Available now from Dark Horse, Cyberpunk 2077: Trauma Team #3 is the second-to-last issue in the limited series. The creative team of writer Cullen Bunn and illustrator Miguel Valderrama with colorist Jason Wordie and letterer Frank Cvetkovic keep the readers on their toes.
Issue three picks up from the final cliffhanger moment of the previous issue. Nadia’s gun is pressed to the back of the client’s head. But, after a tense struggle, the team leader, Stratter, stops Nadia from killing the man. Valderrama uses inset panels and close-ups on the weapon seemingly to stretch time, to convey the weight of Nadia’s actions. We want Nadia to pull the trigger and blow that smug smile off this murderer’s face. But we can’t have that satisfaction because Nadia can’t stoop to his level. She isn’t a murderer; she’s a medic.
So far, Bunn has given small hints to Nadia’s past and her character. We know she’s traumatized, and we know she’d do anything to save her team. However, her reason for staying in this job has caused her so much pain wasn’t clear until this issue. In one of the most intimate scenes of the entire series, Bunn wrote an interaction between Nadia and a young girl, showing just how compassionate and dedicated the protagonist is to her job.
No Way Out
As the team made their way out of the building, another team member, Knapp, gets gunned down. To treat him, Nadia, Stratter, and the client enter an apartment. A mother and daughter occupy the apartment, and the mother asks Nadia to help her sick daughter in the middle of working on Knapp. In the time it takes for Nadia to consider helping the girl, Knapp dies. Stratter blames Nadia for this and argues with her over treating the girl. To stop their arguing, the client offers to “do their job for them” and handle the armed mob outside the door.
In the midst of the client’s carnage, Nadia stands her ground with Stratter and treats the girl. She gives the mother antibiotics and sweet reassurance. She touches the girl’s face and smiles. Here, colorist Wordie contrasts the dark red of the client’s rampage with light blue and warm yellow, providing a reprieve from the death and violence. This is when we get the sense that Nadia is more interested in this side of being a medic and that she will do anything to save a life. This isn’t just some job for her.
If we weren’t invested in Nadia’s story before, we are now. Bunn and his team have delivered a slow burn of a series rooted in the psychology of a memorable heroine. But the mission continues. The team still has to get out of the building, and they may not make it out alive. Could the client turn on them? Whatever happens, the stakes are high going into the final issue.