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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Tank Girl All Stars #2


Writer: Alan Martin
Artists: Brett Parson, Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Jonathan Edwards
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £2.65, US $3.99
Age: Mature readers
32 pages
Publication Date: 25 July 2018

Continuing the party-tastic birthday celebrations from co-creator Alan Martin! At last it can be told! In this 30th anniversary anthology of stories, we finally reveal the biggest secret in comics history – how Tank Girl got her tank – the origin story to end all origin stories! Plus: the gang reinvent themselves as Supermarionation characters, including Tank Girl XL5 and Commander Unshore, and Booga disappoints everyone by purchasing a malfunctioning robotic tea-maker…

As with the previous issue of this anthology series, #2 is dominated by the artwork of Brett Parson, who illustrates another episode of Time for Tank Girl, which runs to ten pages. The zombie threat set up last time is largely forgotten about here, as writer Alan Martin instead has fun putting his own spin on The Six Million Dollar Man. “Get your pitch to zero,” says science tech guy Zulu Dobson, quoting dialogue from the opening sequence of the iconic show as Jet Girl’s plane is hit. “Pitch is out,” replies Jet Girl in kind, “I can’t hold altitude.” Later references become more obvious, as Barney finds that Jet Girl is “a woman barely alive”, and Dobson declares that “We can rebuild her” as “the world’s first Supertronic Woman… Better, stronger, and really fast at making tea and sandwiches!” We also learn where Tank Girl got her famous vehicle from – though the revelation is over so quickly that it barely registers. The story will continue in the next issue, as the eventual return of the zombies leads to another cliffhanger…

The title of the next strip, the five-page A. Robot, might suggest the works of Isaac Asimov, but the tone of the piece has more in common with Wallace and Gromit, as Booga unveils his latest gadget, the Teapotron XZ. Like one of Wallace’s inventions, the device inevitably goes wrong, and only milk and sugar can save the day. The zany art is by Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, whose distorted figures are sometimes reminiscent of Picasso, especially when it comes to the positions of Booga’s eyes.

There’s also a Cubist feel to the angular art of Jonathan Edwards, who draws the final strip, Stand by for Tank Girl. Anything can happen in the next four pages, for this is another nostalgic homage to 20th-century telefantasy, as Tank Girl and chums imagine themselves as the heroes of Gerry Anderson puppet series including Thunderbirds, Fireball XL5, Captain Scarlet and Stingray. Among the more amusing spoof character names, Jet Girl is an eminently suitable choice to become Cacophony Angel, while Sub Girl is in her element (water) as Marina, Morris Marina. There’s even room for Torchy the Battery Boy – or rather Scorchy the Battery Acid Boy!

I don’t know about all stars, but there are certainly plenty of action heroes in this issue, with all its allusions to the adventures of Steve Austin, the Tracy family, Steve Zodiac, Troy Tempest… and I didn’t even have time to mention the unsuccessful Jedi mind trick.


Richard McGinlay

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