While I was working at the Comic Book Club’s table at the second Accepted Students Day, a certain person told me that the comics I cover on this column are not “dark enough.”
“Dark enough” in the sense that there’s not enough violence or death or destruction, and all that other stuff that adults crave, given modern media sensitivities.
If you are one of those people who feel the same way about this column, fret no more, for this week’s comic is the high-octane, action-packed racing series known as “Motor Crush.”
Hot off the overwhelming success of the fourth volume of “Batgirl,” (which consists of Batgirl issues #35 to #52) with DC Comics, the creative team of Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher and Babs Tarr took their combined talent to Image Comics, and with that move, “Motor Crush” was born.
“Motor Crush” showcases the story of Domino Swift, a spunky, world-class motorcyclist who races in the World Grand Prix, or WGP for short, racing for cash prizes, trophies and the legacy of her father.
From the get-go, she’s established as the unbeatable one. The character that everyone tries to outsmart, but is outsmarted by her.
In short, she’s the champion you want to root for from panel-to-panel.
However, at night, Domino competes for something more than money and trophies – she competes for the titular drug of many a character’s desire: Crush.
Crush is treated like nitrous oxide from the “Fast and the Furious” movies, but on a much more physical level. They are represented as gem-like objects that can be broken up and consumed in liquid form or inserted into one’s motorcycle to obtain an unnatural speed boost.
What once was an organized race becomes a “Road Rash”-inspired romp through the streets for a chance at an easy win in the next sanctioned WGP race, with every racer rolling around with a weapon, intent on taking out another participant with a briefcase full of the stuff.
To understand the parallel between the two racing disciplines, think The League and The Streets modes featured in “NBA Live 18.”
Luckily for Domino, not everything in this comic is about racing or a matter of life or death. Daily life plays a major role in character development, as well.
A portion of “Motor Crush” consists of Domino hanging out with her family, tuning her ride and Domino’s efforts in rekindling her relationship with Lola Del Carmen, a relationship that has been destroyed prior to the beginning of the series, and the main focus of the non-racing scenes.
The recovery is slow and is not forced at all, giving the healing process a sense of realism that other comics lack when it comes to the topic of broken relationships.
On that note, Stewart’s and Fletcher’s writing gives the world of “Motor Crush” lots of personality, from the characters and their respective bikes to the weapons those characters wield. Everything is written with a purpose, supplemental and to the point. Every action scene feels as tough as Domino’s bare-knuckle punches.
Tarr gives the comic a vibrant coat of paint, utilizing stylistic ESPN-like presentation visuals when presenting WGP races and unique effects and filters during key scenes. Every character is drawn to match their personality, like the spunky Domino, who is drawn in loud, vibrant pinks and dark black.
Sometimes, it makes me feel like I need to wear 3D glasses on some pages! That is a very good thing.
“Motor Crush” is a visual treat for fans and non-fans of racing, providing a fun, brutal twist to the formula everyone is used to watching on TV and in the movies, with heartwarming LGBTQ+ representation and science fiction elements powerful enough to provide a well-needed twist to the genre.
You can check out “Motor Crush’s” first volume that compiles the first five issues, along with an upcoming second volume that compiles six more issues coming later this month. For now, you can get them individually at your local comic store.