Ice Cream Man #1
Written: W. Maxwell Prince
Artwork: Martin Morazzo
Colors: Chris O’Halloran
Lettering: Good Old Neon
This is a brand-new series from Image Comics. It takes something we all remember with fondness from our childhoods and turns it into something morbid and dangerous.
We have an ice cream man. Seemingly normal in every way, except his excessive happiness maybe. We also have a young boy named Byron…and his pet spider, Rupert.
Now, Byron takes himself on a little walk to go get ice cream and while he’s walking home we learn all about Rupert, a kind of spider that has been declared the most venomous spider in the world…the Brazilian wandering spider. As the kid gets home, we see that his parents are sitting at the kitchen table…dead.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, two cops are taking a report from an old woman who says a “thingamacreature” that looks like a werewolf killed her cat by slurping its body material right off the bones. They don’t believe her but, they take the report and send her home.
Then, the two detectives are alerted to a missing persons report about a married couple that has not been seen for at least ten days. There’s a female cop named Jialeou (Jolly-O) Hwan, they call her 5V because her first name has all five vowels of the English language in it. Her partner is Briggs and he’s the male cop. They are instructed to go to the couple’s house and check on them, plus they are informed that the couple has a kid. (This would happen to be Byron, the kid with the spider.)
Then, we shift back to Byron. He’s playing by himself in the woods. With dead parents, it’s not like anyone is watching him or policing his behavior. He poking at a dead animal’s limb that has been torn from its body with a stick. All of a sudden, out of the woods comes a man. He looks like Bruce Banner after changing into The Hulk. His clothes are all ripped and he’s a disheveled mess.
After they talk for a minute, the man gives Byron an ice cream by changing the stick in his hand to a double scoop of chocolate on a cone…done by magic. The he tells Byron it’s time for him to go home to his parents and the man runs off into the woods.
The two cops go to the address they are given and upon entering the home, they find the parents dead bodies. As they are discussing the scene, Rupert (our friendly and deadly neighborhood spider) drops down onto Briggs and bites him in the shoulder. He quickly dies from the venom.
As 5V is trying to figure out what is going on, Byron walks in and says that it’s not Rupert’s fault and when 5V tries to get him to give her the spider, he takes it and runs off.
5V chases after him. She finds him in the woods, suspended in the air by the hand of a werewolf. She draws her weapon and prepares to shoot when the werewolf (dressed in torn pants and shirt, by the way) throws Byron at her and they both collapse to the ground.
Just then, the spider gets on the werewolf’s back and bites it. It screams in pain and tosses the spider off of him and escapes into the woods.
Emergency services arrive at Byron’s house where he is checked by medical personnel and his parents are hauled off. It is determined that they died of spider bites. 5V is wanting the spider taken to the lab for further analysis. But, it’s missing.
The ice cream man comes upon the spider as it’s crawling down the sidewalk. He picks it up and with his magic turns it into an ice cream cone. He offers it up to the reader as he smiles, showing razor sharp yellow teeth.
Although this is only the first issue, I liked this comic book. I thought it was well written and the story was good. This moved more like a movie would, in my opinion. I like that it went back and forth between the cops and the kid. It kept things interesting.
It’s obvious to me that the “ice cream man” is an entity that can change form. This is going to prove to be an interesting concept combined with the use of magic like powers, allowing practically anything to happen.
I also like that they take a typical sweet dream of a child and shift it into something dark and sinister.
The artwork in this issue is not bad. The use of color is unique, probably due to the ice cream theme. There are little bursts of bold color here and there if you look for them.
I would definitely recommend this issue to horror fans. I already have the second issue of this series and I am anxious to read it. I’m curious if it will keep on this wavelength or if it will run amok.
Grimm Tales of Terror #13 Ligeia
Writer: Joe Brusha
Artwork: Yusuf Idris
Colors: Fran Gamboa with J.C. Ruiz
Letters: Fabio Amelia
This issue was based on the tale by Edgar Allan Poe. It’s a story about a man completely consumed by the loss of his one true love. He tries to move on and does. And he is happy…for a while.
Then, his obsession over his lost love and broken heart resurfaces and he gets his wife involved. They experiment with cult activity, witchcraft, etc. trying to bring Ligeia, his real love, back to life.
But, he did not count on being betrayed by his wife, who only married him for his money. Due to his profound sadness over his lost Ligeia, she expected that, even though they married, he would kill himself and she’ll inherit everything he owns.
Since her plan does not work out the way she had hoped and he does not kill himself, she murders him instead.
