Fast paced, historically accurate, and produced by two of the war comics genre’s grand masters, World of Tanks: Roll Out! delivers a fast-paced story, gorgeous and gritty art, and doesn’t shy away from the realities of warfare during World War II, making it a must buy for war comics fans.

World of Tanks: Roll Out! #4, cover art by Isaac Hannaford.

 

World of Tanks: Roll Out! by Garth Ennis with art by Carlos Ezquerra, is a six-issue, joint venture between Dark Horse Comics and Wargaming.net published in conjunction with the launch of the World of Tanks online multiplayer game. This is terrain that Ennis and Ezquerra have travelled before, most notably in The Tankies stories in Ennis’ Battlefields anthologies, and so World of Tanks often feels like rereading an old favorite, although the distinct personalities of the crew in The Tankies are unfortunately largely absent in WoT.

Still, this is Ennis and Ezquerra (who between them have over 40 years of experience in war comics, going all the way back to Ezquerra’s runs on The Rat Pack and Major Eazy in the mid- and late-1970s) so World of Tanks is a solid war comic with plenty of action, Ennis’s trademark gallows humor, and a cast of characters on either side that the reader quickly comes to care about. Ennis also takes the chance to illuminate the 12th SS Panzer “Hitler Youth” division, and the massacres these young men and boys committed during the battles in Normandy after the Allied invasion on 6 June. Depicting obscure or little known historical aspects of the wars he’s writing about is another hallmark of Ennis’ work, and in WoT serves to differentiate his “good” Panzer crew from the “bad” SS unit.

World of Tanks #4, script by Garth Ennis, art by Carlos Ezquerra.

The story focuses on the mostly inexperienced crew of the Snakebite, a British Cromwell tank in the Bocage country of Normandy in June of 1944. Cromwells were fast, “cruiser tanks,” some models capable of reaching 40 mph, and were designed to be able to maneuver while both treads were moving, unlike the American Sherman. Unfortunately, like almost all tanks used by the Western Allies at the time, Cromwells were under-armored and under-gunned when compared with the latest German tanks, particularly the Tigers and Panthers operated by units like the 12th SS Panzer and others. Compounding this, the Snakebite turns out to be a training tank made of soft steel rather than armor plate, sent to the front by mistake. The lighter metal makes Snakebite the fastest tank in the theater, however, so the crew opts to keep it, trusting in its speed to protect them from opponents expecting a slower vehicle.  This issue sees Snakebite in action for the first time, and – thus far – her crew’s decision seems to be paying off, even as most of their unit once again finds itself unprepared for well laid German defenses. Meanwhile, the Wehrmacht tankers opposing them discover the true horror and power of even inadvertent Allied airpower.

Good Germans v Bad Germans in World of Tanks #4.

Fast paced, historically accurate (excluding Snakebite itself), and produced by two of the war comics genre’s grand masters, World of Tanks: Roll Out! delivers a fast-paced story, gorgeous and gritty art, and doesn’t shy away from the realities of warfare during World War II, making it a must buy for war comics fans.

World of Tanks: Roll Out! #4 (of 6) will be released on January 11.