The late 80s was a very, shall we say…strange time in comics. I consider it a transitional time for the industry. The incredible artistic style that had carried comics through the 50s and 60s was being met with full force of imaginative and inventive writing. Peter Milligan should be counted among those who aided in this transition and brought a British flavor to the American centric titles that ruled the age.
Skreemer is, in a word, disjointed.
If you have trouble following books that jump around this may not be the book for you. Milligan sometimes changes time and storyline from panel to panel throughout Skreemer. If you’ve ever seen the movie American Pop then you will appreciate this coming of age story told from the perspective of a group of underprivileged children. If you have not ever seen this quality film I recommend checking it out.
Skreemer is set in a post-apocalyptic style America where a plague has killed off huge portions of the population. Government has fallen and its failure gave rise to anarchy. Gangs grew in power; anointing their leaders the title of President.
As with any society disillusioned by fear, lack of food and no hope the inevitable turn is to booze, drugs and sex. Milligan startles the line of what can be considered respectable, even for a Vertigo book, at various parts along the way. He leads us into a world of rape, child prostitution, murder, incest and a host of depraved actions.
The tale itself is told from the perspective of the third-generation son of one of the main ancillary characters, if such a term can even make sense. And the title, Skreemer is actually a term for a top-notch killer within an organization.
Skreemer will not leave you wanting for intrigue and character; with so many plots and sub-plots percolating throughout the mini-series. It all comes together at the end and the whole sorted past of every character is on display. Milligan is quite an amazing writer, really. Though the story can be confusing it’s like a movie you almost have to see twice just to catch all the parts you missed while you were paying attention to the main action.
It may not be for everyone, but Skreemer is absolutely a quality read and well worth the investment; if you can find it. As a late-80s Vertigo book it’s not been collected so you’ll have to find the individual issues. Skreemer gets a B+ from this reviewer.
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Till next Wednesday…
This is your Bin Fodder Guru Tim Blacksmith signing off.