Staring into his murderous wife’s eyes as he dies, he FINALLY feels that he is back with his true love, Ligeia.
Although there wasn’t a whole lot of content to this story it was still a very impactful tale, especially told this way. It truly is representative of Poe’s work. It’s a tragic tale of obsessive love, betrayal and murder. It stacks on top of that ultimate selfishness which just hammers everything home. Anyone who has ever lost someone they love in any way can relate to the man in this story, particularly those who have felt true heartbreak. This was not a “feel good” story and left me feeling sad after I read it. I actually said out loud, “Well, that was depressing.” I mean, you have a man that is so consumed by the loss of his lover that he feels alone even when he’s with someone in another intimate relationship.
I liked the twist of the betrayal of the wife. No doubt that, if she knew his obsession would never end, she would feel rage and hatred, wanting to get her own kind of revenge. If it was purely just about the money from the beginning…WOW! What a cold-hearted witch to mark someone who is already suffering so. That takes a special kind of person, to prey on the weak and lonely.
The artwork in this issue is amazing. This artist had a clear vision of what Poe was trying to portray in his words and it is clear on every page. The use of color to accentuate various characters and traits is brilliantly accomplished and highly effective.
Story: Joe Brusha/Ralph Tedesco/Dave Franchini
Writer: Erica Heflin
Artwork: Sean Hill
Colors: Marco Lesko
Letters: Fabio Amelia
In this issue we basically have a zombie story. I’m not normally a huge fan of zombie type stories but, sometimes, they surprise me.
Allen is mourning the one year anniversary of his wife’s death by drowning his sorrows in the bottom of a liquor bottle. While he is sitting there, drunk as a skunk, his daughter calls. She is driving, very upset, possibly drunk and yelling at her father for being drunk on this particular day. He tries to get her to pull over but, she won’t and she wrecks and dies.
Allen owns a wax museum. Inside this museum he creates wax statues of his wife and daughter, unable to let go. He discovers that he can bring them back to life by feeding them human blood. He uses his own at first. Once they become strong enough, the women begin killing on their own. Allen dismisses this behavior because he is just so happy to have his family back.
And this arrangement works…for a while.
But, the guilt of knowing about his wife and daughter’s nightly activities soon grows heavy and weighs on him. So much so that he tells them he has to tell someone. Of course, they can’t have their secret exposed.
They decide to kill Allen, initially using him for food and then, bringing him back to be with the family, just like he did for them.
As I said before, normally I’m not a fan so much of zombie stories but, I did like this one. Although it was short and there wasn’t a lot of clutter in the content, it was still good and read well. The artwork for the story is done by a different artist than the cover. I like the cover art better. The story art isn’t bad but, it’s a style that is just kind of plain.
The Twilight Zone #1
Written: J. Michael Straczynski
Illustrated: Guiu Vilanova
Colored: Vinicius Andrade
Lettered: Rob Steen
Main Cover: Francesco Francavilla
This comic book was a great read. It has the quintessential Twilight Zone feel, with narration and all. I swear I could hear Rod Serling in my head as I was reading.
Meet Trevor Richmond. A handsome, talented cooperate executive, hired by a firm to “restructure” accounts and funds. The owner of the company is a Mr. Black, a tired older gentleman worn down by the death of his son and his debilitating grief over the horrible loss. The killer never having been caught, Mr. Black has slowly drifted into his own world of depression. Trevor thinks it his impeding on Black’s ability to run the company and that HE should be the new boss.
Having embezzled enough money from the company while “helping” them with their finances so the government isn’t aware of how much the company makes, he now decides it’s time for a new life. A new life means he needs a new identity too.
He goes and talks to a man by the name of Mr. Wylde, a man who runs a company that it’s sole purpose is to make people disappear and reinvent themselves. This is a service that doesn’t come cheap and it’s not simple changes like changing hair color or style or clothing or location or even your name and social security number.
This is a transformation guaranteed to make one a completely different person…emotionally, physically, genetically. This involves taking a little yellow-beige pill that will alter everything about him, even his DNA, his fingerprints, his looks, his voice, everything.
This new identity comes with a new personal history. He gets a new passport, new work history, new education history. Everything he needs to just move on into a new life and forget all of his responsibilities, obligations and wrong doings.
He has to cut all contact with everyone and everything he knows. This includes his girlfriend AND the girl he’s seeing on the side. But, to avoid indictment by the FBI for embezzlement, he’s willing to chuck it all into the wind and start over.
