Sunday, April 11, 2021

Tankers #1 Review and *SPOILERS*


Where Jurassic Park meets Aliens . . . Let's Rock!

Written By: Robert Venditti

Art By: Juan Jose Ryp, Andrew Dalhouse

Letters By: Dave Sharpe

Cover Price: $5.99

Release Date: April 7, 2021

Review by: J-Man

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Bad Idea is a new publisher on the market made up of several creators from Valiant comics (think between 2012 and 2017) before the day the publishing company died . . . err changed hands and direction. Tankers is the second series from this up-and-coming publisher. When I saw the synopsis for this series months ago, I was already intrigued. Having read stories by Robert Venditti in the past (Hawkman, X-O Manowar, Green Lantern post-Geoff Johns) and art by Juan Jose Ryp (Wolverine: Best There Is, X-O Manowar, lots of Lady Death), I knew this was a must-buy. The two creators have collaborated on a 12-issue mini-series in the past (Wrath of the Eternal Warrior) and killed it. But maybe that was their one-hit-wonder, and Tankers will go the way of the dinosaurs. Let's find out.

Our story begins with an ad for GO Greenleaf Oil with its owner and CEO, Mister Smythe, speaking before the white-collar employees of said company in an office board room after showing their latest pro-oil propaganda ad. This ad reminds me of many of the propaganda ads in the movie Robocop. Think that but putting the oil industry on a "making your life better" pedestal. One employee mentions that while India and China are ramping up their oil usage, the studies show that the global reserves will be enough to sustain the world's oil consumption for only 50 more years. I like the inside joke when one employee says that GO funded those studies and knows the numbers. Enter Doctor Emerson Leslie (from GO R&D) with a plan to time travel back to prehistoric dinosaur times and stop the comet 66 million years ago from hitting Earth and causing a mass extinction event with the dinosaurs. This would allow 50 million more years of dinosaurs to grow and breed until the comet hit the Earth a second time and cause the mass extinction event much later. More dead dinos equal more fossil fuels (oil) for us. It sounds simple enough.

Not only does Leslie have a Doctor Emmet Brown-sized plan, but he and the R&D team also have a fully functional time travel gate (think Stargate for time travel without the echelon symbols or ancient alien invaders). Then the plan gets interesting with the Tankers' introduction: six elite military soldiers, each piloting a mech-suit armed with enough artillery to take down an aircraft carrier. Again, the plan is simple enough. Bring the Tankers through the time gate, secure the perimeter. Then bring through the scientists and the particle cannon that will knock the comet off its collision course with Earth. What could go wrong?

I will not give away what happens next. Let's say it's not suitable for anyone who walks on two legs and relies on said fossil fuels. But let's discuss the story execution by the creators. From the front cover to the 1st issue's end, these guys knocked it out of the park once again. For $5.99 (a price point that still pisses me off with the big 2), I got my money's worth. The art (pencils and colors) is fantastic, with varying 6-7 panel layouts through the board room scene and 4-5 panel layouts when the mech artillery onslaught happens. I like the mini panels focusing on a particular mech soldier and the brief synopsis we get for each of the six soldiers based on dialog and what they want to do upon mission success. Lesser creators would not take the time to breathe life into each of the infantrymen and women. And again, I am taken back to my warm feelings I had when I first saw Robocop. The absolute dino carnage with extreme military artillery reminded me of over-the-top violence in Robocop when ED-209 ripped into an innocent white-collar employee of OCP in the board room. Those of us who remember some of the best 80s action movies will rejoice in this comic.  

After 30 pages of action, Bad Idea decides to sweeten the $5.99 deal by giving us an Elseworlds story around President Abraham Lincoln and some deal he made in 1865 with some animal-like aliens to form a super maximum-security prison on Earth. The story (titled Wyoming) by Robert Venditti and art by Jorge Monlongo was intriguing enough to want to see what happens next in the B-side of Tankers issue 2.

Bits and Pieces:

If issue 1 indicates the story's quality and execution as we advance, I am all in. The nice thing about Bad Idea's shipping schedule is that they have so few books every month that I am inclined to give this issue at least two more reads before the next installment is released on June 2nd. The art, story, character building, and overall execution are on point. I have no complaints.


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