Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Pencils: Martin Morazzo
Colors: Chris O’Halloran
Letters: Good Old Neon
Cover: Martin Morazzon & Chris O’Halloran (Cover B: Frazer Irving)
Every great once in a while a piece of media comes by that just leaves you going “…What?!” Image Comic’s Ice Cream Man happens to be one of the best examples of that sensation by being a beautifully crafted, nightmarish rollercoaster.
Before we go any deeper I just want to say that since this series is an anthology series I will not be doing in-depth coverage of the stories themselves as not to spoil the contents in each issue. Instead these reviews will focus on tone and quality only.
Now let’s get into it.
Ice Cream Man hearkens back to the classic days for horror writing that I haven’t really seen since the days of Tales from the Crypt. The through line for this book is the seemingly friendly but devilishly mysterious ice cream man Rick. Rick seems to be beloved by the neighborhoods he visits and is on a first name basis with some of his customers. He is not your regular harbinger of frozen goodness, though. Rick has the ability to snap is fingers and turn and object (or living creature) into ice cream. Fast as can be, lickety split. There’s another pretty large secret to the character that I won’t spoil but it definitely piles on to strangeness of Rick and leaves us wanting to know more.
The story within this issue is intriguing, spooky, and incredibly well-written. Everything from the dialogue to the prose-heavy captions are dripping with equal parts humor and dread. For the brief time they have on the page every character in this issue has a distinct personality and set of motivations and that is no easy task in a self-contained anthology series. You end up wanting to know more and more about each of the lead players in the story and it’s satisfyingly tragic that more than likely, given the nature of the series, we won’t see them again. W. Maxwell Prince has successfully crafted a world that feels like a morbidly modern take on 1950s sensibilities.
The pencils done by Martin Morazzo are detailed and striking. He has a similar style to popular artist Frank Quietly, but with his own spin and composition. The simultaneously popping and muted colors by Chris O’Halloran bring this world to life with color palettes that can be dark and dreadful or deceptively optimistic when they need to be.