The cost of this new life and new identity is everything he procured from his embezzlement venture. He will be given money from it once his new identity is established but, he will not get to keep all of it. He agrees, giving Mr. Wylde and his people access to his accounts.
He goes home that night and takes the magic pill. He promises his girlfriend that he is going to change and everything will be alright. (See, she caught him cheating and now he’s trying to convince her that he’s a new man.)
Over the next few days, (I think), he starts to notice changes while he’s at work. His fingerprints are no longer recognized by the company computer. His signature has also changed which is raising some eyebrows as well.
The final stage of the transformation is one he must be rendered unconscious for, some minor surgery stuff like, ya know, making him taller, just little things like that. (Yeah, little things, just making bones longer, that’s nothing.)
He wakes up after surgery and see the results of nothing short of supreme success. And he couldn’t be more pleased.
Now, he had called in sick to work when the transformation process started. This was not painless for him by any means. Now, he hasn’t been back to work, the people at work are calling him (even the big wigs) and no one has heard from him in days…all this right before the Grand Jury indictment was to be handed down.
In his new persona, Thomas Riley, he is free to walk the streets and no one knows who he is or what he did…or what he went through to get away with it.
As he is strolling down the street, thinking life is perfect, he is passed by his girlfriend. She is running from their building, crying her eyes out. He hears the doorman explain to her that she has no right to enter the apartment and she’ll have to leave. Basically, because he decided to disappear this poor girl is out on her butt with nothing.
This doesn’t phase him. He goes about his new life, living free as a bird.
He goes to a bar to have a drink, he’s just thrilled that his girl didn’t even know who he was. But, the bartender and everyone in the bar is preoccupied with the news on the television. As “Thomas” turns around to look at the screen he sees a man standing in front of microphones, ready to give a press conference.
He looks EXACTLY like Trevor Richmond. Exactly. And he’s telling the cameras that he’s there to “do the right thing” and he has some important information for everyone…and then…TO BE CONTINUED.
I really enjoyed this story. It was so much like the episodes I remember watching on tv with my Dad. There’s enough in the story to keep you reading, that’s for sure. I read this one twice, actually, just to make sure I had everything straight. It might be a little confusing for some with all the different people, tenses, narrations, etc. It does jump around a lot, which makes it a little harder to follow. In my opinion though, that is part of the original Twilight Zone quality. It doesn’t all really come together until the end in a lot of those stories.
I thought the artwork, both the cover and inside, were very well done. I have to say I like the inside art better than the cover but, I do like the two being done by two different artists.
I could recommend this to anyone who like The Twilight Zone or suspense stories. I am trying to find the second issue but, I’m having some trouble. I won’t give up though. I have to know what happens to the old Trevor now that the new Trevor has stepped up to the podium.
Written: Justin Jordan
Artwork: Kyle Strahm
Cover Art: Felipe Sobreiro
Colors: Felipe Sobreiro
This is another comic book I picked up initially just for the artwork. As I read this first issue, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it. Before I get going on my opinion of everything, let’s do a quick rundown.
A horrible infection has swept across the land. (It’s the red stuff you see on the cover.) Most have been ravished by this “thing” called The Spread. However, there are some people remaining that have not been afflicted.
One of these people is No. (Yes, that’s his name, No. I know, it throws me off while I’m reading the story.) No is Spread immune. He can walk about anywhere and not be at risk of “infection”, which basically means death. Unfortunately, though, he’s no immortal superhero or anything like that. So, if someone afflicted by The Spread comes at him, he can still be killed like a normal person, with knives or guns or what have you.
But know this, No, is one hell of a badass. We’re talking Neo from The Matrix kind of badass. He may not look like much of a threat but, this guy can really whoop on pretty much anyone that comes his way. He has a conscience and he has a heart. The deep, dark, broody type except he’s not good looking at all. But then again, who’s to say anyone would be looking hot in such circumstances.
While No is roaming (we don’t know why), he comes upon a wounded woman carrying a satchel. She’s been shot in the leg with an arrow. She gets shot again. The people chasing her, though not identified as of yet, are obviously bad guys, maybe renegades or rebels of some sort. Anyway, before she bleeds out she motions for No to take the satchel and with her dying breath says one word “Hope”.
No looks into the bag to find a baby girl. He assumes her name is Hope, because of what the lady was saying. Just as she dies and he’s about to leave he comes upon this band of thugs that shot our fair maiden. They want No AND the baby. It seems there is some bad blood between this group and No.
