The thing that Tank Girl and co. dislodged from the inside of Booga’s testicles has grown into an angry and powerful superwoman calling herself the Anti-Tank Girl! But, as Tank Girl discovers, this new enemy is too strong for her to fight and, after a tactical retreat, the crew regroup for a final attack… only the Anti-Tank Girl is gathering her own forces too. Has Tank Girl met her match?
On the face of it, this is a comic I should really like – it’s irreverent, ironic, subversive, post-modern – except instead these qualities work against this it because of Alan Martin’s feeble script and that it never fully exploits any of these qualities. The “story” thus far has been very thin with the series content to parody more famous works like the film Innerspace in SSTG#1 and mock superhero comics in this issue, rather than do anything original itself. This isn’t necessarily a bad quality if the comic did anything clever with them but it doesn’t. Aren’t superhero stories daft? is basically the inane message here – it has nothing else to say.
Also, it’s fine if the comic wants to try and be funny, while also being post-modern about its dialogue – I’m a big Deadpool fan and that stuff is de rigueur in those comics – but the way it’s done here is a long way from being either funny or clever. If you’re going to try humour, tell jokes that are funny. If you’re going to attempt post-modernist storytelling, do it in an interesting way. Instead what we get are jokes about Booga’s balls (that have been repeated in every issue in the series and got boring not even by the end of the first comic) and that’s it.
Most annoyingly is that every plot development is tossed into the characters’ dialogue without explanation, just a shrug that hey, that’s what happens in these stories, right? Why explain, you’re going to keep reading anyway and it doesn’t matter, let’s just accept this as the next thing. On one level I get that this has always been a quality of Tank Girl comics – some might even call it charming – but on another level, I can’t help but dislike this lazy, flat method of storytelling. I mean, if the writer doesn’t care, reflected in the characters’ insouciance, then why should the reader? When everything that happens in this comic is so scattershot, underdeveloped, and barely thought-out, why even bother making it, let alone read it?
But it’s not even the execution of the story that’s lacking, it’s the story itself – Tank Girl gets into a tussle with Anti-Tank Girl, they break, regroup, and try again. It’s as drearily presented as that and it’s not at all interesting to read. Again, it’s attempting an ironic look at superhero comics’ tropes without a single creative angle of looking at it and as such it’s utterly tedious. As if to underline the lack of any story here, the last 6 pages (out of 25, including the cover and publishing info page) are just Tank Girl and Booga in different outfits and poses, totally separate from the rest of the issue. Not exactly great value for money.
Solid State Tank Girl feels like it took as long to write it as it did to read. Lazily conceived, terribly written and badly executed, it’s an unfunny, inane mess of a comic that astonishingly saw publication.
Solid State Tank Girl #3 by Alan Martin and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell is out now
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