Speed Racer GN (Seven Seas)

If she’s still waving the checkered flag, how fast did Speed get out of his car…which is still blocking other drivers?

Speed Racer

Seven Seas Entertainment (2007)

WRITER: Dwayne Alexander Smith
ARTIST: Elmer Damaso
TONING: Ludwig Sacramento
GRAPHIC DESIGN/LETTERER: Jon Zamar
COVER DESIGN: Nicky LIm
COPY EDITOR: J. W. Coffey
ASSISTANT EDITOR: Adam Arnold
EDITOR: Jason DeAngelis

While still done in a “manga” style (except for one reaction panel that looks right out of a Gorillaz music video), this is an American original story, featuring the Speed Racer crew. I will tell you right now that this was more enjoyable than the last American Speed Racer comic I reviewed, the Chronicles Of The Racer miniseries. This is Japanese style right down to the unnecessary chapters. The story focuses on Speed as he races in the Triple Threat 900, a three-day race of 300 miles each day. One racer, Adam Matic, is tired of losing to Speed and his anger gets the better of him when an attempt to sabotage the Mach V backfires and Adam is killed. His father, Otto (think about it and groan), builds an android based on his son, dubbed Adam 2. And here’s where the theme of “how much of racing is praised to the machine and how much to the driver” comes into play.

The other racers aren’t happy about racing a robot until Racer X makes a speech about beating a robot. Before the race, Adam 2 recovers part of the memories of the original and decides Speed Racer must die. His attempt causes both the robot and the Mach V to be trashed. Pops and Sparky build a new car, the Mach 6, but will be enough to stop the crazed robot?

There was an article I wanted to write this week before the Crohn’s flare-up about the “nostalgia” remakes running around nowadays in media, mostly in movie form. I still plan to write that but this is a great example of doing it right. The characters are all updated but retain the important parts of their classic selves. Spridle and Chim-Chim may have come off better because they’re not as annoying but still retain their important characteristics. The retelling of Racer X’s origin works very well. The Mach V is only mildly tweaked and it’s would-be replacement feels like a proper upgrade for 2007, and yet our classic car isn’t tossed out for the new blood unlike some other remakes that attempt to look better by replacing the classic look with new blood right on-screen. (I’m looking at you SyFy’s The Phantom!) The black-and-white artwork is beautiful, showing that the lack of color doesn’t hurt a comic with the right art team. And even the story is really good and made this book hard to put down.

If I were to lodge a minor complaint, is that the whole thing with the chop shop, possibly used for Otto’s character development, wasn’t needed since the Mach V wasn’t ready to race Adam 2 when he steals the 6 as it was. Just make that enough of a challenge without coming up with unnecessarily added drama to give Inspector Detector some panel time. Also, dropping Prince Kabala into Racer X’s origin was for the fans and didn’t detract as much, but it’s just fanservice and another distraction.

Overall, this is a great story for fans of Speed Racer, coming out during the movie. This link isn’t just for the Amazon stipend, where it’s a ridiculously low price as of this writing (a penny plus shipping? And Chronicles Of The Racer goes for how much>). You really need to check this one out. It’s not only a good Speed Racer tale but a good example how to update right and respect the original.

About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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