Review: Suicide Layne #1

How much do you love that title? I know I do. It’s about 50% of why I checked this series out to begin with; the rest of it was motivated by that sic ass cover. Damn that’s awesome. With so much awesome going on with just the cover I couldn’t wait to dive into this issue. The story follows Layne Ramirez a professional dirt bike racer and basically the best there currently is. The story opens with her leading the pack in a race while she narrates what’s going on in her mind. It’s great because the narration is calm while the visuals are intense. If it were a tv show (in development) there probably wouldn’t be any sound as we just listened to Layne’s voice. One thing that her mind always goes to while riding is her father and the day that he was taken from her; this is her “Batman” moment as this tragedy defines the path her life takes. After we learn about this event we head back to the race where another racer isn’t just trying to beat her, he’s trying to take her out of the competition. Layne pulls some crazy shit and ends up making the other bike crash; for some reason his bike explodes and Layne continues the race without a DQ because he initiated the encounter and the rest is an easy win for her.

suicidelaynecoverAfter her victory the other racers grumble in the locker room until they’re kicked out for Layne to come in and use the only locker room at the place. She heads to the shower, but something is off as she doesn’t really appear to be getting ready to scrub. The racer that she wrecked is there to attack her, but this time he’s got a knife and is looking to end her for good. Layne gives him a warning and says that there won’t be another. The dude doesn’t heed the warning and Layne drops him fast with a head butt and a kick that would surely have MMA fans demanding their money back. The next part of the story is spent establishing the other side of her life, the masked biker that’s seeking vengeance for her father’s death and the team that supports her on that mission.

This is like Batman meets Days of Thunder and something else I couldn’t quite place my finger on. Layne has a pit team of mechanics and a manager, but they’re all more involved in her double life than her racing life. This issue is unfortunately an origin issue. Not a lot happens other than establishing the world, but it’s entertaining so it’s not all bad. I almost wish that this entire first issue was just spent establishing her race career and the loss of her father. It works, but again it follows into typical origin mode where it’s mostly exposition. It also seems like Layne’s character is going to follow the hero’s journey for the most part, she’ll get close to her goal and then fall hard and have to fight her way back up and win in the end. Hopefully it’s interesting along the way and I like that plot has left room for the story to be bigger than just a vigilante seeking revenge.

The art really won me over. Tony Shasteen’s photorealistic artwork is hard not to enjoy. That’s his cover, but the interior art isn’t exactly the same. The cover is more stylized and exaggerated, but the interior is soaked in realism. There’s a ton of details on the page and it brings the world to life. The action and racing are also very strong and that’s not always something that’s easy to do in comics. In general both the action and racing were easy to follow and added a lot of exciting visuals to the story. I don’t know why the bike blew up but it was cool looking even if it was unnecessary.

I’d like to see how this story turns out and I think it’s going to be interesting. The issue ends with a bit of a cliffhanger as Layne receives new info and makes the plot bigger than you’d imagine and that’s cool. It’s an entertaining issue with plenty of action and a female character that can handle her own no matter what she’s faced with. I liked how strong and kick-ass she was and I think you will too.

Score: 4/5

Creator: Alexa Vega Writer: Chris “Doc” Wyatt Artist: Tony Shasteen Publisher: Kickstart Comics Price: $.99 Digital Only Release Date: 11/6/13