REVIEW: ‘Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team,’ Issue #1

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Trauma Team #1

Many gamers are highly anticipating the release of Cyberpunk 2077 within the next few months. In the meantime, Dark Horse Comics has published Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #1 which is written by Cullen Bunn, with art by Miguel Valderrama, colors by Jason Wordie, and letters by Frank Cvetkovic.

This new series focuses on Nadia, an assistant EMT working for a private business known as Trauma Team International. On one particular rescue mission for a client, Nadia and her team are attacked and only Nadia survives the shootout. After being evaluated and getting the all-clear from the company, Nadia is back on the job and gets put on a new team and a new mission. However, this extraction mission proves to be even more challenging and dangerous than her last mission; can Nadia keep it together?

Given that this series is set in the world of Cyberpunk 2077, it has high expectations to meet. And thankfully the creative team give it their all in this first issue. Even though the game hasn’t released yet, readers will probably come into this series with the expectations of cyberpunk themes and aesthetics. Between the dialogue, art, lettering, and colors, this first issue gives cyberpunk fans a lot to chew on.

Cyberpunk themes typically revolve around the focus of combining high tech and low-life, with moral ambiguity abound especially in conjunction with money. Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #1 has plenty of these aspects with a dash of classism with the accumulation of power in the hands of the corporate elite to add a bit of flavor. Nadia is at the forefront of this clash between wealth and morality, and it will undeniably be interesting to see what she does, especially with the surprising revelation at the end of the issue.

In the first half of the comic, there are two timelines occurring simultaneously: a present-day conversation between Nadia and some sort of company psychologist, and Nadia’s flashbacks on the events that destroyed her team. These two often overlap but the layout and shapes/colors of the speech bubbles keep things straightforward. During the flashbacks, Nadia’s and her psychologist’s present-time dialogue are color-coded and put in blocky, digital-looking speech bubbles. This choice not only is aesthetically pleasing because it follows the overall cyberpunk theme, but it also makes the two timelines very simplistic and easy to follow despite the overlap.

Nadia herself has yet to be fully fleshed out. The addition of present-day conversation during the flashbacks does give readers a peek into Nadia’s mind and how she’s coping with the death of her team. She’s resilient obviously, but beyond that, we don’t quite understand how she’s going to react to events yet to come. This isn’t a bad thing; this first issue focuses on setting up the story, time, and place wonderfully. And the cliffhanger at the end is all the sweeter because we don’t know exactly how Nadia will react. I presume we’ll see a lot more development of her character in future issues, primarily through the way she responds to stress and questions corresponding to her morality over the ethics of her world.

Beyond the plot and characters, Valderrama’s art really stands out in this issue; it’s beautiful, emotive, and the designs are unique. The characters are diverse and expressive; even those characters wearing helmets are communicative through body language.

The colors only further support Valderrama’s art and the cyberpunk themes in this issue. Wordie’s color palette is beautiful. From the neon coloration of the city with its garish wash of lights to the heavy use of reds in violent scenes to the highlights and shadows in poignant or bellicose situations, Wordie effortlessly brings out the tone of every panel.

Cvetkovic rounds the creative team out, keeping the lettering simplistic but also aesthetically pleasing. The speech bubbles are easy to follow from one panel to the next and don’t clutter the scenes or overshadow the characters.

Overall, the creative team did a marvelous job with this first issue. The art and coloring are gorgeous and, for anyone who is a fan of cyberpunk, you’ll enjoy the themes in this comic. Nadia is an interesting character so far, but what’ll be more interesting is just how she’ll settle the conflict between her morality and her job.

Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #1
4.5

TL;DR

Overall, the creative team did a marvelous job with this first issue. The art and coloring are gorgeous and, for anyone who is a fan of cyberpunk, you’ll enjoy the themes in this comic. Nadia is an interesting character so far, but what’ll be more interesting is just how she’ll settle the conflict between her morality and her job.