Tank Girl Forever Part Two: Swapping Tanks For Capes Still Not Totally Doing It For Me
by Richard Bruton
Tank Girl Forever continues with my favourite girl with the tank donning the super-gear as she finds herself somewhere weird where it’s all the usual fast-paced, foul-mouthed punker stuff going on. It’s all Scooby-gang style hi-jinks, just with more swears, more capes, and sadly not the same level of Tank Girl idiocy and fun I wanted…
In part one, reviewed here, we had Tank Girl suddenly appear in the middle of a superhero shit-storm, where everyone and their dog has gone all cape-y and super-duper. Along with Booga, Jet Girl, and Sub Girl, Tank Girl had gone all biff, bang, pow, and spent the issue having fun with her new suit and getting beaten up by some weird goth girl.
My problem with Tank Girl Forever was just that it all felt like old school Tank Girl but slowed down, all the right notes that used to be fantastic, but just stretched over a whole comic. And here, with the whole ‘who the hell is Joanne?’ thing going on, it’s still got some of that, although it’s more fun this time, particularly with the extended gag of the Extremely Stupid Sports, things don’t grate as much and it was a fun old read.
Anyhoo, after the events of last issue and the surprise appearance of Joanne, we’re heading back in time for a little bit of explanation…
Joanie and Barney, so it goes, were besties back when, scarily inseparable, and suddenly Tank Girl is a bit of a third wheel and not the coolest girl in the room any more… time for the green-eyed monster to rear its ugly head.
And then you have the ‘Extremely Stupid Sports’, including a variety of chess that could only be in a Tank Girl comic. Rude and stupid… perfect TG fodder and probably the funniest thing you could read this month.
After that, there’s more fighty stuff when we get back in the future, more fun with Camp Koala and Dobson cobbling together something like an explanation for what the hell is going on, and more stretching out of the story.
And that’s still what bugs me about this Tank Girl story, the stretching of things, the shoehorning the bigger storyline in, it all feels just unnecessary and overdone.
I realise it’s just one of those things and, of course, I’m not really expecting the Tank Girl I first fell in love with way, way back when. But the thing is, there’s been plenty of the new Tank Girl adventures since she came back into our lives in the 2000s that I’ve enjoyed. And loads of them managed to capture the spirit of the original idea whilst also doing the thing of crafting a full comic series of 20-ish page episodes rather than the 5 or so that first exploded into my brain back in Deadline.
So it’s not that I’m not actually up for the idea of Tank Girl being stretched out into comics like this. I keep coming back to it and trying to figure out what it is about Tank Girl Forever that just isn’t connecting with me at all. And in the end of it all, I keep coming back to the first thoughts I had, that it’s just a comic that doesn’t have the tightness necessary to make Tank Girl work to her best. She needs quick-fire gags, manic action, all threaded into whatever storyline you get, but the storyline isn’t the main thing for any Tank Girl adventure. Whereas here the storyline seems to take precedence to the detriment of the gags, and it’s a comic that’s all the poorer for it.
Tank Girl Issue 6 – Tank Girl Forever Part 2 – Story by Alan Martin with Lou Martin, written by Alan Martin, art & letters by Brett Parson
Cover by Black Frog
Cover by Shaky Kane