Motor Crush, Vol. 1 by Brenden Fletcher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I saw this at the library and was sufficiently intrigued by the first couple of pages to bring it home. I've never heard of any of these people or read their other work, but this is an interesting sample, even if Brendan Fletcher seems overly fond of his cliffhanging twists.
Domino Swift is an up-and-coming World Grand Prix motorcycle rider, competing for her father, the former champion racer Sullivan Swift, by day, and running illegal Cannonball races at night. The purpose of the latter is to win an ongoing supply of the illegal machine stimulant Crush. This stuff is deadly to humans, we discover--a thief forced to drink it has his body literally explode. It's soon revealed that Domino has to have Crush, not to put in her motorcycle, but to keep herself alive--she uses it in her inhaler and also ingests it. This is only one of the mysteries of Domino's past that this volume gradually reveals, like a set of nested dolls, leading to an ending that only asks more questions.
Domino is a stubborn, hot-headed person who makes plenty of bad decisions, but her loyalty to her father and friends (and her ex-girlfriend, the pink-haired Lola Del Carmen) shines through. She knows she's in over her head, but she doesn't stop trying to make things right. The characters and the absorbing (if at times overly convoluted) mystery kept me reading, but the real star of this show is Babs Tarr's artwork. It isn't overly busy, but you really have to pay attention to each panel. There are little worldbuilding and character-revealing asides scattered throughout, masquerading as things a viewer in this world might be watching on their phone, and if you blink you'll miss it. Tarr also does a great job depicting motorcycle and racing sound effects and chase sequences. This volume ends on a cliffhanger that portends to throw the Motor Crush world wide open, and I'll be sure to seek out the next one.
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