Speed Racer #21
NOW Comics (June, 1989)
“Chapter One: Here He Comes”
WRITER: Nat Gertler
PENCILER: Mike Ebert
INKER: David Mowry
COLORISTS: Suzanne Dechnik & Jorge Pacheco
EDITOR: Katherine Llewellyn
(no letterer listed)
Trying to escape the crowds at an event for racers, Racer X accepts the invitation to have his fortune told. Instead he’s shown Speed’s future. After a devastating blow to his racing career, Speed overcomes alcohol and marries Trixie just before a big race. However, people in this race are meeting with murder attempts, including Trixie being shot by a bullet meant for Speed. Worried that the race may be under the limit of racers needed, an old friend of Pops comes out of retirement, while a grown Spridel attempts to get into racing, even if he has to join a different team.
What they got right: A story about Speed’s future is actually a decent idea. There’s a fun nod to Spridel and Chim-Chim climbing into the back of the Mach-5…sorry, Mach 9 as this is a new car. The story itself is an interesting mystery for Speed and Racer X to look into, and the framing device allows the story to be told in the current version of the characters.
What they got wrong: I’m not sure why Mom had to be dead in this story but I know Speed didn’t need to have an accident, hit rock bottom, and then recover in a story we don’t get to see. Unless they’re using that to explain why Speed is staying in the race instead of with his comatose new bride (not wanting to fall back into the quagmire, so to speed) it seems like an unnecessary addition to this story. Speed could just be staying in with the hopes of catching the killer. That wouldn’t be out of character for him. Also, I thought in the NOW version Rex stayed masked as part of his crimefighting gig, not because of racing like his show version.
What did I think overall: A decent start but we’ll see how it ends…if I ever get that issue.