"Imaginary Fiends #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Vertigo Comics
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Stephen Molnar
Colored by Quinton Winter
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on November 22nd, 2017
I never had an imaginary friend growing up. That was one line I just couldn't cross. I couldn't wrap my head around talking to something that wasn't there. After reading Imaginary Fiends, I'm almost glad I never had that experience. The series from writer Tim Seeley, artist Stephen Molnar, and colorist Quinton Winter is set in a world where monsters are very real, but only certain people have the ability to see them. Called Interdimensional Mental Parasites, these creatures feed on compliance, latching onto people and growing stronger the more that's done for them. Now think of what would happen if one of them told a young girl to commit murder.
The opening pages of Imaginary Fiends are like something out of a Stephen King novel. Seeley captures a very specific moment in a young man's life, no longer a child but not yet a man. It's set in the summer, a season where anything is possible for a kid. Young Cameron Calle is trying to impress some of the older kids without letting his younger sister Brinke embarrass him. This changes when Brinke stumbles out of the woods covered in blood.
|Click images to enlarge|
The images leading up to this moment are like something pulled from a memory. You might remember similar summer evenings, riding your bike with friends as the sun sets in the distance. Molnar and Winter present a carefree existence for Cameron, something that anyone can relate to. This is changed forever with a haunting full-page spread showing Cameron splattered with blood. His face has a handprint in red on it as he stares at the reader in shock. This is an incredible way to open an issue.
Imaginary Fiends then jumps a few years into the future to focus on Melba, the girl that put all those holes in Brinke. She's been stuck in a juvenile detention center and is about to be transferred to a prison, as she's turning eighteen. Melba is special and she's recruited by a secret organization within the FBI tasked with keeping the IMPs in line. There's a catch though. She has to bring along Polly Peachpit, the IMP that got her into this position in the first place.
|Click images to enlarge|
Polly Peachpit is terrifying. She's an amorphous spider creature that appears untrustworthy from the start. Her dialogue is presented in special speech bubbles and you just know that her voice is sickly sweet and creepy, like something you might hear while alone in the dark. Her face looks emotionless at first, like a kabuki mask, but it slowly morphs into hideous expressions yet still without life. It's really creepy.
Imaginary Friends is like Drop Dead Fred with the little girl from The Ring. It's twisted and unsettling, presenting a world filled with monsters that only a few of us can see. This issue wastes no time introducing us to the landscape and establishing the parameters of the setting. I can't wait to see how it's expanded upon as there are tons of possibilities with this concept. The sky is the limit as the IMPs can be almost anything.