Tony goes AWOL.
There’s every chance this issue only makes sense if you’re tripping on mushrooms.
We mention that because a) tripping on mushrooms is central to the plot of this issue, and b) because it’s Tank Girl, and to be fair, most issues only make sense if you’re tripping on mushrooms.
In issue #3, we saw a love story between Tank Girl’s mates, Jet Girl and Sub Girl, elegantly told in mostly pictures, with occasional staggeringly elegant, eloquent lines of poetical appreciation from one about the other. And then, while en route to blow the living bejesus out of some soldiers, Sub Girl remembered something and radically fucked off. Jet Girl, following her heart, radically fucked off after her, leaving a set of explicit but bizarre instructions for Tank Girl and the rest of the gang to come and find her.
This issue is the story of the gang doing precisely that. It’s a story that involves magic mushrooms, carbon dating, bubblegum cards, Hollywood starlets, some pseudo-scientific hippie shit, and one very important Texan bar (that’s a very dated candy bar, for the Americans reading, not a hooch joint in Austin). It’s almost an absurdity to say anything at all is ‘typical’ Tank Girl, but you probably wouldn’t have to kill anyone who called it that – there’s a mad quest and the remaining members of the gang get to go on it, recruiting help from a fried along the way. They’re motivated by the traditional bonds of friendship, group-rules and what-the-fuck? that more or less motivates them to do anything and everything. But this issue declares itself to be ‘A Tank Girl Primer’ on its cover, so the sense of it being more or less fundamental, a jumping-on point for newbies, is accentuated. To give writer-artist team Martin and Parson their due, they fulfil the duties of such a primer by making concise profiles of each of the gang members a vital part of the plot here, so if you’re new to the Tank Girl universe, you can at least get an idea of who’s who and what’s what and what’s important to them all. There is, to be fair, a page of filler immediately after them, with Barney trying to pick a therapeutic fight with Tank Girl. It’s a page that reads more like a newspaper comic-strip, and it’s funny as all-get-out, but it’s almost entirely irrelevant.
The plot leads to the shifting of the paradigm of this run of issues, which has been mostly focused on the stupid-arse spending of a horde of Nazi gold. Here they give up the last of the gold in exchange for a way to find Jet Girl and Sub Girl, who it appears have gone…erm…significantly further off the map than the Tank Girl Gang is used to. In fact, when the Gang go off to find them, it’s possible nothing about the Tank Girl adventures will ever be quite the same again, because while she’s always been at home in her own Australian post-nuclear bizarro-world, where she finds herself at the end of this issue is a whole other level of whack-job crazy-shit. It’s a world in which one crazy chick with a tank could do a lot of good, or a lot of damage, or a lot of both at once. But in a weird way which we won’t spoiler for you (go spend some of your own gold!), it’s jussssst possible that we’re moving into a run of issues where Tank Girl gets a bit freakin’ serious. It’s not by any means mandatory, but in her most recent incarnation, there have been issues where the Tank Girl Gang have been highly prone to proper, heart-wrenching or eye-watering emotion – issue #3 was one such issue, telling a simple love story of two fucked-up people finding their fucked-upness fit together just right. Where Tank Girl and the Gang are going next could well be the stage for some proper emotion, while almost certainly giving them plenty of excuses to crank the crazy and the comical up to 13 and rip the knob off.
This primer issue does what it says on the cover, giving you a re-introduction to the characters about whom you need to give a toss going forward, giving you some nice angles on their personalities, and delivering a barking mad plot to help some of them find some others when they go severely AWOL. Where they go next… well, it isn’t here and now (though, if I had one, I’d give a substantial chunk of my own Nazi gold horde to see Tank Girl Vs Trump, wouldn’t you?)…but you can sort of see it from here and now. Get issue #4 of Tank Girl Gold – you’re going to need it, whether you need the primer or not, to understand precisely wwwwwwwhat the fuck happened to land you where you’re going to be at the start of the next issue. Besides, who can resist a bit of bonkers mushroom-tripping plot and the chance to enjoy some full-page pin-up style artwork of each of the Tank Girl Gang (yes, of course including Booga), simply as a style statement? Drive your pimped-out, gold-enhanced tank to the comic-book store and get up to speed today.
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