After a long wait, ”Motor Crush” starts up the engines again. The last arc ended with a shocking twist, but the questions raised by it won’t be answered in this issue yet. Instead, the light is shed on some older questions that have been there since the start of the series. How did the Crush machine narcotic come onto the market? How did Domino’s father lose his leg? (Those questions won’t be outright answered in this review, but there are some spoilers nevertheless.)
Written by Babs Tarr, Brenden Fletcher and Cameron Stewart
Illustrated by Cameron Stewart
Coloured by Babs Tarr and Heather Danfort
Lettered by Aditya Bidikar
The critically acclaimed series returns with a new 6-issue arc, kicking off with a special story guest-illustrated by co-creator CAMERON STEWART, and featuring four breathtaking covers by fan-favorites BABS TARR, KRIS ANKA, JAKE WYATT, and KEVIN WADA! While Domino Swift struggles to comprehend her jump forward in time, we cycle backwards to learn more about her father’s former racing career, the story of his missing leg, and his secret connection to the machine narcotic Crush.
Domino Swift’s father, ex-racer Sullivan “Sully” Swift, is one of the most important supporting characters of “Motor Crush” and now we get to delve more into his backstory, which has it’s fair share of tragedy. I had previously assumed that Sullivan had lost his leg in a typical racing accident, but creators Tarr, Fletcher, and Stewart have come up with something much more heartbreaking and interesting. Sully’s and Domino’s nuanced father-daughter relationship is also handled well by the creative team. Sully’s devotion to his adopted daughter has already been strongly established in the past and now the storytellers deepen the image of a worried father who has his own friendships, troubles, and secret wishes. A problem with the characterizations here is that the overexcited 12-year old Domino is written behaving more like an 8-year old than a 12-year old. Between the Swifts and the Vermillions there are tons of cute family moments going on . . . until things go badly.
Usually Cameron Stewart contributes the layouts while Babs Tarr does the final art on “Motor Crush,” but for this issue they have mixed up the art duties. Stewart handles all the line art for this flashback issue and does a nice job with it. The style is much less sketch-like than the series usually is, the characters and backgrounds are given a pretty equal amount of detail.
Betrayal is a big theme throughout the issue. Can you stay loyal to friends and family even if you are threatened by the higher-ups? The betrayals going on here are tightly related to the origins of both the Nova Honda bike races and the machine narcotic Crush. Tarr, Fletcher and Stewart sometimes have the habit of going for too many clichés in their writing, and it happens in this issue too. The betrayal twists really aren’t anything you haven’t seen somewhere else before, but make you worried on the character’s behalf nevertheless.
Sully’s dead brother’s fiancée Juli, who has an unnerving habit of staring into emptiness and muttering to herself, remains as a bit of an enigmatic character despite being heavily featured in the issue and being a key player in the introduction of the Crush narcotic. We’ll have to wait to see if this issue remains as her only appearance in the series or not. The origin of Crush remains a mystery for the future too, this comic only tells how it spread to use in bike races, not where it came from in the first place.
The layouts seem well thought out, with exactly the right panels being emphasized. Rasters are very heavily used for colouring. Colourists Babs Tarr and Heather Danfort create a lot of shades, light sources, and backgrounds throughout the issue. In some panels the raster use goes a tad overboard, with them being slapped on almost any possible place without their shapes having anything to do with the shapes of the objects or shadows in the drawings. The colour scheme isn’t as feverishly pink as it is in the series usually, but pink still remains one of the most used tones in this issue too.Continued below
Even though this story doesn’t have any of the the dangerous bike races in Nova Honda’s hot-pink nightlife that are one of the most visually enjoyable trademarks of “Motor Crush”, there are some great panels, especially during the scene where Sully’s leg gets ruined. And even though it’s a flashback, the issue is definitely not meant to be a disposable filler, since it deepens the relationships of many of the characters and reveals some important information.
Final verdict: 7.6 – “Motor Crush” #6 lacks some of the atmosphere of the previous arc, but has plenty of emotional moments and good art.