This review may contain brief spoilers for Motor Crush #1 & #2.
Motor Crush is a series I’ve been particularly excited about based simply on the creative team of Babs Tarr, Cameron Stewart, and Brenden Fletcher. The group sprung into stardom with their relaunch of Batgirl back in 2014, giving Barbara Gordon a new and grounded lease on life. Issue one was a strong start to Motor Crush, however it is issue two that shows that this team hasn’t been riding on luck, but skill.
Picking up the morning after issue one’s set up events, issue two begins piling on the layers to the foundation. Domino Swift has a nightmare regarding new character Lola. Lola is being threatened by some thugs regarding a debt, with one stabbing a knife into a wall. The dream scares Dom awake, unaware of how she made it home after ingesting a vial of Crush last issue. This automatically confirms that there is definitely something about Domino, as we previously learned Crush is lethal to humans. Turns out that she doesn’t know why she needs Crush to stay alive, and her father isn’t talking. All of that is an problem for another day, as Domino needs a new racing bike and doesn’t think any in her father’s shop will make the cut.
Turns out, Lola used to work at the Swift’s shop, and she was close with Domino. Domino decides to visit the bar Lola runs to find it closed. Lola is there, but is visibly distraught by Dom’s presence. This scene lingers, but it’s the best of the issue. Domino and Lola were clearly in a relationship, and the breakup was harsh. Everything about this sequence is tense, emotional, and feels very organic. Additionally, this is an incredibly well written queer relationship. Everything on the page is what one would consider a complex human relationship, that just so happens between two women. In fact, this issue is so nonchalant about it, that it becomes noteworthy, and it is great.
From here, it is revealed that the first page’s nightmare scenario just might not be a dream, and Domino and Lola wind up intertwined into each other’s lives as a result. I won’t spoil the rest of the issue, which still manages to pack in quite a bit, because it’s worth seeing these two interact together. It is very clear that the emotional core of Motor Crush is going be made of the relationship between these two women and issue two successfully establishes their complications in a believable manner.
Everything is done quite a bit of a favor by the artwork. One of this team’s best strengths is character design, and they are flexing their muscles hard. Lola is a gorgeous character, with a striking hair style and extremely feminine dress that is meant to be a contrast to her mechanical prowess. Side characters are also noteworthy, such as the thugs that attack the bar. What are basically one-off bit characters have immense levels of personality showing in their design, making them memorable. Backgrounds are lively, but not crowded. Geography is actually remembered between panels, so while Motor Crush is very kinetic one does not get lost as to where characters actually are supposed to be. Speaking of panels, this comic is particularly good about using panels. Dialog pieces are broken up well, helped again by that awareness of geography. There is only one splash panel, which looks stellar, and that is amplified by being the only splash in the issue. It really feels like not a single piece of the page goes to waste.
Motor Crush #2 is incredibly strong. The only real issue I have is with it being only a second issue, the first is basically required reading to understand some of the rules in play. Yet this issue contains more of the relationship drama that will guarantee as many issues as this team wants. If this is the quality each issue is going to have, I can’t wait to get crushed some more.
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