After spending nearly all their gold, Tank Girl, Booga, and Barney start their quest to find Jet Girl, who is stuck in the past—World War II, to be exact. In order to do this, they enlist the help of a super smart scientist friend. What better way for them to time travel than with magic mushrooms*? Together, the three start their mission and go from their gold-filled life in the present to the middle of warfare in the late ‘30s/early ‘40s. Who knows what kind of madness they’ll get into now?!
Alan Martin created Tank Girl in the ‘80s with Jamie Hewlett, the original artist. The science fiction-based Tank Girl was depicted as an outlaw for her sexual inclinations and substance abuse. None of that stopped her from going on epic missions and adventures with her boyfriend, Booga.
Martin is just as detailed in showing Tank Girl’s personality now as he was when the comic first appeared in Britain. Tank Girl, or Rebecca Buck, is quite an eccentric character. I mean, her first words were “cauliflower penis.” She worked as a bounty hunter in her tank before making a mistake a shooting a heavily decorated officer. She is still prone to sexual promiscuity, violence, flatulence, vomiting, spitting, drunkenness, and more. Either she’s really trashy or she’s the envy of the American Dream, being yourself without worry of judgement instead of fitting into everyone’s definition of what you should be (white picket fence, my ass). And she’s not the only character with a big personality.
Barney is one of my favorite characters in the series. She busted out of a mental hospital, and is a little more vibrant than “normal” people. She’s random at times, like in this issue when she instigates a fight with Tank Girl for no apparent reason other than to get punched in the face. Never do we see her in a bad mood, and she is always ready for another great adventure—or misadventure.
Booga is a mutated kangaroo-human hybrid. He snuck into Tank Girl’s tank one night and it was all downhill from there. He pretty much does whatever Tank Girl tells him to. Pushover or dedicated boyfriend? You tell me.
More than anything, Martin’s characterization is what draws me in to the Tank Girl comics. I’d love to know these people. I would genuinely enjoy going on adventures with Tank Girl and her crew. Aside from the characterization, the one other thing that gets me hyped about this series is the artwork.
Brett Parson doesn’t stray from Tank Girl’s original art style, heavily influenced by punk visual art. The original comic strips were really unorganized, psychedelic, surrealist, collage-focused, stream-of-consciousness, and metafiction. The artwork had little to do with the narrative and plot overall, but was certainly entertaining. Personally, this is the kind of artwork I can’t get enough of. The beat generation-based chaos and anarchic layout of the panels really made this series stand out, and still does.
Parson’s illustrations keep the unrealistic and punk-inspired art style that Tank Girl started with. However, there is a lot more regard for the narrative, plot, and timeline of the story. The artwork, while sticking with the same style, is a different story than the progression and layout of the comic, which has gotten a lot cleaner over the years. Now it’s really easy to follow along and understand everything that’s going on—even with the same stream-of-consciousness type of storytelling that includes some panels and narrative that have nothing to do with the story itself. As much as I miss the old artwork, this more linear version is better for the script and storyline.
Being a long time Tank Girl fan, I might be biased when I say that everyone should read this issue. However, it’s much better to have read the series before starting at issue #4, so head out to your local comic shop and catch up! Tank Girl is a character that we can relate to, envy, hate, love, and everything in between. It’s going to be interesting seeing her team deal with World War II…this is going to be good, so make sure you keep reading along!
Written by: Alan Martin
Illustrated by: Brett Parson