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Comic Book Review

Book Cover

Tank Girl
Action Alley #1


Writer: Alan Martin
Artist: Brett Parson
Publisher: Titan Comics
RRP: UK £2.65, US $3.99
Age: Mature readers
32 pages
Publication Date: 19 December 2018

Welcome to Tank Girl’s first ongoing series in 30 years! Original creator Alan Martin and fan-favourite artist Brett Parson bring the post-apocalyptic punk icon into a whole new era! The Tank Girl universe begins here! Explore the backstories and secrets behind her world! The origins of the mutant kangaroos and Booga himself are revealed in this opening arc, which can perhaps only be described as Summer Holiday meets Damnation Alley…!

For the first time ever, Tank Girl has been granted her own ongoing comics series. Sure, the character has fronted numerous monthly mini-series prior to this (the schedules have been packed fairly solidly with them over the last couple of years, thanks to Titan), but from now on her title will be published all year round.

With such continuity in mind, writer Alan Martin has set about conceiving a more complex and detailed universe for Tank Girl and her chums to inhabit. He introduces several competing plot strands in the opening instalment of this first adventure, in which Booga brings home a real kangaroo (as opposed to a mutant humanoid one like himself – Brett Parson’s always appealing images remind us just how unlike an actual roo Booga is); Zulu Dobson constructs a huge 12-wheeled fighting vehicle called the Tankmaster, which still needs running in; and Tank Girl receives an upsetting text message from her adoptive mother.

The Tankmaster resembles the Landmaster from the 1977 post-apocalypse movie Damnation Alley. The vehicle is even bigger on the inside, which surprises Tank Girl – though really it shouldn’t, because her own tank possesses a similarly spacious interior, as was established in 21st Century Tank Girl. Dobson’s rationalisation of this phenomenon manages to combine Father Ted’s “Small or far away?” explanation with the Fourth Doctor’s “Which box is larger?” demonstration from Doctor Who: The Robots of Death.

Despite claims made in the publicity blurb, this title is not a reboot or an origins story (at least, not yet). The comic book is best approached with some knowledge of recent developments in Tank Girl’s world – its pages contain cross-references to 21st Century Tank Girl and Tank Girl All Stars.

There are some quirky character moments here, like Jet Girl and Sub Girl’s inappropriate excitement at the prospect of a holiday, and visual humour such as a Smegma branded fridge, but no big laughs. Even the cliffhanger ending to this issue is lacklustre – Tank Girl’s predicament seems eminently escapable to me. However, like the Tankmaster itself, I suspect that Action Alley is just getting going.


Richard McGinlay

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