Tank Girl: King Tank Girl – Graphic Novel Review

Tank Girl is one of those characters that can be used for pretty much anything, where any kind of story works with her. Want to tell a weird story where she goes to space and fights alien bug creatures? Sure, that’ll work. Want her to stop a robot uprising that’s using pop music to infiltrate society? I can see that. Want her to travel to England in search of a rare action figure and accidentally become king? Well, that you can actually read right now.

The latest Tank Girl graphic novel release from Titan Comics begins with that whacky premise, as Tank Girl laments her inability to finish her Rangers of the Universe (a nice Masters of the Universe knock off) range of toys because the rare Groil Seeker figure was recalled and destroyed after just a single day of sales when the spring loaded head caused injuries to children. Luckily for her, Booga used to have one, having bought it on holiday in Cornwall years ago, burying it in the garden of the house he was staying at. Determined to complete her collection, Tank Girl and her crew head off to England.

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However, when she arrives in town she finds a tourist spot showing off the fabled Sword in the Stone (misnamed Excalibur in this book when they’re actually two different swords). Using her skills with a tank, she manages to free it from the stone by blowing the stone apart. This loophole technically makes her the King of England, and she ends up on the throne. But it turns out that running the country is a lot of work, and Tank Girl ends up having to deal with peasant revolts, as well as a rival for the throne.

The book doesn’t just contain this story though, as there are also some shorts, and a couple of other stories scattered throughout. Readers also get an adventure where Tank Girl and her friends are being chased by a hitman and his team, and use a magical talisman to escape him by wishing themselves to 1960s Califormia surfer territory. There’s also a story about how Tank Girl, Sub Girl, and Jet Girl met, and got their nickname of Third Day Commandos.

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As you’d expect from a Tank Girl graphic novel the stories here are silly and weird, and the book never once really takes itself too seriously. One of the things that isn’t so good about it though is the fact that the humour in the book just doesn’t feel as good as the original stories. The recently released Tank Girl: Colour Classics Trilogy showed the series at its best, with some twisted and weirdly surreal humour. Whilst this book tries to continue that tradition, and certainly throws the characters into some odd situations, it just doesn’t seem to land as well. There’s a heavy reliance on pun names and silly one-liners that start to grate after a while.

It also doesn’t help that the multiple stories in the book are split apart. It looks like the graphic novel collects the individual comics how they were originally printed, with the stores in parts spread throughout the book, rather than presenting each story all together. One part of the King Tank Girl story is followed by a silly couple of pages, with the part of the time travel story, then another King Tank Girl chapter, and so on. It makes the book a bit more of a slog to read, as you’re jumping from story to story, rather than just enjoying it tale by tale. Presenting the stories together, with the small interludes between them would have helped the book flow a lot better, and would have increased the overall enjoyment a lot.

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The artwork on the book is by Brett Parson, and it might be some of the better artwork on a Tank Girl comic that I’ve seen. I found his art style really enjoyable and very pretty to look at. Everything was clear and concise, and even though they were able to capture the dirtiness of the characters, Tank Girl, Barney, Sub Girl, and Jet Girl all looked really cute, and there were moments when they’re acting like kids that the art style really makes them seem more adorable than anything else, and you kind of want to let them get away with their wild shit.

Tank Girl: King Tank Girl is an enjoyable series of adventures that take our titular star and her friends across time, around the world, and to some bizarre places. Whilst the format of the book does lessen the enjoyment somewhat it’s still a fun read, and one that I’m sure Tank Girl fans will love.

Tank Girl: King Tank Girl is out now from Titan Comics.

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