Altered Carbon: Download Blues by Richard K. Morgan, Rik Hoskin, Ferran Sellares (Illustrator), Vinicius Andrade (colorist)

altered carbon

“Culture is like a smog. To live
within it, you must breathe some of it in and, inevitably, be
― Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon

Book Synopsis

In the distant future, the human body is a temporary and interchangeable commodity – if you can pay.

For the interstellar elite, bodies are swapped out and reused without a second thought. You never grow old; you never die.

However, some bodies are more temporary than others …

Takeshi Kovacs was once a member of the Envoy Corps, stormtroopers for the Interstellar Earth Protectorate, ultra-lethal adepts in switching bodies across the stars. While he served, he was known by a variety of names–Mamba Lev, One Hand Rending, the Icepick–all testament to his capacity for rapid response and extreme violence in whatever flesh he wore.

Now he’s out of the service and trying to live a different life. But the Protectorate hasn’t changed its spots, no matter what world Kovacs drifts to, and with that old combat rage still burning deep inside him, will he ever really be able to walk away?

Created by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon was previously adapted as a Netflix television series. This original graphic novel, written by Rik Hoskin (Brandon Sanderson’s White Sand/Pierce Brown’s Red Rising, expands upon the Altered Carbon universe


My Thoughts

“Culture is like a smog. To live
within it, you must breathe some of it in and, inevitably, be
― Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon

I have been a fan of the Takeshi Kovacs universe since Morgan wrote the original Altered Carbon in 2002. Not only that, I find the “Land Fit For Heroes’ world to be some of the best fantasy written in the last twenty years.

All that being said, I found this to be a middle-quality adaptation of the source material. The fundamental problem is that the artwork did not flow well with the dialog, which in turn led to stunted panels. I don’t think this is Morgan, Hoskin, Sellares, or Andrade’s fault. Sellares is an excellent artist. The color palette, done by Vinicius Andrade, is gorgeous and taps into that cyberpunk aesthetic very well.  However, for Altered Carbon to work as a story there needs to be more finesse in the panels.  Sellares’s artwork is too angular and stocky to fit Kovacs predator personality. This came off as more gorilla when Kovacs is a jaguar type predator.  This is a stylistic difference for me as a reader. Many folks who have read this novel have loved the style of it and it has worked well for them. 

I will continue to read this universe because Morgan’s writing is always top-notch. But I won’t seek it out like I usually would have.

Edit: It has been brought to my attention that in the original article I attributed the drawing to Rik Hoskin. That is incorrect and I apologize for the error on my part. Ferran Sellares is the illustrator on this graphic novel and Vinicius Andrade was the colorist. 

Check Out Some of Our Other Graphic Novel Reviews

Graphic Novel Review of Fell, Feral City by Warren Ellis

Graphic Novel Review of – Through the Woods; by Emily Carroll


Thank you to Netgalley and Dynamite Entertainment for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for my open and honest review.

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