Review: Tank Girl: Girl of the 21st Century #1

I had been looking forward to checking out the latest volume of Tank Girl since I first heard about its impending release a few months back. However, I got to admit that my intrigue had a lot to do with my assumption that the co-creator Jamie Hewlett would be heavily involved in it, having been introduced to his artwork due to his involvement with the musical project Gorillaz. Therefore I was disappointed to see that he had only partnered with Alan Martin on one story this issue. Despite that initial disappointment though, I read the rest of the premiere with the hope that I’d be won over by the tales of an Australian anarchist woman who drives a tank. Unfortunately though, all I seemed to get was a punch in the face time and time again as Martin and company took me through different variations of mindless violence. There’s not much point to me describing the plot of the vignettes within this issue as the plots seem to mostly exists to give Martin’s collaborators new things for Tank Girl to hit, smack talk, and impale. Over the course of the issue, we see Tank Girl… in space (in a ship that is so phallic that it should just be called a penisship), Tank Girl… in WWII, Tank Girl… on reality TV. Each vignette wastes little time in setup and takes us to the climax of every scenario, which is a very Tank Girl thing to do since there’s clearly not much motivation on Martin’s part to explore any deep emotional intricacies here. What’s repeatedly reinforced with each vignette is that Tank Girl does not give a fuck about much but her friends, her tank, and the freedom to fart and drink to her heart’s content, and power to her for it. We could all do with giving less fucks.

21st_Century_Tank_Girl_#1_cover_AWhile I can be ok with a comic that looks to do nothing else but provide some escapism for its readers, I wasn’t wowed by the comic in that regard either. I never found Tank Girl or her friend’s dialogue particularly humorous, and even though the plot of each vignette leaned towards the absurd that didn’t make them any less boring. In fact, my favorite vignette ‘Easy’ contained no dialogue at all and had the most grounded plot with Tank Girl venturing through a war torn urban area to save her friends. Artist Warwick Johnson-Cadwell illustrates Tank Girl at her most badass, single-handedly taking on swaths of people while taking shots. And although it ends with a fart joke, it feels well-deserved. On the other hand, the opening story ‘Space is Ace’ featured tons of exposition and narration that added little to the story, and only got in the way of appreciating Hewlett’s maddening depiction of a mining planet.

I’m glad I checked this issue out to sate my curiousity, and I’ll undoubtedly still make my way around to checking out the original run. However, I think as far as ongoing titles I’m already at my quota when it comes to anarchy. There’s only so much of that I can take in a month, you know.

Score: 2/5

Tank Girl: Girl of the 21st Century #1 Writer: Alan Martin Artist: Various Publisher: Titan Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 6/10/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital