Review: Ice Cream Man #1

Chocolate, vanilla, existential horror, drug addiction, musical fantasy…there’s a flavor for everyone’s misery.

Ice Cream Man is a genre-defying comic book series featuring disparate “one-shot” tales of sorrow, wonder, and redemption. Each installment features its own cast of strange characters, dealing with their own special sundae of suffering. And on the periphery of all of them, like the twinkly music of his colorful truck, is the Ice Cream Man-a weaver of stories, a purveyor of sweet treats. Friend. Foe. God. Demon. The man who, with a snap of his fingers-lickety split!-can change the course of your life forever.

The concept of Ice Cream Man sounded interesting in the lead up to the first issue. A series of one-shot comics tied together through a character with Twilight Zone like twists. Ice Cream Man #1 lives up to its concept but the execution for this first issue leaves a bit to be desired.

Parents are missing and it’s up to two detectives to figure out why. There’s a deadly spider and… a werewolf?! It’s all very weird and there’s a lot thrown at there that never quite pays off. Writer W. Maxwell Prince never really ties things together well into a coherent narrative and what’s presented is predictable, none of it too interesting or exciting. I expected a Tales From the Crypt meets Twilight Zone but instead we get a watered down horror story with concepts that never pay off and scares that never are conjured.

There seems to be a bit about a werewolf and while there’s a reveal, it’s just kind of left out there. The spider story would be more interesting if presented a bit different. Two detectives are introduced but by the end of the comic we’re not given enough to care about what happens to either. The ideas are great, it’s just how things are presented that falls short. It’s possible with more issues some of what I had troubles with will be diminished but the first issue shouldn’t have to rely on future issues like this. There’s entire plot points that are thrown out there and left hanging which creates frustration and leaves readers scratching their head.

The art by Martin Morazzo and Chris O’Halloran create a sweeter world than the story would have you believe. While the art is decent it never quite clicks to either be so over the top saccharine that it adds to the disturbing horror or create that off sense that leaves us with unease.

Twists that are predictable, concepts that aren’t explored, and characters not given enough development that we should care. Ice Cream Man #1 is a better idea than comic. With some slight tweaks, this would easily be a great horror series, but as is, the comic falls short in story and scares.

Story: W. Maxwell Prince Art: Martin Morazzo, Chris O’Halloran
Story: 6.0 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.0 Recommendation: Pass

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review