While not familiar with this comic profession before the Netflix show, the first season on Netflix of “Altered Carbon” gave a crash course in the dynamics with admirable effect but also decent “Blade Runner”-esque visuals. What this new comic installment does is take the noir structure and give it another round. The great aspect of this world is that there is no conception of who the lead actor is so the concept of the sleeves is fairly free comparative to the show who now must change actors. The story in “Altered Carbon: Download Blues” [Richard K. Morgan & Rik Hoslin/Dynamite/128pgs] is pure gumshoe by way of assassins. Someone is cloning famous people using their genomes and using them on the black market. Kovacs, as an ex-Envoy, was trying to keep to himself but a security black market sleeve forces him back into the open to make a deal. The cool thing about Kovacs is that he doesn’t really have any sense of morality but he does have a code which is what keeps him going. When he is targeted for assassination by himself in a way, he has to go, like the show in certain ways, “Total Recall”, thereby finding himself on another planet. The second construct is that this world has is the ability to transfer anybody’s consciousness (if you have the money) via needlecast anywhere the light connection is based. Ultimately Kovacs is requisitioned for good money to track down would-be assassins. He gets his revenge point in the end. “Altered Carbon” with the right tone is pre-neo noir “Runner” style but for the modern age. The creator knows this but understands the fun is in the unexpectedness of the journey and the ability of the character to roll with the punches.
By Tim Wassberg