Toxic Fandom. It’s everywhere, especially now that social media has grown so much that everyone has a voice, regardless of how they use it. This type of fandom will call you out for liking something they don’t; they will bully an actor or actress off Instagram because they don’t like how they look; they’ll DM death threats to a writer who was hired to take a beloved character in a new direction. And there are others still who get so worked up over one little thing that it becomes all-consuming and they decide it’s time to do something about it. And what they end up doing is something very, very wrong. This is but one of the ideas behind Rogues’ Gallery.
The group at the focus of this debut issue consists of a few such fans. On one end of the spectrum is the de facto leader Dodge, an angry–possibly homophobic–loudmouth; on the other end is Kyle, the youngest, most sensitive of the group, and more than a little put-upon. There’s less attention given to the token girl Hayley and the quiet Yuri, but ultimately, none of the four act as much of a moral compass. As fans of the comic Red Rogue, the group has come to detest the television adaptation and its outspoken star Maisie Wade. When Wade’s departure from the series results in its cancellation, the group decides to pay the actress a little visit.
This book is not an easy read. Writer Hannah Rose May has crafted a tale that feels like a dark and twisted episode of The Big Bang Theory. The dialogue ranges from angry and toxic to dangerously hateful. The characters represent some of the worst types of fans: those who value the IP above so much else but find very little to actually enjoy about it. It’s like reading a discussion on Twitter or Reddit where the users are just tearing apart something they claim to care about before things take a very dark turn. Even if you’ve never been privy to that in real-time, you’ve seen posts about it or screenshots. Heck, you may have even heard it in person at a comic store or convention.
While the book is effectively creepy and uncomfortable, it’s an odd choice to focus solely on a group of very unlikeable characters when solicits market Maisie as the star. She really only appears in two panels as herself, while her television counterpart gets a little more page-time. The cliffhanger ending makes it apparent that Maisie’s story is only beginning and that the next issue(s) may provide an altogether different perspective on the idea of fandom. It’s certainly worth tuning in to find out what happens next.
- Script: Hannah Rose May
- Story: Hannah Rose May, Declan Shalvey
- Line Art: Justin Mason
- Color Art: Triona Farrell
- Letters: Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
- Design: Fonographix
- Edits: Heather Antos
- Publisher: Image Comics