RATING: 4/5 – A Dark and Disturbing Look Inside a Suburban Home.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Back in 2004, Dark Horse published a four issue mini series as part of their horror line called The Milkman Murders. Written by Man of Action’s Joe Casey with art by Steve Parkhouse. The Milkman Murders is a disturbing look at the potential horrors of suburban life. Although originally published by Dark Horse more than ten years ago, a few years back Casey and Parkhouse brought their creation over to Image Comics to be released in a hardcover edition. Since I missed getting my shipment of comics this week due to the New Year, I pulled this off of the bookshelf and I’m both glad, but also a bit depressed that I did. The Milkman Murders takes you to the dark shadows of suburban life and within the confines of one suburban home, shows multiple acts of violence, depravity and abuse.
What’s even more unsettling about this book is that all the acts of violence are shown with Parkhouse’s slightly cartoony style. Parkhouse has a heavier line and none of his characters are pretty to look at which makes the horrible acts we see throughout all that much darker. He’s able to convey emotions on his character’s faces and uses his cartoony style to express emotions. There’s a particular scene where the mom, who acts as the main character in the book, loses her patience and screams at her son. Her face contorts dramatically and unrealistically while her teeth are enlarged to a point where she looks like a monster, but Parkhouse is able to make you believe it. Parkhouse also makes all the scenes with the family members dark and dirty, but when he shows suburban life outside of their house, everything is clean and polished. The houses are well manicured, the “Mass-Mart” is pristine, and there’s the image of a perfect world presented on the television shows watched by the mom each day.
The Milkman Murders isn’t pretty from an artistic view, or from it’s story. There’s quite a bit to be disturbed by including animal cruelty, domestic abuse and rape. So those who may be a bit more squeamish may want to stay away from this book, but if you can handle the material for what it is, Casey tells an engaging story despite the depressing content. Although at times each of the characters can come off as stereotypical and purposefully so, the way their lives are portrayed and the way the mom interacts with each hooked me until the very end. As dark as the story begins, about halfway through the book it takes and even darker tone and truly turns into a horror story. The Milkman Murders is a book that explores just how dark and dirty lives in a clean suburban world can be. Casey and Parkhouse created a home in a suburban town I’d never want to visit, but after reading this I’m glad I did.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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