To be perfectly forward, Ice Cream Man (ICM) had continually been losing traction in my pull list, culminating in my eventual culling of the title, but ICM #18 has done a terrific job of reminding me why I had retained it for so long in the first place.
W. Maxwell Prince brings together a script that leads you into the story of a man slowly fading away in hospice. If you've ever been at the bedside of someone in such a place, the tale is told in such a way that you can experience a new type of fear, one that brings to the forefront the inevitability of death, and the loss of everything you have ever experienced: the loss of the culmination of life as an individual.
After the absolute horror show of the palindrome issue a ways back, Ice Cream Man #18 gave the title a breath of fresh air through the tale told of life fading away. Martin Morazzo's psychedelic art style has always done wonders for the title, as it places you in the headspace of the characters that each issue centers upon, and it once again works wonders for this issue.
Ice Cream Man #18 is a heart-tugging journey through the life of a man who has experienced the spectrum of emotions throughout time– joy, love, loss, anger, pride, etc.– but must forcefully come to terms with the end of all of it.
This issue masterfully details the other side of death that we don't get to experience too frequently. While it doesn't seem to connect too directly into the overarching Ice Cream Man mythos, it fits perfectly as another short tale in the line. My only problem with this issue is the appearance of the "little gremlin." In my analysis, I understand the purpose he serves to propel the story forward as a sort of ferryman to the main character, but his inclusion is very jarring and in turn, takes away from the feeling of inevitability that is culminating throughout the story. Then again that's probably one of the more characteristic aspects of an Ice Cream Man tale, as up to this point the title has been very shock and awe, considering some of the imagery that the creators have chosen to grace the book with.
Ice Cream Man #18 is a breath of new life into the title after some monotony, and I'm excited to see what the creators will be doing with this title going forward.
Ice Cream Man #18 from Image Comics, is on sale February 26, 2020.