Happy New Year! I’m excited to inaugurate 2019 with a look at the last month in the world of Britain’s Titan Comics. Titan has a fabulous track record for bringing a fresh look to existing licenses, and providing titles that are a little more adult, a little more cerebral, and very uniquely British—including one with a woman in a magical blue box.
Titan Comics News and Announcements
New Tank Girl Ongoing Starts
For the first time in a generation, Tank Girl, the post-apocalyptic punk outlaw who hasn’t met a pencil sharpener she didn’t like, is back in a new series. Tank Girl: Action Alley brings back the original creator of the character (Alan Martin) as writer, with artwork by fan favorite Brett Parson. What does Martin promise in this new series? “Thirty years since she sprang to life, and now we find ourselves at the crack of a new dawn for Tank Girl. Characters and stories will carry more weight! More depth! And more stupidity!”
McCay tops Observer’s Best Books of 2018
The Observer chose McCay as one of The Observer’s Best Books of 2018 in their graphic novel category. According to critic Rachel Cook, the fantastical telling of Little Nemo creator Winsor McCay’s life is “truly strange and truly wonderful,” and a work that will appeal to comics and non-comics fans alike.
AC Day 2018: A Celebration of All Things Assassin’s Creed
December 21st, 2018 was #ACDay, the day in the Assassin’s Creed video game when the Codex was founded. To celebrate, fan site Access the Animus released an interview with Assassin’s Creed: Origins writer Anthony Del Col, in which he talks about his time writing the miniseries, and some of his favorite scenes—including an underwater battle with hippos!
The Prague Coup Released
If you have a Peggy Carter-shaped hole in your heart (like I do) and are longing for a little 1940s espionage, The Prague Coup may fit the bill. Created by Jean-Luc Fromental and Hyman Miles, The Prague Coup features writer Graham Greene at the heart of the 1948 overthrow of the Czechoslovakian government—the coup that led to the Marshall Plan and the creation of NATO. His involvement in this significant event of world politics starts as a “seemingly peaceful mission” but soon becomes the “revolution that history will remember as the ‘coup de Prague.’” You can check out a trailer for the title that Publishers Weekly calls a “perfect intersection of film noir and espionage fiction.”
What I’m Reading
Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince #3
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Andrea Olimpieri (artist), V.E. Schwab (writer), Viviana Spinelli (colorist), Rob Steen (letterer)
December 12, 2019 (print), December 19, 2019 (digital)
Let the trial by combat begin! Isra is ready to battle for a place on her aunt Arisa’s ship. Maxim does not want to see his ally get killed, so he throws his hat into the ring (much to Isra’s chagrin) in this very violent job application. This issue sees that fight play out to its natural conclusion as nine (then eight, as Arisa deems nine an “inconvenient number”) wage their brute strength and magic until only one is left standing. You can safely imagine what the final confrontation ends up being and who ends up winning (Isra). She now has her aunt’s attention, but will she regret her decisions?
While you can easily figure out how the narrative will play out all the way from the first page, the artists ensure that you enjoy the journey with stunning artwork. Olimpieri knows how to maximize a fight scene to show action and the abilities of both sides of the fight. This is the first time in this series we are seeing the magic of Schwab’s world at work and with our own eyes. It does not disappoint. Linework and vibrant color illustrate the power and significance of magic in this combat, not leaving that heavy lifting to lettering work as one sees in other comics.
It’s also amazing to see Rob Steen using paneling to his advantage in conveying such action. Whereas other comics might resort to full page or two page spreads to show the intensity of a fight scene, Steen does it in mere panels, varying up panel size and maximizing his space within those panels so that nothing goes to waste.
It’s now on to the Iron Grip for Isra, and (inevitably) Maxim will try to stop her. And with this next issue wrapping up the story, how this all will play out is still anyone’s guess.
Tank Girl: Action Alley #1
Alan Martin (writer), Lou Martin (writer), Brett Parson (artist)
December 19, 2018
This new series, Tank Girl’s first ongoing series in 30 years, brings the band back together. There’s a good dose of that in this issue: Tank Girl’s longtime boyfriend Booga sneaking a kangaroo into the house that he sprung from captivity and the debut of “The Tankmaster,” which is exactly what it sounds like.
Lest you think Martin’s completely back to his crazy ways, we have a heart and soul to kick off this new series: Tank Girl’s adoptive mother is dying, and it’s time for our girl to come home. Of course, the course of the family road trip never runs smoothly, with hijinks afoot at a rest stop and the Tankmaster tank-napped!
This issue may not be the place to start for those with only a passing knowledge of the character. The opening third of the book throws you right into the Tank Girl world with little backstory for TG and her motley crew. A few pages of backstory would have proven useful for new fans, so have Wikipedia on hand as a refresher. Brett Parson includes ample detail in his artwork with enough retro touches to up the nostalgia meter, but keeps things modern and the action fast-paced (particularly in the final pages with a chase to retrieve the Tank Master). And in spite of the desert setting, colors are nothing short of vibrant and glorious. Parson also has fun with the retro vibe in his covers, including a Tank Girl action figure. (I’ll buy it.)
Tank Girl’s return for the #MeToo era is just in time, right on the heels of Mad Max: Fury Road. It may not be the best starting point for new fans, but you’ll still have fun kicking ass and taking names along the way.
Doctor Who: The Thirteenth Doctor #2
Enrica Eren Angiolini (colorist), Jody Houser (writer), Comicraft’s Sarah Jacobs (letterer), Comicraft’s John Roshell (letterer), Richard Starkings (letterer), Rachael Stott (artist)
November 21, 2018 (print), December 5, 2018 (digital)
The face-off between the TARDIS crew and the Army of the Just from the debut issue concludes, but not successfully, as the Army takes everyone prisoner. Captivity gives everyone time to get to know everyone else, particularly our mystery time traveler. That man is Dr. Leon Perkins, who had been working on wearable time travel tech with his partner Dr. Irene Schulz. That is, until something went quite wrong and they ended up off-course and with Dr. Schulz missing. With renewed purpose, our prisoners manage to get out of the Army of the Just’s jail and on to the TARDIS. But their benevolent actions for Dr. Perkins prove to have serious consequences.
Putting our characters behind bars allows for some necessary plot development that was missing from the debut issue, without losing that fast pace from the debut. Houser has also done fine work transferring our TV Doctor to the page, capturing everything fans love about Jodie Whittaker: her headfirst nature, desire to eschew violence, sense of wonder, and just a touch of being unsure about what she’s doing. Rachael Stott has also done her homework in her depiction of the Doctor and her companions, though the artwork has less depth than the writing, with characters looking much more flat. As with the first issue, there are guest artists (Giorgia Sposito and Valeria Favoccia) on several pages. Unlike the first issue, the art blends in quite seamlessly with Stott’s work, though one can see see subtle differences in the Doctor’s face (more shadowing, more angular jawlines).
With no new Doctor Who on television until 2020 (which seems so far away, but is really just next year), this series will certainly keep fans occupied and happy.