Following their time during DC’s New 52 initiative where they were tackling the monthly Batgirl title, the trio that is Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr went creator-owned with Motor Crush for Image, a sci-fi action-adventure set in a futuristic city that is defined by motorcycling with the prestigious World Grand Prix and the illegal street race, The Cannonball. It has been one year since the publication of the first volume, which ended with our hero Domino Swift swigging a load of the narcotic known as “Crush” that accidently compels her to run two years in the future, so this volume shows the cyclist adjusting to a new world.
However, before we see an even bleaker future, issue #6 steps into the past where we witness Domino’s teenage years, told through the perspective of Domino’s foster father Sully as he, along with his friend Julianne, struggle to reproduce the Crush – which is still an unknown chemical to the two of them – in order to keep Domino alive. Although it does give some context about Domino’s sustainability and answers how Sully became half-legless, it feels like a footnote for the sake of the backstory, except for the significance of Julianne that plays out throughout the rest of the volume.
As the two years have literally flown by for Domino, things have changed in that Nova Honda may still be defined by racing, but there is now the dark underbelly of Crush as an illegal drug, along with the current rise of violent motorcycle gangs in the fashion of Mad Max extras. In terms of friends and family, Sully has become one of the enforcers who are assigned to take the law into their own hands against those accused of Crush possession, whilst ex-girlfriend Lola has found someone else to love in order to cope with Domino’s absence.
Despite the change of scenery as well as some nice character beats such as the rekindling of Domino and Lola and the scene-stealing antics of Catball who gets the big laughs, the creators never elaborate on how much these changes truly affect anything, as the narrative moves at a quick pace to get to the big heist. Some big revelations are revealed along the way, yet they don’t leave much of an impression, especially since the creators are still playing the long game about who Domino really is.
Although there isn’t much emphasis on the racing aspect, artist Babs Tarr retains the Neon Pink of this futuristic world, where things have gone grittier. Although the visuals don’t look as fresh as before and some of the cartoony character designs can be rough around the edges (with panels showing Sully having no eyes), Tarr’s art evokes that “manga” aesthetic that is bouncy and kinetic, and a nice contrast to the comic’s darker moments.
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