Man, we've been eagerly anticipating this book since the creative dream team behind Batgirl's resurgence announced it earlier this year (was it because they're close personal friends of the show? ....maybe). And when Bleeding Cool announced that there were many comic stores across the country who weren't ordering the book because they honestly didn't believe it'd sell, we were really saddened.
Thankfully, all that shit no longer matters because it's here and it's flippin' fantastic.
The lead character, Domino Swift, is such an enjoyable protagonist that the reader is immediately invested in her and her world. Babs Tarr has outdone herself with the art here, as each character is fascinating, each environment epic, and the emotions palpable. The motorcycle race scenes are frenetic, nearing popping off the page, with colors that evoke wisps of Grand Theft Auto Vice City and Tron.
The story itself starts lightly enough, with the Swift family showing a strong front with ties to racing, and stories waiting to be told (what's up with Dom's dad's peg leg, ehhhh?). And yet it really gets engrossing when the Cannonball races start.
These are gladiator matches on burning rubber, with combatants armed and eager to send a rider to the pavement in a greasy streak. It's choreographed wonderfully, with every angle taken and every sharp, fast-twitch decision feeling organic in the overall flow of the race. And when it's over, we get the first "OH HOLY SHIT" moment of the book which culminates in a character literally exploding in the middle of a throng of witnesses.
The issue finishes strong with a second "OH HOLY SHIT" moment that features a chemical reaction that is supposed to juice a motorcycle, all while introducing the conflict that will be driving (no pun intended) this first arc.
I also have to give serious props to the gang for their handling of a near-futuristic/auto-centric dialogue that doesn't feel forced like oh so many attempted vernaculars across sequential art: they choose words to litter throughout dialogue that seem as though they'd really just eventually develop over the course of interests, and it's never corny.
...also, I loved the chummy cartoon at the end of the book with a punchline aimed at editor Jeanine Schaefer. I love how much these creators love each other.
Honestly, it's criminal this book may truly be under-ordered: this is a gorgeous first issue that allows easy access to any new reader, being up front with its narrative and its characters. This is escapism you'll want to hitch a ride with.