By Sam King
World of Tanks: Citadel #2 picks up at the start of the Battle of Kursk. The tank fight is about to kick up and this should basically be what most World of Tank fans have really come here for.
For me, this one started off pretty good, got slightly confusing, then improved towards the end of the issue. The previous issue was more character and squad based. This one turned into combat and tank matchup focuses. The panels shift priority from one side to another very rapidly, so you need to know which tank and military insignia belong to which army. I had a harder time picking apart the people specifically by name at this point. This was simply because I was trying to maintain an appropriate pace for the action, which leaves very little time to reference back and see who is who. I found tank filled panels easier to follow than people-filled, unless distinct names were dropped that I managed to remember from last time. The tanks are obvious in difference and are easy to remember. Even if someone was not familiar with the tanks previously, it is visually easy to tell each side apart based on which tank is shown. The people in uniform are definitely not as memorable, apart from Ginger and the Soviet in charge, since they were featured most of that group. Plus, Ginger was the only military involved girl. The uniform cues are easy, since the Soviets in the Matilda have head-covering helmets. The Germans have headsets or a cap with less coverage.
One of the most fun things about this issue was the tank tactics that each side was trying to rapidly employ. I’m most excited to see how the strategies set up at the end of this issue will play out in the next one. While it was fun, I feel like it would be most exciting and smoothly played out in a video game format. Although still enjoyable to read about and intriguing, the medium does not lend as easily to real-time battle during a first read through. The jumps from army to army or from field view to tank interior view can feel a bit jarring and clunky sometimes. A second read through feels smoother since a knowledge of the overall action is better known and more enjoyment of the story, art, and panel movements can be further appreciated.
The last issue was very focused on the human element of the story. We got to see the interactions between a Soviet squad and their frustration with the tanks they are being supplied. We also got to see some German youth and their nerves about the upcoming battle, as well as how they spend their nights beforehand. There is much less of that going on this time, because we are now in the midst of battle. People get lost in the action, and it feels like we are expected to as well. While there is still a bit of character development going on, it seems largely unimportant in the greater scheme of what is happening, apart from the impact it may have on the squad’s ability to operate the tank. The Soviet gunners are fighting inside the tank, but the German youth end up arguing with another German tank operator about the tactic they are choosing to use. These scenarios show that human-based drama does not just disappear, even if a battle is waging. Military hierarchies are still in place, your buddy might still make personal cracks at you, and adrenaline pushing all the tension will be at a high.
The art is still enjoyable and the tanks still look great, as well as distinct. It is very easy to tell which tank is which and who goes with which one, whether you like tanks or not. They also appear very heavy, which helps to ground some of the action and intensity of the events playing out.
Overall, this is a good issue. I don’t think it is the most amazing read of the last couple weeks, but it is enjoyable. World of Tank fans should like that we are getting into actual tank battles and the human element, while toned down, is still present for those just wanting a good story with all the needed pieces. This one did take me a secondary reading for full enjoyment and to catch onto a few more details, to fully grasp everything going on. I hope the next one is better. I want more tanks and to see how the tactical setups at the end of this issue turn out in the next.
World of Tanks: Citadel #2