Ice Cream Man: A Scale (Sort of a Poem) (#31) – W. Maxwell Prince

3 out of 5

This feels like a rather personal one – reflections on children; aging. A lot of Ice Cream Man hovers right at the line of being a bit indulgent and flowery, but Prince has a lot of self-awareness and control as a writer, and tends to use those aspects within the context of Ice Cream Man’s cosmic horror sensibilities. But still, on occasion, these things turn inward, and Prince allows himself to dig into that; structuring it into a comic seems to come secondary. Which results in the “sort of a poem” for issue 31, which splits the book between an aging father’s / growing daughter’s point of view, as they mirror each other’s thoughts and feelings along the way, speaking of emotion “hooks” as a constant – and somewhat forced, frankly – theme. This is as far away from the cosmic stuff as we can get, with the ICM dread undercurrent only really felt in the sense that life inevitably… ends, and this issue tries to face that with a mixed smile of acceptance and worry. Sure, there are cute nods to bugs and clowns, but otherwise, this feels like a standalone issue in that it’s really only thematically linked with ICM, and not really exploiting any of the series’ unique aspects. The setup of the book – splitting its focus half-and-half – is solid, and the characters / concept relatable, with the stanza-formatted text well-paced so that it’s not distracting or annoying. But it is, again, rather personal feeling, which means it’ll hit more or less depending on where you are in your life.