Dark Horse Comics 2021
Written by Bartosz Sztybor
Illustrated by Jesus Aburtov
Coloured by Giulia Brusco
Lettered by Frank Cvetkovic
A new urban development proposal is being pushed through city council—a flagrant infraction on those safeguarded by the Valentinos gang. They enlist the service of three cyberpunks to discreetly and strategically terminate the project, but their subject is more than an ordinary target.
This is great as its a story set in this universe and for a non-gamer like myself this really does a great job as an introduction to the franchise as well as a stand alone story that you can enjoy without any prior knowledge of the game itself. This issue feels like the whole thing is an introduction and it’s go so many moving parts that the way it engages the reader is extremely nice to see. I like how we see that this has some depth and complexity to the storytelling so that it veers away from that whole video game feel and becomes more of stand alone book.
I am digging the way that this is being told. The story & plot development through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented extremely well. How the characters are introduced here if fantastic and the character development starts right away as we see the dialogue alongside how they act and react to the situations and circumstances they encounter. We get a great feel for who the characters are here and that’s integral to enjoying the story. The pacing here is superb and as it takes us through the pages revealing the twists & turns along the way as it sets up the story it really has a strong way to draw the reader in.
I like how we see this being structured and how the layers within the story are being presented. With Oriona & her boys meeting El Sombreron, the family at the diner and how things become interconnected and yet remain separate is utterly fascinating to me. Then to see how everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is really rather quite well done. There’s this very interesting way to seeing how it all connects that is unexpected and yet highlights just how strong Bartosz’s talent and skill are.
The interiors here are gorgeous! Right off the bat when we see the mural that is both impressive and scary as hell at the same time you know the whole issue is going to be something amazing. The linework is phenomenal and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create the detail work is beautifully rendered. I’m a huge backgrounds kind of guy and what we see here is great and how they are utilised in the composition within the panels to create the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope of the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a sensational eye for storytelling. The colour work is absolutely stunning. Not only are the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is rendered to such perfection. That jacket we see change colours is a wow factor regardless of which colours were utilised as a complete and utter surprise.
This is a great book. The story is extremely well written and it has just enough holes in what we see so that it engages the reader in the right ways throughout the entire book. With the interiors taking this story to the next level and allowing the reader to feel like they’ve entered a future era it really makes this book stand out.