Story by Brian Joines
Art by Bachan
Colours by Ruth Redmond
Review by Patrick McAleer
BOOM Studios IMAGINE Agents #1 is an intriguing new 4 part miniseries from writer Brian Joines and artist Bachan. The premise of the book is that there is a government agency tasked with policing the world of make-believe friends. This agency is titled the Institute for the Management, Acclimation, Guardianship and Incarceration of Notional Entities. First off I really do think Joines deserves props for concocting this name in order to spell the acronym I.M.A.G.I.N.E, that can’t have come easy.
This first issue opens with a father finding his young son in the back garden standing amidst a scene of utter destruction. Naturally the father blames the young boy, but the boy pleads with him that it was his imaginary friend. This sets up nicely the introduction of our two main protagonists, IMAGINE Agents Terry Snowgoose and Dave Slatern. Agent Slatern we learn is a veteran agent who kinda resents being lumbered with the rookie Snowgoose. This is not just because he’s a rookie but as we learn, he has been put into the field without finishing his training, due to ‘figment activity skyrocketing’.
Snowgoose’s inexperience is highlighted in this first encounter as he rushes head first into a confrontation with the “freaky Easter Island meets millipede thing”. It’s left to Slatern to outwit the beast and capture it really rather easily.
The dynamic between Slatern and Snowgoose is quite entertaining and anyone who likes those buddy-cop movies will find good fodder here.
From there we are taken to a schoolyard scene where a little boy Elliot is cheered on by his imaginary friend called Furdlegurr. Elliot we see is the victim of bullying, in part no doubt because his Mum is a teacher at the school. Furdlegurr is approached here by other imaginary friends and it’s here that writer Joines first signals that all is not well in the world of imaginary friends.
Next up is a beautifully touching little scene where we learn that that imaginary friends only remain visible to the children up to their 8th birthday. This gem of a page is worth the cover price alone. The book progresses to our agents being called into to sort out a riot in the town where they house all the apprehended figments, tipped off, it must be said, by another figment working as their inside man. The issue culminates in an act of betrayal on Elliot and the kidnapping or should that be figment-napping of one of these imaginary friends, where we learn that some of the meaner looking figments are planning a rebellion of sorts.
The idea for this new series owes much to the likes of Men In Black and Drop Dead Fred, yet Joines takes inspiration from those to craft an altogether fresh and joyful little world. The pacing of the story is excellent and he has managed to cram quite a lot into this first issue, including firmly establishing his characters, both human and imaginary.
As for the art by the single named Bachan, suffice to say his pencils suit the story perfectly. It is a cartoon style with the thin line work that really lends itself to a world populated with imaginary creatures ranging from the absurd to the cuddly to the downright creepy. His panel choices are by the book, which is just as it should be for an all ages comic. Colours on IMAGINE Agents are by the very talented Ruth Redmond. Her palette is a feast for the eyes and really add to the fantastical tale unfolding before us. Redmond’s colour scheme is a match made in heaven for the art of Bachan as it’s completely in keeping with the cartoony feel of the book.
Overall this is a beautiful all ages book, populated with some really inventive creature creations. Couple that with the uneasy buddy-cop partnership of Slatern and Snowgoose and there is something for everyone in here.
It’s not easy policing the world of Imaginary friends but it sure is fun.
Patrick is a contributing writer for Drunk On Comics. You can follow him on Twitter at @RepStones.