December 8, 2012

Titan Reviews: Tank Girl: Carioca

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Written by: Aaron
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If I know anything about Tank Girl… all Hell’s about to break loose….

Tank Girl: Carioca
Writer: Alan Martin
Artist: Mike McMahon
Cover Colors: Mike McMahon
Publisher: Titan Comics

Tank Girl is a British comic created by Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett. Though originally illustrated by Hewlett, it has also been drawn by many other artists, including Mike McMahon, primarily famous for works such as Judge Dredd. The comic itself has a style obviously influenced by punk visual art, and is often designed to be deeply disorganized, anarchic, absurdist, and surrealist. The punk visual art style is often used to create a sense of empathy or revulsion, and works with the comic to emphasize a point with an acidic or sarcastic wit, while usually delving into satirical socio-political commentary.

This book is the story of Rebecca Buck, better known as Tank Girl, her rag-tag crew of friends, and, well…her tank.
Tank Girl: Carioca is a collection of a three-part mini-series that started in October 2011, featuring a plot revolving around Tank Girl and her crew conspiring to kill an outstandingly obnoxious, rude, vile game show host who insults Tank Girl on National TV, and the general insanity that follows the completion of their original mission.

Here’s the gist of Act 1 in this 3 Act Joy Ride.

Now that you know what you’re in for, let’s get right down to it, shall we?
Tank Girl: Carioca is a rip-roarin’, raucous, riled-up, rough-edged, rock ’n’ roll revenge romp from its in-your-face start to its insane finish! It’s a giant F-You to authority figures, more importantly those worthless sad losers who are given some modicum of power and do everything they can to make your life miserable. So, more appropriately it’s a giant F-You to people that abuse their authority.

Author Alan C. Martin sums it up nicely in the book’s foreword:
“To all the power abusers of the world – This one’s for you. You spineless fucking bastards. You can’t touch me….”

Here’s a taste of Act 2, in this 3 act play of absurdity.

The book itself is filled with quiet moments that form a device that seems to be a combination of a soliloquy and an aside, where the author relays his feelings and/or the characters’ feelings to the reader in a short poem of sorts.  These are truly the best moments of the book.  They tend to help break the sections of the story down better than normal chapter breaks, and offer a nice moment of reflection that either comments on the previous section or sets up the following section. It functions a bit in the same way that the sections of verse in J.R.R. Tolkien and Robert E. Howard’s stories break up the action. Yes, you read that right. Wouldn’t think that a review of Tank Girl would include allusions to Conan or Lord of The Rings, but there it is.

The art from Mike McMahon is…well…what you’d expect from Mike McMahon. He’s got a very distinctive visual style. Take it or leave it, because you might like it, you might not, it might grow on you, it might not. Regardless, the art really matches the hard-edged punk rock style this book has going.

TANK GIRL… the story of a GIRL… and her TANK. Go on! No, really!

This book is what would happen if The Stooges (the Iggy Pop band, not the comedy trio) and The Sex Pistols had some sort of biologically impossible love-child, and it happened to be birthed in the form of a graphic novel.

If you like Brit-wit, punk rock, absolute absurdity, anti-authoritarian attitudes, parody that’s both self-aggrandizing and self-deprecating, or any combination thereof, this book is most likely for you. If you like stories about power-abusing tossers getting their comeuppance, and stories about vengeance in general, this book is most likely for you.

Seriously, folks! Go pick this book up…ASAFP! If you have issues with harsh language and odd visual styles, you might have a few issues here. But if you like a damn good story with an actual message and a deep emotional resonance and core, you’ll probably love this book! Check it out! Right now! Go! Stop reading this and go get it!

Aaron Nicewonger



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