Comic Book Review: Imaginary Fiends (2017-) #1

Title: Imaginary Fiends (2017-) #1
Arc: The Cat’s Paw – Part 1

Publisher: DC / Vertigo
Words: Tim Seely
Art: Stephen Molnar
Colors: Quinton Winter
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Publication Date: November 22, 2017
Publisher’s Summary: “POLLY PEACHPIT.” Those were the words ten-year-old 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.
 That is, until she receives a visit from FBI Agent Virgil Crockett. Crockett explains that there is another world beyond ours, where hungry spectral aliens stalk the minds of the impressionable and weak. These things, called IMPs (Interdimensional Mental Parasites) feed on compliance. They convince hosts to do things for them, and the more they feed, the stronger they become. More IMPs stream into the world each day, invisible to everyone but his or her hosts.
 After years of drugs and counseling, Polly and Melba have developed a unique relationship—and to Crockett, this relationship represents something her people can work with. In exchange for release from prison, Crockett asks Melba (and Polly) to serve as IMP hunters. For Melba, it’s a chance to prove that she’s innocent, convinced to murder by a monster…a monster she must now unleash.

Since the publisher’s summary is quite thorough I have elected to forgo summing up the book, and instead, get on with the review. Shall we?

While Imaginary Fiends #1 is typical in the sense that it introduces readers to Melba, our seemingly disturbed and troubled protagonist, while also clearly showcasing what is it at stake—her freedom—and why she’s in her current predicament. But that, my friend, is where the similarities stop and Imaginary Fiends #1 begins to blaze its own trail.

The concept from which the story is built on—imaginary friends are actually parasitic fiends who live off of their friend/host—is genius, and readers will most certainly find themselves haunted by what they’ll find between the covers of this book.

Like in any good Horror/Thriller, Tim Seeley lures unknowing readers into his carefully constructed web of fear, and then, once they’re trapped, steps back, and lets them struggle to escape the nightmare from which they’ve stumbled upon. His writing, here, is precise and effective.

Stephen Molnar’s fine-lined illustrations are sharp and expressive, and his Polly Peachpit design is wonderfully terrifying. I’m eager to see what other imaginary fiends are brought to life in future issues.

The Bottom Line:

Imaginary Fiends #1 effortlessly chills and creeps while taking a dark and sinister look at imaginary friends and explaining who they are, what they do, and why they’re here. This stunning debut is impressive in several ways and ultimately, should be devoured by comic book readers.