Ice Cream Man 4: Tiny Lives

ice cream man volume 4 tiny lives cover review trade paperback tpb
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10

Great stories


Comic Info

Comic Name: Ice Cream Man

Publisher: Image Comics

Writer: W. Maxwell Prince

Artist: Martin Morazzo

# of Issues: 4

Release Date: 2019

ice cream man #14 cover crossword

Ice Cream Man #14

Reprints Ice Cream Man #13-16 (July 2019-November 2019).  The Ice Cream Man is back with more tasty scoops for his customers.  A man mourning the loss of his love finds himself on a strange journey that seems to play the same forward and backward.  A crossword puzzle obsessed husband realizes that neglecting his wife could be a deadly mistake.  A young woman trying to tend to her institutionalized mother discovers that the darkness could run in her family.  A single father worries when his teenage daughter plans for her “first time” and wonders how to talk to her about it.  Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, or bug flavored…there’s a scoop for everyone!

Written by W. Maxwell Prince, Ice Cream Man Volume 4:  Tiny Lives is an Image Comics anthology series.  Following Ice Cream Man Volume 3:  Hopscotch Mélange, the collection features art by Martin Marazzo.

Ice Cream Man has been a fun treat.  It is different and feels both like a throwback to earlier comics (like House of Mystery/House of Secrets), but it also has a darkness that is akin to something modern like Black Mirror.  While I felt Ice Cream Man Volume 3:  Hopscotch Mélange was a little off its game, Ice Cream Man Volume 4:  Tiny Lives rectifies the problems.

Maxwell Prince and Martin Marazzo like to play with the format of comic books. The first issue in the collection is a palindrome and can be read forward and backwards…and each direction has a different meaning and depth for the character who is morning. I always admire people who can take a pretty standard format and try something different (Trillium by Jeff Lemire also did a lot of playing with the format).

ice cream man #16 cover variant

Ice Cream Man #16 Variant

The next three stories aren’t as experimental, but they do bring the horror and darkness that readers come to expect from this series.  It is an odd blend in that some of the stories end up positive (like the crossword issue), but many end up in a place of darkness like the coat check story which has a woman succumbing to the same mental illness that claimed her mother or the title story “Tiny Lives” which has a father’s misunderstand lead to the ultimate sacrifice.  They are dark and wry at the same time.

What improves over the previous volume is that the exploration of Caleb and Rick isn’t there.  While I like that there is a continuing story being developed (what are the goals of Rick and Caleb?), I felt that having it as a primary story was a little much…I wanted more tales of the weird and strange with backstory slide into them as a sub-story.

Even though I was a little more critical of Ice Cream Man Volume 3, I still liked it, and Ice Cream Man Volume 4 reminds me why the series is a fun read.  With an endless “rainbow of flavors” to taste, Ice Cream Man could go on for years…and with readers enjoying the tales, it might be up to Prince to decide when he’s finished.  Ice Cream Man 4:  Tiny Lives is followed by Ice Cream Man 5:  Other Confections.

Related Links:

Ice Cream Man 1:  Rainbow Sprinkles

Ice Cream Man 2:  Strange Neapolitan

Ice Cream Man 3:  Hopscotch Mélange

Ice Cream Man 5:  Other Confections

Ice Cream Man 6:  Just Desserts

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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