While recent issues gave readers a taste of the Ice Cream Man’s powers, ICE CREAM MAN #11 ramps them up to a new level. The nefarious character is now the host of a variety of reality television shows. But the catch is he’s capable of pulling unwitting victims into the show from the comfort of their own homes. And the programs appear to be quite deadly.
W. Maxwell Prince opens this story much like previous issues of the series, introducing a new character who’s thrown into a bleak situation. This time the spotlight is on Will, a 30-something who is whisked off onto a reality dating show while sitting at home with his relatives. Though shocking in and of itself, the true horror comes when he realizes the contestants and managers are animate mannequins who want to “improve” him.
Will proceeds to jump, unwillingly, from one show to the next. Most of these mimic real-life programs like The Bachelorette or Family Feud. But terror strikes when the Ice Cream Man reveals himself to be each show’s host, forcing Will to undertake grotesque trials to escape. We note his utter hopeless throughout each task as he strives to find a way back to his family.
Prince’s ability to capture the emotions of the distressed Will keeps readers glued to each panel. And it’s only exacerbated by the Ice Cream Man’s terrifying puppet master control over his victim. One feels like we’ve only seen a glimpse of the horrific power this being wields.
Martin Morazzo, Chris O’Halloran, and Good Old Neon give the issue an unsettling, slightly cartoony look that’s perfectly fitting of the story’s nature. Morazzo’s penciling creates a sense of surrealism in Will’s realistic expressions in the face of such dire circumstances. O’Halloran’s bright coloring draws attention to the goriness of each subsequent game show. And Neon’s lettering sets the pace for each horrific scene, tying these artistic elements together.
Morazzo and O’Halloran’s main cover artwork serves as both a tone setter and an expository scene to help manage readers’ expectations. We immediately feel a sense of sympathy for Will as he attempts to break out of the television screens.
Babs Tarr’s variant cover places the entire focus on the Ice Cream Man’s demonic nature. She gives him a sinister-looking expression reminiscent of The Joker from Batman comics. The highly-detailed bugs in his ice cream only add to this effect.
ICE CREAM MAN #11 isn’t for the faint of heart, but it’s an irresistible work of art. The issue’s horrific spin on reality television makes for a great horror story and reveals more about the Ice Cream Man’s true nature.
How powerful do you think the Ice Cream man really is? Let us know in the comments below!