Lemme confess something to you: The main criteria I carry for choosing a new graphic novel to obsess over is Does this have a black female character in it? You’d be surprised how many titles are automatically disqualified when this simple filter is applied, but thanks to many new black and women of color creators and illustrators joining the comics industry with captivating and relatable stories, my cup (of book shelves) runneth over.
When I discovered Image’s “Motor Crush,” I got on my knees to thank the graphic novel gods from whom all inclusive titles flow.
“Motor Crush” follows up-and-coming racer Domino Swift as she tries to dominate the worldwide motorcycle racing scene in Nova Honda and find out about her mysterious past. First off, I’m definitely petitioning to change my name to Domino Swift because Princess is not nearly badass enough. The cover of issue #1 has Domino atop a motorcycle with a bat. Clearly, I’m in.
Domino is the bad boi of my teenage dreams, a short-haired black woman who doesn’t hold back her confidence or talent. She’d much rather be riding her motorcycle than anything else, and her friends and family try their best to mix supporting her with getting out of her way. Again, sign me up.
Nova Honda has a pink-tinted underbelly that revolves around Crush, a “machine narcotic” that bike gangs use to power their vehicles and control the streets. Think of it as a nitrous boost with a twist for Domino’s sake: she needs the stuff to live. So, she spends her days leaving those who underestimate her covered in dust and her nights knocking bad guys off their bikes to even the playing field and keep herself alive. But, when she accidentally travels two years into the future after taking a huge dose of Crush, well, things start getting interesting.
There’s a colorful cast of characters: Sullivan, Dom’s surrogate father and ex-racing legend; Calax, leader of a biker gang and ally; Lola, Domino’s girlfriend who is possibly Rose’ sister from Steven Universe; and various catballs, floating assistants always ready with relevant info and funny quips and also possibly what Amazon Alexa will be in a few years.
The styling of “Motor Crush,” inlaid call-outs that make you feel like you’re watching a race on a screen and not reading a book in your hands, pulls you even deeper into its universe. If we got a “Motor Crush” video game, I wouldn’t be surprised since the panels often include boxes touting the beauty of Nova’s nightlife, and facts about the racing courses give authentic gaming feels.
“Motor Crush” is what “The Fast and the Furious” franchise could have been if they handed the reins to Michelle Rodriguez and not centered a rotating cast of Hollywood’s best meatheads B-List action stars. Whoops.
With Volume 3 not slated to release until April 2019, you’ll have plenty of time to catch up and get addicted to “Motor Crush.”
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