10th Jul2015

’21st Century Tank Girl #2′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Alan Martin | Art by Jamie Hewlitt, Jim Mahfood, Philip Bond, Brett Parson, Jonathan Edwards, Craig Knowles, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell | Published by Titan Comics

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Not sure if this is an easy review to write, because it is essentially more of the same as last issue, or a hard review to write as I need to try and find original things to say! All the artists (all with previous Tank Girl credentials) are back from last issue, along with the main draw of original creators Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett and, as you would expect, you get exactly what it says on the tin.

Firstly, I have to confess to loving that cover by Brett Parson. Cheeky, sexy, risqué of course, but also showing great composition and a master class in designing an eye catching cover. A bit like the main character herself, it is possibly a ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ cover as well.

Behind the cover, Alan Martin resumes his duties as the writer of the assorted mix of tales , although I see him more as a ringmaster. From what I can see, he keeps the material fresh by allowing each artist a degree of latitude with his scripts, making each story feel stylistically completely separate from the last. As with last issue, when you have such a blend of diverse styles it is a mixed bag. You may like some, and not others. For example, I dislike the cartoony style of Jonathan Edwards in his ‘Journey to the Centre of the Tank’, but I know plenty will love it.

Is variety and taking a chance more important than a ‘house’ style? For a character as anarchic as Tank Girl I would say most definitely yes. With the mix of short stories, pin-ups, one pagers etc you do feel as though you are getting good value for money. The main story, NananGo ’71, is about a routine classic car delivery that goes hopelessly wrong, with the usual mix of over the top violence and sweary dialogue. The psychedelic interlude adds to the madness. ‘Tank Girl Tactics’ is a sort of tribute to features found in old war comics, and ‘Journey to the Centre of the Tank’ is a little jarring by having a cartoony style and cartoon-style Tank Girl, yet still delivering plenty of adult humour and language.

Personally, the novelty of the anarchy and madness wears off for me a little by the end, a little too much slapstick and cheap laughs for my taste. Tank Girl, however, does have a very specific audience it is aimed at, and I am clearly not that audience. If I was, I would certainly appreciate the diversity and variety of material for the money, and the fact the creators do seem to genuinely be having fun by being allowed to cut loose. It will certainly keep its current audience happy with more of the same, but will not really attract many newer converts I would guess, other than Jamie Hewlett completists.

It is what it is, and that’s fine.

** 2/5

21st Century Tank Girl #2 is out now from Titan Comics.

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