A futuristic space romp? A wisecracking pre-pubescent in brown underwear? A desperate, homicidal woman sacrificing her lessers to survive? A loyal soldier saving her best friends? Tank Girl is apparently all and none of these things.
21st Century Tank Girl marks the return of creators Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin to the series. After the 1995 movie, Hewlett went on to create the Gorillaz, and Martin worked on the series on and off over the years with various artists. This new series is laid out like an anthology with four different Tank Girl stories done in a patchwork of styles from various artists. One story features an almost tween looking, misandrist Tank Girl against a Lisa Frank-esque space background; while another showcases a minimalist military campaign sans dialogue.
Brett Parson drew the most straightforward and interesting tale, “Runny Man” which centered on Tank Girl escaping from a prison game show by sacrificing each of her opponents to a bloodthirsty zombie named Adolf (See, I told you it was all over the place). Parson’s style reminded me of Babs Tarr’s art for the current Batgirl series and the style immediately drew me in.
The issue concludes with a seemingly stoned Tank Girl reminiscing about adventures with her mates. Each page is a single panel with a kind of stream of conscious caption describing one of her exploits or giving background on her relationships. All of the stories feature her best friend Jet Girl and her boyfriend Booga, who is a humanoid kangaroo.
Overall, 21st Century Tank Girl is an interesting book. I’m sure it appeals more to folks who already have an introduction to Tank Girl’s unique style and quirks. As it stands, I’m interested to see more, but I definitely gravitated to some stories more than others. I also wonder if each issue will continue with this group of artists or if Martin and Hewlett will feature new artists for every issue since the book does not seem beholden to any particular style.