Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: The Death of Death: Part 4
Written by: George A. Romero
Penciled by: Tommy Castillo
Inked by: Rodney Ramos
Colored by: Lee Loughridge
Lettered by: Pat Brosseau
Editor: Bob Schreck
Publisher: DC Comics
The first issue of Toe Tags did nothing for me. I just didn’t like it. As a big fan of George Romero and the zombie genre, I’m still having a hard time getting over the shock. Needless gore, confusing plotting, and a fast read worked against the book. Things have improved the past few months, but it seems Toe Tags will never reach greatness. Hell, I don’t think it’s going to hit excellent. As of now good might be out of reach, but mediocre seems like a smart bet. Considering Toe Tags is a zombie book written by George Romero, that’s just not good enough.
One thing that’s really bothered me about Toe Tags so far is the uninteresting and poorly characterized cast. Terrific characterization is a staple of Romero’s work. After three months of carnage, issue #4 settles things down quite a bit. We get some time to delve into the characters we have been following. Unfortunately, the scene changes are still a bit clunky, and I have to say that I’m confused more often than not. The answers are coming along now, but very slowly.
This month, our protagonist, Damien, a zombie capable of thought, finally begins to talk to his supporting players. There’s a budding romance between Damien’s former love, Judy, and a militia man, Billy. The romantic pieces are a bit stunted, but they do add some depth to the story. Damien gets to talk about what he hopes to accomplish, and he and Billy decide to enlist some help. Then Damien decides what side he really should be on. I’m still waiting to find out what the likes of a zombie-Rasputin are doing in these pages, but I guess that question will be answered soon enough.
Tommy Castillo and Rodney Ramos do a nice job capturing the apocalyptic setting of Toe Tags and the varied cast of undead. Like the first issue, though, some of the confusion is due to weird transitional work between panels and pages. I’m not quite sure where exactly the blame should fall, but the flow is very jerky. This is one of the elements that is making Toe Tags less-enjoyable.
After a lackluster beginning Toe Tags is improving. It certainly isn’t going to be a classic, but, at least, it won’t be an unmitigated disaster either.