Sometimes, you buy literary works in the sequential art medium to challenge yourself with complex ideas and emotionally-charged storytelling. Other times, you buy comics because you want to see a Confederate general's ghost in a magic World War II tank fight a giant-ass mechanical Nazi battle station in the shape of a huge rolling wheel with shitloads of guns on it. You get the latter with G.I. Combat #7, the end of the ill-fated series that marks the second attempt at military comics in DC's New 52, after the equally ill-fated Men of War.
The Haunted Tank is a tank that's haunted. That is all you need to know to want to buy, own and hoard every appearance of The Haunted Tank, which was invented by Robert Kanigher and Russ Heath in 1961 and is a fucking great idea. The fact that the tank is a Light M3 Stuart, and the haunter is the ghost of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart – a guy who has no business a-haunting a goddamned tank – makes it even more SHUT UP IT IS THE HAUNTED TANK AND IS AWESOME. The guy in World War II driving that tank was Stuart's grandson Jeb Stuart, and now he's an old man, whose Haunted Tank appears to help HIS grandson Scott Stuart in Afghanistan. After saving his life, the Haunted Tank is now ghosting around to settle some unfinished business.
And that unfinished business is the goddamned War Wheel. What the fuck's a War Wheel?
THAT'S WHAT THE FUCK'S A WAR WHEEL.
Look at that thing! It makes no design sense, but it's a thing of twisted, stupid, death-faced amazingness anyhow. You look at it and think 'Jesus Jumped-Up Jerks on a Jungle Gym, all you gotta do is tip that fucker over and you win!' Well, a couple of things there, Chester – one, it ain't that easy to tip this fucker over – it's a massive-ass rolling motherfuckin' building. Two, even if you tip it over, guess what happens?
That's right, it's a MOTHERFUCKING FLYING SAUCER!
What the hell's a little ol' Light M3 Stuart to do against a Flying Saucer War Wheel piloted by a semi-undead ghost Nazi?
Wait a minute, this is no ordinary M3 Start… it's The Haunted Tank!
That's right, you ghost the fuck up onto that thing!
HAUNTED TANK RIDING A MOTHERFUCKING FLYING SAUCER WAR WHEEL PILOTED BY A SEMI-UNDEAD GHOST NAZI!
COMIC BOOKS! YES!
Hell of a way to go out, although honestly, this is what I was waiting for as soon as Men of War was announced in the first get-go of the New 52, and Peter J. Tomasi and Howard Chaykin have delivered. Also, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti's backup story about the Unknown Soldier has been pretty cool, and I hope he gets folded into the Freedom Fighters they seem to be building up with these miniseries featuring The Ray, Phantom Lady, Doll Man and now Human Bomb.
Also, Haunted Tank vs. War Wheel = GRATE