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Advance Review: Motro #1

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By Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas, and Ryan Hill

New series, Motro, is one of those comics that comes along and makes you wonder if you’ve been missing something. It’s the same deal with creator, writer and artist, Ulises Farinas, where you start to wonder if there’s this whole other side to comics that, no matter how in-tune you may be, has slipped under your radar. Sometimes we don’t hear about a creator-owned independent book because the mainstream could easily drown out their voice. But have no fear, because publishers like Image, Dark Horse, Boom!, Top Cow and, in this case, Oni Press find strength in numbers and continually push non-mainstream comics exclusive to the superhero genre to the forefront of our knowledge. Even still, there’s a lot of material out there and with new titles coming out weekly, there is always a possibility that something worth reading could sneak by you.

The good news is, there’s time to catch up, discover and even rediscover. This may very well be the case with Motro #1 from Oni Press. Motro’s origins can be found online, in black and white, which gives it a greater sense of simplicity. Whether online, or in the printed comic, what you get with Motro is an ultra original, highly imaginative and inventive story. Ulises Farinas (Gamma) has created an entire universe formed out of an unparalleled concept that draws you in and holds your attention from the first page.

Together Farinas and co-writer Erick Freitas (Amazing Forest) craft a coming of age story about an orphan boy with a talking motorcycle. It’s also a story of what it means to be a hero and, no matter how heroic your intentions may be, dealing with the consequences of your actions. Saving the day isn’t always easy, and in a world like the one Motro, it’s depicted as though anything is possible, good and bad. On that note, there’s a lot more to this story, that goes well beyond the content. It is a wild ride, and a great use of everything good about comic books.

No matter what your usual tastes may be when it comes to comics, and whether or not you collect mainstream or independent titles, certain creator-owned works are worth taking note of. It’s tough to be a fan of comics without also being a fan of the medium and the storytelling possibilities within it. In this comic, although there’s plenty of story development in the first issue, don’t expect to be fed strategically placed story points and details. The approach here is considered and about keeps you guessing as much as it is about keeping the reader engaged and wondering what will happen next. Motro is violent but fun, simple yet complex, the way it uses contrast as a vehicle for fashioning a world that feels incredibly unique.

Colorist Ryan Hill (Rick and Morty) does an expert job in rendering Farinas’ signature art style without overdoing it or losing the charmingly minimal sensibilities, which comes through in the line work. There are moments where the artwork feels intentionally sparse, giving just enough to show us the scene at its essence. Soft, muted palettes match delicate lines, which when combined make for serious impact. Other times the moment calls for more detail and when that happens it’s practically the opposite end of the spectrum. Cool, subdued colors become intense and brighter when dealing with blood, explosions, or fire. It may be that, in times when the story uses greater detail, the creators intend to depict a part of their world that is overcomplicated and volatile. Lots of small details sure make the occasional explosion that much more spectacular, but it also feels like a symbolic message that this world could do without excess.

Once again, a blend of familiar themes and tropes have been put through a genre-grinder and the results are a finely tuned story with loads of originality. Sometimes a unique approach can morph content into something that feels totally new, while capturing everything you already love about comic books. Motro #1 is a fantastic start to what just might be a series you won’t want to miss.

Motro #1 will be released this Wednesday, November 2nd from Oni Press

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