REVIEW: ‘Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Trauma Team #3

Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #3 is published by Dark Horse Comics, written by Cullen Bunn, with art by Miguel Valderrama, colors by Jason Wordie, and letters by Frank Cvetkovic. In Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #3, Nadia and her fellow EMTs are trapped in a skyscraper by an endless onslaught of gang members out to kill their client, Apex. In the last issue, it’s revealed that Apex killed the gang’s leader and is the very person who killed Nadia’s previous EMT team, all for a paycheck. The further they descend, and the more people that are killed, the more Nadia questions her work and her ethics. Nadia reaches an ultimatum when a mother and her ill child become involved in their escape.

Nadia’s character has developed over the course of this short series, predominately through the use of flashbacks of her psyche evaluation and showing how she responds to duress in the present. But this issue feels like a crux in her development. Although there are only a few panels harkening back to these flashbacks, much fewer than previous issues, we really get to the grain of what Nadia stands for. She wants to help the clients; helping others is a way to help herself. The way Bunn spells this out is poetic; as Apex talks about how killing people is impersonal to him—it’s all about a paycheck—Nadia reveals that her job is anything but impersonal during therapy. It’s so much more than a paycheck.

The juxtaposition really brings a stark contrast between these two characters but Bunn brings them back in line later in the issue. Cyberpunk as a genre deals with moral quandaries and wallows in the grayness of morality, especially in conjunction with money, and Trauma Team #3 doesn’t fail to comment on these themes. As Nadia is trying to save the life of someone not a part of the mission, she keeps being told she can’t. But it’s Apex, the murderer, that encourages Nadia to try and help. Callousness comes from all sides of this conflict—Apex, the EMTs, and the gang members—but in this moment, Apex encourages Nadia’s empathy and shatters every expectation surrounding Apex’s character.

Bunn’s excellent storytelling is definitely a reason to read this series, but the rest of the creative team’s work is nothing to scoff at. Valderrama’s art, as always, is gorgeous. They’ve brought a diversity of characters to this issue. In typical cyberpunk fashion, the characters are a hodgepodge of mechanical and organic parts, never failing to be unique or interesting visually. The characters are also wonderfully emotive, emphasized by Wordie’s excellent color palette.

Although the coloring hasn’t changed since the first issue, Wordie’s color choices don’t fail to do exactly what they’ve always done: reflect the emotions of each panel. Violent panels are bathed in shades of red. Nadia’s flashbacks of her psyche evaluation are dark, forcing readers to focus on her poignant eyes. These flashbacks are helped along by Cvetkovic’s lettering. Over the entire issue, the speech bubbles are kept simplistic and, because of it, the dialogue is easy to follow from panel to panel. However, flashback dialogue does leak into present panels and these speech bubbles are aesthetically different from the rest, helping keep the timeline straight.

Overall, Trauma Team #3 brings a better understanding of Nadia’s psyche—why she does what she does despite disagreeing with the status quo—while also hitting some poignant cyberpunk themes.

Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.


Trauma Team #3
4.5

TL;DR

Overall, Trauma Team #3 brings a better understanding of Nadia’s psyche—why she does what she does despite disagreeing with the status quo—while also hitting some poignant cyberpunk themes.