Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most hotly anticipated video games right now, so it was bound to happen to get a comic book adaptation. Dark Horse Comics has teamed up Cullen Bunn and Miguel Valderrama for a four-part adventure focusing on a medic trying to do some good in a chaotic and very dangerous world. It’s a unique tale since most of us won’t have much to go on when it comes to this world. It the small taste we get here enough to satiate readers? For the most part, yes.
When I cracked this book open I flipped through this book without reading a word, then went back and read the captions. The book is excellent at depicting the large helmets of the medics, the ships, and the city streets by Valderrama. There are fine details in a mask under the helmet or graphite on walls that make the world look more real. Despite the medic helmets covering their faces, there’s a lot of emotion in their body langue from the sway of a head tilt or the hunch in a character’s shoulders. That’s a tricky thing to pull off.
Color artist Jason Wordie utilizes a lot of colors to show the many screens littering buildings, and yet the character costumes are a bit muted. This helps make the blood stand out when bullets start to fly. Together, the art team gives the book a realistic feel with a warmness to help convey a hot climate and tension amongst the characters.
The story is interesting, too. Nadia is an assistant EMT for a privately-owned business known as Trauma Team International and survives a terrible attack to start the book. The captions reveal a character who wanted to help others but soon found herself letting others die to save the rich folks who paid for her services. It’s a dark idea seen elsewhere where private citizens might hire firefighters to save their houses regardless of their ability to save others in a closer facility. It’s a twisted, unfortunately realistic future where money can buy you anything, and Nadia is clearly reeling from that and the loss of her team.
Bunn does a good job establishing Nadia’s conflicted feelings and emotions, setting up a bad situation if, or maybe when, she confronts a similar situation. Or better yet, the man who killed most of her crew. The conflict of an EMT crew working in a corporate and clearly immoral future is also interesting considering Nadia has learned the true value of a life.
The plotting is a bit thin here, as this issue is over before you know it. The story is decompressed a bit here in this first of four issues, getting us through three main scenes. That decompression does bring a hyper-focus to the trauma and violence, though.
Having no knowledge of the Cyberpunk 2077 video game beyond the cool designs and trailer featuring Keanu Reeves I was unsure what I’d encounter in a tie-in comic, but was pleasantly surprised. It’s a smart premise with the main character in a unique position helping open up a brand new world yet to be revealed in the video game. Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team mixes frighteningly real action and the trauma that comes with it into a slick design well worth exploring.