So I saw a call from the Motor Crush crew asking journalists if they wanted to review the brand new, in stores today, Image comic Motor Crush. I wouldn’t consider myself a journalist here, per se, but dammit if I’m not in this for free comics!
Motor Crush is from the Batgirl of Burnside crew, Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr. Lettering is by Aditya Bidikar, logo, pub design, graphic captions are by Tom Muller, and Jeanine Schaeffer edits it all. There is also signage design by Jon Lewis, and I’m not sure if that’s the same Jon Lewis that did True Swamp et al.
Domino Swift is a racer in the World Grand Prix, which is a motorbike race and the most popular sport in the world (which pegs this as science fiction, ha!). She’s fairly new to the circuit and trying her best to do well despite the odds being against her. However, she’s not above using less than kosher means of getting ahead, as in this world, there’s a drug that can be given to engines to get them to perform better, Crush. Domino is trying to get more of the drug by racing in underground demolition derby type races, and there’s a reveal at the end that makes things even more interesting (especially given something we see early on).
So far I liked the book, but it wasn’t something that grabbed me quite strongly enough. This group of creators is great, but I think I’m not big on the subject matter so far. I’ll get the trade but I don’t think I’ll be following this in singles.
The art is highly stylized, a mix of manga influence and perhaps a Kyle Baker look to some of the background characters. I’m assuming, since the way the book was created wasn’t broken down, that all 3 co-write the book, and Babs Tarr does the majority of the artwork, including the coloring, which utilizes a lot of pinks and purples and streaking to convey speed. (From what I heard about Batgirl, Cameron Stewart did breakdowns/layouts for Tarr for at least the start of that run, as she hadn’t yet done much panel to panel continuity, but I would imagine she doesn’t need things broken down for her as much now. Although if you’ve got someone like Stewart that knows his stuff, I wouldn’t blame her for using his expertise. Even though she’s pretty damn awesome herself!) (I probably could have asked the MC crew, they did say to contact them with questions, but I’m hoping they’ll pop in the comments section. I’m tricky like that!)
There is plenty of detail in the book, as seen above. There is also unspoken but easy to infer information conveyed, as only comics can! For example, we’re not told outright that the guy on the right, who’s Domino’s dad Sullivan, got into an accident and had to stop racing, but from the fact that he’s got a pegleg there, we can infer it.
There are interesting things done with giving us info through text boxes, as if we were getting it on our smart phones. As a new racer, Domino has a “catball” floating camera following her, trying to get info about her for fans, as she hasn’t gotten her own sponsors yet. It’s intrusive and she doesn’t like it, but she does know how to use it to her advantage when her friendly rival Sonoya Vermilion shows up at the garage. We also get a lot of info about the characters she’s facing in the demolition races through text bits as well (along with the unfortunate typo of “speciality”), and infodump stuff about the race world we’ve been dropped into.
Overall, Motor Crush 1 is an interesting start to the new saga by this great team. Tarr’s manga influenced art definitely conveys speed and excitement, and the storyline is intriguing (although I either read too much preview stuff or the reveals at the end of the issue were telegraphed a bit too much). Will Domino’s unsavory activities be found out? Will her family lose everything? Can there be more purple on the page?
The single issues also feature a prelude to Isola by Fletcher, Kerschl and Assarasakorn, which appears to be a medieval/fantasy type story. It’s not enough to entice me into buying the singles of this book, but I will definitely be picking up the trade of Motor Crush. If you like what you see, though, you may decide to go for singles.