Ice Cream Man #34
Continuing in its tradition of self-contained short stories, Ice Cream Man #34 supplies a story of two train riding and self-proclaimed hobos in the final days of their partnership.
Ice Cream Man #34 continues to bring greatness to this genre-blending anthology series, containing both the best and worst attributes this series has had since day one.
Morazzo and O’Halloran continue to be an art duo as perfect for one another as thunder and lightning are. Morazzo brings the heat in illustrating character movements and the horribly grotesque. There’s beauty in how eerie every human being looks when illustrated by Morazzo. His monsters, and especially the ones mentioned and seen within this story, are unimaginable. Not in the cosmic Lovecraftian way, but in a human way. It’s easy to imagine something gross that shares a lack of similarity with the human form, but an intense discomfort stirs within viewers whenever the monster they’re looking at is reminiscent of their form, just horribly twisted. O’Halloran is a colorist that I’ve praised in the past, and my praise remains unchanged here. Lighting plays a heavy role in both the atmosphere and plotting of this story, and O’Halloran has a realistic control of light within these pages. Cloudy days don’t just look like a cloudy days because the clouds are gray, but because everything muted light can touch is stained with a depressive gray.
Our story unfolds from the point of view of Mac, one member of a self-proclaimed hobo duo. He walks through a moment in time in which the two break their code with the addition of a third member to train-traveling adventures. That’s about all I can say without breaking into plot spoilers, but the first thing I noticed about this story, was that it isn’t a horror story. Yes, something horrific does occur but the story isn’t written as one. Instead, we get a slice-of-life drama with an extremely compelling P.O.V. character and a satisfying ending that pays off an early setup. For a one-and-done setup, the execution gets the job done without feeling rushed or half-baked. The writing is as perfect as it could be for the format.
This issue’s theme is all about holding onto our memories, and how they inform our motivations as people. Some of us, like Phil, hold onto hope in a way that encourages us to continue dreaming even in our darkest moments. Mac remembers crazy stories about monsters plaguing the hobo world and keeps them close to his heart, which informs his strict code to survival. By the end of the book, both concepts are proven valid. It doesn’t matter whether we approach life with cautious nightmares or hopeful dreams, as long as what we live by allows us to continue pushing on.
All in all, ICE CREAM MAN #34 continues the series' standard of well-written short stories that focus on a singular, deep theme with an unbeatable pacing. While the book carries a violent climax, it certainly has a lot more going for it than the promise of shock horror that so many monthly genre books are expected to have.
If you have extra room for new books this week, this is a definite pick up.
Ice Cream Man #34: Two Tramps and A Pocket Full of Sunshine
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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