Writer: Michael Green & Mike Johnson, Art: Andres Guinaldo, Color: Marco Lesko, Lettering: Jim Campbell, Editor: David Leach.
Previously, our favorite Blade Runner Aahna Ashina, 'Ash', found the white owl she had been after for nearly a decade. Face to face with Alexander Selwyn, Ash understands that this encounter is going to be the end for one of them. With a group of Hythe replicants there to protect Selwyn, Ash appears to be in over her head for this showdown.
If you are new to the series, you may be wondering what has been the means to this end. In 2019, Selwyn reached out to Ash, the best Blade Runner in Los Angeles, to help him search for his missing wife, Isobel, and toddler, Cleo. The two had gone missing after attending a child's birthday party. Ash follows the chaotic trail of breadcrumbs until she is led to the truth: the Isobel everyone knows is a replicant. Yet, a part of the real Isobel has awoken within the artificial human in time to protect Cleo from Selwyn's horrifying plan for his own daughter: to trade her to Eldon Tyrell, the creator of the replicants, for genetic testing. Ash risks her life to save Cleo from Tyrell and heads off-world with the child. There, they hid in a mining colony for several years until fate decided it was time for the pair to face their past.
This time in hiding has hardened Cleo. Long gone is Cleo the child that once was. Here stands Rabbit, a scavenger of contraband with a mean expression and shaved head. Ash is a shell of her former self, powerless without a functioning back brace, and bound to a wheelchair. Both harbor an unspoken animosity towards each other. After a rebel replicant attack on the colony, Cleo is taken in the melee and Ash is left to be found by Blade Runner Hythe. The tall blonde in the trench coat gives Ash a run for her money as far as angst and ruthlessness goes. She reveals to Ash that she is looking for Cleo for her client, Isobel Selwyn. Duty bound, Ash works with Hythe to find the child, who is seeking to head to the off-world heaven of Arcadia. As it turns out, Hythe is double-crossing Isobel in order to capture Cleo and return her to Alexander Selwyn. Ash puts an end to Hythe and rescues Cleo, then sees her and Isobel off to Arcadia where mother and daughter can finally be together in peace. Ash, on the other hand, returns to Los Angeles, after 8 years of being off-world, with the intention of putting an end to Selwyn in order to keep Cleo safe and herself alive.
This journey has left Ash extremely world-weary. Trust in others, even former friends and allies, is all but gone. In her mission to hunt down Selwyn, she is betrayed over and over again, mining through clues and information to get her target. Selwyn knows she's looking for him and believes he can save himself by getting to her first. It is clear that even after all of these years, he does not know who Aahna Ashina truly is. Selwyn is reckless, taking whatever means necessary to catch Ash. Along the way, Ash is rescued by members of the Replicant Resistance, finding a friend in their leader, Freysa. Inevitably, Selwyn's whereabouts are made known to Ash and she heads out to what could be the last fight of her life. This is where Blade Runner 2019 #12 picks up and it is where the Blade Runner 2019 series ends. An extensive three arc story concludes here and you will not want to miss this.
As has been stated repeatedly in past reviews, writers Mike Johnson and Michael Green know exactly what they are doing when crafting a detective story within the neo-noir world of Blade Runner. Johnson was a co-writer for the film Blade Runner 2049. This comic book series has also gone on to win the 2020 Scribe Award. This story truly draws you into that dark, neon-lit world, all the while creating an interestingly awesome character in Ash. If Ash were a real person, she would be rightfully intimidating in the best of ways.
There's also the artistry of Andres Guinaldo which is always a feast for the eyes; he was meant to work on this series. Guinaldo's vision of Blade Runner is further brought to life by Marco Lesko's equally fantastic coloring. There is meaning behind Lesko's carefully curated selection of colors for the series. Everyone's work blends together so well it seems effortless, and that may be the best compliment to the team yet.
Blade Runner 2019 has been an engrossing, wildly amazing ride and here's hoping a new Blade Runner story comes along to fill the void.
Blade Runner 2019 #12 is published by Titan Comics and is on sale November 18, 2020 from your local comics shop and on Comixology.