Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Imaginary Fiends #4 Review and **SPOILERS**

I Need You To See Me

Written by: Tim Seeley
Art by: Stephen Molnar, Quinton Winter, and Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 28, 2018


This series has shocked me to this point. I don't consider myself a Tim Seeley fan, but the first three issues of Imaginary Fiends have been an absolute blast to read. Not only is the story fun, creepy, and engaging, but the art from Stephen Molnar and Quinton Winter has been fantastic as well. Polly Peachpit is one of the strangest ideas for a character I've ever read, but the way her and Melba's stories are being told has me wishing this book came out weekly. I have absolutely no clue where this series is headed, but I sure am happy to be along for the ride.

Explain It!

The issue picks up in the wake of the last issue, with Polly Peachpit and Charlie Chokecherry duking it out with one another. I love the way Stephen Molnar draws these characters, and they look especially good when there is some dynamic movement to go along with them. Polly is taking it to Charlie at first, telling him that he should've stayed in the dark instead of coming to this world. But it's not too long before Charlie gets the upper hand and tells Polly that all that remains for him to feed on is his hatred for her. While they battle, the housekeeper Loretta is laying unconscious on the floor while her son, Omari, crawls away in fear, fueling Polly and Charlie.

Meanwhile, Agent Crockett is still off investigating the bones of Ranger Sands in the forest. His head is spinning from the psychedelics still in his system from the last issue, but he does manage to keep it together enough to evade a small firework that goes off, causing the oxygen from the body to explode. Crockett dives into the river to avoid the blast and is greeted by his former partner, Mercy Gauthier, floating along and talking to him using her mind.

Before we get to see where that goes, we're going to check in on Melba Li, who was captured by Justin and the other missing kids in the previous issue. When she finally wakes up, the kids grab her and bring her face to face with the IMP that drew them in, Fraidy Cat, who tells her the story of people burning cats alive during the Black Plague. Melba wants to know what Fraidy Cat wants from her, so he simply tells her that he wants to protect her and give her a place where she can be safe from all of her fears. But first, he has to know what she fears so that he can protect her and bring her to his barn to feed with the other children. As he is saying that, two floating squid-looking things come up behind her to figure out what exactly is inside of her.

Moving back to Polly and Charlie, their battle is still raging on. Charlie is absolutely going to town on Polly, beating her and pinning her against the wall while berating her about all the lies she fed him over the years. He ends up grabbing ahold of one of her legs, ripping it off of her body, and biting into it to fuel his power. Omari witnesses the whole thing then goes crawling off out of the room.

I know that there has been a ton of stuff happening so far, but keep in mind that up to this point we're only about halfway through the issue. Now we're going to get back to Crockett and Mercy. Crockett apologizes to her for being the reason that she died, but she seems to only be there to help. She tells him that he is way off the trail, and since he isn't going to trust his partner that can see the IMPs, then he needs to trust himself and what he is good at. Crockett figures out what kind of acid was used to dissolve Sands' body so quickly, then asks Mercy if she is his IMP. She gives a vague answer that could point to a bunch of different future possibilities, but I'm not going to speculate too much on what it means given the wacky nature of this book.

Charlie is continuing to beat the hell out of Polly, becoming less spider-like and more gross and squishy and wasp-looking with wings. Polly sees Omari crawling away and begs him to see her. When he notices and starts crying, Polly gets some power. As she attacks him, she tells Charlie that she loved him, but she loved Melba more. With a stinger through his chest, Charlie disintegrates and disappears. Meanwhile, Crockett busts into a hospital and goes looking for whoever took the "piranha solution" that was used on Sands' body. He kicks open the door to the lab and finds someone there washing his face.

In Fraidy Cat's realm, needles from the squidthings are poking out of Melba's arms and going into Fraidy Cat. But he doesn't find anything. He says that Melba isn't one of them because she isn't afraid and never has been, so he releases her from this vision and tells the kids to kill her. As they move in, they are knocked out by a new arrival. Melba thanks this man, but it turns out to be Cameron, who is there to hurt her as badly as she hurt Brinke. She calls out to Polly to come help her, but Polly doesn't respond. The issue ends with Polly lying on the floor, bleeding and wrapped around Omari in yet another beautiful page of artwork (one of many in this issue).

Well, it wasn't your typical fourth issue, to say the least. Instead of slowing to a halt, giving a bunch of recap, and dumping some setup on you, this issue keeps the series moving at the breakneck pace it's been going at so far. These characters are getting some depth added to them and there are still plenty of questions that need answered, but it's being delivered in a way that continues to be exciting each and every issue. I still have no way of guessing what is going to come next, which is one of the best things about the series so far: it's not predictable. This is just a really good book.

Bits and Pieces:

Imaginary Fiends has been exciting and beautiful since the first issue, and that excitement and beauty is ramped up even higher with this issue. Tim Seeley continues to tell one of the weirdest, most entertaining stories I've read in a long time, while Stephen Molnar and Quinton Winter combine that story with some truly great art. If you aren't reading this book, you're missing out.

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  1. The shocking part to me is finding out that Vertigo is still a thing. . .I haven't really read anything from them since American Vampire. Great review, this looks REALLY good! I'm going to see if I can find an issue hidden somewhere among all the X-Men and Spider-Man books at my "You buy what's on the shelf, good luck with anything else" Local Comic Shop, or maybe see if they can actually take a moment from pondering Magic Cards to order it for me. My LCS kind of sucks. If it ain't in the top 20 it ain't on the rack.

    1. Vertigo doesn't put out many books, but what they do put out is solid. I would say give Savage Things a shot as well if you can find it in trade


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