The penultimate issue of this gory black comedy sees Walter still suffering and his companions doing their utmost to hold back the horrors of Sunflower Farm. A conclusion of sorts is reached, but not for Walter.
The build up to the series’ crescendo certainly continues to mount in Vinyl #5 by writer Doug Wagner and artist Daniel Hillyard as we open up the penultimate issue to cut between two equally tense scenes. One sees serial killer Rennie suddenly and calmly take to her sewing machine of horrors while FBI agent Victoria panics, as you would when being chased by a murdering psycho or two. The other is the sorry scene of Walter in the throes of dementia. But cue the music and the tension soon melts away, or should that be hacked away given the subject matter of this black comedy?
Cue the music, cue the blood bath of gory violence too in another issue that is sure to shock the more sensitive reader. But, if you’ve got this far, then you’ve got the stomach to take whatever madness Wagner and Hillyard gleefully throw art you. Blood, guts and a symphony of violence for the discerning reader. And for fans of Wagner and Hillyard’s Plastic, there’s even an Easter egg of sorts tying their previous serial killer comic book series to this equally horrific book. Although, like its predecessor, this is a comic book best summed up as horror with a heart, albeit a twisted heart. By this point you simply cannot help but root for Walter who has shown a bizarre sense of loyalty to those he loves. Something we simply haven’t seen in the series’ cult leader the beautiful monster that is Madeleine.
The continues use of flashbacks that Wagner has utilised throughout this series continues to help to fill in some of the gaps and make sense of some of the more confusing moments such as Victoria’s willingness to go along with this all. But the other flashback included also acts as an elegy of sorts for one particular character too.
The overall issue comes off as an ending of sorts, for many of the players, but then one is reminded that Madeleine, the queen of this whole shindig still has to be dealt with. A reckoning is coming, but you’ll have to wait for the a little bit longer for that slaughterfest. How it will all end up – will Walter live or die? – is the real hook to pick up the last issue. That, and to see how Madeleine gets what’s coming to her.
Oh, and Dennis’s daughter. We shouldn’t forget her I suppose.
Vinyl #5 is out Wednesday 27th October from Image Comics/12-Gauge Comics