this series is where it is at.