Vertigo Comics 2017
Written by Tim Seeley
Illustrated by Stephen Molnar
Coloured by Quinton Miller
Lettered by Carlos M Mangual
Agent Melba Li and her imaginary monster partner, Polly Peachpit, continue their search for a missing child, as a twisted conspiracy unfolds in the small town of Maiden Springs. What is the Fraidy Cat? And how can a woman who lives in fear defeat something that lives on it?
I don’t know how Tim is able to take the idea of a child with an imaginary friend and turn it into and interdimensional being of power that is fuelled by the worst emotions kids have who manipulates them, steals them and does these bizarre things to them. The whole idea behind this as we see things in this very issue are the kind of stuff that nightmares are truly made of. I mean it all starts out nicely colourful fancy dress during tea parties and then turns into running, screaming and being eaten alive yeah it’s something like that.
There is this whole enchanted ideology going on behind the scenes and then somewhere it gets warped into this nightmare scenario that when childhood ends and emerging adulthood begins when these imaginary fiends somehow some way they become more. Not sure what more is but whatever that more is its just present, inexplicable but noticeable in ways that hit you hard in ways that aren’t always expected.
The writing of this is exceptional as the way it weaves in and out of the events from both the past and the present. How Melba and her own demon are being used to find out what in San Juan Hill is going on in this town they are in is anyone’s guess. Just look at the way the story is structured and how we see the ebb & flow of it all just has this way about it that feels like you are in Wonderland replete with all the usual suspects and equally as deadly. Then there is the characterisation that we are treated to as we get to know more and more about the players currently in this little drama. From Melba and Polly to Cameron and Charlie, to the townsfolk and even Agent Crockett whom the more we learn about the more questions are raised than answers given. It really doesn’t get any better than this.
Stephen must feel like he’s got the best playground in the world to play in! No only does he get these wonderful characters to envision but these Imaginary Fiends as well, from what they look like to what they imagine themselves wanting to look like it’s crazy cool. His use of page layouts with the way we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows an amazing eye for storytelling. That backgrounds are utilised as integral parts of the story here is something that makes me so happy. Everything we see has purpose, meaning and it helps enhance and tell the story in ways the words sometimes can’t.
Well that Melba is finally free and able to go around by herself well kind of sort of not really and is experiencing life for the first time means she’s almost raw material. Getting to be able to shape, mould and start her as this clean slate who needs all these experiences well yeah it’s fun to see what’s happening and just where things can go. Then there’s her exact opposite in Crockett and he’s mysterious with way too many secrets and unwilling to really show his hand.
Not quite Oscar and Felix odd couple but possibly cross them with Mulder and Scully and you’ve got something. Regardless on how we’d like to find a category to put this in there really isn’t one available and that alone fills me with excitement!