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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Tank Girl Gold (Paperback)


Writer: Alan Martin
Artist: Brett Parson
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £13.99, US $16.99, Cdn $22.99
Age: Mature readers
ISBN: 978 1 78585 525 2
104 pages
Publication Date: 13 June 2017

Tankie and her trigger-happy chums are going for gold in this brand-new anthology – the Empire Strikes Back of the ongoing Tank Girl trilogy! Picking up where Two Girls One Tank left off, Tank Girl has lost one of her dearest friends, but inadvertently gained billions of dollars’ worth of Nazi gold! What is she going to spend all that money on? Before we find that out, her kangaroo boyfriend Booga must pay a penance by going right up the Furry Road. It’s been swell, and the swelling isn’t going down…

By crikey, I was right! I made a prediction in my review of the previous graphic novel, Two Girls One Tank, and it comes true at the beginning of this volume. I will say no more about it here, in case you haven’t worked it out yet. I don’t think I said anything in my previous review to give the game away, unless you happened to be thinking along the same lines as me already…

Following the deeper and more serious moments of Two Girls One Tank, writer Alan Martin returns to maximum silliness with this more episodic compilation. In the opening chapter, Tank Girl decides to punish Booga and Barney for what they have done. Booga must go all the way up the Furry Road, where a tribe of horny women are waiting to give him a very sore knob indeed! Barney’s punishment is even worse – she has to write a 2000-word letter of apology, with sincerity and without repetition (and probably without hesitation or deviation, either).

This opening episode is, as you might have guessed, entitled Furry Road. Of course, we Tank Girl fans couldn’t help noticing that the character of Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road was a dead rip-off of (sorry, homage to) our beloved heroine, so it’s only fair that the comics guys should get their own back with this pastiche. I’m right about that, too, aren’t I?

At the end of Furry Road, the characters turn their attention back to the important question of what they’re going to do with all that Nazi gold – a matter that is well on its way to being addressed in a three-page sepia-toned ‘more money than sense’ Booga and Barney strip that shares its title with this graphic novel.

There may be no “I” in team, but there’s certainly a “U” in onslaught! Break out your jockstraps and crash helmets, folks – we’re going full contact for the Tank Girl Gold Super Sports Special…!

Over the next 20 pages, Tank Girl and her buddies come up with further wacky schemes to spend their newly acquired gold. First they invent a new sport, Australian rules crennis – a combination of cricket, tennis and just about every other sport you can think of. Then they film a retro science-fiction movie, entitled Safe in Your Spiral Arms. In a callback to Two Girls One Tank, Tank Girl is tracked down by her old army nemesis General Fletcher and his subordinate Captain Godber.

In addition to the above tribute to the sitcom Porridge, there are references to the Star Wars franchise and Mad Magazine. The latter is evident in the design of the front cover illustration by Chris Wahl, and the fact that the sporting and movie spoofs come to us courtesy of ‘departments’, the Ball’s in Your Court Dept. and the Space Idiodyssey Dept. respectively. I’m not really worried that there isn’t much of a plot to speak of. What – me worry?

It’s time to shift the spotlight as our regular heroine takes a little time out for some well-deserved R&R (that’s robbing and ransacking to you). Get ready for our skull-shattering Jet Girl Special…!

The third phase of this anthology takes on a more continuous narrative form with a couple of short strips, I Love Lesley Hornby and the black-and-white One of Our Aircraft is Rubbish, both of which focus squarely on Jet Girl. We witness the closeness of her relationship with Sub Girl, get to experience her peculiar home life, and see three more of her planes than we usually do.

Rest assured, Tank Girl and her other buddies do still put in appearances here. In particular, we get to see a lot of Barney (well, that’s what happens when you sunbathe topless)… and has Sub Girl returned to her crazy old ways…? There’s even a cut-out diorama super theatre featuring Jet Girl and her friends!

The Tank Girl Primer is the essential lifestyle guide for all boys and girls of a violent disposition. It’s packed with vim, volatility and verbal abuse! Pick up your copy today – before it gets blacklisted…!

One of Our Aircraft is Rubbish ends on a cliffhanger that leads into the final episode, The Strange Bombs – though this is not really the conclusion of the adventure, just the end of the middle part of a trilogy. Things are left very much up in the air (which is appropriate, given that one of the missing friends Tank Girl must track down is Jet Girl) and ‘to be continued’ at the close of Tank Girl Gold. Our heroine’s exploits will be resumed in a forthcoming graphic novel entitled World War Tank Girl.

Despite the ongoing storyline, writer Alan Martin manages to incorporate five character profile pages that might under other circumstances have been tucked away at the back of the book or between strips. They are of minimal relevance to the plot, but we learn, for example, that Barney’s star sign is Librarian and that Sub Girl was Winner of the Under Elevens’ Girl Guides’ Sausage Eating Competition! It is not specified whether she was a Girl Guide at the time, or just happened to eat some Girl Guides’ sausages.

The closing pages of this volume revolve around time travel, which is exciting. There’s a fleeting homage to Strontium Dog’s time bombs and another to the Terminator franchise. Though the method of temporal transportation differs a lot from the one used in the latter series (well, I never saw Kyle Reese or Sarah Connor taking magic mushrooms, did you?), it is similar in one important respect – Tank Girl arrives in her new time zone in the buff! Either that, or she’s suddenly sporting a nice off-the-shoulder number, since her head and shoulders are all that we can see for now. I can’t wait to see more – of the story, I mean…

All in all, Tank Girl’s gold blend is guaranteed to keep you stimulated!


Richard McGinlay

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