Backtrack Vol. 1 by Brian Joines
Pub Date 17 Nov 2020
A former criminal driver is given the chance at redemption by entering a car race but there’s just one catch: each leg covers a different period in history.
If you had a chance to fix a mistake from your past, would you take it? Alyson Levy would.
Guilt weighs heavy on former criminal “wheelman,” Alyson, who led an illicit life that left hers shattered. Enter Casper Quellex, an eccentric businessman who offers her the break of a lifetime: a massive cross-country car race that grants the winner an opportunity to correct a single mistake in their life. But here’s the catch — each leg covers a different period in history. As if keeping the cars on the often-questionable (sometimes nonexistent) roads and staying ahead of competition wasn’t enough, the drivers will now have to contend with medieval warriors, dinosaurs, and natural disasters…it’s all a possibility. Only the one who survives it all will be proven the winner, and like that, Alyson and the rest of the drivers find themselves in a gut-wrenching race through time and quickly learn that they must band together to form any chance for survival. But for an opportunity to turn back time, Alyson will drive from the Big Bang to the death knell of the universe.
Basically, this is Sliders meets Fast and Furious. If that sounds like your jam, then this comic won’t disappoint. The artwork is sumptuous, thickly inked and richly coloured it rides the line between gaudy and gorgeous. It is a beautiful book to look at. Much like a Fast Universe movie, the cast of characters includes criminals and corrupt cops. However, the competitors also include a spoiled heiress and her driver, the son of a Nascar driver, and, other assorted misfits that almost veers into Wacky Racers territory.
The action, for the most part, is riveting and well-illustrated. Certain sequences don’t work though, and I sort of think that this story would have been better served if it was either in live-action and animated. Securing the budget that would be needed to do justice to a time-travelling racing story that features dinosaurs might be why they decided to go the comic route. The characters are just well developed enough to where you are invested in their survival. Casper Quellex is a camp, devious, scenery-chewing villain that is a lot of fun to route against.
On the whole, this book is entertaining. I felt it lost steam towards the end, and the final chapters had me rolling my eyes with the silliness what was on-page. It might say more about me that I had a bigger problem suspending my disbelief with the protagonists escaping from kidnappers than I did with them outrunning a T-Rex. I also felt that the creators used most of their best ideas early on. Not sure if the concept has enough going for it to sustain an ongoing series. There are some great set-pieces and engaging character moments that are best enjoyed with your brain switched off.
I am not a fan of Micahel Bay films or The Fast & Furious movies it is not normally a comic I would seek out but I had a nice enough while I was reading it.