Cars: Rally Race
written by Alan J. Porter and Mark Cooper
illustrated by Allen Gladfelter, Magic Eye Studios and Travis Hill
Lightning McQueen maybe a hot-shot racer, but the life of a racecar is not all about winning. When Lightning meets Timmy, a little car with special needs, he decides to have a rally race to support the Winners Circle Camp, a summer camp where cars like Timmy can have a fun time together. All the racecars are invited to Radiator Springs for the charity event, but Lightning’s long-time rival, Piston Cup champ Chick Hicks, is determined to steal the spotlight for himself, rather than the kids. Can Timmy teach Chick an important lesson about perseverance and celebrating differences?
What could be an annoyingly preachy story about cars with special needs and working together and accepting each other, is redeemed because of the creators’ deliberate incorporation of NASCAR references. The Winners Circle Camp is obviously based on Richard and Lynda Petty’s Victory Junction and many of the cars are representative of actual NASCAR drivers, a nice touch which will be appreciated by parents and children who are NASCAR fans. Luckily, the story also works for those readers who aren’t racing fans, but who just enjoyed the movie Cars. There’s the same quick wit, flashback scenes, trying-your-best attitude, and, of course, the wacky residents of Radiator Springs.
The charity race is in two parts, both road and dirt, so there’s lots of opportunities for action scenes. The art is up to that challenge as the creators make the most of motion lines, sound effects, and placement of elements within panels to heighten the sense of movement and action. The cars are clear and distinct, so it is easy to tell them apart—a good thing since this story is filled with characters. The artists don’t make the mistake of telling too much when a good drawing can say more than words. The only small quibble is that the trailers for other BOOM! Kids comics are not clearly marked as such and so at first seem like an extra chapter of Rally Race. This is confusing when that supposed extra suddenly ends abruptly. But that is a small concern in a well-told story that will be a big draw for fans of the Cars movie.