Imaginary Fiends #1
Writer: Tim Seely
Artist: Stephen Molnar
Colorist: Quinton Winter
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover: Richard Pace
What if imaginary friends aren’t imaginary? What if they’re actually inter-dimensional mental parasites who feed off attention? Most of them are harmless, bonding with a child or another impressionable mind to feed, then dying off when the host ages out of interest. But the hungriest…well they aren’t as interested in quietly fading away.
What you missed:
Nothing! This is a brand spanking new series from DC’s indie offshoot, Vertigo.
We start off in the town of Canyon City, Minnesota, where a fourteen-year-old Cameron Calle is trying to fit in with the cool kids. But his posturing is interrupted by his sister stumbling out of the woods with seventeen stab wounds. She only speaks two words before she collapses… “Polly Peachpit.”
Six years later, we’re brought to a youth correctional facility where Melba Li is getting the shit kicked out of her in the shower by a group of taunting girls. Her only friend, Alice, who appears to be an employee at the facility, brings her coloring books and a cupcake with a candle (but no flame) for her 18th birthday. She also lets her know that she has an unexpected visitor.
Expecting her grandfather, she instead gets Special Agent Virgil Crockett of the FBI’s IMP division. He shows her an old home video with a child on a swing, and a sea monster wearing a cowboy hat on a tricycle behind him. Agent Crokett informs her that they call him Marshal Loch, but his actual name is Gerald Flappyfins and that unlike most people, including himself, Melba can see him. He then lets her know everything I told you in the intro about imaginary creatures being inter-dimensional mental parasites. He lets her know they believe she is an advanced host and that her occupation opened her eyes to seeing other infections.
She begs for him to clear her name, but he refuses, saying that if the right kind of people believed it was possible, it would open them up to even more infections. But he does offer her a choice: work for him as a field consultant and he’ll make sure she never gets transferred to an adult prison, or stay in prison and rot. Not much of a choice, but there is one catch: the deal only works if they’re also teamed with Polly Peachpit.
We then get a flashback to six years ago and find out what happened that put Melba in her predicament. If you hadn’t already guessed, it was Melba who was responsible for stabbing Cameron’s sister seventeen times at the urging of her imaginary friend, Polly Peachpit.
Melba called on Polly for the first time since the accident; she isn’t happy about being ignored and threatened to do terrible things to Melba. But armed with the knowledge that Polly needs her attention, Melba threatens to kill herself, meaning there would be nobody left to believe in Polly to keep her in line.
A few weeks later in Kentucky we see Agent Crockett and his partner, Agent Li, meeting with some local sheriffs and the unseen Polly Peachpit. But before the issue ends we find out that Melba isn’t the only one with an imaginary friend; Cameron Calle is still around and he and his very own imaginary fiend are both out for revenge!
I thought this was a fantastic first issue. I love the concept behind the whole comic. The idea that there are beings so desperate for attention that they go along with whatever ridiculous narrative the host (child) comes up with is very interesting. The horror spin on it is a perfect fit because like Melba and Brinke, most kids called out to spooky ghosts in one way or another, even if it was just saying “Bloody Mary” in front of a mirror three times instead of brutal stabbings. Polly is also (as seen by the picture above) appropriately terrifying, but seeing her form change as she begged Melba was a great touch. It did everything a first issue needed to do and was very entertaining, leaving you wanting to see what happens next.