"Freeway Fighter #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Titan Comics
Written by Andi Ewington
Illustrated by Simon Coleby
Colored by Len O'Grady
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 17th, 2017
If you're longing for more Mad Max, Freeway Fighter has you covered. Ian Livingstone's line of game books makes the jump to comics with this post-apocalyptic fuel-induced series. We're dropped instantly into this barren landscape where De La Rosa has gone from race car driver to death-mobile scavenger in just two years. An unknown virus obliterated humanity, turning the world into this dystopian wasteland in such a small amount of time. That's about the background you get and it's more than you need.
The creative team does a tremendous job establishing Freeway Fighter and De La Rosa. Most of this debut issue is action as she's fighting for her life against a souped-up dune buggy outfitted with a Gatling gun. Artist Simon Coleby makes this very exciting, on par with blockbuster movies of the past and present. You can practically hear the soundtrack pumping and smell the exhaust as these vehicles go head-to-head.
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There are a number of iconic shots of De La Rosa's car revving forward with spikes on its front like a powerhouse ready to take on the world. It's covered in dings, dents, and scars from previous battles it has won. It may be beat up, but it can hold its own against the best out there. You almost feel sorry for the guy in the dune buggy. Sure, he's got a big gun mounted on the top, but it looks like it's held together by spit and duct tape. He's no match for this monster.
The location is very much a wasteland. There is no one else for miles as these two race at each other, kicking up dust clouds. They are truly alone and they're out for themselves, so survival forces any thought of cooperation out the window. It's a dog-eat-dog world now and everyone has to do what they have to do to get by. If that means running someone off the road and scavenging from their wreckage, so be it.
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This is matched with Len O'Grady's colors, which give Freeway Fighter a barren, washed-out look. You can imagine how everyone must smell from living this way. It's more than just dirt under their fingernails. The entire world has a permanent scuff mark on it. This contrasts nicely with the opening pages showing simpler times with a traditional race where De La Rosa is driving just as intensely. The colors are varied and vibrant as opposed to the drab browns and greys of the present.
While we don't get much information on what caused all this mess, we get even less about De La Rosa herself. As with the virus, it's not all that necessary. You learn enough about the character from her actions and how she carries herself. She's tough and determined. There's a strong bond between her and the car too. She talks to it, willing it to keep going and to hold on. I guess if you had no one else to talk to in this setting you'd do the same thing.
I've never read or played with the original Freeway Fighter books. Fortunately, you don't need to have that background in order to enjoy this series. It drops you right into the action, introducing a terrifying post-apocalyptic world with a strong woman doing what she has to in order to survive. Yes, it's easy to make comparisons to Mad Max, but that's certainly not a bad thing.