They call it ‘The Feel-Bad Story Of The Year’ and it 100% fits. Your Major Spoilers review of Ice Cream Man #5 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: July 18, 2018
Previously in Ice Cream Man: The last page of the last issue seemed to imply that whatever the Ice Cream Man is up to, he’s not alone. And he’s not unopposed.
But first, a story that last for one hundred stories.
I AM DIZZY JUST READING THIS BOOK
Our story begins in a place described as “About thirty miles out of town”, on the top of a high-rise office building, with a man named Bill. Bill has come to jump, and by the third panel, he has, leaving only the voice in his head. Oh, and the memory of a smiling man who turned into a vulture. As he falls, he thinks about the people he has wronged and the things he has done in his life, but he also helps to narrate a series of events INSIDE the building, involving a young woman named Veronica. Veronica’s trip down from the upper floors may not be as dramatic as his, but they are utterly horrifying, as everyone in the building has gone mad. Fair warning to those of sensitive nature: This one earns its adult readers tag on every page, with vultures doing what vultures do, a beheading, at least one disembowelment and a lot of terror on every page. Bill continues falling, offering a final apology before meeting the concrete, leaving the Ice Cream Man to start his terrible narration… That is, until the mysterious cowboy from last issue tells him to shut up, breaking the fourth wall and freaking poor Veronica (who is perhaps the only survivor) right out.
COMPLEX, DISTURBING AND CREATIVE
I’ve compared this comic to ‘Sandman’ before, and it’s still a comparison that fits this issue. The narrative of Bill’s descent is clever and dark all at once, while Veronica’s story is actually more disturbing in many ways. The sheer ingenuity of the terrible moments in this issue help to make the horrifying moments more palatable, as it feels like more than just torture porn or a series of unfortunately fatal events. Maxwell’s script is clearly hiding as much as it reveals, but as an opening salvo for the book’s next arc, this is top-notch. Morazzo’s art has overtones of Frank Quitely and Juan Jose Ryp, delivering on the blood-curdling moments without overwhelming me with gristle and blood. Don’t get me wrong, there is blood to be had in these pages (Bill’s last panel was never going to be pretty), but as with the story, it feels motivated, necessary and defensible in an artistic sense, rather than just rehashing a ‘Faces of Death’ scenario on the comics page.
BOTTOM LINE: SOMETHING AMAZING IS GOING ON HERE
When I read the first issue of Ice Cream Man, I knew we’d be talking about it for a while, and while I’m still in the dark on the title character’s true nature, the build-up is worth reading every month. Ice Cream Man #5 is a horror comic in the old E.C. tradition, with bleak humor throughout and a really shocking moment on the final page that raises tons of questions and makes me want to read next issue RIGHT NOW, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. There’s something about a really well-crafted, inexplicable story of the unknown bringing terrible things, and this is an excellent example of contemporary horror with a strange metatextual edge.