Ice Cream Man: The Big Sweet (#21) – W. Maxwell Prince

3 out of 5

An example of when the issue-by-issue format of Ice Cream Man is maybe a bit too limiting; when a multi-issue arc or some cross-issue plotting might offer a new way to break a story.

It’s definitely fun to see the nightmare ethos of the series applied to noir – a P.I., investigating murdered ice cream men and a related cult – but ‘The Big Sweet’ also fails to offer up much new. We’ve seen this “American nightmare” take already in the series, with our detective’s failed homelife and cigarette obsession butted up against the oddity of ICM figures and totems; that the mystery sort of fizzles out – it doesn’t really matter – is a meta-punchline we’ve also seen visited before.

That doesn’t mean it’s not an enjoyable read, with the usual don’t-take-it-for-granted excellence in art (Martin Morazzo), colors (Chris O’Halloran), lettering (Good Old Neon) and design (Ashley Walker) – I dug the hand-drawn sound effects; can’t remember if we’ve seen that before – and convincing pulpy crackle from W. Maxwell Prince, but certainly not the strongest representation of the series’ themes.