"Imaginary Fiends #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Vertigo Comics
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Stephen Molnar
Colored by Quinton Winter
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 24th, 2018
Melba Li has been recruited by a secret branch of the FBI to investigate a mysterious kidnapping in the small town of Maiden Springs. She has a unique ability to see interdimensional mental parasites (aka IMPs), better known as imaginary friends. These beings feed on emotion, primarily fear, and there appears to be a particularly heinous one at work in this town.
Imaginary Fiends #3 opens with a new perspective. We’ve seen how humans view these creatures, but now we see how they view themselves. They’re pulled through the ether, beginning as a tangled mass of thought and flesh, birthed into a new dimension as a strange, new being. We already know the spider-like monster Polly Peachpit. Now we meet her lover, Charlie Chokecherry, who is just as terrifying.
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Since the IMPs feed off of emotion, they need to stay relevant. When children stop calling them forth as imaginary friends, they start to fade away. Am I the only one that’s reminded of Monsters, Inc. with this? Obviously, a strange, demented version. It’s interesting to see how the different beings deal with this as alliances and jealousies form to survive.
Polly appears horrifying, but she’s easily the liveliest character in Imaginary Fiends. Since no one but Melba can see her, she delights in hopping all over the place, yelling obscenities and other insults. When Melba and her partner, Virgil Crockett, are talking to a local officer, Polly is perched on his shoulder, ready to eat the man alive if given the opportunity.
There’s a fun scene where Melba tries to get some info out of Polly, who is less than forthcoming. We don’t see the interaction directly. Instead, we see Crockett patiently waiting outside the bathroom for nine panels as Melba appears to be arguing with herself. The one-sided conversation gets increasingly hectic as she gets more desperate, begging with the monster to give up the information.
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I love the juxtaposition between the seemingly sweet and innocent Melba and the creepy spider woman Polly. They make for an unlikely duo, yet they need each other. There are some rather sweet moments between the two that shows how close they can be. This isn’t just a symbiotic relationship. They go way back, even if Polly urged Melba to kill her best friend seven years ago.
As we reach the halfway point in the mini-series, this is the part where things start to come together in the investigation. There is a large chunk of exposition, but it flows well, keeping a fast pace and pulling you in. Polly’s inclusion keeps it visually interesting, so it’s not just a group of talking heads.
The connections made bring Melba and Crockett closer to finding out the truth and it has some dire consequences. There’s a conspiracy at work here and it’s pretty cool. Imaginary Fiends is a top-tier mystery with horrifying interdimensional creatures. It doesn’t rely on these otherworldly beings to move things forward. There are times you can remove them entirely and it would still be a captivating read.