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Graphic Novel Review

Book Cover

Tank Girl
Bad Wind Rising (Hardback)


Author: Alan Martin
Artist: Rufus Dayglo
Titan Books
RRP: £14.99, US $19.95, Can $22.95
ISBN: 978 0 85768 742 5
Available 27 January 2012

Oh no! Can it be true? Is the greatest romance since Wills and Kate torn asunder? First there was Tristan and Isolde. Then there was Romeo and Juliet. Finally, there was the Kalashnikov-mouthed, Primark-tastic Princess of Panzers and her marsupial paramour - Tank Girl and Booga! But the honeymoon is over, and the greatest inter-species love story since Catherine the Great and her horse lies bleeding in the Outback, triggering a chain reaction that threatens the very existence of the universe! Will love conquer all? Or will space/time vanish up its own black hole...?

This hardback graphic novel collects all four issues of the latest Tank Girl comic-book series, Bad Wind Rising.

Flicking through it, you would be forgiven for thinking that the strip’s original artist Jamie Hewlett had returned to the fold. (Well, I’d forgive you anyway, because that’s precisely what I thought at first!) But no, it’s Rufus Dayglo again, imitating the Hewlett style even more uncannily than he did during Tank Girl’s previous adventure Skidmarks. The overall design may look a little less anarchic (though still far crazier than most other comics from mainstream publishers), but the familiar features are all still there: Booga’s grin, Tank Girl’s evil eyebrows, the barren outback, the clouds of dust left behind by Tank Girl’s tank, and the frilly details on a hell of a lot of female underwear. The only characters who don’t look much like Hewlett creations are a couple of mad scientists, Dr Poussini and Dr Gronch.

In common with the artwork, Alan Martin’s writing is a little more organised than it was during the strip’s Deadline days, featuring the semblance of a plot, some real (and mind-blowing) theoretical physics, and return appearances by various familiar characters. The author brings back Barney, his most recent addition to the cast list; old favourites such as Jet Girl, who obligingly changes her hair colour, lest we get her mixed up with Barney; and goes right back to the strip’s origins as Booga crosses paths with the kangaroo gang into which he was being initiated when he first met Tank Girl. The kangaroos are not too pleased to see him again... New characters include Green Nigel, who’s a fan of greenery, if you know what I mean (dude).

The apparent cause of the break-up between Tank Girl and Booga is surprisingly mundane. Rather than the justifiable objection of all the times that Tank Girl has humiliated him or caused him physical pain, the final straw for Booga is that his partner hasn’t been pulling her weight with the washing up. However, it ultimately becomes clear that this is part of a wider conspiracy - which also involves a James Bond type agent and vehicles.

Unusually, the strip is presented not in full colour, and not in black and white either, but something in between, in shades of green and red. But then, you can’t really expect the usual from this series, can you?

The back pages of this volume include behind-the-scenes details of how Dayglo goes about creating his artwork.

The hardback’s price tag means that you might want to wait for the paperback to come out, but apart from that, Bad Wind is rather good.


Richard McGinlay

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