Imaginary Fiends #2
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Stephan Molnar
Cover: Richard Pace
Colors: Quinton Winter
Letters: Carlos Mangual
Publisher: Vertigo

A review by Greg Brothers

Horror comics are one of those genres that are really hit and miss for me. To me to be successful, it must be based more on the idea or the mystery involved. Gore just to be gore doesn’t work well in print. It also helps when the comic is an idea that I have not seen explored before, which was one of the reason that I enjoyed Imaginary Fiends #1 so much last month.

Imaginary Fiends #2 throws us right into the action as Special Agent Virgil Crockett, and newly appointed Agent Melba Li are gathering evidence. While Agent Li understands that in many ways her freedom is related to the case, she also wants to be able to explore the world that has been cut off from her all these years. While Crockett and Li are investigating, there is another group that are seeking them out. They want to see Penny and agent Li answer for their actions.  

For me the second issue is what usually decides if a series is worth sticking around for. The way that Li reacts to finally being free makes perfect sense.  Seeley does an excellent job starting to introduce more elements to the story and the people involved. The way that Li is portrayed has minute details that another writer may have missed. Although she is twenty-three years old she has lived in an institute for most of here influential years. Things like not knowing how to properly order a drink, or even when to stop are all things that she has never done before. That exploration and growth of course concerns Penny as she worries about what will happen if Li no longer needs or wants her

Imaginary Fiends #1 gave us an idea of the purpose of Crockett’s special division. However, in Imaginary Fiends #2 Seeley begins to explore Crockett’s life a bit more. While he seems to be all business while at work, it seems he may have some demons of his own that he is dealing with. It is another wrinkle to the story that shows Seeley knows how important character development is to draw the reader in. While the main focus is on Agent Crockett, Melba Li, and Penny we get a bit more growth with other imaginary friends. While it is important that characters are developed and explored, without the plot moving forward then readers will quickly leave. Thankfully Seeley does not ignore moving the plot forward on several fronts. Those points are moved forward in a way that answers a couple of questions while laying the road for further developments.

The art in Imaginary Fiends #2 continues to impress. Although a horror book it is not filled with dark corners and blood splattered panels. Instead Molnar has decided to allow the reader to see head on what is going on around the characters. In Imaginary Fiends #2, it works well. As Penny battles to remain relevant it is her character design that draws the reader in while at the same time being unsettling. The constant smile on her face with large sharp teeth counteract the fear that she is holding inside. Just when it feels like the designs can not get any creepier you hit the last panel with an image that seers into your mind, and will stick with me until the third issue.

Buy! Imaginary Fiends #2 continues to do horror right. Seeley is building a story that is equal parts creepy and mystery. He never depends on cheap or overused techniques to move his story forward. Instead there is a slow build going on that draws the reader in. The art truly sticks with you as the characters have unique designs that are the stuff that some nightmares are made of. By the end of Imaginary Fiends #2, it becomes obvious that Seeley has a plan that is going to be a slow burn on multiple fronts, while all leading to one larger goal. 

Gregory Brothers
Ohio born and raised. Avid comicbook fan who is always trying to find time to get through my ever growing read pile. When not working on that I Teach, coach youth sports, and cheer on my hometown Cincinnati teams, and Buckeyes. Can also be heard talking comics and pop-culture on The Comics Agenda Podcast.

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