Written: W. Maxwell Prince
Artwork: Martin Morazzo
Colors: Chris O’Halloran
Letters: Good Old Neon
In this second issue of the Ice Cream Man series we read a tale about two junkies, Jim and Karen, hard up for a fix and wicked down on their luck.
Jim is “dope sick”. He is going through withdrawal and needs a fix just to feel even remotely human. Karen, who is not in as bad of shape as Jim, feels horrible watching him suffer and she decides to go out and get some money and score for them on her own, even though Jim usually goes with her.
Meanwhile, there’s a couple in town dealing with their own issues. The old man is griping about everything he can think of as his female companion is fixing his dinner. He is bitter and mean and she’s getting tired of it. She storms out the door and he follows after her, begging for forgiveness. The lady just yells at him to get in the car so they won’t be late for his doctor appointment and they get in the car, preparing to leave.
Now, our junkie Karen is out and about and sees an ice cream truck left unattended. She decided to steal the truck and, in her haste, she crashes into the old couple as they are pulling out of their driveway.
The old man, Phil, is injured and Alice, his wife (I think) is trying to render aid. Karen seizes the opportunity and pulls out a gun and demands their money. Alice berates Karen, insulting her on every level. This makes Karen mad and in a split-second decision, she shoots Alice, killing her.
Karen runs home and find the ice cream man in her house, with Jim. Jim is still sick and the ice cream man says he can help.
He offers Karen the fix that is needed…but, there’s a catch. There is only enough dope for one person. So, only one of them gets the fix, the other stays sick until they die, get another fix or detox.
Karen takes all of the drugs for herself and overdoses, dying, allowing Jim to live.
In the aftermath, Jim goes to meetings and is clean for at least a week. He is walking through the park he used to go to with Karen and holding his One Week Sobriety Coin. He stands in front of Karen’s favorite pond and chucks the coin into the water. The he walks away.
I am really liking this series. I like that the stories have the one main character of the Ice Cream Man and that he seems to be such an antagonist. He’s a childhood villain in an adult’s horror comic book. Although he seems fairly innocent to look at initially, he quickly turns into something devilish in each issue.
The stories are not only horror based but, they have a dark sadness to them as well. For instance, in this story, we not only have the two junkies aching for their fix but, we have a bitter, hateful old man that is verbally abusive to the person who is taking care of him, as he is almost disabled and cannot do for himself. Both situations are inherently sad and depressing. Yet, the old lady gets to say her piece and doesn’t cower before Karen when she holds the gun on her. And Karen sacrifices her life so that Jim can live and have a chance at a real life. There’s a dark beauty in each of those things.
I would recommend this series to anyone who likes dark and somewhat emotional comic books. But, you have to be prepared for an imperfect, not-so-happy ending.