Wednesday, 14 November 2012


First up - and I mean even as first up as dominanting the entire header image - is this week’s mystery comic as alluded to in the last edition. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you GI Combat #6, featuring... THE HAUNTED TANK.

I can sum up very easily why I forked over my three bucks for issue six of The Haunted Tank. It is because, and this is the entirety of my reason for purchasing it, it is called The Haunted Tank. It is about a tank that is haunted. The tank is not possessed, not sentient, as far as this title wants us to know. It is merely haunted. The tank is haunted by a ghost. The tank is not a castle or an orphanage or a graveyard, but nonetheless it is haunted, completely haunted, by a fuckin’ ghost.

Jumping onboard at number #6 means I’d feel unfair commenting on this series from anything but a position of ignorance, so instead all I can do is point out the things I like about it. Not to appear, then, on that list, is the plot or characters or dialogue or even art or anything in general at all. I’m not really a fan of the Tomasi/ Gray combo (also responsible for the wide-of-the-mark Batman & Robin series also currently on racks) but I’m even less fond of war and old guys who were in the war and people giving off about the Taliban because they’re at war with the Taliban and guns and fatigues and war and junk. That’s not to say The Haunted Tank #6 isn’t without its saving graces. Here are them. This great four-panel sequence in which the phrase “Clankety-Clank-Clank”, undeterred by its total inability to strike fear in any living thing, is appropriated  in a way that aims at intimidiation and instead strikes right in the heart of dumber than a shithouse rat (thanks to wrestler X-Pac for that coolio phrase):

I wonder if that's The Haunted Tank's equivalent of "it's clobberin' time". Finally, this, which I give to you without context as that’s how it’s presented in the fucking comic:

Is he being punched or is he attacking, because no one answer you can possibly imagine is less entertaining that the other.

Should you buy it? No. What you should buy is a series of The Haunted Tank written by me, because in MY version of THT, the tank has a name (affectionately referred to as ‘Haunty’ or ‘Aitch Tee’ by his pre-pubescent pals), and goes on all kinds of non-war adventures and is really, really awesome. Don’t buy this. It is a silly thing.


As for Swamp Thing, which follows last week’s Annual issue, it still plods along at an entertaining pace telling a story that passably entertaining but can’t inspire better words in me than the word 'entertaining'. Like I said before, this whole Rotworld thing has gone on for far too long (literally since the start of the New 52) and the stage it’s at now is clearly a potential-future type deely that’s not going to impact anything and is therefore rendered a little pointless. I’ll keep reading because I like the way it looks and sounds but it’s no great shakes. People say that still, don’t they?

Animal Man, also part of the Rotworld ‘event’, is much more entertaining. I guess I get more out of Buddy Baker’s family being in trouble than I do from being lied to about Swamp Thing’s girlfriend being dead in the other book. It helps, too, that Buddy’s buddied up with Constantine and Steel in his strand of things, and that Socks the cat is still around to make the pages of the book all the more idiosyncratic. It took me a while to realise it but Animal Man’s a book I look forward to more and more each month. 

Following last week’s enjoyment of Avenging Spider-Man’s Annual I saw fit to add that title to my pull list as well. It and Swamp Thing have, with their two-weeks-in-a-row publication, fooled my brain into thinking that I can pick up whatever I want every week like some reality-bending brain wizard. It’s a good issue, nearly a great issue. The creative team is totally different from the last issue I read but it still nails that whole ‘this story isn’t important at all so instead can be totally fun’, which bleeds through to the 70s-esque editor’s notes which themselves are full of little nudges and winks. Basic plot? Spider-Man’s in the Savage Land having a ruck with some mutant dinosaurs and teams up with Devil Dinosaur, a giant red T-Rex. Funny script and great Gabriele Dell’Otto art, and what a cover, jeez, look at that thing. Gorgeous. Also, Spider-Man teams up with A DINOSAUR. I'm just happy that I'm able to still get a kick out of a sentence like that at 25, and also that the real issue which exists and is not made up is not the product of the mind of a really awesome child.

Finally (I’m a big believer in best-for-last planning when reading my hauls), issue #2 of Daredevil: End Of Days, whose first issue last month came out of nowhere and instantly became my most craved book. The second ish isn’t really a patch on the first and is very much the sort of chapter that’ll read great in a collection for feels a little like getting the short end when collecting monthly, something I’ve had to accept since starting doing so. Bendis claimed on Twitter that this issue features his favourite DD moment ever, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it is. It may hit me on the inevitable re-read. The Janson/ Sienkiewicz/ Hollingsworth art is still completely appealing on every level, a perfect collaboration in comic book art.

So, Spider-Man in the jungle with a dinosaur vs. more dinosaurs, adventures in pointless alternate futures that no-one cares about and haunted fucking tanks. Is there a better time to be a comics fan? Find out next week when I take a look at Marvel's New 52-challenging NOW! relaunch with a batch of new #1s and a few Bat-titles from the ongoing Death Of The Family over at DC.


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