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Cars: The Rookie #2

Posted: Monday, May 18, 2009
By: David Wallace

Alan J. Porter
Albert Carreres, Emily Kanalz (c)
BOOM! Studios
EDITOR's NOTE: Cars: The Rookie #2 will be available in stores Wednesday May 20.

”Big Break”

Despite the first issue of Cars: The Rookie being aimed at a young audience, I still enjoyed the book thanks to some fun touches in Alan J. Porter’s script and the bold, vibrant artwork of Albert Carreres. This second issue continues in very much the same vein, possessing the same strengths as that debut issue but also the same weaknesses.

As with the first issue, the story being told is very straightforward, with Mack narrating the tale of how “Lightning” McQueen first managed to find a team who would back him to enter the Piston Cup. Aside from the flashback framing sequence it’s told in a very linear fashion, following the fortunes of Lightning as he shops around various race teams in an attempt to convince them to back him--which doesn’t make for the most compelling story.

What’s more, the plot never feels as though it’s propelled by his actions, with McQueen eventually finding a sponsor through sheer luck, rather than on his own merits as a racer. Having said that, we do see McQueen begin to catch the eye of his peers towards the end of the story, suggesting that his personal qualities will become more important in driving the plot next issue.

Also, I again couldn’t help but feel that the flashback structure and prequel nature of the book is a little restrictive, preventing Lightning McQueen’s character from ever developing beyond the characterisation that we saw at the start of the Cars movie. There also fewer scenes of racing here than in the first issue, making it a slightly less exciting read.

However, the book is punctuated by occasional moments of humor and solid (albeit unchanging) characterization of the self-centered and slightly snobbish McQueen that help to make it a little more interesting to read. Carreres's colurful artwork also elevates the story, feeling faithful to the movie’s character designs but distinctive enough to feel like more than just an imitation.

Again, I found this issue of Cars to be a readable enough comic, even though I didn’t find it to be a particularly exciting one. The storytelling is clear, with accomplished artwork that suits the book well, but it’s still probably a series that’s going to be best suited to fairly young readers and/or fans of the original movie.



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