Writer: Michael Green & Mike Johnson, Art: Andres Guinaldo, Color: Marco Lesko, Lettering: Jim Campbell, Editor: David Leach.
Michael Green and Mike Johnson are back with a brand new issue of Blade Runner 2019. After the captivating initial 4 part run, issue #5 brings us out of a rainy, neon-lit Los Angeles. Now we are Off-World in 2026 at a mining colony. A one page opening crawl informs us that after veteran Blade Runner Ash rescued Cleo Selwyn from her father, Alexander, and the Tyrell Corporation, she and the girl disappeared, with no sign of either in Los Angeles. A few years later in 2022, Replicant production is banned altogether and any existing Nexus 8 units were allowed to live in the colonies, in service to their owners for the remainder of their days.
This issue begins in a bleak Off-World colony. Masses of Replicants go about their day where nothing unusual occurs, at least for them. There is great risk with the labor they perform and there are great losses that come with it, but the Replicants are not ones to reflect on it, save for a peculiar one. Padraic, a Replicant at the colony, narrates the beginning of this story. He meets with the Rabbit, a 10 year old no-nonsense boy with a shaved head who smuggles in paraphernalia to barter with the Replicants. Padraic isn't like the rest, which the Rabbit quickly realizes. He provides the Rabbit with a gift unlike anything else, but the child knows there is no such thing as a gift.
The Rabbit heads home and we come to learn how he has become the person he is. Clearly things have been rough and bleak for years and it's gotten to him. Rabbit wishes to get away from the colony and explore other worlds. His guardian warns him against this, at least for now. A surprise event throws everything into chaos, however. The issue ends on a cliffhanger that will leave you upset you have to wait an entire month before finding out what happens next.
Colorist Marco Lesko really handled the business with his work. It is just masterful, maybe even breathtaking. Every environment has its own color tone. The world on which the colony sits is utterly bleak, covered in gaseous hues of gray and green, and the Replicants' uniforms as well as the surveying machines are no different. Only the fires of geothermic activity provide a stark contrast. I could go on and on about Lesko's work in other moments of the story. He truly, truly is the star of this issue. I look forward to reading the rest of this new story from Green & Johnson and will wait with bated breath.
Blade Runner 2019 #5 is published by Titan Comics and is on sale December 18, 2019.