Generic branding
Tattoos, transgenics, and tech-noir in Dark angel
in Tattoos in crime and detective narratives
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This chapter examines the ways in which the two seasons of James Cameron’s Dark Angel series (2000–2002) hybridise elements of the film noir and science fiction genres. The central character, a bio-engineered soldier called Max Guevara, solves crimes and rights wrongs, but also attempts to evade capture from military and civilian authorities. As such, Guevara’s character is hybridised through her roles, simultaneously acting as both criminal and detective, and embodying elements of the femme fatale. More importantly, however, throughout the narrative arc of the series, what becomes clear is that notions of purity – genetic as well as generic – are not valorised but contested, and generally lean towards favouring the traditionally monstrous ‘hybrid’. As a genetic chimera with a brand – a tattooed barcode imprinted within her DNA – Guevara serves as a bodily locus for this collapsing of categories and demonstrates the ways in which Cameron’s own category of ‘Tech noir’ (named after a nightclub in his 1984 Terminator) is imprinted both internally and externally upon the series through a mix of tropes and generic signifiers.

Editors: Kate Watson and Katharine Cox

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