They can’t stop him though. No swiftly defeats each of them only to be accosted by The Spread. While it can’t infect him, it CAN kill his horse and it can use tentacle like arms to engage in battle.
Doing just that, The Spread gets ahold of No and he thinks he’s done for. He holds the baby as far from The Spread as he can. As the child cries out, tears run down her face and drip to the ground below. And onto The Spread.
Suddenly, No realizes what HOPE really means. This child’s tears melt The Spread like salt on a slug. She could be the answer to eradicating The Spread and saving mankind.
Although No is aware this could be a wonderful thing, it is made clear to us that not everyone still alive is going to feel the same way.
This is going to be one of my new favorite series I believe. I just found out today at the comic book store that there is only one more issue in the series left. So, I’m just starting it and it’s already over at twenty-five issues.
But, man, what a ride! This is truly a great story about a disgusting thing. The artwork is great and the images of The Spread and the little nuances in other frames really lets you know just how powerful this “thing” is. It’s a scary thought. I mean, this thing roaming about everywhere, looking like bloody brains and intestines with teeth and has a mind of its own, slaughtering anyone in its path.
The story, as we find out at the end of this first issue, is being told by Hope. (I’m going to call her that until it is established that her name is something different.) It’s got a definite vagueness as she tells us about what happened, it’s almost like she speaks kind of in vague riddles. It reminds me of the way someone would explain something while they were in shock. There’s a lack of fluidity and there’s an assumption from the storyteller that you already know what they are talking about. However, this adds to the suspense aspect so it doesn’t really bother me. I am anxious to get to the second issue and find out more about this Spread. It seems like it could be some government genetics experiment gone wickedly awry. It’ll be interesting to see where we go from here now that No has this kid he has to look after and protect.
I would only recommend this to people with a stronger stomach and a little patience. Other than that, I don’t know that it’s gonna work for you. It does have a zombie feel so, if you like zombies you might like this too.
Island 731 #1
Written: Jeremy Robinson/Kane Gilmour
Artist: Jeff Zornow
Letters: Marshall Dillon
This caught my eye because of the cover. This series comes to us from American Gothic Press and has me hooked from the first issue.
I cannot, however, explain a whole lot about what happens in this issue and here is why:
This story is clearly going to be similar to the TV series LOST. Now, in that show we watched an hour episode each week, had about fifty questions that we wanted answers to and, in each episode, we got maybe one or two answers and about ten more questions. Each episode was the epitome of a cliffhanger multiplied by a hundred.
This comic book seems like it is going to be the same way. While the issue kept me reading and I immediately got online and ordered the next issue, there really isn’t that much to the story…yet.
I have a feeling that this will unfold to be an exciting tale of crash survivors who have landed on a mysterious island and encounter evil they could never have even dreamed of.
So, here’s a short synopsis of what I’ve read so far:
There is a research vessel, The Magellan, that is studying (get this) The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Now don’t laugh too hard because such a thing actually does exist…and it’s nasty looking. It’s basically an anomaly where the currents of the ocean and the abhorrent amount of refuse in the water come together to create an actual island of trash. (Look it up, I swear it’s real. I saw it featured in a tv show on the Discovery Channel, yes, I’m a nerd. I like to learn. So, moving on…)
These researchers are studying the effects of the trash heap in the ocean on the oceanic ecosystem.
During their voyage, they get bounced around in a storm and eventually decide to take refuge on an island, their ship in poor condition after the storm.
On this island they find evidence that other people have been there before they arrived. Some clues are things like footprints in the sand, an extremely recent form of proof and then there are things like hieroglyphic type writing on huge rocks.
We also learn very quickly that there are lifeforms of a “monster-like” nature, things that, here in the regular world, we wouldn’t think exist.
I didn’t get too detailed in this because it’s just one of those stories that you are gonna have to read to get the full appreciation of it. The artwork is great and the depictions of the monsters, so far, are very imaginative. This was a real page turner for me and since it is from 2016, the remaining issues shouldn’t be too hard to find or too expensive.
If you can’t stand cliffhangers and not having a conclusion at the end of each issue then, this is definitely not for you. If you wanted to, you could try to find a TPB with all the issues in it or get all of them before you started reading but, that’s one of the novel things about comic books, they carry over into the next issue each time.
Overall, my first impression of this comic book is that I am going to really enjoy this. I have the second issue already on the way.
