I don’t follow video games for reasons that we will not get into here, but even I’m aware of CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 through the considerable amount of hype that it’s generated. I’ll admit, the idea of playing through an incredibly detailed and fantastic cyberpunk world sounds like a lot of fun. However, I’m also aware that the game has experienced several delays on the release date, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all turns out.
In the meantime, here’s a comic book tie-in from Dark Horse that gives us an interesting and incredibly violent peek into the world of Night City and its world of high technology and low morals. Hopefully this will tide the fans over for the next couple of months.
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Miguel Valderrama
Colored by Jason Wordie
Lettered by Frank Cvetkovic
Nadia, an assistant EMT for a privately-owned business known as Trauma Team International, is the sole survivor of a failed rescue mission turned shootout. After she agrees to continue work for an upcoming extraction mission, Nadia and her new team find themselves in an even more dangerous and life-threatening situation.
o Featuring the incredible creative team of writer Cullen Bunn (Harrow County, Uncanny X-Men) and illustrator Miguel Valderrama (Giants)!
“Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team” #1 thrusts the reader into the daily life of the paramedic soldiers of Trauma Team International, a group of healthcare professionals who sell themselves as a premium healthcare provider who will respond to any threat to their clients with deadly force and do anything to ensure their client’s safety. Unfortunately, since the world of Cyberpunk 2077 is an incredibly dangerous place, they’re often forced to go in guns blazing, and safety for the paramedics is not a guarantee. The comic follows a soldier named Nadia, who is the sole survivor of an op that had her entire squad wiped out and now must cope with the trauma of a violent past with the stress of an even worse present.
The irony of having a healthcare provider that winds up doing more harm than good and causing an unnecessary amount of destruction in the name of saving one person is not lost on the writer of “Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team” #1: Cullen Bunn.
Bunn is a very capable comic book writer who made a mark for himself creating very good horror comics, and while his attempts to step out of his comfort zone have ranged from good to mediocre, “Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team” #1 shows that he is capable of creating good stories outside of his usual stomping grounds. If the story has any weaknesses, it’s that it’s a very familiar story for anyone who has read a dystopian science fiction story in the past thirty years. However, Bunn succeeds in two areas that are extremely important. First, the script is incredibly disciplined and doesn’t fall into the twin traps of getting lost in world building minutiae and it prefers to imply the irony of the setting and the situation rather than saturate the reader with tons of fourth wall breaks or self awareness. Second, it’s a solid script with plenty of action, character development, and a solid emotional hook that makes the reader relate to the main character. It may be a familiar story, but it’s a solid one.
While the script is good enough, the artwork is a definite highlight of “Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team” #1. Artist Miguel Valderrama has an art style that is perfect for the high octane, incredibly violent world of Cyberpunk 2077 that looks lean, viscous, and rough. Even the quiet, reflexive moments in “Cyberpunk 2077 Trauma Team” #1 have a very palpable sense of tension and energy to them, like the whole page is going to explode at any minute. On top of the energy, Valderrama does his part to show off the tech and sleaze of the infamous city setting, with the clean and bulky lines of the Trauma Team operatives contrasting beautifully with the dirt and grime of the high tech criminals they have to go up against. The whole book has a worn down, lived in, desperate feel to it that showcases high technology and desperate circumstances in the same breath.Continued below
Special mention goes to the colorist of “Cyberpunk 2077 Trauma Team” #1: Jason Wordie, who is a perfect match for the artwork and is the highlight of the entire book. The book has a faded neon color palette that makes the entire book look like a psychedelic punk rock concert. It’s a world that is oversaturated with light, screens, explosions, and tons of blood. Not only do Wordie’s colors bring all of that to the fore, it turns the book into a work of art where every panel is its own work of art.
“Cyberpunk 2077 Trauma Team” #1 is a nice little sample of a much larger project that doesn’t take a whole lot of risks in terms of story and knows that it’s a commercial tie-in comic. While we can’t speculate as to how much corporate oversight the book had, it’s fair to say that the people in charge of the IP probably had a hand in how the story was created. However, just because a book is a corporate tie in, doesn’t mean it has to be bad. This is a story that does a fantastic job of showcasing a bold, chaotic, and strangely beautiful world that is packed to the brim with blood, desperation, and violence and has a wonderful energy to it that makes the comic leap off the page. It’s a definite work of art and deserves to be respected as the beautiful creation it is.
Final Verdict: 8.6- It’s a story we’ve all seen before, but it separates itself from the pack by being an absolutely gorgeous book to look at.