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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

The Wonderful World of Tank Girl (Hardback)


Writer: Alan Martin
Artist: Brett Parson
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £18.99, US $22.99
Age: 17+
ISBN: 978 1 78586 207 6
104 pages
Publication Date: 10 July 2018

A stunning, all-new collection of four astounding Tank Girl adventures, from creator Alan Martin and mind-blowing artist Brett Parson. From the crime caper to end all capers with Tank Girl, Booga and the gang, to a farcical stage play murder mystery, to a spy thriller in the bowels of Australia’s nastiest (and stupidest) crime syndicate, to a freak-out deep dive into Tank Girl’s own psychedelic subconscious, Wonderful World is the perfect grab-bag of humour, violence, puns and eternal, immortal, piss-taking friendship…

Time for a change of pace. Following a linked trilogy of graphic novels (Two Girls One Tank, Tank Girl Gold and World War Tank Girl), this anthology, from the same creative team, collects four one-shot escapades.

Tank Girl and her merry band of miscreants are back, in the first of four stand-alone stories! Our anti-heroes try to pull off their biggest caper ever – but, thanks to Booga’s gormless plotting, they barely escape with their lives. This is Tank Girl on true classic, chaotic, idiotic form…!

I didn’t find the opening tale, Tank Girl Strikes Again, quite as amusing as I usually find this character’s adventures.

There’s some rather serious and nasty revenge stuff as the gang’s latest military-style campaign goes tits up, and their leader ends up at the mercy of the childhood enemy that she was supposed to be wreaking vengeance upon. “All I’ve ever wanted is to see you suffer a drawn-out, overly complex, excruciatingly painful death,” Ronnie Dosmond tells our already bloodied anti-heroine, before proceeding to pull out one of her teeth and then attack the side of her face with an angle grinder. You actually see it cutting into her cheek – eww.

Offsetting the torture porn is the welcome stupidity provided by the presence of Captain Birdseye lookalike Bartholomew Anchor, gunfire sound effects such as “CHUDDA! CHODDA! CHEDDAR!”, Tank Girl experiencing a Bruce Willis moment in a ventilation shaft (“Die hard with a vest on,” as she puts it), and her posse managing to trace her by collecting tokens from breakfast cereal packets. The latter is in order to activate a free gift tracking device that Tank Girl had accidentally swallowed earlier… as you do. The team force themselves to eat their way through all the boring cereal (“I hate cornflakes,” moans Sub Girl, who’d rather have a bowl of Sugar-Frosted Coco Poos), even though they don’t actually need to do that to get the tokens!

It was worth eating my way through the less palatable parts of this story in order to get to moments like that.



The gang spend a farcical evening enacting a play what Barney wrote. Tea is drunk, crumpets are munched, antique dresses are worn, a secondary character dies in excruciating pain, more tea, and a startling revelation about one or more of our heroes’ ancestries is revealed…!

With the title The Importance of Being Tank Girl, it’s fairly obvious from the get-go that this episode is a spin on Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. We join the gang as they are about to go on stage – just as soon as Barney has finished writing the script! “Just a couple more pages to go,” she tells Tank Girl as she taps away on her typewriter.

Snigger-inducing character names include Allergy Von Creep (instead of Algernon Moncrieff), Aunt Disgusta (Aunt Augusta, geddit?) and Miss Jism (replacing Miss Prism). John Worthing’s first name is changed to the not particularly amusing Bosie (played by Sub Girl), though the surname has a special significance in the world of Tank Girl, as it was in the town bearing that name that Alan Martin (together with Jamie Hewlett) originally devised the strip.

Actually, The Importance of Being Sub Girl might have been a more apt title, because as the plot develops beyond the confines of the theatre, it ultimately has more to do with Sub Girl than with her tank-loving chum. Having said that, Tank Girl learns something as well…

I must admit that I’m not completely au fait with Oscar Wilde’s play, or else I might have found this adventure more entertaining than I did. However, I think most people will get the haaaaandbag reference!



With a group of lookalikes hogging the limelight, the team treat themselves to a vacation at one of Jet Girl’s numerous stately homes. But when they get the blame for the crimes of their impersonators, there’s only one way out – by acting like a bunch of stupid secret agents…!

Tank Girl had trouble with an imposter not so long ago, in Two Girls One Tank. Fortunately, there’s a sufficiently different angle in The Man from Tank Girl. This time the ‘doppelgängers’ aren’t very convincing at all – except to the gullible public and police force. The phoney Tank Girl sports a very obvious bald cap, while the man bumbling around in the Booga costume looks like an escapee from The Banana Splits! The bona fide Booga is worried that this will ruin his sophisticated image, but Jet Girl points out that with these pretenders causing chaos in their name, it saves the real Tank Girl and co a whole lot of bother.

So the gang repair to Eyefull House, another of Jet Girl’s spacious country residences, and the first of several allusions to the James Bond film franchise and the spy-fi genre in general. The basement of the house contains a hoard of old secret agent gear, including a custom-made car, the Alan Martin DB5½ – see what they did there? Some of the vehicle’s features, such as its bullet-proof number plates and wheel-mounted machine guns, echo those of 007’s Aston Martin in a bonkers sort of way, while others, like the portable vinyl record player, are less impressive!

We even get to meet the car’s former owner: “Biggerstaff, Jamie Biggerstaff.” (I wonder whether Brett Parson minds these references to Tank Girl’s creators Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett, when he gets no such name-checks of his own.) Though he wears a three-piece suit, this spy is noticeably less well groomed than Sean Connery or Daniel Craig, his unkempt hair and unshaven chin looking more like Rhod Gilbert than Roger Moore.

As Tank Girl herself points out, it’s a shame that she doesn’t get to use any of the car’s gadgets. Ultimately, The Man from Tank Girl is a mildly diverting adventure that will leave you stirred rather than shaken.



The fiendish combination of a newly expanded role-playing game and Barney’s newly acquired ‘special’ tea leads to an old friend turning up, presenting Tank Girl with a problem that can only be solved by taking a dive into her own subconscious! Prepare to freak out, man…!

As you might expect from the combination of the above synopsis, the episode title Tank Girl Takes a Trip, and Brett Parson’s hallucinogenic chapter opener showing Tank Girl as a sexy flower child, there are one or two drug references in this final entry of the collection!

The story begins not in the countercultural world of the spaced-out hippie, but in the realm of swords and sorcery, as Tank Girl gets bored of playing Heroes of the Olden Times (strapline: A Game of Being a Hero in Olden Times). However, before long Barney is off to see her “shady tea dealer”, a statement that puzzles Booga, though no one else thinks anything of it, even when they notice that the beverage tastes funny. Then, as the gang immerse themselves in another role-playing game, the recently expanded Hunters of the Dirtland (a kind of Mad Max scenario, but with refreshing tea as the parched country’s most valuable commodity), things take a turn for the decidedly strange…

First a familiar furry face returns, which will ring nostalgic bells for long-term Tank Girl fans (this year is the strip’s 30th anniversary, after all). Then, in a swirl of psychedelic hues, the team find themselves in an enchanted forest, where they attend a Lewis Carroll style tea party and meet a man sitting on a giant mushroom. After this, Martin and Parson demonstrate their versatility by rendering the next three pages in the style of a children’s rhyming storybook.

The end of the tale is rather abrupt, but in my view this kind of nuttiness is what Tank Girl is all about. As Barney pours more of her special blend, there’s no sign of the madness letting up any time soon. “More tea, vicar?” Yes, please!



The collection also includes cover galleries, Hunters of the Dirtland cut-out-and-play gaming figures, and examples of Parson’s original colour palette tests.

Richard McGinlay

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