Review: Motor Crush #1

Last week, Image Comics released the first issue of their new series, Motor Crush. Created by the team of Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr whom all helped reinvigorate DC’s Batgirl, this particular title had a lot of buzz out the gate. It was reported that there had been low orders from some retailers who thought that their customer base would not pick up this title because the protagonist, Domino Swift, is a black woman. However, as of this week, the first print run for Motor Crush #1 has sold out and order cut offs for the second printing will be on December 19. I managed to pick up a copy at Midtown Comics in Downtown Manhattan, and heard other people mention how happy they were to read this comic and how people were saying it sold out so fast at the other stores in the city that they had to come to this store just to get one.

So what did I think of it?

Motor Crush is a tale of motorcycle racer Domino Swift, set in the not too distant future. The world is very similar to ours with just a bit more commercialism, corporatism, and interview robots that can hound you on a whim for your hot take. Domino works closely with her father, a retired racer, and enjoys a sort of Speedracer/Pops relationship with him. As the story progresses, we go from seeing the legitimate side of racing in this world to seeing a dark underworld filled with drugs and violence reminiscent of stories like Akira and The Warriors. Once we’re exposed to this world, we stay there with Domino Swift right up to the cliffhanger that ends the first issue. It’s a very engaging story that juggles a lot of characters by keeping the narrative focus so sharp on Domino that glimpses of each character are easily digestible and actually help us understand Domino better.

The art starts off very vibrant, expressive, and fluid in the first couple of pages. After that, we go through five or six pages of solid and expressive art, that loses some of that fluidity and feels a stiff and lifeless. That might be intentional, but it does stand out. Once we get to the underworld elements, we get very fluid animated art once again and the colors really pop. We also see more daring layouts, and with the exception of one or two instances, those layouts were easy to follow and really pay off. The hot pink and black being used to color a lot of the pages at this point work incredibly well.

While the story doesn’t deal with queer issues, we do have a strong female protagonist that doesn’t rely on help from any help from the male characters to get her out of danger. It also might be for the best that this creative team avoids queer characters and issues as they are the same team responsible for the Batgirl #37 debacle involving dated and offensive trans tropes around the issues villain, Dagger Type. They have since apologized and reprints of that comic have been altered to change the language around that character.

Overall, Motor Crush #1 is a solid first issue that’s strong right out the gate. We also get two pages of the prologue to another Image Comic being released next year: Isola, also written by Brenden Fletcher. And 32 pages of comic with no ads for $3.99 is a good deal. So while I do recommend you pick up Motor Crush, I do hope we won’t be seeing another Batgirl #37 come out of this.