Another tale of times past, with a nihilistic twist… Your Major Spoilers review of Ice Cream Man #10 awaits!
Writer: W. Maxwell Prince
Art: Martin Morazzo
Colorist: Chris O’ Halloran
Letterer: Good Ol’ Neon
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: Febrary 27, 2019
Previously in Ice Cream Man: We’ve seen the terrible Ice Cream Man in action, we’ve seen the strange world-before-this-one in which he originated… Now it’s time to see the Ice Cream Man of times past.
CIUDAD JUÁREZ, MEXICO: 1919
In turn of the century Mexico, on the Day of the Dead, a young woman named Maria, awaiting her fiance, The General (known to regular readers as Ric, the murderous Ice Cream Man.) The first half of the issue is rendered entirely in Spanish, until the arrival of Maria’s true love, a young cowboy named John, who intends to take her away from it all, including the not-at-all-pleasant attentions of The General. That night, John sneaks to her window to steal her away, only to find her aunt prepared to stop him. He has nothing to offer Maria, she argues, other than a life of poverty as an itinerant cowboy’s wife in the United States. Her delay allows time for The Ice Cream General to arrive, and their fight over a woman turns literal, ending with a fatal stabbing for John (with incredibly red blood, the most vivid shade in the entire comic, which is mostly earth-tones.) As the issue ends, Maria runs to the only person she can: John’s confidante (father?), Caleb, Ric’s opposite number…
THERE ARE RULES TO THIS WORLD
The first arc of this comic was filled with horrifying, occasionally gruesome ‘Outer Limits’ style tales of desperation, blood and loss. With last issue giving us our first peek behind the curtain of the title characters, I had hoped for some sort of revelation about WHY these things are happening. Not only did that not happen, this issue doubles down on that by jumping dimensions and time-frames (at least a little bit, as last issue was sorta-kinda an Old West tale) and… giving us no real new information, just another vignette of previous conflict between Caleb and Riccardus. I like the art in this issue, especially the intricate, detailed makeup worn by Maria throughout the beginning of the issue, and the moment where The General reveals his true nature is truly startling and creepy, but I’m a little frustrated. On the one hand, I feel like this is going somewhere important and that the destination will be worth the journey, but they’re taking their own sweet time gettin’ there.
BOTTOM LINE: HOPING IT WILL ALL WORK OUT IN THE TRADE
It should also be noted that, while I got through the Spanish portion of the issue with only a little problem, I was very annoyed by an editor’s note that says “Google Translate works like a charm.” Ice Cream Man #10 is another difficult to approach issue whose point is obscure, but the strength of the art and the amount of emotion imbued into John and Maria’s doomed relationship make it worth the read, even if part of me wants to know where this is all going, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall. It’s frustrating, but I’m not giving it up just yet, even if newer readers may want to start with the first arc.
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ICE CREAM MAN #10
There's clearly an intent behind these tales of times past, but it's not yet clear, and this issue just muddies things up more, blunting the effect of the story.