Are you ready for a truly disturbing reading experience? Well, too bad, Faithful Spoilerites, ’cause it’s here whether we’re ready or not… Your Major Spoilers review of Ice Cream Man #4 awaits!
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Artist: Martin Morazzo
Colorist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Good Old Neon
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 25, 2018
Previously in Ice Cream Man: “Another woeful one-shot! Here, a guy named Joel has drinks with his best friend’s estranged dad. As for the best friend?
Well, I suppose you could say he’s in a bit of a pickle…”
FEELS LIKE A CLASSIC E.C. HORROR ANTHOLOGY
After the truly strange experience that was Ice Cream Man #3, I jumped at the chance to read this issue, in the hopes that they could continue the thoughtful, touching yet still really unpleasant modern horror story therein contained. This issue begins with a funeral. Or, at least, the preparation for one, as young Joel (a man on the cusp of becoming a dad, barely over the age of thirty) puts on his best suit so that he can eulogize his deceased best friend, Chris. Though they had grown apart, Joel does a wonderful job, and after the funeral is violently hugged by Chris’ father, who left the family years ago. They decide to get a drink together to celebrate their shared loss, and… that’s when the story starts to go off the rails. Joel seems to be considering exiting on his own family, but their conversation (maybe?) changes his mind. And when Mr. Carson tearfully wishes he could hug his son one last time, a smile crosses Joel’s face…
AND A NEW PLAYER ENTERS THE FIELD
None of this, of course, touches on the most intriguing and terrifying part of the issue, which I am unwilling to spoil for readers who haven’t yet experienced the issue. But let me tell you, it’s worth your four dollars. This issue consists mostly of a conversation between two men about loss, with one truly unpleasant interlude that ties into last issue’s battle in The Sweet Place, at least three moments that gave me goosebumps and the last page introduction of someone who clearly knows our titular Ice Cream Man better than we do. The art is fabulous throughout (especially the terrible parts I’m not telling you about) and even manages to make interesting layouts out of a dilapidated bar with two men drinking to help with their grieving. There is a sense of reality to these stories that reminds me of Neil Gaiman’s first ten or so issues of Sandman, where we’ve just walked into the middle of ongoing events and the context is slowly being revealed to us a little bit at a time, and it is glorious.
BOTTOM LINE: THIS ONE IS REALLY GOOD
When I say this one is a winner, bear in mind that I learned my take on existential dread and the quiet horror of life from the likes of Rod Serling, Graham Ingels and Stephen King, and that I consider this book to be in those rare, distinctively enjoyable veins. (Pun intended.) Ice Cream Man #4 is a winner from top to bottom, with a story that balances the disturbing with the bittersweet, really detailed and well-executed art and a cliffhanger that seems to hold the promise of better things to come, earning a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars overall. If you haven’t been reading this comic, I think it’s time that you start…