Following volume 1’s major cliffhanger, Motor Crush Vol. 2 throws Domino and readers into a loop – a time loop that is. Roughly two years after her confrontation with the mysterious rider, Domino finds herself back in Nova Honda but not as she remembers it. As a matter of fact, everything in her life is different: her family’s bike shop is gone, her father is missing, Cannonball is no longer running, etc. Domino finds herself with no one and nowhere to turn to. The stakes grow even higher for Domino as the story continues in Motor Crush Vol. 2!
The Plot Continues In Motor Crush Vol. 2
Domino Swift returns to Nova Honda two years after her encounter with the mysterious rider at the end of volume 1. However, for Domino it does not feel like two years have passed but only a day. The large amount of Crush she took during her face-off with the mysterious rider caused her to run so fast she traveled through time. Now, two years in the future, Domino realizes just how different Nova Honda has become.
Since her disappearance, the city has cracked down on the possession of Crush. Anyone found with even a drop of it faces severe punishment. This places Domino in a predicament as she is dependent on Crush to survive.
In order to restock, Domino looks to reunite with her old team to infiltrate the producers’ secret headquarters to acquire some. However, as she soon finds out, not everyone is the same person she left behind two years ago. Will Domino be able to get her hands on the Crush she needs to live and make up for lost time? Or have the people and life in Nova Honda changed too much for her to even try?
The Art Of Motor Crush Vol. 2
The artwork maintains its high marks in Motor Crush Vol. 2 thanks to creators: Brenden Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr. Now, two years into the future, the art makes sure to illustrate just how different Nova Honda has become. The city resembles a police state as depictions of police officers and their vehicles, surveillance cameras, and the producer’s enforcers roam the streets daily. Despite the story taking place in the same setting, the atmosphere could not be anymore more different.
To match the series’ darker tone, the coloring by Heather Danforth, Victoria Evans, and Ellen Alsop emphasizes how Nova Honda is no longer the same one from volume 1. Where the colors in volume 1 are mixed depending on whether or not Domino rode in the Grand Prix or Cannonball, the colors here stay consistently dark. In volume 1, the city portrayed a futuristic glow with bright colors, contrasting the darkness of the Cannonball scenes. However, now in volume 2, regardless of where the scene takes place, everything has a tinge of ominous colors like red, black, blue, or gray. What stays consistent in both volumes, however, is the use of neon pink as an indicator of something ominous to come.
Action In Motor Crush Vol. 2
Another aspect of Motor Crush that levels up in volume 2 is the action. During volume 1, the action sequences mainly focused on the motorcycle races in the Grand Prix and Cannonball. These races were adrenaline inducing, but when set side-to-side by those in volume 2, it’s like comparing a rollercoaster ride to skydiving. The action varies in Motor Crush Vol. 2 from break-ins to rescue missions. The obstacles Team Domino face are life-threatening.
They are not only confronting human opponents, but also an otherworldly figure capable of disintegrating an individual with ease. Also, wherein volume 1 Domino was mainly the one genuinely susceptible to harm, volume 2 shows that no one is safe. In this volume, the obstacles are not just the mysterious rider and the producers, but the entire city of Nova Honda itself. There are eyes everywhere in the city, and if the crew is not careful, someone can get hurt. It is this type of suspenseful “will-they-or-won’t-survive” action that keeps readers glued to the page.
Relationships Strain In Motor Crush Vol. 2
Motor Crush Vol. 2 continues to test relationships. While the relationships in volume 1 were complex, volume 2 amps up the tension with new obstacles. The two most prominent relationships in volume 1 were Domino’s relationships with her father and her ex-girlfriend/mechanic, Lola. Unsurprisingly, Domino going missing for two years negatively affects both people.
In volume 1, in order to free Lola from her debts to the producers, Domino bet her father’s shop as well as their freedom if she lost the Grand Prix. Since she disappeared before the race, the producers came to collect and took over her family’s shop as well as put Lola and Domino’s father in their service. When Domino returns, she learns all this and sees just how much the experience has affected the two people she cares for the most.
Believing Domino died, her father becomes one of the producer’s enforcers, which leads him to heavily injure gang members involved with Crush. (Some of these people were Domino’s friends during her Cannonball days.) He becomes a merciless individual who sees all gang members as trash and considers them partly responsible for her “death”.
In Lola’s case, Domino’s disappearance hurts her so much that she becomes depressed. However, she meets a new woman named Beatriz who helps her through this emotional time. The two eventually begin a relationship and move in together. The revelation shocks Domino, as it feels like only yesterday she and Lola were close to reconciling their relationship.
Storytelling Stumbles In Motor Crush Vol. 2 (Spoilers Ahead!)
