Writer: Bryan Lynch
Artist: Nick Roche
People say never judge a book by its cover. But what I’m most surprised by is how much that I didn’t understand regarding this book’s title. I mean, the title is pretty self explanatory: Monster Motors. Yet it still took me by surprise when I realized that the whole comic was about monster versions of cars. It’s one of those concepts that is so silly I could hardly believe someone went and made a whole comic about it. And then they had the audacity to make it pretty dang good.
The basic story is that Vic Frankenstein moves to Transylvania to open up a mechanic shop. It’s a little unclear why he would be working on cars, considering he’s smart enough to invent a robot to help him out (named Igor: Interactive Garage Operations Robot), but he seems more interested in cars. He buys a junk lot from a mysterious person online and ends up setting free Cadillacula, a vampire car which siphons gas through two huge fangs and uses the drained essence of cars to give himself new superpowers. After a swift defeat by Cadillacula, he invents an electric car named Frankenride to fight back against the vampire car. Yeah…it’s pretty bonkers, and I love it.
My favorite part about the writing in this story is the portrayal of Vic Frankenstein. The original Mary Shelley story is about, in part, hubris, but in remakes for some reason, we rarely see the doctor as cocky or arrogant. For the most part he’s just shown as being generically mad, but in this story he’s actually quite funny in a kind of swaggery, douche kind of way and still manages to be just enough of a coward that he’s likable. Brian Lynch has worked on Buffy comics before and seems to have distilled the vampire genre tropes into a whole new breed while using characters that we are all familiar with. There were a couple slip-ups in terms of writing for the comic form; for example, one series of panels that were apparently supposed to show doors opening which is surprisingly a hard thing to do in comics. But for the most part he uses the medium well and manages to tell a very quickly paced and funny story throughout.
Of course it’s not just Brian’s work that shines through, Nick Roche takes some of the car drawing talents that he’s picked up working on Transformers and applies them in a whole new way. In fact that might be why this comic is so fun to read; it feels like two artists who are both working in a familiar wheelhouse but are just cutting loose and having fun with some of the ideas they’ve had in the back of their heads for a while now. The art is fun and animated with some beautifully disproportionate caricatures that explode onto the page. Also, I don’t mention colorists enough but Leonard O’Grady’s work really helps this title walk that line between fake scary and genuinely funny. Maybe it has something to do with them both being from Dublin, but this team knocks it out of the park.
All in all I had a lot of fun with this book, and it comes with a pretty strong recommendation. I think it would be a good all ages title too, for those readers with kids. But you might not want to give it to too young of a child, because there are horror elements. That being said, my criticisms are slight. One, the price is a little steep considering it’s mostly just a silly book. At six dollars you’d be forgiven for wanting to throw your money on something a little cheaper and getting two books instead—although this book is double sized so it’s not exactly a rip off. Also, like I said, it’s funny but I’m not sure that it’s all that engrossing. So if you are into more serious work I don’t know if it’s inventive enough to want to turn you. But if you are a silly goose like me, then I think you will absolutely love Monster Motors.
“Monster Motors One Shot” earns 8 / 10. I’m buying it.
Question for the day: How much does a higher price affect your desire to try a new comic out? Would you try this comic out for double the price if it’s got double the content?