Story: Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini
Writer: Ben Meares
Artwork: Jason Muhr
Colors: Marco Lesko
Letters: Fabio Amelia
This issue deals with an urban legend involving gang initiations. I AM familiar with a number of versions of this story. Basically, a group of gang prospects all pile into a car at night and drive around with their lights off. Once someone flashes their own lights to tell them to turn their headlights on, they follow that person and shoot them, then flee. There’s also a version where the prospect hides under a car and waits for the owner to walk up and open the door. Once their feet are visible and within reach, the prospect slashes the Achilles tendons of the victim and runs off (or steals the car), leaving the victim there to bleed and helplessly wait for someone to come by, which could take hours if not days.
In this story, it’s a car full of guys. One is already a member and the other three are getting initiated, one a night for three nights.
The first one did his deed the night before. The second waits for the lights to flash on a passing car and shoots her as she driving down the street. Her car crashes and she and the vehicle both catch fire. She is burned alive as the gunshot wound didn’t take her life, only wounded her.
Then it comes time for the third guy. But he’s having second thoughts. Especially after they watched that young woman screaming as she burned to death. One of his friends finds out that he is having second thoughts and threatens him that, if he doesn’t go through with it, he is a witness to the murders the other two prospects committed and must therefore be eliminated.
Left with no choice, he decides he must take his turn.
Meanwhile, a family across town is getting up before the sun to get on the road for their family vacation to Zappyland (does that ACTUALLY sound FUN to anyone? Sounds like a place for electric shock treatments.). They get in the car and begin their journey. As all kids do, the two children in the backseat start to complain about being hungry. Dad says they’ll stop on the way and get something.
While on the hunt for someplace to eat so early in the morning, the family spots a car driving in the dark morning hours without its lights on. As the Dad flashes his lights the guys in the gang car start trying to amp up the last prospect, telling him to start shooting. But he just can’t bring himself to do it…no matter the risk to his life, no matter how much cocaine he snorts, no matter how much he drinks and no matter how much the gang members yell at him, he just can’t do it.
This is a huge problem because the leader points out that the family in the car had to have seen ALL their faces. They MUST eliminate the family. There is no other option in their eyes. So, the leader decides to make a quick U-turn in the middle of the street, speed up behind the family wagon and crash into the back end, hurling them into the air, flipping the car and sending it into a streetlight pole.
The Dad crawls out of the car and tries to escape but, the gang chases him down to shoot him and kill him. But, they are in for a surprise.
Meanwhile, our friend with a conscience goes to check on the family. As the wife and children are laying in the car he tries to apologize. He is catastrophically interrupted by the screams and cries of his cohorts, who have trapped their victim in a dead end alley…or should I say, their victim has trapped them.
Mr. Morality looks up in time to see this disgusting monster with a huge and grotesque mouth carrying out his pals by their feet, covered in blood. Then, all hell breaks loose. The whole family has transformed into these hideous creatures of death and are ripping the gang to shreds, feeding on them in a delicious gorge.
Our guilt ridden pal is the only one there when the cops show up. Standing in the middle of the gory massacre he is apprehended immediately. When he’s asked what happened he tries to explain that there were monsters that ate his friends. The cops don’t believe him but, can’t see how one man could have done such extensive damage due to the animal type bites and tears. They take him into custody and plan to get the “real” story once he comes down from his cocaine bender. But, they’ll never get the story they WANT to hear…just a babbling fool rambling on and on about monsters eating his friends.
This was a good twist on the regular urban legend this is based off of. I like the addition of monsters and the idea that this guy has to take the fall for a triple homicide when he was the only one that didn’t hurt anyone or anything, except himself. It’s just the kind of sick and twisted joke life would play on someone who was pushing their luck with tempting fate.
I will say there is a lot of back and forth in this issue and it was a little hard to follow at first. The layout and flow is a little jagged. Plus, there’s a lot of panels (or frames) with a time stamp on them. Normally, that kind of thing doesn’t bother me but, I think this time they took it a little too far. I mean, in some parts they pointed out the time second by second. Does it really run that deep? Talk about obsessing.
The artwork is pretty good in this issue but, I feel the way it’s all laid out takes away from the skill and finished look of the art itself. The best images are of the monsters. These are great pictures of some pretty nasty looking monster villains. And we still see part of their human characteristics so, that DOES make the monsters look somewhat creepier. But, again, the twist in the ending is really what makes this issue. It’s such a smack in the face with irony…REAL irony, making it new, fresh and interesting. Definitely a fun little story for bedtime.
Story: Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, Dave Franchini, Billy Hanson
Writer: Billy Hanson
Artwork: Renzo Rodriguez
Colors: Fran Gamboa w/ J.C. Ruiz
Letters: Fabio Amelia
This is a take on an urban legend about a mysterious television broadcast that infects a small town and causes illness or death.
We start in a small town in Wyoming, 2006. While a father, Marshall, and son, Jacob, and the son’s friend, Davis, are watching TV, the regular programming is hijacked and interrupted with a different broadcast in its place. Across the screen comes a creepy, stretched out and distorted evil looking face. The sound emanating from the television is one of a dark and unnerving nature, a voice spouting commanding statements, almost like warnings. “You have a sickness in you.” “You will see such pretty things.”
