TRUCKUS MAXIMUS by Scott Peterson


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 12 - 18
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In a near-futuristic Roman Empire, scores of subjugated drivers compete and survive in a cruel, destructive game known as Truckus Maximus.

Overseen by the Dominus, an omnipresent gamemaster that bends and twists the rules in an instant, the game dangles the promise of freedom to whichever driver can win 100 races and achieve the coveted rank of Centurion. Enter Axl, lead driver of Team Apollo, who’s racking up win after win in an impressive feat of ambition. When Axl recruits a headstrong young driver named Piston, it seems as if he’s courting disaster. The girl’s impressive string of damaging losses hurtles her toward the bottom of the rankings despite Axl’s training efforts. Piston’s unorthodox driving style, however, soon proves advantageous. Axl, meanwhile, scores his 99th win. As his final race approaches, the honor-bound hero must contend with the attention of the whole Roman Empire, including the malevolent Caesar. Thanks to the incisive probing of the crushing power of spectacle via a focus on the game and its toll on the drivers, the story evokes oppressive regimes. The gritty artwork overflows with frenetic action, using colors that evoke a dystopian world. Ample use of close-ups, irregular panel layouts, and other techniques sharpen the story’s emotional resonance and stakes. Diversity in the multiethnic cast presents mainly via skin color; Axl has brown skin and hair, and Piston is light-skinned and blonde.

A truly marvelous tribute to underdogs. (Graphic fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 15th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-59643-814-9
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: First Second
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2019