The Theater #5 Forget Me Not
Written: Raven Gregory
Pencils: Novo Malgado
Colors: Michael Garcia
We meet Eric Lundy on possibly the worst day of his life. Mr. Lundy gets out of bed, get dressed and heads off to work like it’s any other normal day. He’s got so much to get done at the office. There’s just one problem…when he goes to the office NOBODY recognizes him. They have no clue who he is or why he is there. He maintains that he’s worked there for years, he knows everyone’s name and yet, they don’t know him. He is subsequently escorted out by security.
Feeling upset and confused he decides to go to his mother’s house. Unfortunately, she and his brother both don’t recognize him and he is chased out of the house by his armed sibling.
So, by he has realized that nobody knows who he is. Not his friends, his family, people at work, the store, the bar, not even his landlord (this is a person he gives money to!!!).
While he’s sitting in some sort of café area, he sees a girl that he’s had a fling with in the past. Her name is Jenny. Jenny thinks Eric is a nutball at first until he shares a fact about her that he couldn’t possibly know unless they HAD indeed known each other.
He convinces her to help him break into his apartment (to look for clues, answers, I don’t know). While snooping through his own property, they find a burner phone (a disposable cell phone). It has a voicemail on it. It mentions a specific hotel for a meeting. He also discovers evidence of him having a wife but, he can’t remember actually having been with this woman in a relationship of any kind.
He decides to go to the hotel referenced in the voicemail on the burner phone. He has a vague familiar feeling as he stands outside the building. As he and Jenny enter they walk up to the front desk and ask the clerk questions. They get the key to the room referenced in the voicemail and search it. They find nothing.
Then, Jenny comes up with the idea that they should research the marriage license for his nuptials. On the way to the county courthouse (or wherever) they pass a barn that catches Eric’s eye. This is also familiar to him. They decide to pull over and check it out.
Next to the barn they find a red car covered in a tarp. Jenny also finds two dead bodies.
We then flashback to a year ago:
Eric discovers his wife’s affair. He calls into work and tells them he won’t be in that day. He follows his wife to a hotel where she meets her lover. After the tryst he continues to follow her. Once on the road alone together he gets her to pull over so he can talk to her. He ends up killing her and her boyfriend.
Now, back to the barn:
Once Eric realizes what he did, where they are (the body dump site) and what they are looking at (the bodies decomposing), it occurs to him Jenny has seen too much and he decides to murder her, choking her to death.
Tormented and punished by his guilt, he tries to go to the police and confess to all his crimes…but, they don’t believe him. They consider everything before them and decide that he is a nut who needs to be brushed off. So, they do. And he leaves the police station.
Five years later, lost in his world of madness, he is on the street, begging for change, nameless, faceless…nonexistent.
This issue had a definite Twilight Zone feel to it. Practically everyone has wanted to disappear at one time or another. I think this story might be a take on the downside of that self pitying wish. While I feel like there are a few small holes to the story, or maybe I just missed something, I still thought it was a good read.
Truly, Raven Gregory rarely disappoints and when it does happen, it’s usually minor.
The artwork in this issue isn’t bad. I do like the cover art especially.
I will say that I wish the story had been a little more developed. When it got to the end it seemed a little thrown together. I don’t know if this was intentional or not but, it did leave me wondering a few minor things. I’ll let you all get this issue and decide for yourselves.
Hungry Ghosts #1
Story: Anthony Bourdain/Joel Rose
Art: Alberto Ponticelli/Vanessa Del Rey
Colors: Jose Villarrubia
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Cover Art: Paul Pope
This is the first issue of a four-issue anthology. It is written by Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose. I have to be honest, I think Bourdain is an arrogant ass. (Personally, I like Andrew Zimmern better but, that’s just me.) That being the case, I was a little apprehensive about this series. I’m still not sure how I feel about it.
In this issue, we have a group of people who have gathered for a dinner party. It’s obvious that these people are less than thrilled to be with each other. Still, they are together for whatever reason.
The host of the party suggests a game to be played. Each of them sits around in a circle and take turns telling ghost stories, each trying to top the person before them.
The stories are extremely short…like children’s campfire tales. They are decent short stories though. They seem to have a fable type quality to them, as if there is a lesson to be learned from each tale. (Maybe there is, maybe not. I can’t say for sure.)
It’s a little difficult to follow though. I do think it could have been written a little better with more fluidity and substance. The whole issue seemed kind of choppy and almost thrown together at the last minute.
The artwork isn’t bad but, honestly, I’m not a huge fan. Some of it is okay, however, some seems more like sketch work rather than fully finished art. It’s definitely stylized and different.
I will be getting issue #2 soon. We’ll see if this gets any better. Right now, it seems a little corny to me.