Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Carlos Ezquerra
Release Date: 31st August 2016
What do you mean you’ve never heard of World of Tanks? Apparently 90 million people play it regularly.
World of Tanks: Roll Out! is set almost immediately after a beachhead is established in Normandy on D-Day and, as you might imagine, it concentrates on the ensuing battle between British and German armour in the summer of 1944.
The blurb on the World of Tanks website tells us that Garth Ennis (Preacher, War Stories, The Punisher) brings a unique, historically-informed approach to tell a hard-hitting war story focused on the daring tank crews of World War II, and legendary artist Carlos Ezquerra (Judge Dredd, Battlefields, War Stories Vol. 2) brings his decades of skill to depict the tanks of WWII and the men who commanded them. Sounds good, right?
I joking said when Ceej gave me this one to review that I would be happy if it ended up being Fury in comic form. It’s not quite that primal and brutal, but it is a rather fine melding of the 1970’s British war comic and a more modern sensibility… whisper it… there is profanity.
You might not know it but Garth Ennis is a rather fine author of War Comics. If you don’t believe me, go find Adventures in the Rifle Brigade and War Stories (Vertigo), Battlefields (Dynamite) and the splendid Johnny Red (Titan). I originally thought that World of Tanks: Roll Out! Might be a bit of a stretch and that it could potentially be difficult to tell a decent tale around the subject matter. I was pleasantly surprised. Ennis’s skills as a writer ensure that a compelling tale has been started here with characters that you’re likely to become quickly invested in.
Carlos Ezquerra has been around the comicbook block a time or ten. The 68-year-old co-creator of Judge Dredd cut his war comics teeth on Battle Pictures weekly back in 1975 and hasn’t looked back. In this comic you get exactly what you expect to get. A comic book royal doing a very professional job, and delivering a good looking story.
I do have a couple of gripes though. The British tank team we follow here feels a little forced, but to be honest Ennis hasn’t had a lot of time to explore their motivations. My other gripe is maybe just because I’ve just finished reading Johnny Red, which was aeronautical eye candy. At one point in this story Ezquerra presents us with a scene where Typhoon Tank busters attack a Panzer column. Whilst the aircraft are recognisable, they just feel a little underdone.
World of Tanks: Roll Out! surprised me. Even though the creative team are comics heavy hitters, I thought this would be a pocket liner for them. It’s not. It’s actually rather good.
The writer of this piece was: John Wallace
John Tweets from @jmwdaredevil