Tuesday, 24 January 2017

World Of Tanks #4 - Dark Horse Comics

WORLD OF TANKS No. 4, January 2017
Pushing ever deeper into post D-Day Normandy, “Dark Horse Comics” were arguably perfectly entitled to advertise this twenty-two page periodical as the “exciting penultimate” instalment of their five-issue mini-series “inspired by the massively popular (over 110 million players!) Online game World of Tanks.” True, Garth Ennis’ narrative occasionally labours as a result of some dialogue-heavy discussions amongst the opposing forces’ commanding officers. But the majority of the Northern Irish born American’s writing genuinely seems to capture all the claustrophobic horror of a battle amidst the fatally confining French Bocage, with its harrowing depiction of heavily armoured vehicles either discharging their devastating weapons or themselves exploding into a fiery grave for their unfortunate crew.

Indeed, this tale of a British “charge into a village that’s under attack” by the Third Reich doesn’t even get past its second panel before one the company’s firefly tanks, the first of many as the Allies foolishly trundle alongside a wheat field packed full of camouflaged Panzerfaust teams, is mercilessly “brewed”. It certainly must have been hard for this book’s readers to pause for breath whilst “Linnet and his men” aboard Snakebite outpace and outfight a couple of Stug assault guns, as well as “a mob of Jerry infantry.”

Just as engaging is the Eisner Award-winner’s handling of the battle on foot, as the British Tommies ‘debus’ in order to “winkle” the Germans “out for the Tankies”, and end up literally toe-to-toe with their enemy, matching their carbine rifle against Panzergrenadier knife and stalk hand grenade. Ennis even manages to ‘crowbar in’ a cataclysmic sequence as to the murderous effect upon a Panzer formation by an aerial bombardment; “C-c-c-come back, Ivan. All is forgiven--!” 

All of this volatile violence is competently illustrated by P.J. Holden, with his panels portraying the Allied Sherman tanks finally making a break through a fiery hedge and subsequently trampling the nearby hapless German soldiers, proving particularly well pencilled. Disappointingly however, that doesn’t mean the “Belfast-based comic artist who has drawn for ‘2000 A.D.’” isn’t without his faults, as his awkwardly angular and occasionally doe-eyed facial features, make it almost impossibly hard to tell the difference between the various black beret-wearing Allied officers.
Script: Garth Ennis, Artist: P.J. Holden, and Colors: Michael Atiyeh


  1. Despite your reservations about P.J. Holden's artwork, I still fancy picking this title up in TPB format. That said, you can't help but wonder how different the series would have been if Carlos Ezquerra had drawn all five instalments? Just out of interest, was any explanation given as to why the artists changed mid way through the series?

    1. There's not really much wrong with P.J.Holden's artwork tbh Bryan, but it is markedly different from Carlos Ezquerra's obviously. I'd much rather P.J. had drawn the lot rather than swap in halfway through.

      I have searched long and hard for an explanation for the swap, but not found anything. P.J. refers to his stint on this comic as one of the highlights of 2016 on his blog. but doesn't say why he took over. As for Carlos, maybe he became too busy with all the "2000AD" celebration tours etc? It'll be interesting to find out why, as this book was very strongly advertised as an Ennis/Ezquerra creation.