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Comic Book Review
Make way for the Tank Girl of the new millennium! Positively turgid with strips, pin-ups, poems and all the usual balls-to-the-wall bedlamism, with brand-new contributions from Alan Martin and the cream of the Tank Girl art community, get ready to sacrifice your last shred of sanity for the stupendous final issue of 21st Century Tank Girl…!
Ah, now I see the pattern of this miniseries: a recurring mixture of artists, who take it in turns to provide the longer strips, while also producing shorter bits and bobs across the range. We had our main dose of Jamie Hewlett in #1, so his contribution here is another centre-spread poster.
Even the great Brett Parson isn’t in this issue much, offering just the single-page Super Crunchy Booga Flakes and the two-page Viva Tank Girl. The latter, however, is the funniest strip in the entire miniseries, being the only one to actually make me laugh out loud – when Tank Girl’s attempt to jump over 37 ice-cream vans in her tank does not go entirely according to plan: “Whoops! Sh*t! B*ll*cks! Oh dear.” Parson has proven to be very much the star illustrator of 21st Century Tank Girl, rendering sizeable chunks of #1 and #2 as well as the very sexy covers of #2 and #3. More, please.
It is Jim Mahfood who provides the main strip this time around. Indeed, at 16 pages Valleri is the longest story of the miniseries, as Tank Girl and her chums embark upon an ambitious scheme to steal a valuable historical artefact – God’s underpants, no less. Despite Mahfood’s scratchy and sketchy penmanship, the trimmings are very much in the classic Hewlett mould, with extraneous little characters popping up here and there to salute ye ol’ party gods or admire Tank Girl’s butt.
Tank Girl and co tackle the eradication of local corner shops by all-powerful supermarkets (in the shape of Ball-Mart) in the four-page The Ghost Smell from the Ground. Artist Craig Knowles may give his characters Ren & Stimpy style squinting or sad eyes, and our heroes may use Hanna Barbera-inspired call signs (such as “Boo-Boo to Yogi… the picnic is in the basket”), but this certainly isn’t kids’ stuff – as the vomit-inducing stink bombs prove all too vividly.
There are also some illustrated verses and prose on how brilliant Tank Girl, Booga and Barney are, and the dangerous nature of their exploits.
Fending off all threats, Tank Girl is alive and well hard, well into the 21st century.