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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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SPEED REPUBLIC #1 review – Right on Track (Lindsay, Parascandolo, Monte, Gil) Mad Cave Studios

Thanks to Mad Cave Studios for the review copy!

In a dystopian future, down on their luck residents of a united Europe enter into a cross continent race where the winner gets to live a life of luxury. Speed Republic is a story in the tradition of Death Race and Running Man (and I guess Hunger Games but I admittedly haven’t read it), where the downtrodden enter a dangerous contest which serves to entertain the masses (though the contestants aren’t prisoners in this case).

The comic format allows Speed Republic to add more depth to the genre. Usually these contest movies say ‘here’s the good guy, root for him to win’ but they spend little time explaining who that guy is and why we should root for him. This title centers around Sebastian, who seems pretty normal for a guy entering such a contest (usually the protagonist has near superhero qualities). Through flashbacks and narration, we learn about Sebastian and his family. It isn’t entirely clear what drove him to enter yet, beyond desperation, and it will be interesting to see how much detail into his motivation is teased out in future issues. I also appreciated how the rules of the race are doled out as the story progresses. The dialogue is also well written (a conversation between drivers in a waystation being a standout).

While the comic format is perfect for telling a deeper story, it poses challenges visually. For the most part, Speed Republic is up to the task, with kinetic art that manages to convey the speed of the racing cars. Using a combination of written sound effects (with creative lettering that deserves mention) and drawn speed lines, you can visualize the race in your mind as if it were on the big screen. There were a few places where I wasn’t quite sure what happened – usually when a crazy driver was causing mayhem – but these instances were minimal. The art helpfully designates Sebastian’s car as the only blue vehicle, so it is easy to tell what he is up to.

While the violence isn’t anything more intense than a Fast & the Furious movie, there is a fair amount of cursing in this book. It’s a testament to the book that I’m as interested in why Sebastian entered the race as I am curious to see how it ends up.

The first issue of Speed Republic is now available for pre-order with a release date of February 02, 2022 planned.

Are you going to pick up the title? Have you already pre-ordered it? Feel free to leave a comment below!

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Darren Shulman
Darren Shulman
Darren is a professional lawyer and amateur movie/comic/TV reviewer who is lucky enough to have found a wife who is into the same geeky things he is. Darren has been making the trip from Ohio to San Diego Comic-Con since 2009. Other interests include, in no particular order: monkeys, LEGO, dinosaurs, and playing basketball poorly.

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