Advance Review: Exploring the Power of Words In `Ice Cream Man’ #28

by Tom Smithyman


An expert on words and their origins seeks the power of the absolute truth – a power that can cure cancer or destroy a city. The truth may be out there, but you can’t handle it.


What is truth? Is it the power to move mountains or a sense of inner peace gained from understanding how the world works? Those aren’t exactly the type of questions you expect to be confronted with when reading a typical comic book. Then again, the Ice Cream Man series is anything but your conventional comic.

Created by the wickedly twisted minds of writer W. Maxwell Prince and artist Martín Morazzo, this genre-defying anthology series clocks in with a new cautionary new tale about the nature of truth in a supposedly post-truth world. Brian Gartner has arrived in some unnamed mythical Eastern land in search of the truth in words. An etymologist, Gartner is constantly reminding his guides and the reader of the origin of words. (A fun running gag has nearly every character confusing etymology with entomology, the study of bugs.)

Through Gartner’s writing, Prince cleverly reminds his audience that etymology itself comes from the Greek for truth. It is absolute truth that Gartner is seeking – a single word that supposedly grants the speaker godlike powers. Gartner is so obsessed with words reaching this mythical mouth of the river of language, that he has sacrificed everything in his life to learn it.

Morazzo’s deceptively simple artwork delivers these truths in his typically horrifying ways. With only a handful of characters to draw, Morazzo can concentrate his energies on expansive backdrops and terrifying beasts – including more than a few bugs to pay off the running wordplay joke. Even the primary cover – as nontraditional as you’ll see in comics – is brilliant. How better to suck readers into a story about the means of words than to tease them with a page ripped out of a dictionary?

This being Ice Cream Man, you shouldn’t expect a neat or happy ending. As Gartner’s guide Sam says, “All stories…they are ghost stories, haunted by the dead.”

Ice Cream Man #28 will be available for purchase on January 26, 2022.


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