“Try Something New.” That challenge is the whole reason for this feature’s existence. Month in and month out we buy the comics we know and love, the ones we look forward to every time but there are countless series that travel under our radar, ones that we just don’t give a chance and get passed by. That’s why I made a vow: every week I’d pick up an issue for a series that wasn’t on my pull-list in the hopes of finding a hidden gem. Welcome to Off The Shelf where we’ll discover if my leap of faith paid dividends this week. Also, I should mention that there be SPOILERS in this review. You are warned! ________________________________________________________
Imagine Agents #1Publisher
Brian Joines and Sebastian Carrillo
Prior Experience With Title
None, but I’m in the same boat as pretty much everyone else since this is a brand new property. I had no clue what this series was about and never even heard of it in the tiniest bit.
Why Did I Give It A Shot?
The cover grabbed my attention immediately and then I gave the issue a cursory look…and liked what I saw, proving that a great cover is a huge selling point in attracting new readers that are on the fence.
The issue begins with a father finding his son in the backyard, a backyard that is totally destroyed. The son claims it wasn’t him that did all this damage but his father doesn’t believe him. Then comes the reveal that the boy was indeed telling the truth as we see a huge stone centipede-like creature called Moog, the boy’s “imaginary” friend. Haven brought enough negative attention through his property damage, Agents Slatern and Snowgoose of I.M.A.G.I.N.E. arrive to capture the creature for violating the imaginary friend agreement. Snowgoose proves useless in the battle as he is easily dispatched but Slatern out thinks Moog and captures him. Apparently this is not an isolated incident as figment activity has been skyrocketing causing every rookie agent to be called up to the majors regardless of the amount of training they have received, explaining Snowgoose’s ineffectiveness.
We then shift over to another figment, Furdlegurr and his boy Elliot. Furdlegurr is an imaginary friend that actually encourages his child, one of the good ones. As he plays with the other school children, Elliot’s mother mentions to her associate that she had an imaginary friend growing up and she turned out just fine when questioned if she worries about it. She adds that her imaginary friend was a jerk though…. Anyways, each child can only see their own personal figment, none of the rest, so when Furdlegurr is approached by more figments Elliot is distracted by the invisible individuals that he is talking to. The troublesome duo state that there is a new player in town recruiting figments into his revolution. They offer Furdlegurr a spot in the liberation movement but he rejects them just as Elliot, still distracted, is whacked from behind by a ball thrown by a fellow classmate, Scott.
We rejoin our Agents who are collecting a figment named Blounder whose child is celebrating her eighth birthday, an occasion that causes a child to stop seeing their friend. The I.M.A.G.I.N.E. Agent’s jobs are to provide passage to a housing complex where the figments can live out their lives if they were good or incarcerate them if they were bad. While picking up Blounder, Slatern receives a call from another figment named Jupert who mentions that a new resident of the community has been talking about a figment Slatern is after, a figment named Dapple. The Agents head to the community only to find the figment with the info is not the most cooperative one as she throws Slatern out of the window of her house.
We end the issue by going back to Elliot at his home. Scott has arrived to apologize and this act of good faith is met with a dinner invitation which he accepts. As the two kids are in Elliot’s room, Elliot is called away by his mother to set the table. As he heads downstairs he tells Furdlegurr to ask Scott if wants to help out and is gone before Furdlegurr can say only Elliot can see him. Furdlegurr checks in on Scott only to be shocked with the revelation that he can see the figment before Scott captures him in a device similar to the ones the Agents use. The boy then proceeds to make the excuse that his stomach hurts and leaves the house, eventually blowing our minds by unveiling the fact that he is Elliot’s mother’s former imaginary friend and the leader of the revolution….Dapple!
Terry Snowgoose: Why are we waiting?
Dave Slatern: I’m sorry, I forgot you were an expert at this after only five days on the job. That’s why I was only nearly decapitated yesterday, versus actually decapitated.
Terry Snowgoose: We’re I.M.A.G.I.N.E. agents. You have been found in violation of section 1 of the imaginary friend agreement: intentionally bringing or—bringing or—um—doing bad stuff. So now, uh, you need to…uh…look, man, just cease and desist, put your hands above your head and…knock it off.
Dave Slatern: Sterling job, Terry. Really. Right out of the park.
Moog: Oh. Moog am been duped.
Dave Slatern: It’s not hard matching wits with someone when their wits are made of gravel. Didn’t really need to break out the Sun Tzu on this one.
Blounder: What does “I.M.A.G.I.N.E.” stand for anyway?
Terry Snowgoose: The Institute for the Management, Acclimation, Guardsmanship, and Incarceration of Notional Entities.
Blounder: You guys really had to work for that, didn’t you?
Final Verdict: Establishing a new world and its various rules can be quite a hurdle in such a limited space. Fortunately this book succeeds in doing just that and not making it feel like one huge info dump. After reading the debut offering, I’m excited to be immersed in this universe, loved the twist, and am intrigued by the various questions that popped-up throughout, questions that I can’t wait to discover the answers to as the series progresses. Finally, the art was appropriately chosen, having an animated Saturday Morning kids TV show feel to it. It’s because of all these factors that I’m going to Add It To My Pull-List.