Diego Zhao is Rush

RUSH CITY Issues #1,2,3 and 4

Rush City DC Comics Solstice

"This thing goes faster, right?"

Issues #1,2,3 and 4
DC COMICS 2006 -2007

Written by Chuck Dixon
Artwork by Timothy Green II
Inks by Rick Magyar
Colors by Jose Villarrubia
Financing by Pontiac

Pontiac is financing this series to advertise their new Solstice automobile.


The city where Rush lives

On page three in issue number one of Rush City, Rush pulls up on a city street corner ("21 Jump St., the sign says) to meet a client who is hiring him to locate her missing daughter. Strewn across the sidewalk is the detritus of urban living: scraps of paper, wads of gum, spoons, abandoned knives, guns(!)... Looming over the scene is a huge electric pole, the wires from it looping so low it is an invitation to a garroting. In the panel a semi-truck pulling up beside Rush's convertible is about to rip through the pretty wires.

Pontiac Solstice Rush City Comics

Diego Zhao is "Rush," and he is a dedicated finder of missing persons, in the mold of a thousand other hard-bitten and street-wise private investigators from American crime novels. The difference is that he is constantly behind the wheel of a fast car (his "office") and he never runs into traffic gridlock (he is apparently in New York City, where there isn't much traffic).

Pontiac Solstice convertible sports car

[Below] The Pontiac Solstice. The black paint scheme is called "Mysterious." You get a choice of nine colors altogether at the Pontiac web site (online here).Pontiac Solstice mysterious

Rush is so tough (unless he is flash-backing to his sad origin story in which a child died), that as he is chasing "gearhead" (a villain) through the streets of issue #3, he pays no attention (nor does Black Canary, who is along for the ride) to the pedestrians that go flying into the air from the impact of Gearhead's car. It's almost as if Rush only cares for his goal of nabbing the missing person Gearhead has captured, never mind the nuisance of collateral damage.

I thought Black Canary was in the Justice League?

Why doesn't Black Canary notice the body count accumulating from the hit and runs happening before her eyes (she's a Justice League member, right?) No, the two glibly keep chatting. What's a little blood on the street? (But none on the car, the expertly drawn Pontiac Solstice convertible).

Even with the rough combat in the street, the car tends to return to prestine shape without explanation. In some panels Rush's convertible has a shattered, spider-web cracked windshield, panels later, there's no crack.

Rush City Diego Zhao

Maybe a new windshield slides up and down as needed, like the "busbar" that pops out from beneath the car to get "juice" from the third rail when Rush drives on subway tracks. It is an engineering marvel, it is also odd that Rush can drive a car at a high rate of speed through an underground subway station without becoming an instantaneous mass-murderer.

Pontiac Solstice 2-page spread

Issue #4 starts off with a garbage truck chasing Rush and his car off a ferry. Rush eludes the vehicle by stopping at the end of a pier, promptly followed by the garbage truck which not only misses him but also lacks brakes, hurling off the edge of the pier into the water. Rush drives off. Goodbye drowning dead people! Rush is constantly talking on his cell phone, but he never calls for help when dead or wounded citizens are left in his wake.

The visual continuity in these stories doesn't always make sense. There are backgrounds at times, but too often the figures float around in an existential void where the only indication of a physical world around them are Jack Kirby 'speed" lines. What backgrounds there are change so quickly from panel to panel there isn't much chance for orientation. For example, the trash truck chase starts on one kind of pier, that quickly concludes on a pier that looks completely different. How did the vehicles go from one pier to the other? Is the car also equipped with a matter transporter?

The thin, anorexic women in these stories always have their long hair blowing about like a spilled bowl of spaghetti noodles caught in a gale. All that flying hair makes sense when riding in Rush's car (he always drives fast with the top down - - no rain in this city) but seems a little odd when (for example) Black Canary is standing and chatting inside a movie theater and her hair is whipping around like snakes in a wind tunnel.

I appreciate the pure pulp nonsense of these tales when writer Chuck Dixon has a few pages together which actually contain threads of a plot. I'm ready to believe there is a character named Diego Zhao who has his office in his car and he finds missing/kidnapped people, that he is haunted by a past disaster that cost a kid her life. It's not particularly unique but I don't know why something more coherent and thought-out can't be done with it than what has been done so far in these four issues of "Rush City."

Updated Link: This from the online newspaper Arizona Republic:

"A young, handsome New York City firefighter had it all, including a loving fiancee whose daughter from a previous relationship adored him and his Pontiac Solstice GXP.

Then, tragedy struck and he lost his job and the two people he cared most about to a deadly fire - but he still had his car. So, he became an action hero and tricked out his Solstice with shotguns and other gadgets to save the lives of others.

If this sounds like a story ripped from the comics, it is. However, Time Warner's DC Comics created this series as a paid product placement for General Motors Corp's Pontiac brand. DC, which will launch the six-issue series called Rush City in stores July 19, has already posted it to its Web site, www.dccomics.com.

"We think it's a great story and a great way for Pontiac to reach guys in their 20s and 30s," said Rush City editor Ron Perazza."

There is a Wikipedia entry on the series, too. Also on the car 'Rush' drives, the Pontiac Solstice.

DC Comics still has the promotional web site at http://www.rushcitycomic.com/ [No longer functioning as of 2012] with issue #0 online to view.

Original Page January 2007 | Updated March 2016