The team behind the critically acclaimed Batgirl: Burnside run are back together to deliver a brand new Image Comic in the form of Motor Crush. I will admit that I am coming into this new series without any knowledge about what it is about beyond what I see on the cover. The reason I bought Motor Crush is for the creative team alone. I have full confidence that with Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr can deliver something that can be as good, if not better than, their Batgirl run. Let’s find out if that is the case with Motor Crush #1.
Creators: Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Somewhere out in the desert Lan and Sully are timing Sully’s daughter, Domino Swift, on a special race track. Domino ends her speed trial at two seconds faster than her dad did on the same track.
Domino takes off her helmet and wonders if they doubted her. Sully says he didn’t but Lan did. Sully wonders how his daughter is doing after the training. Domino says she is fine but the brakes on the bike need to be checked out.
Suddenly a Catball droid flies in to get Domino to answer some interview questions that have been recorded. Domino hates that she has to do digital interviews but her dad says the life-streams are their current source of income. Domino still dodges the questions and pushes the Catball aside.
Clips are shown of the Nova Honda, the location for the next WGP race with Domino and Decimus Wexler as the featured racers. Trivia is shown that a racer named Uri McLaren recently did in a horrible crash during a WGP race.
Seeing that footage takes Domino down some memories she has of Uri, including how he used to take the drug Crush. She mentions that if he didn’t die during a race the WGP would’ve kicked him out.
Domino then takes out a case under her bed full of Crush. Right before she can take any Lan enters her room to let her know that Sully wants to speak with her. Domino yells at Lan for barging into her room unannounced.
As she heads down to the garage Domino wonders if Lan saw that she had a case of Crush.
Domino notices that Lan is looking for a key to close up the shop. She shows him where the key is and apologizes for snapping at him earlier.
Sully tells Domino to get in the garage. When Domino enters the garage she is greeted by her friend Sonoya. Sonoya tells Domino that she has also become an official WGP racer. After giving Sonoya some advice on the Catballs, Domino and Sonoya agree to have a friendly rivalry and drama it up for the cameras.
Sully says they should celebrate with Sonoya but Domino says that it’s Cannonball Night.
Later that night Domino takes part in an underground race. While getting ready she thinks about the risks she is taking by using Crush but that she is willing to do it.
Some of her rivals talk smack to Domino about losing but Domino just says that she has a special friend with her, what looks like a cricket bat with nails in it.
All of the racers are introduced to the crowd including Domino, who is using the alias of Cricket. The producer of the race then announces the rules and how there are four Crush capsules on the line.
The race begins with several racers already being taken out as soon as it starts. Domino gets in on the action by knocking a racer into a light pole. Several other racers suddenly start to pursue Domino. Domino pulls of some tricks to get her competitors of her tail. As she nears the finish line she knocks out the racer next to her to win the race.
Domino compliments Savage on having a good race. Before the conversation can get anywhere the host gets everyone’s attention. He talks about respecting their sport and how they just caught a thief. He brings out the thief, who turns out to be Lan.
Lan tries to get out of the situation by saying he didn’t do anything wrong. The host doesn’t want to hear it and forces Lan to consume some Crush. Lan has a negative reaction to the drug and his body explodes in front of everyone, including Domino.
The producer tells everyone that Lan is an example of what happens if you cheat or steal.
Sometime later Domino gets back to her house and wonders what she is going to do about telling her dad what happened to Lan. She then thinks about how the host of the race stiffed her with only three Crush pills as the winner of the race. Domino looks under her bed and finds that her case with all her Crush pills is missing, most likely taken by Lan.
The next day Domino goes to Lan’s trailer to see if she can find her case with Crush pills. Lan’s landlord tells Domino that some people already took his things and they said Lan got a job on Turtle Island.
Domino looks through the trailer and finds her case is empty.
Later that day Domino in her Cricket gear goes to Joe’s Bar. There she meets up with Savage. She tries to get information about Coliseum who she believes took her supply of Crush. Savage thinks that it is a bad idea to mess with the producers of Nova. After some further discussion Domino is able to convince Savage to give her the information she is looking for.
That night Domino sneaks into the Coliseum and is able to get past all of the security. She soon finds the room Savage mentioned to her and finds all of her missing Crush. Just as she packs up all the Crush the security guards find her.
A fight breaks out with one of the guards getting behind her and start chocking her. Domino and the guard end up falling out a window and onto some cars below.
