Tank Girl has always had an anarchic streak right down its spine. That can occasionally lead stories down cul-de-sacs of little more than ‘Fuck it, this is funny.’
Welcome to a golden cul-de-sac.
A couple of issues ago, Tank Girl and the gang happened to discover an absolute fortune in Nazi gold. They’ve been pre-occupied with chases, Sub Girl and blowing shit up every since – after all, this is a Tank Girl series. But this issue sees them living the high life, trying to do something monumentally stupid with all the dosh, as the high life doesn’t really agree with any of them for too long.
So the issue’s divided into two long segments, as Tank Girl first invents the stupidest sport on the planet, buys an arena, and broadcasts a game of ‘Australian Rules Crennis’ around the world…just because she can.
Much of the first segment, having had this idea, is taken up with some parodied sports rules for AR Crennis, which combines all the to and fro of Quidditch with the kicking and punching of…well, most sport, especially Australian Rules sport. Only more. And with more bizarre rules. And a ball full of goo, which under very special circumstances, you get to stamp on, to try and blurt your opponents in the face.
Tank Girl Sport. Make sense?
After the local army goons crash the party (Tank Girl and the gang are, after all, spectacularly, multiply wanted for all kinds of crimes – not least the incineration of many hapless army goons – and they are parading themselves live on TV), the one and only televised Australian Rules Crennis tournament comes to an ignominious end, with Tank Girl’s Best Girl Barney explaining that it ‘couldn’t have sucked harder if it were a planet-sized, nuclear powered sucking machine set to full-suck.’
The gang decide to so something at least moderately less sucky. They fund, write (sort of), and star in their own sci-fi/fantasy/sport Hollywood blockbuster, which is essentially Grease-Meets Death Race 2000, in space. The script comes unstuck when it descends into a mindless brawl, because, after all, why wouldn’t it?
The point of all of this? There isn’t one, really, beyond spending serious amounts of wonga and pissing about. You can read it on all sorts of levels – this is what Tank Girl and her friends would actually do if they got a great big score one day; they’d piss it all up against a wall having fun, rather than doing anything at all socially constructive with it, cos who wants to be that dull and respectable? Tank Girl and friends are not about being socially constructive, they’re about pissing about and having a laugh, so on the one hand, suddenly giving them a ton of Nazi gold was always going to lead to an issue this inconsequential – if free-spirited and funny. That’s the very nature of the characters, so there’s an argument for this being the most perfectly true-to-form issue of Tank Girl every produced. On the other hand, it is for the most part just a bunch of mad panels and puerile gags, split into two segments and pasted together.
So really, the ‘point’ of this issue, if you really need there to be one, is that there isn’t one, and that’s OK. You don’t have to follow some bland, boring path that other people lay out for you, even if you suddenly inherit a shit-ton of Nazi gold. Money doesn’t need to, and probably shouldn’t, change the essential youness of you. It should just allow you to be you on a much bigger, broader, altogether more golden stage.
Which is a pleasant enough thought until you start applying it to emotionally immature young boys named Donald.
Artwise, there’s an almost strange restraint to this issue of Tank Girl, inasmuch as the artwork by Brett Parson always actually looks like what it’s supposed to be, and borrows freely from other forms for its Australian Rules Crennie Rulebook section, and the Star Warsy introduction to the gang’s movie, entitled Safe In Your Spiral Arms. While Parson always keeps the punky angular edges to his work, and that style informs much of what Tank Girl has always been about, this is an issue that’s good value for your art-bucks, in that you can actively enjoy it more as a visual experience than other episodes where you have to invest heavier emotions in Alan Martin’s storylines – such as the recent angst-ridden Return of Sub Girl plot. Here, Martin’s mostly pissing about so you can just have a fun issue of Tank Girl, imagining what life would be like if they owned a squillion bucks. It’ll be interesting to see in Tank Girl Gold #3 whether there’s any of the shiny stuff left, and if there is, what they do with it next, having had this total blow-out issue to be Muppets in.
Tank Girl Gold #3’s out in December. Come back and find out what comes after the gang’s failed sports and movie careers.
Tony Fyler lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly
nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who,
Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the
70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By
runs an editing house, largely as an
excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book.
With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at FylerWrites.co.uk