REVIEW: 'Speed Republic' #1 by Ryan Lindsay, Emanuele Parascandolo, and Michele Monte



Writer: Ryan Lindsay
Artist: Emanuele Parascandolo, Michele Monte
Letterer: Joamette Gil
Publisher: Mad Cave Studios
Release Date: February 2, 2022
Cover Price: $3.99

In the future, Europe has united under one man, The Autocrat. He rules the apocalyptic landscape from corporate monopolies with a vision of unity that is gospel to some, but hollow to others. To distract the 99% from their poor and empty lives, they are given the opportunity to compete in the Grand Race. A marathon street race through Europe where only one driver can make it to the end and win a life of luxury.
Our hero, Sebastian Valencia, enters with the hope that winning this race can make up for his wasted past, but along the way, he starts to question what kind of future he is actually buying into.

For fans of Cannonball Run meets Mad Max.

★★★1/2 (3.5/5)

'Speed Republic' takes place in a dystopian version of Europe where one man, The Autocrat, rules the land, corporations set the agenda, water is a luxury, and regular citizens struggle to get by. One event galvanizes the public with the distraction of a possible big payday for drivers who participate in the Grand Race, a grueling and dangerous street race across the continent. There can be only one winner so it's winner take all by any means necessary. 

Sebastian Valencia is one of those drivers and the narrator. It's really his story as he tries to make up for abandoning his father when he needed him the most. It's a redemption story as much as it is a wild death race action-adventure. Writer Ryan Lindsay keeps a measured tone in order to allow Sebastian to tell his story and help build the world in which he lives. There are random car crashes as you'd expect in a crowded field of ruthless and desperate participants but it's a rather slow build as the story unfolds. There's still plenty of intrigue and drama that come from acquiring certain objects to gain an advantage in the race to Sebastian's many troubled relationships that pop up in this first issue. 

Emanuele Parascandolo and Michele Monte create this kaleidoscope of color that fills every panel creating a dystopia, unlike anything you've ever seen before. It's vibrant and violent at times with some creatively designed collisions that jump off the page. The comic just looks great. 

'Speed Republic' #1 sets the foundation for the story. The first issue consumes a lot of setup and some random violence that bodes well for the rest of the series as it goes forward. With the world-building out of the way, I expect the following issues will focus more on the race itself and some of the nameless baddies we've only glimpsed so far. It's a commendable balancing act for Lindsay to find the layers of the story instead of just a straight action comic. 'Speed Republic' #1 offers a ton of potential for more behind the wheel action and adventure.