Perhaps the only aspect of Motor Crush which suffered in volume 2 was its storytelling method. A previously praised trait of the series, the once suspenseful storytelling now feels like it is rushing toward the finish line (no pun intended). While volume 2 began with a flashback of Domino’s childhood (answering questions from volume 1), nearing the end of the volume, the story stumbles.
Volume 1 knew exactly how much information to give readers in order to reel them in and entice them to continue. It also set up dilemmas but did not solve them quickly. Unfortunately, Motor Crush Vol. 2 fails to recapture that spark as it introduces new characters and elements that should have more development.
Failing To Develop New Characters
An example of volume 2 failing to properly build up new characters is through its introduction of a woman named Julianne. Apparently, Domino and her father knew her in their past. She was Domino’s mother figure and her father’s love interest. It turns out Julianne is the source of the Crush infesting the streets of Nova Honda. She originally made it to help Domino as a child, but the producers kidnapped her and forced her to produce it for them instead.
Julianne’s character arc is badly paced. What could have been a tragic story gets tossed at readers so fast that we have no time to grow genuine feelings for her plight. Motor Crush Vol. 2 fails to “show, not tell” this story. It brings up dilemmas revolving around her character but does not explain to them before her arc ends. An example of this would be how in the past, there are moments where Julianne’s contact with the Crush’s aura affects her mind. However, the story does not explain why the Crush does this. Instead, we meet Julianne again in the current timeline already changed thanks to the substance.
Overall, Julianne was so mismanaged that she amounted to be more exposition than character. Her disappearance’s impact on Domino and her father hardly receives any focus. There is no previous mention or hinting of this character at all. She comes out of nowhere. Instead of building her dynamic with Domino and her father, the story essentially chooses to tell instead of showing her impact on them.
Too Many Stories Happening At Once
Another issue that muddles the story is that there are too many events happening at one time during this volume. If Domino is not trying to break-in to the producers’ hideout for Crush, she is trying to win Lola back. If she is not doing that, she is trying to help a friend win the Grand Prix. While volume 1 had multiple focuses as well (Domino training for the Grand Prix and racing in Cannonball for Crush), it at least balanced the storylines. At the bare minimum, the atmosphere for each plotline has developed properly.
Here, Motor Crush Vol. 2 suffers from a bad case of whiplash (again, no pun intended). It does not know whether it wants to be a dark story focusing on a city devolved into a police state, or a story of friends supporting each other during big races. Volume 1 built up its different elements: it introduced Nova Honda as a beautiful city, but then showed its criminal underbelly. Whenever the story shifted, the transition was smooth. However, Motor Crush Vol. 2 feels like it is trying to juggle too many plot threads at once which muddles everything together.
Wrapping Up Dilemmas Quickly
The final issue with Motor Crush Vol. 2 is how it solves problems introduced in the volume too quickly. Where volume 1 built up dilemmas but did not solve them immediately, here in volume 2 it feels that the story is trying to introduce and solve as many problems as it can before it wraps up (almost as if the creators were not guaranteed another volume).
An example of this is with the evolution of Domino and Lola’s relationship. Volume 1 showed readers how dysfunctional their relationship is. While it is clear they care for one another, there are just too many trust issues between them that need solving. Volume 2 adds more strain by introducing Beatriz, Lola’s new girlfriend. This volume shows Lola’s insistence on wanting to create a life with Beatriz and staying out of Domino’s mess. However, it also displays how she still harbors feelings for Domino by how jealous she gets when she sees Domino with a man.
While there is nothing wrong with relationship tension, setting up a dilemma throughout multiple volumes only for said issues to resolve quickly is another story. Volume 1 made clear that Lola and Domino’s relationship needed work. Even though they loved each other, they both had problems that needed fixing before their relationship could continue. With Beatriz now in the mix, the problems only multiplied. However, volume 2 tosses all those concerns to the wind as it resolves Domino and Lola’s relationship in the most cliche way possible.
At the last minute, Lola decides to get back with Domino, leaving Beatriz (who seems to be unrealistically okay with this). So, essentially, despite issues showing how dysfunctional their relationship is, the two just get back together without resolving anything.
Final Thoughts On Motor Crush Vol. 2
While it initially begins with an interesting concept, this volume attempts to take on too many plot threads, which muddles the volume’s full potential. Motor Crush Vol. 2 could have dedicated themselves to establishing the mood for the new Nova Honda, focusing on Domino growing accustomed to life two years after her disappearance. Instead, it chooses to condense as much exposition as possible.
Nevertheless, despite issues with the storytelling method, Motor Crush Vol. 2 still manages to provide readers with an interesting read. The volume’s beautiful art, heart-pumping action, and complex relationships are on par with those presented in volume 1. Overall, Motor Crush Vol. 2 may provide readers with a bumpy ride, but it is a fun ride nonetheless.