She’s baaaack. The irreverent, obnoxious, ultimate contemporary female comic book anti-hero and cultural icon, Tank Girl has returned. And she’s brought her favorite friends along for the fun, Jet Girl, Booga, and Barney in Tank Girl: Solid State.
If you aren’t familiar with Tank Girl, or only know her from that love it or hate it 90s film starring Lori Petty and Ice-T, she may be worth a trip down retro lane because of her importance in comic strip history. Tank Girl was the it girl for a while. Originally created by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett (most recently of Gorillaz fame), the 90s Tank Girl was a not so underground influence on culture and even inspired spreads in fashion magazines. It is nice to see even in the overly politically correct and easily offended world we live in now, Martin is keeping true to Tank Girl who is still more early 90s raunchy Madonna than cute “princess punk” Gwen Stefani, and more Paglia than Steinem.
While Tank Girl is still irreverent and obnoxious, this first issue seems a little shallow and brief. The synopsis reads:
Tank Girl, Jet Girl, Booga and Barney are back, in a mission to save their favorite little radio store. Everything goes to plan, but somewhere along the line Booga manages to electronically summon a gang of evil counterparts, fronted by the darkest bitch on the planet – ANTI-TANK GIRL!!! The fight is to the death, as each gang member draws on their deepest, most screwed-up powers to eliminate their own personal nemesis. Things are about to get very dark, very bloody, and very stupid.
This first issue is mostly male adolescent humor, i.e. ball jokes along the lines of “That’s no moon, that’s a testicle.” I give props to the Fantastic Voyage inspired storyline; Tank Girl and friends get shrunk to go inside Booga and have 15 minutes to save him. But I feel it didn’t even make a dent in what the storyline may be. And rather than include a mini story at the end, I wish they would have extended the main plot a little longer to get to the meat of the story arc.
Having gone through several artists after Hewlett who have interpreted Tank Girl, always keeping her a tad skanky, Martin and Titan are now giving an up and coming artist a chance. At first Warwick Johnson Cadwell’s art work brings to mind the geometric angles of Marc Hempel. The pages seem one-dimensional. This compliments the rough and tumble world of Tank Girl. Everyone still looks like they need a shower. And while you can see Cadwell’s voice in his work, it’s still obviously the world of Tank Girl fans want to see.
I vaguely remember Tank Girl comic strips from some magazine in the 90s, memory says Spin but I don’t think that’s right. I never totally got into her, but appreciated the wacky and crude portrayal of her apocalyptic world. However, my ultimate issue with Tank Girl was the baseness of it all. The strip was too Mad Max, too “What the hell is Booga? And why is she screwing a mutant kangaroo?” That hasn’t changed here. If you are already a fan of Tank Girl, potty humor, or look for funky fashion inspiration in your comic books, grab this asap as it will probably be your pot of tea. However, if you look for more tasteful inspired fare, you might want to pass.Solid State Tank Girl #1 Issue Number: 1 Number of Issues/Volumes in Series: 4 Page Count: 32pp Retail Price: $3.99 Street Date: May 15, 2013