Speed Racer: Chronicles of the Racer #1 (IDW – Kaplan / Musso / Torres / Jensen)
“Mach Go Go Go!” Speed Racer and all of the characters you know and love—from Trixie to Chim-Chim and beyond—is back in all-new adventures! Kicking off a new era of Speed, writer Arie Kaplan (Mad Magazine) and artist Robby Musso (The Transformers) expand the mythos in exciting, new (and old) ways in a story that spans generations of Racers! Artist Alex Garner (Dominatrix) provides a special painted cover, and fellow Transformers artist extraordinaire E.J. Su offers a retail incentive cover, too.
Chronicles of the Racer is the newest vision in the long line of modern comic versions of everyone’s favorite “demon of wheels!”, no doubt with the perfect timing to compliment the new Wachowski Brothers live action movie. The new IDW series takes the history of Speed Racer and sort of turns its on it’s ear. Dating back as far as 3100 BC, there is born a Racer in every generation from a long-line of those who came before him that is given “the inherent superhuman speed and agility to outrun the evils of the world”. During the course of his life, he will need grow in training and discipline to fully understand the powers of the Racer. Thankfully our main character has family and friends that love him and the book chronicling his family heritage to help him out.
Flashbacks have the reader catch Racer stories from ancient Nubia, Rome and WWII. Arie Kaplan’s tweaked story of Speed Racer was enjoyable and out-and-out family friendly, if not a bit melodramatic, cheesy and predictable… but truthfully, we wouldn’t want it any other way :). Kaplan’s vision will be great fun for new reader and yet will keep the old-school fans happy too! The issue is split between two artists, Robby Musso and German Torres. Musso’s art comes off as what you would expect, a very competent manga-ish style… Torres tries to do the same thing, but isn’t up to snuff. The art in the later half of the book is by far the weak link here. Even with that pitfall, I do look forward to the next issue.
Issue Grade: B+