25th Jun2018

‘Tank Girl All-Stars #1′ Review (Titan Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Alan Martin | Art by Various | Published by Titan Comics

Tank_Girl_All_Stars_1_Cover-A

So, Tank Girl is 30 years old this year. How the hell did that happen? Seems like only yesterday I was at university and I had to pretend to every girl I was trying to pick up that I was a big Tank Girl fan. All the cool girls wore Tank Girl t-shirts, or had a book or poster, and she became something of a hero to the feisty teen girls about town. In the death throes of Thatcherism in the UK she was also allowed aboard the anti-establishment train, so her pop culture credentials were well and truly accepted. But, hey, we all grow up eventually so how has Tank Girl kept herself relevant in pop culture all these years? Oh, and rather like Ryan Reynolds in Deadpool 2, I have erased Tank Girl the movie from the timeline, so that 1995 misstep never happened. Coolness post 1995, restored.

At the book’s core is rebellion. Tank Girl was the ultimate rebel. Rather like Marlon Brando in The Wild Ones, when he was asked what he was rebelling against, and he replied ‘What have you got?’, Tank Girl always did her own thing, her own way. Sure, there were ongoing storylines about doing missions for some group or other, but at the heart of the book was the fact she drove a tank, was sleeping with a kangaroo, and had never met a substance she wasn’t happy to abuse. Not a role model per se, but someone you could applaud for doing their own thing. Still, 30 years is mightily impressive, as is the fact most of the creators who have worked on her stories down the years keep on coming back to her. Chief of those of course is co-creator Alan Martin.

Alan Martin was the only choice really to write this All Stars book. This four issue series is designed to be a greatest hits type book, bringing back former creators and giving some new ones a shot. Alan Martin is the glue holding it all together, Tank Girl being his baby after all. Of course, being the 30th Anniversary we need something big, and something big is what we get, if you are a long time fan. We get to learn along the way how Tank Girl got her iconic tank. Yep, that’ll do. That major retcon aside, though, we get a mixed bag of stories and pages, of the one joke or several page variety.

We kick off with the slight ‘Salon Tank Girl’ , by Martin and artist Chris Wahl, as Tank Girl struggles to find an outfit that doesn’t smell of something or other, and briefly sports a fetching missiles bra. The morale is don’t drop off at the charity shop all your old stuff as when you get to the party you’ll find everyone else wearing it. Heh.‘ The Easy’ is made up of full page illustrations with text that, to be honest, went a little over my head. Story? Stream of consciousness? not entirely sure. With ‘Time for Tank Girl, Part 1′, by Martin and Brett Parson, we are back on safer ground, with a 10 page tale of mayhem that sees Tank Girl, Jet Girl and Booga encounter some old chemical warfare formula. Don’t take it too seriously, obviously. An amusingly titled 2 page text story ends the issue.

Well, it’s Tank Girl. Irreverent, tongue in cheek, self-knowing, it’s all in there. Is it classic Tank Girl? No, not really. It’s hitting all the right beats, but the rawness is long gone, it’s playing to a formula because the formula works. It’ll please the fans no doubt, but it won’t attract many new readers. The individual stories are so-so, though the package as a whole is nicely varied with text and art, and the cover gallery is excellent, even though a film still seems to have made it past my banishing it from the timeline.

I liked it, but didn’t love it. Or maybe I’m more critical because I’m not getting any action by liking it 30 years later. Who knows?

***3/5

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