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The American dream is a dream like no other. Jobs line
streets of gold, vacuum cleaners and TVs sit in every house, and families
gathered each night to eat hot meals made lovingly by Mom. Everything seemed
perfect; an idea of Middle America that has inspired generations. But
underneath every love story sits a horror so dark and disturbing that Norman
Rockwell himself would spin in his grave if he ever got wind of it—a horror of
family secrets and broken dreams, where things beyond the human redemption can
happen even in the quietest of suburbia. This is the premise for THE MILKMAN
MURDERS, a comic so thoroughly fucked up and heart-wrenching, that if you
finish reading it unscathed, you probably don't have a heart. In fact, feel
free to feel bad about yourself right now.
In a “cookie-cutter,” suburban neighborhood, we find our
heroine, Barbara Vale methodically preparing dinner for her loving family. As
they enter the home, we are treated to a typical family scene of mother,
father, and two beautiful children gathered around the dinner table. Except
here, the father begins slapping mother around, and the children are
loud-mouthed brats who couldn't give a shit about mom's dinner. This is where
the story of our perfect family slowly begins to break down and a whole bag of
insanity lets loose.
Barbara slowly begins to unveil the truth behind her family:
her son is a psychopathic animal killer, her daughter is sleeping with half the
staff at her school, and her husband is addicted to drugs and beats Barbara so
badly that she frequently needs stitches. Despite all this, Barbara still holds
out hope that her family can work it out, until one day a milkman breaks into
her house and rapes her, finally pushing her over the edge. This is the turning
point, a push to a no-man’s land that Barbara never digs herself out of, and
sets off a chain of events that changes her life forever.
THE MILKMAN MURDERS stays with you. So unbelievably brutal
and unapologetic, the story makes you question the people and families around
you and wonder what sort of demons they may be hiding. The author, Joe Casey,
does a brilliant job with conveying that sense of disappointment and terror
that Barbara feels with her brood, even almost making you feel sorry for them
when she finally snaps. The art by Steve Parkhouse reflects the more innocent
styling of the Sunday newspaper funnies, which really help add to the surreal
sense of the entire work. Though THE MILKMAN MURDERS was originally published
in 2004 by Dark Horse Comics, it is Image Comics that is finally releasing a
hard-covered graphic novel that collects the four issue miniseries.
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