Imaginary Friends #1
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Stephen Molnar
Coloured by Quinton Winter
Lettered by Carlos M. Mangual
This is the first title of the re-launch of the Vertigo imprint from DC comics. I have to say that this is pretty much exactly what was needed too. It takes something innocent from our childhood and twists it into something dark, menacing and completely enthralling. Tim’s ability to reach into that darkness is something he’s extremely good at and this was a damn near spectacular first issue.
The opening alone is worthy of causing nightmares. We see Cameron Cole hanging with older kids and taking what was probably is his first hit off a joint when things go horribly awry. Cameron can hear this soft voice calling his name, he knows the voice and is annoyed until…..
Welcome to the world of imaginary friends, the kind that need, want and crave power. The power to become real and enter our world or at least strong enough to effect things in our world. So how do they get that power? You’ve seen the headlines friend kills friend because such and such said to, which usually prescribed to mental illness and current urban legends. Here however it’s not that easy to dismiss if you were the one doing the harm. Your stuck in a sort of limbo as you’ve given this being power over you and it’s damn near impossible to get rid of it.
Just ask Melba Li. Her actions put her in a mental facility until she’s 18 and then it’s off to a hardcore federal prison. All because of her inability to resist her imaginary friend. So we are going to follow Melba as her life suddenly becomes more complicated. I like this it almost has that X-Files feel to it as well, the general atmosphere by the end of the book is where you’ll see and feel that.
I found myself transfixed here and kept wondering what the heck was going on here. The opening is spectacular and grabs your attention and you are into this book. Then we get into Melba and her current situation and life. It is some strong characterisation I’ll say that much and seeing as she is this complete loner, who doesn’t like to shower, and only colours pictures as she refuses to create anything. There is fear in that and as a reader I’m dying to know why! See there’s darkness and something off about Melba but Tim makes us want more.
The interiors here are pretty solid and Stephen has a good eye for storytelling. His use of page layouts through their angles and perspective are very well done. I’ll be honest I found the opening and the flashback much more solid work than Melba in the institute but the weight of the linework throughout is great. There’s a nice attention to detail here that when used in the backgrounds make the scenes pop. Also the creativity and imagination in these Imaginary Friends is great to see.
The way the book is structured makes this feel like it’s an oversized issue and yet it is standard. Kudos to Tim for making me feel like this was something huge when in reality it was just an average length issue. The compartmentalised use of the opening then the Institute and finally the now part all conspire to really make you feel like this is something large and impressive. The way characters are introduced is well done and the characterisation gives a great look at who these people act, but not really who they are. That’s something I look forward to seeing though because there is deception, duplicity and outright manipulation going on here on all fronts.
Fresh, interesting, new and full of potential there’s a great balance between storytelling and psychological horror that this one will make your butt wiggle on occasion.