It has been a while since Detective Ash was busy NOT hunting replicants, issue #4 was released back in early April. With Blade Runner 2029 #5 the mortal danger Ash finds herself in has not passed. The mysterious Nexus 6 replicant, Yotun, still holds herself captive. Yotun has just succeeded in killing the mayor of Los Angeles as well as the bulk of its elite. Making good on his escape he confides to his fellow renegade replicants that it doesn’t seem to have much impact on the people of LA. But Yotun swears he has a plan to alter that. Ash meanwhile manages to escape from imprisonment and wanders around the large factory halls where she has been kept. Only when she finally reaches the outside air does she realize true escape is impossible. She is being held in the junkyard mesa that readers will recognize from Blade Runner 2049.
Yotun manages to make his way back to the mesa hideout, after defeating a squad of LAPDs finest. He confronts Ash as he lands his spinner, and after a brief struggle she gives up, mostly due to her old spinal injuries. Yotun carries her back into his hideout and suggests he has plans for her. Despite having abducted Ash, after surviving her near assassination attempt 12 years back, I do not feel as if Yotun is a villain. He does villainous things, such as killing the mayor and blowing a hole through the seawall, but it feels like he doing evil in a very evil world. Compared to the people he has killed; he is not better or worse. In that regard Yotun reminds me of Roy Batty from the first Blade Runner movie. Once inside the secret complex Yotun does taunt Ash with her past.
Blade Runner 2029 #5 revives the series
Just like himself he has managed to revive other Nexus replicants. In the previous issue we saw how he used later generations of Nexus 8s to continuously rejuvenate him beyond his supposed four-year lifespan. Now he is also capable of restoring ‘retired’ replicants. This he proves in gratuitous delight by reintroducing Ash to some of her prior targets. Why Yotun is doing any of this is unclear, be he hints at a deep plot to control LA. Considering issue #5 is the first installment of next 4 issues we won’t be getting answers just yet. And neither does Ash. Instead Yotun starts her on the same treatment as his fellow replicants, suggesting beyond doubt Ash is a replicant. Meanwhile Freysa, the head of the replicant resistance, has discovered the location where Ash is being held, no doubt a rescue attempt will ensue in the next installment.
Overall, I found this an effective issue of Blade Runner 2029. Initially this comic series progressed quickly leading to some confusion on my part. But this issue settles the plot of Yotun’s attack on the Seawall and immediately focuses on the showdown between him and Ash. The author Mike Johnson has a firm grasp of the subject material and provides a good amount of foreshadowing for Blade Runner 2049 while keeping the first movie canon. The artwork by Andres Guinaldo is better than before, it feels more in the Cyberpunk style. Sadly, the cover by DaNI / Brad Simpson was not to my liking, but there are beautiful alternatives at the end of the issue. For those who are fans of Blade Runner and want a new experience should definitely check out this series. But remember, it starts with Blade Runner 2019 and there is also Origins.