Backtrack returns in the second volume of this full-throttle action series. Written by Brian Joines, the story follows a group of professional drivers from all walks of life. Each has been offered the chance to right their life’s greatest mistake. All they have to do is enter a race and be the first to cross the finish line of the final leg. Of course, there’s a catch. The drivers find themselves racing through time and fighting for their very survival with each subsequent leg of the course. There have also been hints that there is more going on than meets the eye, but the drivers have been too preoccupied with avoiding gladiators, earthquakes, and dinosaurs to do much investigating.
At the end of Volume 1, the drivers decided they needed to work together if any of them were to survive to the final leg of the race. As Backtrack Volume 2 begins, we see that some of the surviving drivers have taken this to heart, while others are still only out for themselves. After focusing mostly on Alyson during the first story arc, Joines widens the scope and gives readers more insight into the other racers’ pasts. I personally enjoyed this character development. It’s an addition that was largely missing from the first arc in the series. Use of flashbacks to break up the action scenes really helped to give the racing sequences more of a punch. Joines also uses these flashbacks to reveal further details of the motivations that lie at the heart of the each driver and the mysteries of the race itself.
Artist Jake Elphick does a great job of drawing the characters when they are shown in close-ups. He expertly conveys the emotions the characters are feeling in any given panel. I wasn’t as impressed with his skills when a panel is drawn from a wider angle. Some of the nuance is lost and it can be hard to tell the characters apart from one another. This is puzzling as Elphick draws the races at an appropriate scale, using combinations of wide and close-up panels to help readers follow the drivers’ progress along the course. The cars and their relative positions remain clear throughout the races, though at times it is tough to tell which driver is speaking or which car they are driving. Luckily, the settings of each race are extravagantly drawn, so even when a reader can’t tell exactly which driver is in peril or in the lead, there’s always other cool imagery they can take in.
While the first volume of Backtrack mainly focused on action and setting up the series, the story arc collected in this second volume feels much more flushed out. Readers are treated to the same high-octane action while also enjoying solid character development. The artwork hits a lot of high points though sometimes clarity becomes an issue. I recommend memorizing the type and color of car each character is driving. This would be unnecessary if things were drawn with greater detail in panels with wider perspectives. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. The second volume of Backtrack, published by Oni-Lion Forge, is out now and available for purchase. Pick up your copy today to see the thrilling conclusion to the series and find out which of the drivers ends up winning the race.
Story and Created: Brian Joines Art: Jake Elphick
Color: Doug Garbark Letterer: Jim Campbell
Story: 9.0 Art: 6.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review