If you have been sleeping on the slick/new revamped version of Tank Girl, then the very first thing you are going to notice about The Legend of Tank Girl is that it is gorgeous. This definitely isn’t your mamma’s Tank Girl. “Two Girls, One Tank,” in particular, is HD-ified and, simply put, every panel is precious to behold. Take this frame for example…
It’s almost as if every page, every frame, is so packed with colorful content that it cannot withstand the parameters of its own confinement. Characters burst from their own frame into surrounding frames. Text cannot be held within a single panel. Hot, messy action explodes throughout multiple frames, jumping out of its page, pulling you straight into a Looney Tunes-esque parade of grit. To read The Legend of Tank Girl is to bring your starving eyeballs to an all-you-can-eat buffet and not leave until they are properly gorged to satisfaction.
Brett Parson is the artist on these books and has been professionally drawing Tank Girl since about 2015. He is good at it. Maintaining the style and “charm” of the original, Parson continues this tradition of bullet mayhem for a brave, new world. Interestingly, he does pump the brakes on the ultra-violence and nudity. In fact, you might say he puts the pedal to the metal and careens head first into wildness of it all. If you were to put a *TRIGGER WARNING* on the front cover, it might say, “This book contains many triggers, and all of those triggers belong to bazookas.”
Alan C. Martin is the writer on the book. He is British and Tank Girl is Australian. So, get ready for characters to say lines like, “...my f@cking tank’s been nicked.” Or, “Don’t worry, booby. We’ll get you another tank.” If you find this kind of dialect charming, then you will be filled to the brim with the charm of Martin’s script. If not, maybe give it a chance anyways? I did not know I liked this kind of regionally accurate jargon until about page 14.
What the Monty-freaking-Python is that, indeed.
Now, onto matters of timeliness, 2018 has ushered in a particular aesthetic that tends to weed out certain materials that are rigidly deemed tone-deaf. Tank Girl, though it features a strong female protagonist, is written and drawn by men. It is violent and sexually explicit. The humor is often from the backwoods nature of our swashbuckling main characters. It’s important to ask the question, does Tank Girl fit with our modern sensitivities? Does Tank Girl belong in 2018?
If I am being brutally honest, Tank Girl has not changed all that much from the '90s. This modern revamp has mostly upgraded the look and style of Tank Girl, without really focusing on updating the content. It almost makes me wonder if Tank Girl can be tailored to a post #metoo movement generation. What would the series be like if they had to make jokes where the punchline wasn’t just, “Boobs are funny?” Then again, what would the world be like without this frame?
Yes, this particular frame does exemplify everything we miss about the '90s. It is my humble opinion we need humor like this. But, also, maybe jokes like these could use a punch up?
That being said, this kind of romp might be just what you’re looking for, as The Legend of Tank Girl never apologizes for what it is. At heart, Tank Girl is loud, proud, and full of nuclear mushroom clouds. It spits in the face of conformity and gives a big middle finger to gentleness. It’s dangerous fun. This collected edition is beautiful and, for all of its rough edges, maintains the continuity, for better or worse, that the character always exemplified.
Creative Team: Alan C. Martin (writer), Brett Parson (art)
Publisher: Titan Comics
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