Writer: Matt Miner
Artist: Sean Von Gorman
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Finally, after much anticipation, we have the fourth installment of Matt Miner’s Toe Tag Riot. This is the issue I have been looking forward to since Miner announced the project on Kickstarter. As the band traveled over the course of the last three issues, they came across an assortment of various hate groups and / or loathsome human beings. We have seen them go after Nazi’s, the mom’s involved in the Million Mom March, and dude bros. It was all leading to the final showdown between Toe Tag Riot and the Westboro Baptist church. As a Kansan, this aspect of the story was of great interest to me, personally. While The Westboro Baptist Church seems to be an unstoppable force when it comes to their actions in the media, we do get to see them stopped in the world of fiction.
Miner depicted Fred Phelps and his daughter Shirley fairly accurately. It’s hard to embellish on the personalities of people that picket military funerals. They even made a statement regarding the comic, and Miner placed it on the cover: “Matt Miner and Sean Von Gorman are insincere pervs… Repent before you split Hell wide open!”. While their intention may have been to denounce the comic, it was excellent for promotion. The writing and artwork are great, so having an unintentional endorsement (from the very group featured in your book) is just icing on the cake.
Throughout the entire miniseries we’ve seen the slow build up to the final showdown while getting background information on how the band came to be partial zombies. Miner showed us how Evie Vee lost her arm, the band turning into zombies and back to humans, they made Andy Hurley an honorary band member and therefore, a zombie. I’m still not sure where we all stand on vegan zombies being a possibility, due to their carnivorous diet. For the sake of argument all zombies in this comic feast on humans.
Despite the main focus being the Westboro Baptist Church, there are a few other surprises with the story. I was pleased with a few additions in the artwork. Von Gorman added the Equality House across the street from the church. He even brought back Teddy Mercury, sans the infamous yellow jacket.
I’ve recommended each installment of this book since issue one. The writing has been consistent through all four issues and the story has been cohesive. It’s a unique take on zombies, which is refreshing. Miner has held me captive for several months between the Kickstarter campaign and the release of the first issue. His writing in Critical Hit and Liberator left no doubt in my mind that this book would be well written. Having Von Gorman as the artist was an amazing choice as well. He put small details in the art that may not seem like much to some, but to many people the art is the most important part of the book. Now, the mini series has wrapped up and now that it’s all finished I recommend it to everyone except small children. Even if zombies are not your thing, the way they approach social issues is extremely appealing.
“Toe Tag Riot #4” earns 9.5/10