"Toe Tag Riot #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Black Mask Studios
Written by Matt Miner
Illustrated by Sean Von Gorman
2014, 32 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on December 24th, 2014
It's one thing to be an LGBT-friendly zombie punk rock band fighting Nazis, but does Toe Tag Riot have what it takes to battle the combined forces of the One Million Moms and the Westboro Baptist Church? Well, yeah. It wouldn't be much fun otherwise. Picking up right where the first issue left off, Dickie has just brutally murdered a number of neo-Nazis, feasting on their flesh. I mean, he is a zombie, right? The band then heads out to their next gig in scenic New Jersey. Unsurprisingly, this concert turns into a bloodbath as well.
Toe Tag Riot does not take itself seriously at all. This is good and bad. On the one hand, it works like a dark fantasy for any sane person in the world who's ever read about a funeral protest from WBC or some ridiculous petition from the One Million Moms. These groups are just asking to be made fun of and this comic delivers it in spades. They're hapless villains in the story, rallying against the misconceived notion that their hate speech is correct or in any way justified. The band literally tears them to shreds.
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While the group is fighting with their fists and teeth, they're also throwing out some awful puns and some pretty rough dialogue. After stabbing one of the protestors with a sign, the band member shouts "All signs point to death! ...Get it?" There are several others like this that pop up throughout the battle and each one is pretty groan-worthy.
Also shoehorned into the book is the guest appearance by Fall Out Boy's Andy Hurley. It's advertised on the cover of the issue and he literally says "I'm Andy" a few times throughout the story, so you know for sure who he is. Coupled with the strange inclusion of a woman named Leigh that joins in on the fun (maybe a Kickstarter backer?), this portion of the comic feels clumsy and hamfisted, thrown in like an awkward Stan Lee cameo in a Marvel movie and serving no real purpose.
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Throughout everything, Sean Von Gorman's artwork lends a carefree, fun tone to Toe Tag Riot. The kills are increasingly outlandish and insane, with blood flying everywhere. It's gruesome but there are smiles on the faces of the band members. They're in their element. The Nazi rumble at the opening of the book is particularly entertaining, but it's the page after that seals the deal, showing the boys washing up as they're standing amongst piles of body parts.
Toe Tag Riot is one gigantic undead middle finger to the likes of One Million Moms and the Westboro Baptist Church. It's a near non-stop, gore-filled romp that is unfortunately bogged down by some awkward dialogue. If you ever wanted to see a Bible thumper stabbed with a crucifix, you've come to the right place.