“31 Flavors of Weird Shit” in Ice Cream Man #1
St. Generous is unlike every other small town in America. It’s quiet, the people are friendly, but things are far from normal. Meet Rick, the friendliest ice cream man you could ever hope to meet. Rick knows all the kids, and their parents, maybe too well. However, Rick is far from the strangest thing in St. Generous, but not by much.
Ice Cream Man #1 is reminiscent of the old Saturday morning Goosebumps series. It comes with a Mature rating for language and scenes that may disturb younger readers. If you are at all arachnophobic then this is going to disturb you no matter your age. Read more here
The issue starts off fairly benign. However, it doesn’t take long for writer W. Maxwell Prince to ramp up the creepiness factor. There are things that sound familiar in this issue, things that are hard to put a finger on. From Rick’s inherent weird-factor to the second character the reader is introduced to. Byron McAllister, on the surface, is a normal kid. But like Rick, the ice cream man, Byron is hiding a secret.
That’s where Detective Jialeou Hwan comes in. Hwan knows that St. Generous is a haven for strange people and occurrences. Hwan’s character is written with care in spite of her complacent exterior. She is young, tough and growing bored with her job. She is going through the motions but has little interest in the events going on around her. Soon, Hwan and her partner encounter something that will change their lives. Prince does a great job of fleshing out the main characters without spending too much time. The issue flows well without sinking into unneeded dialogue or irrelevant events.
It isn’t strictly the writing that causes the shivers. The artwork has a level of creepiness that accents the story. It too has a familiar feel to it. Artist Martín Morazzo and colorist Chris O’Halloran complement one another’s style. Morazzo’s art has an obvious Heavy Metal influence to it. The coloring by O’Halloran is subdued. This lends a not-too-dark, not-too-bright element to the entire issue. It leaves the reader with a sense of confusion over whether to be happy or shocked at the events unfolding.
It should prove interesting if this collaboration between writer and artists continues to mesh well.
Ice Cream Man #1 is a satisfactory premiere issue. An easy read, with an easy enough plot to follow. But the writing is a bit drab and doesn’t leave a sense of wanting to read the next issue. It reads as a true one-shot but leaves no anticipation for the second issue. The writing and artwork, again, complement each other well. Sadly, that is really the only factor that makes this issue memorable at all.
Horror/suspense fans will probably enjoy this more than your run-of-the-mill comic reader. But Prince’s writing style isn’t the problem. The story is interesting, the characters are well developed and the flow of the story is on point. The problem is with the execution. Events could have been altered slightly to leave the reader with more to look forward to in the next issue. Prince’s intention was to serialize Ice Cream Man, but there needs to be a little more care with the pacing of future issues.
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