Domino quickly recovers, with some Crush pills falling out of her bag, and gets to her bike.
The Coliseum security are quick to go after her and begin chasing Domino through the city. Domino is able to get most of the security off her tail and ends up falling off a pier with the last guard chasing her.
Domino is able to swim to shore and hides below the pier. She suddenly starts to have some sort of negative reaction. Domino takes one of her last remaining Crush pills to calm her system down. End of issue.
The Good: Motor Crush #1 is a comic book that as soon as you open it you feel like it is something brand new. This isn’t a new comic just to create a sales pitch for a movie or TV show down the line. Motor Crush is a fun new world readers can get lost in that is completely different from everything else on the stands today.
Out of the gate what drew me in and will keep me coming back for more is the motor racing setting. Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr do a fantastic job exploring this adrenaline filled world both through the writing and artwork. The adrenaline of the motor world instantly makes everything about the world feel unique. There is a sense of competition every time we see characters on their motorcycles.
The setting is amplified by the fun and interesting characters that exist in it. The names alone show us that this is a world that is reminiscent from what I would see in an anime. Names like Domino Swift and Uri McLaren quickly stand out. And having characters that work on each racers teams makes this world something that is reminiscent of Speed Racer, which is never a bad thing to tap into.
Fletcher, Steward and Tarr waste no time in presenting us with a strong but flawed main character in Domino Swift. Fletcher, Stewart and Tarr are quick to establish that Domino isn’t new to the world of WGP. She is a character that is already starting to make a name for herself and is looking to do that one thing to, as they would say in the WWE, break through the glass ceiling. This goal for the character gives us something as readers to latch on to.
At the same time, the way Domino goes about doing this by using the illegal Crushing drug makes her drive to succeed her greatest flaw. It’s an interesting dynamic created because we don’t normally see our main character start off this way. We have come to expect our main characters to be above this. So to be presented with Domino who is already in the thick of using a performance enhancing drug is a great twist.
This is where Motor Crush #1’s finds its greatest success. Because instead of just telling us the dangers of using a performance enhancing drug like Crushing we are actually shown it during the course of this issue. Learning that Crushing is outlawed in WGP is one thing but we see two big instances to drive home why this is. Seeing how it caused one racer to kill himself during a race and causes Lan, one Domino’s pit crew members, to instantly explode were powerful images.
These two events make Domino’s decision to continue her obsession with using Crushing an even greater flaw. Because not only were these two characters close to Domino’s life but she saw first-hand what the drug does to a person in both instances. For these things to happen and not become a turn off for Domino and a sign to make some changes in her life is something to follow developments of.
To compliment Domino’s own character the supporting cast of this series all had good introductions. Domino’s dad being her pit crew manager instantly draws comparisons to Speed Racer. His presence provides this world a good sense of history since racing runs in Domino’s blood. With that history in mind it leaves you wondering how much of Domino’s decisions will impact her own father on an emotional level.
Additionally, Fletcher, Steward and Tarr are able to set-up a fun rival for Domino in her close friend Sonoya. Not only is the character’s design unique but the friendly competition should be interesting to see develop. This brings up the question that if Sonoya starts finding success and even betting her in a race it makes you wonder if Domino’s flaws will intensify. Because it is one thing to lose to a fellow competitor but it is another to lose to a close friend in something you see yourself as the best in.
Matching the quality of the story was the artwork. The style is very reminiscent of what Tarr did during their Batgirl run, which is never a bad thing. The art does a great job putting over the competitive nature of motor sports and of the main character, Domino. The world also is well realized as the artwork gives it a futuristic vibe that many alternate reality animes have when the world focuses on one sport.
The Bad: While only a slight annoyance it would’ve been nice if the flashback to Uri McLaren’s fatal crash was more clear as something Domino was thinking about. The transition between Domino ignoring an interview to this flashback was awkward. It felt like there wasn’t room for a proper transition point so the story just made a scene change without any set-up.
Overall: Motor Crush #1 is one of the most refreshing comic books I’ve read all year. Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr quickly present us with a strong but flawed main character in Domino Swift. The world is so well realized that it makes you want to learn more about what happens both in the WGP and underground realm. Motor Crush’s artwork is just as stunning that makes the world feel lived in with a history that you want to learn about. If you are looking for something not superhero related I highly recommend picking up Motor Crush #1.