Written by Danny Djeljosevic, Art by Diana Naneva Final Derby imagines the roller derby of the future as an even more brutal sport than it is today, and totally dominated by men. One woman has become a contender.
Her face stares out at the reader from the first panel. This is the sort of face that flickers between beautiful and plain. Once she’s in motion, the panels flicker between a blur and still, clear moments.
Naneva uses chunks of black and pops of red against muted tans, browns, and grays. The red is like hand prints on the cave wall. The most important red is the woman’s round, brick-red helmet and its bright red stars.
The skaters whirl and fly around the track. In all the speed and danger, time stands still in tiny moments of eye contact, fear, and regret.
The few thoughts and words are strong and bare. They are stacked one on top of each other like stones.
She is hated by the opposing team and the fans in the stands for being a woman.
And when she starts to win, emotions turn darker than normal competitiveness. She is one strong, small thing, flying on her roller skates. They want to destroy her completely.
Is this story making a political statement?
Of course it is.
Final Derby is an allegory. It wears that mantle lightly, because that’s how good it is. But forget allegory. This is flying limbs and speed and death and danger. This is a painting on a cave wall.