Ice Cream Man: Tiny Lives (#16) – W. Maxwell Prince

4 out of 5

Looking back on this “arc” of isolated tales, the collected version of which will be named after this issue, it would seem (taking that titling into account) that we’ve moved from an introduction to the corruptive abilities of the Ice Cream Man, to some hinting mythology regarding the same, to Prince seeing how far the concept could stretch by applying it to general story “templates.”  The issues of Tiny Lives has continued that trend one hop further by putting our influencer way into the background (he pops up here on a television commercial; via posters in one of the lead characters’ rooms), and then seeing how behavior affects those around us.  So a single father sneaking a peak at his daughter’s journal, which he assumes is about her adventures into the world of sex, examines the effect that has: Mitch’s struggle with what’s right or wrong; his understanding of unconditional love.  Interspersed with the journal entries, we get to witness the wrinkle in things (in ICM, there’s always a wrinkle) when Mitch does, and it’s excellently executed, with the usual ace pacing from Prince and acting / tone from Morazzo and O’Halloran.  However, if my reading of the themes of these recent issues is accurate, I’m not sure the story actually brings that home.  In fact, it’s quite minor in that sense, not dipping far past its aforementioned twist, making it more akin to a classic Tales from the Crypt-ish type concluding wink than the more contemplative stuff that’s floated through this series.

But that’s in comparison to itself.  As a standalone issue, it’s a damn fine read.