Written: W. Maxwell Prince
Artwork: Martin Morazzo
Colors: Chris O’Halloran
Lettering: Good Old Neon
Cover A by Morazzo and O’Halloran Cover B By Lynn Scurfield
This was a strange issue. Normally, each of the stories in this series are concluded at the end of each issue. This time, the story carries over into the next issue, issue #5.
Nothing major happens in this issue either. While it lays out and builds up our story, giving us all the introductory pieces and a little background, it still doesn’t have any blood, gore or anything like that.
This time we are thrown into the mix on the first page. A man named Joel is getting dressed to go to a funeral. He is to give the eulogy for the deceased. He tells his wife he’s not sure he can live up to this task. He had lost contact with his friend, Chris (the decedent), over the last two years and feels a little awkward about delivering the eulogy for someone he didn’t even talk to for two years. He also feels guilty that he was never aware that Chris was sick and that the sickness could lead to death. Now, his friend is being buried and he has to sum up this man’s life in the best way possible…which seems very difficult for him.
At the funeral, Joel does his very best to memorialize his friend. He talks about the love Chris had for ice cream and the ice cream truck. How talented and gifted he was as a musician. He also sees Chris’s father, who abandoned his own family when Chris was just seven years old. After the service, the two of them start talking over a couple drinks. Joel asks the father where he went when he took off from his family. The father says he went to the woods and lived with a bunch of wannabe flower children, smoking dope and living the sex life of a wild jack rabbit.
But the dad explains that it was all a trap. A life of lies and illusions. He says the real escape of the mundane lifestyle was, in fact, being a father and a husband. He feels so guilty about having left his family and can’t seem to get beyond it. He talks about wishing he could hug his son one last time. Joel suggests a way that he can do just that.
Drunk as skunks, Joel is even puking, they go to the cemetery and proceed to remove Chris’s body from the casket, which is still above ground. I guess the burial is actually the next day. (Never heard of a casket being left above ground overnight, easily accessible to anyone with the inclination to desecrate the burial site. Once they get the body out, the father holds his son and talks to him, letting the guilt filled heartache pour over his dead body.
Meanwhile, we take a short interlude to the “other side” where we see Chris. He in some kind of purgatory. He is scared and his circumstances keeps changing. First, he’s covered in a bunch of tiny spiders. Then, a group of skeletons are “tickling” him with feathers while he is tied down to a round table type object. After that, a team of dogs are performing surgery on him. And it just keeps getting weirder and weirder.
Now, through the whole first half or so of the issue, every once in a while there is a speech bubble with red print in it. Each of these bubbles seem so random. One says, “What-where am I?”. Another, “Is this Hell?”. None of these make sense until we see Chris in this interlude. These are all things he’s saying as this strange torture is being performed on him.
Then, back in real life, we see some toothpick chewing cowboy who walks up on the ice cream truck and tells the ice cream man that he knows what he is doing to the people in his town and he doesn’t much like it. As he tells the ice cream man he’ll be seeing him around, the ice cream man looks terrified and the cowboy walks away…whistling.
Now, is the cowboy a spirit to fight the evil ice cream man? Is he the reincarnation of Chris, whistling his musical self through this new life? Who knows.
Although there wasn’t any real gore to speak of in this issue, the story wasn’t bad. I didn’t mind that there wasn’t any real gore because there was still a suspenseful eeriness to the story. The fact that death and some torture (of some sort) is included in the story does make it still fitting of the horror genre. I do wish that we got more horror but, I am hoping that the next issue will be the culmination of blood and guts of the story.
The artwork is still good. Morazzo and O’Halloran make a good team, bringing these images to life. This issue in particular has a lot of emotion involved and they do a great job of showing that all through the issue. The colors are very normal and easy on the eyes and also makes everything seem very innocuous. Until you find out it’s not.
I really am a fan of this series. I am always willing to give the next issue a shot. I just think these folks do that good of a job with it. I am looking forward to the next issue to see what happens.