Motor Crush #1 Review

Writers: Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart / Artist: Babs Tarr / Image Comics

Image Comics’ new cyberpunk racer title Motor Crush has had quite the allure for long-awaiting fans. Pick your interest. Maybe it’s the lead character, a young Black woman on a motorcycle whose persona fuses mohawk Storm with a Fast and Furious action film. Maybe it’s the Batgirl creative team of Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, and Cameron Stewart. Maybe it was Motor Crush #0 picked up from a convention and left you looking for more pages when you found yourself at the last. Whatever the case, comic fans recognize the allure even if comic book stores are still under the false impression that a new, Black woman-led title is unlikely to sell.

Brief digression here – if your comic book store happens to be one that understocked Motor Crush by assuming readers are too racist buy a comic with a Black woman on the cover, only to perpetuate that exact racism and justify their decision under “responding to the market,” express your disappointment in them, find a new comic store, or both.

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Motor Crush follows Domino Swift – a racer’s name if I ever heard one – and her bifurcated life in which both sides are based on racing. By day she races legitimately in the reality-TV style World Grand Prix, complete with the Motor Crush-analog 343 Guilty Spark from Xbox’s Halo that records her interactions with friends and competitors to build tension for the sport and entertain fans. In that regard, she lives a very public life. On the other hand, at night Domino breaks away to race in illicit street competitions for an illegal stimulant called “crush,” and because, well, any self-respecting racing story has to have illegal street races in a criminal underworld that competes at night.

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She’s a killer in these races, owning racers across several different crews, all of which have their own quirky identities that will undoubtedly be explored later to offer more depth to the racing underworld. The twist though isn’t Domino’s dominance, but her dependence on crush. And we learn quite quickly how it’s illegal, rare, and fatally dangerous in larger doses.

Visually, Motor Crush’s setting captures the feel of a diverse Miami-type city complete with palm tress and coastlines. The action scenes give us an unofficial tour as bikes speed through its streets, leaving streaks of light in their wake that make for really fun panels of purples and pinks. You realize just how fun the comic is to look at as you turn through 4 to 6 pages at a time with little to no dialogue, just a story in art.

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Overall, Motor Crush is a great start to a series with a lot of action, but also shows a lot of promise in character development as we see a short glimpse into all the people who intersect with Domino’s life. From her father to her friend Sonoya to the Grand Prix pretty boy she’ll inevitably go up against, there are a lot of character dynamics to develop and that should be half the fun. There’s a lot of reasons to be excited for this comic. Start now on the ground floor to watch it build with the rest of us.

9.1 out of 10

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  • Jordan Calhoun is a writer in New York City. His forthcoming debut book "Piccolo Is Black" is a celebration of the common adaptations we made while non-diverse pop culture helped us form identities. He holds a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice, B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Japanese, and an M.P.A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy. He might solve a mystery, or rewrite history. Find him on Instagram and Twitter @JordanMCalhoun

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