ADVANCE REVIEW : Toe Tag Riot #2

Story: Matt Miner
Art: Sean Von Gorman
Letters: Sean Von Gorman
Colors: Savanna Ganucheau
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Release Date: December 24, 2014

Last month Black Mask Studios released the smash hit Toe Tag Riot #1, the book about punk rock zombies and their appetite for the bigoted dross of American society. Issue #2, to be released later this month, doesn’t stray from that formula, in fact, it ups the ante significantly.

The first issue of this gross and humorous title was a fine introduction to a group of flesh-eating misfits and their acclimation to life as musically-inclined zombies. We got a bit of background into their inter-personal relationships, personalities and history as musicians. All told, an excellent debut by most accounts.

The second issue picks up literally where the first one left off, as Dickie and Paulie gorge themselves on a group of Neo-Nazis in their most recent venue’s restroom. The scene is rife with humorous witticisms and bloody gore.

As the feast comes to an end, who should stroll in, but Fallout Boy’s Andy Hurley. I’ve known he was to be featured in this issue for about a month, but it was still a great addition. Leaves me to wonder if every issue will feature a guest star from the real world of alt/punk rock; that would make for an interesting gimmick.

This issue delves a little deeper into just how Toe Tag Riot became the walking dead that they are, and maybe unsurprisingly, it’s all Dickie’s fault. There’s not a pseudo-science-y explanation for the band’s altered state, ala World War Z or 28 Weeks Later; nope, just a good old-fashioned witches’ curse. There’s even a cauldron and an indication of partial nudity.

Miner and Von Gorman raise the stakes in terms of socio-political commentary this issue as well, literally and figuratively flipping off Hobby Lobby and Westboro Baptist Church. There are some more shots fired,too, in terms of parodying figures on the religious right, that seem to get more outrageous with every panel.

The artwork brings to mind early Mike Judge work in that it is a form of simplified realism for the most part, if a little cartoonish. It’s suitable for the book and expresses the satirical nature of the story well.

While I enjoyed this issue, I do wonder if the word gags will get a little worn as the series progresses. Almost every scene of dismemberment or impaling involves either a pun or some snarky wordplay. And there were plenty of those types of scenes.

By: A.C.

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