Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team, Review of the comic set in Night City

Even with the technical problems that have plagued the console versions of the video game, it is undoubted as much as the imagination of Cyberpunk 2077 has taken hold of the public, captivating and captivating with a solid lore and artistic scaffolding of great depth. The same lore of Cyberpunk 2077, on the other hand, lends itself to multiple branches of cross-media as evidenced by the Cyberpunk 2077 anime signed by Studio Trigger arriving in 2022 and an interesting comic production linked to the work of CD Projekt RED.

It is precisely the latter that we want to talk to you today: under the aegis of Panini Comics, in fact, it arrived in our country Cyberpunk 2077 Trauma Team, a comic story set in the alleys of Night City but which differs from the events of V and Johnny Silverhand, protagonists of the video game. We got our hands on the comic and in this review we will tell you if it is worth buying.

Being on the Trauma Team

Anyone who has played the role-playing adventure from the authors of the videogame adaptations of The Witcher should know well what the Trauma Team is. Called, according to the full wording, Trauma Team International (TTI), it is a special corporation active in Night City and specializing in providing medical and military support to the highest bidder. And if you’ve explored, as your own version of V, the city’s smoky and neon slums, you’ll know how difficult it is to survive in the criminal underworld of NC. Its various neighborhoods and districts, each “gathered” in a different multitude of cultural (and criminal) agglomerations, offer every day a conspicuous source of income for groups such as the Trauma Team, committed to rushing in the shortest possible time to the position provided by their client and in carrying out their assignment. At any cost. This is the essential dogma of these relentless and venial military doctors: mission counts and nothing else.

Trauma Team is therefore the title of the Cyberpunk 2077 comic miniseries, written by Cullen Bunn – prolific author of novels and comics who also boasts collaborations with Marvel and DC Comics – and illustrated by Miguel Valderrama, Spanish cartoonist and animator in his first collaboration with an American comics after a brief stint in Dark Horse. The protagonist of the story is Nadia, a member of the Trauma Team who – to juggle an ironic and paradoxical play on words – suffers from post-traumatic stress and can no longer distinguish between what should be done on a mission and what her emotions suggest.

Constantly alternating between a sort of psychiatric session and the events of the story, the comic tells us about a particular mission that had devastating effects on the psyche of the protagonist.
Contacted by a client seeking help and military support, the Trauma Team has indeed landed in the streets of the violent Pacifica district, south from the center of Night City, a wild territory, no man’s land, mostly manned by the violent and beefy criminals of the gang of Animals. The group Nadia is part of must break into a building manned by colossal gangsters in search of her target, but the raid soon turns into a never-ending tragedy that will have a devastating impact on the protagonist’s mind.

Cyberpunk in cartoon

As a story transversal to the screenplay of the video game – although the exact chronological location of the comic compared to the adventure of V is not clear – in Cyberpunk 2077 Trauma Team there is no place for any character who appeared in the videogame epic of the Polish developers. It must be said, however, that the few protagonists of the miniseries are characterized effectively and above all faithfully reproduce the aesthetic and character traits typical of some aspects of the video game lore.

Between netrunners, the TTI military, individuals with cybernetic grafts and members of the Animals, the cast of Trauma Team manages to re-immerse you in the atmosphere of the video game, and Bunn’s writing work is also quite valuable. The screenwriter manages, in the limited space of a comic mini-series consisting of only 4 issues, to provide a pretty solid narrative background, continuously jumping between past and present scenes to give depth to the complex psychology of the protagonist.

Although with an open ending, the narrative of the comic miniseries can be said to be completely satisfying for those who loved the characters and the lore of Cyberpunk 2077. Slightly different speech regarding the artistic part, which, while proving to be of enormous quality, left us with some mixed feelings. The soft line and warm pastel colors of Valderrama, typically Hispanic, however, are well suited to the large amount of violence and gore present in the comic, supported by a truly remarkable action component. The author’s studies on animation in his youth years in Spain are reflected in the excellent dynamism in the clashes staged on the vignette, and in general we can say that the visual impasto of Trauma Team packs a truly remarkable artistic level.

We would have liked, however, that the authors had better sketched Night City, especially from an aesthetic point of view. The city is a living element of the story and its neon architectural wonders – halfway between sci-fi futurism and post-apocalyptic decadence – are perhaps the most prominent element in the videogame immersion experience. Trauma Team writer and designer, on the other hand, did a masterful work on the characters neglecting the background scenario a little too much, which finds very little space except in a couple of powerful splash pages. A pity: considering the talent of the two authors, who we would like to see again at work in the future, we are convinced that the Night City of Cyberpunk 2077 Trauma Team could have surprised at least as much as its videogame version.

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