Tank Girl: Action Alley #1
Alan Martin, Lou Martin (writing and story); Brett Parson (art, colors, covers A, B and D, and lettering); Greg Staples (cover C)
December 19, 2018
For the first time in years, Tank Girl’s got her own ongoing series, and it’s an amusing, raucously funny little book that made me laugh several times. Yet it suffers from its familiar take on Tanky’s friends, family and explosive adventures.
The whole gang—Tank, Jet and Sub Girls, along with Barney, Zulu Dobson and Booga—are planning on taking a vacation for the first time in ages to celebrate Tank Girl and Booga’s something-iversery. The whirlwind of planning and excitement—including Zulu presenting Tank Girl with a brand-new tank/RV combo he calls a Tankmaster—is ruined by both Booga’s attempt at saving a fellow kangaroo from life in a zoo and Tank Girl’s adopted mom, Trisha’s, text-begging Tank Girl to come for a final meeting. Lacking power converters needed for the long journey, the team nevertheless embarks on their quest to get Trisha and Tank Girl back together before it’s too late—which naturally results in everything going haywire.
Action Alley is another fun step in the legacy of Tank Girl and her friends, even though it’s not an especially original one. There are several laugh-out-loud moments during the proceedings, from Barney getting Tank and Booga a DNA testing kit for their whatever-iversary to Jet Girl telling a guy who offers to buy her a drink she’ll take it but can’t sleep with him (he still considers it). The book’s typical combination of character vulnerability, bloody action and raunchy humor reigns supreme, but this many years and these many volumes into the story … I honestly feel like I want and need so much more from the series at this point, a bracing shot of whiskey and a big punch in the metaphorical face, so to speak. Tank Girl, as always, knows how to make its audience laugh at the outrageous while dishing up a little cheesecake and a whole lot of amusing ass-kicking, but after last year’s amazing exploration of Sub Girl’s missing years I’ve come to yearn for more from them.
Nonetheless, Booga is a real stand-out here, trying to muffle the general chaos of his storyline while being fully sympathetic in his quest to free Barbara (said kangaroo mentioned above—just go with it!). And Booga— with his constant misanthropic sexual antics—can be hard to bond with as a character, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t charm me this time out with his rare display of altruistic kindness. Otherwise, everyone’s their typically outre, ridiculous chaotic self.
The art is typical of the last Tank Girl run; beautifully articulated and drawn, though the colors are muted and dusty like the post-apocalyptic Australian outback it depicts. This doesn’t make it stand out much from the norm but is consistent, easy to look at and playful.
Another positive: this issue has a rock-solid cliffhanger at the end of this issue, and it’s going to intrigue a lot of old readers and new readers alike. Hopefully the rest of the adventure will follow suit and keep perking things up, taking our merry band of chaos makers into fresher, feistier territory.