Some things are only in your imagination. But some imaginary things are very real… perhaps even fatal. Your Major Spoilers review of Imaginary Fiends #1 awaits!
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Stephen Molnar
Colorist: Quinton Winter
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Editor: Molly Mahan
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Imaginary Fiends: “Brinke Calle said when she was found covered in her own blood by the woods in rural Cannon Falls, MN. Her best friend, Melba, had just attempted to murder her because a spider girl named Polly Peachpit told her to.
Since that day, Melba has spent seven years in a mental health facility. Tomorrow is her eighteenth birthday. Tomorrow, she’ll be transferred to a federal prison.
Tomorrow, her real sentence will begin…”
A DISTURBING PREMISE
Just the idea that your imaginary friend might actually have substance and be a real, malevolent entity is scary enough, but the opening sequence of this issue literally gave me goosebumps. Young Cameron Calle is enjoying a perfectly normal tweenage moment with some friends, hanging out, cursing, posing and smoking cheap ditch weed, when his sister comes out of the underbrush, terribly wounded. We cut to a modern-day setting, where we meet Melba Li. Every line of dialogue feels authentic and real, Melba feels like a real person and her plight as the most reviled girl in the facility where she is being held quickly establishes the stakes. Before she is transferred to a federal prison as an adult, she is approached by Special Agent Virgil Crockett with a special deal: Help him in his investigation of IMP-related crimes and avoid her terrible fate. Having been manipulated by an IMP, she is able to see them and will be crucial in his investigations. As she weighs her decision, Polly Peachpit, her imaginary friend, returns…
…and she is horrible.
AN EXCELLENT TREATMENT
This issue manages to do a LOT in its 22 pages, almost effortlessly establishing the setup in the first few before transitioning to the brutal “prison” scenes, and then Melba’s deal with Polly… The last few pages are a perfect setup for what the series seems to be, with a last-page reveal that I should have but utterly failed to see coming. The real magic, though, comes from Stephen Molnar’s art, which makes the real world tangible, real and solid, while making the titular imaginary fiends cartoonish and monstrous all at once, and makes Polly Peachpit one of the more terrifying sights on any comic in recent memory. The execution is close to flawless throughout the issue, with my only real questions about the issue seeming to be intentionally set up for future teases, but the overall story and art are excellent.
THE BOTTOM LINE: CLASSIC VERTIGO-STYLE HORROR
In short, this one is a winner, featuring unnerving situations that have gravity and reality to them, straddling the line between hallucination and story perfectly and drawing me in with every page. Imaginary Fiends #1 is excellent, engaging, well-drawn and featuring a perfect elevator pitch concept, earning a well-deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. I haven’t been this disturbed by a comic book since ‘Clean Room’, which is high praise, indeed…
I kinda love this.