I posted a while back on the Netflix series, Altered Carbon, based on the books by Richard K. Morgan. The series presents a universe where everyone has a device implanted in their brainstem shortly after birth that records their personality, so that if they die, the device can be moved to either another human body, or an android one.
Morgan’s take on this arrangement is pretty bleak, presenting a largely dystopian future, where only the rich can afford new bodies on demand, or to be backed up in case their stack (their implanted device) is destroyed. Regular people do get stacks, but they usually can’t afford new bodies until they’ve used up the one they have, and most people stop after three or four and put themselves in long term storage, to be waked up only for major family events.
Despite once being a big comic fan, I don’t read many graphic novels these days. I decided to try this one, Altered Carbon: Download Blues, because I was already familiar with the writer and the character, and I was interested in what Morgan might do with it after returning to Takeshi Kovacs after so long.
The answer is a typical Kovacs story, with greed, corruption, struggling police, and a justice system completely bypassed by the powerful and elite. Kovacs is his usual cynical jaded self with his own sense of justice. He doesn’t come across quite as vicious or angry as in the novels, although that might be a factor of our limited ability to be in his head in a graphic novel.
Be warned: there’s a fair amount of gore and nudity in this graphic novel. But if you saw the show, this shouldn’t surprise you.
My only disappointments are that the story could have been longer, and it doesn’t really move Kovacs’ arc forward. It’s just another episode in his life, albeit an entertaining one.