For the first time in 20 years, Tank Girl co-creator Jamie Hewlett teams up with original writer Alan Martin in 21st Century Tank Girl, an explosive new graphic novel featuring work from six different artists. Published by Titan Comics, 21st Century Tank Girl is a celebration of one of comic’s best characters, boasting comic book strips, pinups and even short stories. It’s a colourful menagerie of talent, with work from Brett Parson and Jim Mahfood, to name a few.
21st Century Tank Girl does everything a Tank Girl comic should in terms of its main themes. It perfectly fits the style of the character, by being vibrant and punchy. However, for a book that apparently celebrates Hewlett’s long-awaited return with Martin, it’s extremely thin on their collaboration. Although Tank Girl has had numerous artists in the past, Jamie Hewlett’s work on the comic was the definitive look. Known for his work with Gorillaz, Hewlett’s underground style is favoured amongst fans. Unfortunately, there’s just too little of his fantastic artwork in the new graphic novel, appearing in only 6 pages of a 100+ page book.
However, the rest of the graphic novel is far from bad. Brett Parson’s artwork is slightly cartoonish, but extremely fitting for the punk theme. Jim Mahfood’s distinctive line-work is much wilder, and he presents Tank Girl in a more explosive story. They both do a remarkable job alongside the other artists, and these stories feature old favourites, such as Booga and Jet Girl.
Some of the shorts follow the tried and tested formula of classic Tank Girl, but they feel too haplessly thrown together between blocks of prose and pinups. It’s still as violent and sexy as it used to be, but 21st Century Tank Girl is lacking a certain something. Martin’s writing hugely benefits from Hewlett’s style, but without it Tank Girl feels rather ordinary.
Still, fans of Tank Girl may feel like Titan Comics new graphic novel is a worthy purchase. It does support a varied amount of colourful artwork, alongside text that will keep some readers happy. Brett Parson’s splash pages are also beautiful, and Mahfood’s unusual style is pleasing. Unfortunately, it just feels like a slightly disappointing return for the rambunctious Tank Girl.
21ST CENTURY TANK GIRL / WRITER: ALAN MARTIN / ARTIST: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: TITAN COMICS / RELEASE DATE: DECEMBER 1ST