Dark Horse returns to its tie-in roots, with this wartime book based on the popular World of Tanks online game. Apparently there are over 110 million players on this online game, which kind of puts my consistent “top 5%” online performance on the Injustice mobile game a little to shame.
Now, unfortunately, I am not one of the masses that is playing this game. To be honest, I had never heard of it before picking up this book. But if Dark Horse and property owner Wargaming needs a war story expert, they couldn’t have done better than Garth Ennis, who has had great success with this genre, most recently with Johnny Red from Titan books and Dreaming Eagles from AfterShock.
The story of Tanks is quite simple; an untested British crew inadvertently commands an unconventional Cromwell tank into France while hunted by a hardened German panzer unit. This first issue introduces the regular cast of protagonists and antagonists, whilst also setting the environment for readers new to the genre, yet remaining familiar to those playing the game.
Garth Ennis is fan favourite writer, with a wide and diverse bibliography. That said, I am a little surprised that he has returned to the war staple yet again, so quickly. What’s even more surprising is how cliché this story is. This may be due to the lack of social elements prevalent in Eagles or the lack of friction between characters as seen on Johnny Red. Whatever the reason, the book just reads bland. I am not even sure that the book will resonate with fans of the game, who have undoubtedly made their own backdrop for their gameplay.
The art is provided by 2000 A.D. alumni Carlos Esquerra who delivers a steady art style that is reminiscent of many a war story. The panels are structured in a variety of ways, allowing for a large part of dialogue and exposition to be delivered, which doesn’t really detract from the pace of the story. Esquerra also displays a subtle change in pencil style, at times going for details on close up panels then taking a less is more approach whilst still allowing the characters to stand out form each other. Colors are provided by Michael Atiyeh who shows a war is dirty style with a darkened color scheme. Whilst talking about art, the cover by Isaac Hannaford is gorgeous.
So, what you have is a good looking war story, based on a game, where a cynic would say that planes from recent comic books have been substituted for tanks. I am not sure of the purpose of the book; is it to appeal to the players or entice comic book fans to play the fremmium game? If you are a fan of war stories or the game, then the book should appeal, although more for the former rather than the later. I am not convinced that the book will drive an increase of game downloads.
Writing – 3 Stars
Art – 3 Stars
Colors – 3.5 Stars
Cover – 4 Stars
Garth Ennis (W), Carlos Ezquerra (A), Michael Atiyeh (C), Isaac Hannaford (Cover)