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Of the new comics to drop this year, there was one in particular that seemed to raise a few eyebrows from the word "go" and that was Motor Crush. Initial reactions to the idea of having a black woman as a main protagonist was mixed. There was even admission from certain retailers that they failed to order the book because they felt a black woman protagonist just wouldn’t sell.
Not judging a book by its cover (literally) will take you a long way.
Motor Crush is a racing comic that follows Domino Swift, an up and coming professional motorcyclist who by day competes in the world grand prix for to hit the big time and by the night she’s out getting down and dirty in underground street races to gain access to the illegal “machine narcotic” known as Crush, a well-known engine performance boosting substance. While most want the drug for a cheap way to achieve fortune or just gas up their rides, Domino’s motivation goes beyond that: her life depends on it; if she doesn’t have several doses of Crush a day she’ll die. While she was initially able to juggle both of these lives independent from each other, they start to bleed into one another when the organization that runs the underground racing known as The Producers start to expand their reach out into the mainstream. Things start to get hectic as she begins to get involved with more shady individuals who either want to kill or exploit her.
The character cast itself is a standout for the series. Domino Swift is one of my favorite protagonists in recent memory. She’s a hardcore determined personality that doesn’t shy from embracing her competitive spirit and always knows when it’s time to show out. Off the field she’s a genuinely good person who cares for the people around her and will go to great lengths, even putting her life at risk, to keep them safe. The rest of the cast brings a good bit of depth to the story as a whole and makes the stakes feel more grounded. No character steals the show and each one feels like they have a part to play, whether it’s a positive or negative. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself liking more than just one or two characters.
Another high point for the series is the personality of the world that’s presented. The art style that allows the world to really pop out with bright colors and exaggerated features on characters from facial expression to body types. With each character that gets introduced, they get a viral panel network that displays some form of trivia about them as if reading off their fan wikis. Poking fun at the constantly online culture of today. Catball, a character that is introduced early on, is a character that continuously reminds the reader of this and will never fail in making you laugh.
On the surface it’s a cartoonish world that draws you in, but you quickly find it’s a total bait and switch to the sometimes visceral nature of the narrative and some of the sequences. In the very first issue we’re given a taste as to exactly what the main characters are fighting so blood hungry for with a particularly nasty explosion of a character. Which is a nice contrast to the overtly cartoonish style that the visuals take on.
Overall this series is a great racing romp that has a gorgeous visual style and loads of personality, likable characters, and a racing/heist plot. It’s a fun book for a casual reading session.
You should be reading!