After viewing the broadcast many people get sick with headaches vomiting, blackouts, dizziness and seizures…and those are the ones that survive. The rest die including Marshall’s son, Jacob. However, Dad and the friend, Davis Mills, do not seem to be affected in any way. Because of this, the doctor overseeing the event and its aftermath, Dr. Zayas, requests to run extensive tests on the two of them.
The creepy thing is that this event is never heard of outside the town limits. No breaking news reports about a small town and the mysterious broadcast that wiped it out, no newspaper articles, no phone calls, nothing. And life around the world just goes on like normal.
Fast forward to 2018…
A zealous reporter named Astrid convinces her boss to let her go investigate the Wyoming incident. She has been digging and found out about the broadcast, having uncovered a string of similar cases within the past few weeks. This leads her to wanting to track down Marshall, one of the non-affected people and get the scoop. Against the wishes of her boss she takes the trip to Wyoming to get her story.
She finds Dr. Zayas and begins discussing things with him, revealing her discovery of recent similar cases. He emphatically and condescendingly denies that any such broadcast took place and demands she leave his hospital at once. On her way out, she encounters a man strapped to a gurney, screaming wildly as he tries to jump and grab her. Scared and shocked, a nurse walks up to make sure she’s okay. The nurse also tells her that she found an address for Marshall and she should go talk to him if she wants more information.
When she goes to Marshall’s house, he leads her to his basement (ummmm…yeah, HUGE RED FLAG but, moving on…) where he shows her the walls, plastered with polaroid pictures and information about the broadcast. This confirms her suspicions that there IS a broadcast and that something weird is going on.
It is at this point that Marshall very clearly warns Astrid and tells her to leave, before she falls into the black hole of obsessing over finding answers. Basically, for her own good, she really just needs to let this go and walk away. But, she does not heed his warning.
Soon, Dr. Zayas enters the room and she finds out that he and Marshall are in a sort of business deal together. They sell young bodies to older or elderly people and transplant their memories, personalities, everything to let them take over that younger body. They tell her that the broadcast is a test to see who is viable for transplant and who is not. Those that aren’t affected or minimally affected by the broadcast are perfect candidates for the procedure. Oh, and Davis Mills, the son’s friend, is the mastermind behind the whole transplant scheme, making billions of dollars and living forever.
Astrid also finds out one final and very vital piece of information…SHE is the next transplant subject…for Marshall.
I loved this issue. The twist at the end was fantastic. It was extremely well written and read swiftly and easily. This is another urban legend I am not familiar with. I did look it up and I guess people really tried to get this story going, so much so that snopes.com had to debunk it.
These guys always do a fantastic job but, this was an exceptional issue. It was a tale full of suspense and intensity, adding depth to a looming feeling of foreboding and doom. The cover is awesome as always but, the artwork inside in really good in this issue. The detail in the line work showing the facial expressions and emotions is stellar. I feel that it can be very difficult to accurately draw and portray facial expressions. Just the slightest change and you get a completely different result.
With every page turn, this gritty tale builds and builds, keeping your interest and entertaining you simultaneously. I highly recommend you pick this up if you get the chance. It’s definitely worth it.
Written by W. Maxwell Prince
Art by Martín Morazzo
Colors by Chris O’Halloran
Cover A by Morazzo & O’Halloran Cover B by Vanessa R. Del Rey
In this issue we have a slightly messed up and demented tale about two ambulance drivers on the night shift. However, these aren’t the kind of people the average person would want to put in control of saving their lives.
Their biggest problem is that they steal pharmaceuticals from the hospital the work at. And they take whatever they can get their hands on. They take anything from leukemia meds to pain killers, mixing things like Eszopilone and Escitalopram to create a hallucinogenic high, and a very short one at that.
They are so high and so into their stoner-like conversations about how they know the secret to saving the world, pointing out all that is wrong with it, pitying themselves. And they drive around doing this all night long. They are so high that they completely pass the call locations they get radioed for and merely just keep going, oblivious to the death and suffering they are causing.
They stop at a diner to eat and even THERE when the injuries are happening right in front of them…and they do nothing. They just keep driving.
Then something hits the chick that has actually been the one behind the wheel all night. She slams on the breaks and realizes they have forgotten something incredibly important.
The man in the back of the ambulance bleeding out with a knife stuck in his throat.
I really thought this was a good comic. The twist at the end was perfect and really made the whole story end with a bang. These two come across as very sad, lonely and depressing high people. They like to complain and point out flaws of other people and the world around them. And with the way they were chatting each other up, it doesn’t seem like they are getting any kind of personal fulfillment from their work.
The artwork in this issue is still good like the other issues. This artist has a gentle realism about how he draws the characters. The colors are vivid colors but, they are used in a more muted style (I hope that makes sense). It’s like they are softer versions of the bright colors but not lighter shades.
I can finally recommend another Ice Cream Man issue. I think one will be well worth purchasing. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.