“Ice Cream Man” Finds Yet Another Way To Scare You
Ice Cream Man #14
Like every other issue of “Ice Cream Man” so far, this story is a single shot pertaining to all-new and unfamiliar characters with a direct theme in play. This title has shown to take the art of comic book story telling to a whole new level by introducing certain aspects, usually based off of the title, that direct how the story is told. This particular issue is entitled “Down and Across,” which gives the indication that crossword puzzles will be the subject. But just like the last issue, “Palindromes,” the story is told in a very unique way that honestly should be experienced personally.
This story revolves around a husband and wife, Earl and Rita. Earl, entranced in his puzzle, is being scolded by Rita for not confronting the kids that were contracted to build their guest house about the smell of marijuana coming from them. You can immediately sense this is not the first time Rita has expressed frustration with Earl’s neglect as she decides to confront the young adults on her own. Earl finds this to be an opportunity to head to the corner store to fetch another puzzle. The turning point of the story is when we are greeted by the clerk. If you’re familiar with this title, you automatically recognize those beady green eyes and presidential chin as the Ice Cream Man in his usual disguise. However, if you’re not familiar, there is only one recurring character in this book and he is always in a different role, the Ice Cream Man. Earl thinks nothing of it as he makes his way home, but its not long before the events in the house go awry. Rita now sees the kids as violent with the intent to harm her. As she is chased through the house Earl does his puzzle in the next room. As he completes the puzzle relating to very dark events in his life, both past and current, he hears a voice persuading him to kill himself. In the next room, Rita finds a shotgun of her own and is fully determined to blow the faces off of the kids. Just as she blasts a hole in the door that Earl is in, Earl realizes suicide isn’t the way out. Rita is able to come to her senses to realized she was just extremely paranoid and the two seem to reconcile. The next day, Earl informs the boys that he’s putting off the guest house to take a vacation with Rita instead. A seemingly happy ending, that is until we get one last shot of the boys loading up in the van with their evil faces back on. What this means, I’m not totally sure. What I do know is that in some way this happy ending was muddied, and for that I applaud.
Maxwell Prince continues to impress with every issue. All unique in their own specific way, but still with a general theme of mental torture involved, he has taken the art of comic book story telling to new levels. With the ability to present a complete story in just twenty pages in such an abnormal manner is something that should be seen and celebrated by more. Although I wasn’t totally in tune with what the ending meant, I understood the general idea. I look forward to seeing what disturbing tale Prince has in store for us in the future, and what crazy new way he can find to tell it.
The art in the book has always been solid with Morazzo and O’Halloran on the visual team. The ability to always make sure the reader knows when Ice Cream Man is doing is hidden influencing based off of the specific characteristic designs that have always stayed consistent throughout. There is always a sense of terror or despair that is heavily driven by the art. This team truly understands how to create that horror factor without the advantage of sound to drive the uneasiness through this, and every other issue so far.
I truly believe that this is the best horror comic on the shelves. Although this issues direct story wasn’t as strong as others, the way in which it was told made up for it. Unique, unnerving, and unpredictable are all words that I can consistently use to describe every issue of “ Ice Cream Ma,” and this issue was by no means any exception. As long as this trio of creators are making comics, we can guarantee that we will always have at least one amazing horror comic on our pull lists to look forward to.
Ice Cream Man #14
‘Ice Cream Man’ has stepped into the horror genre with big shoes.