Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Pinchuk, Belcher, Skeen, Turner & Nelson
Imagine waking up lost, with amnesia, in a world populated by various types of monsters that give you the name of Stump and the job of “Problem Solver”. If you can, then perhaps you can relate to the situation within the pages of graphic novel: Unimaginable. This comic takes readers on a strange journey that’s comprised of science fiction, mystery, horror and fantasy over the course of sixty-six entertaining pages. The story is the hook but the characters and their interactions are the real gem of the book. In a market that has a lot of books that are similar, Unimaginable, is truly something completely different and that’s just one of the appealing aspects of the creative work found within the pages.
The first few pages set the tone of the book as the lead (nameless) character wakes up in land that looks straight out of Blade Runner or the comic book Elephantmen. She is put on a conveyor belt, cleansed, redressed, given a fake nose and sent into the work force. I found the opening to be very confusing as I tried to reconcile the language, the contract they review, the costumes and the tasks the characters perform. It wasn’t until later did I realize this was my fault.
I was trying to shoehorn this book into the mold of every other comic book and I shouldn’t have. This book breaks the mold. Like a Grant Morrison book, Pinchuk waits until the end to explain much of what came before and even then, not every single detail gets a nice bow tied around it. Basically, I should have just rolled with the story opening instead of trying to find the instant explanation. If I had bathed myself in the story from the first page I think I would have enjoyed the overall book as much as I loved the ending.
The character, Stump, is assigned the role of Problem Solver and quickly meets her two partners, Chin and Lank. The three make their way through “The City” looking and fixing problems.
The book contains several problems waiting to be solved, but the first one sets up things to come in a couple of ways. The question is: which is the most perfect shape – the circle or the cube? Stump, being new, is willing to think a little outside the box (pun intended) while the others are busy looking at their rule books for help. Stump manages to solve the problem in a unique way which gives her some street cred and helps to establish her as the leader of her and her friends. These tools that allowed her to solve this problem help her in the end of the book.
As the team moves through the city solving problems there is one problem mentioned but avoided at the same time: The Unimaginable. The last third of the book deals with this topic head on and takes the story in an unexpected direction with a surprise ending. It was a terrific idea and solution.
As mentioned at the opening the best aspect of the book is the characters and their play off of each other. Stump transforms over a short span of pages from being a quiet, unassuming, novice to smart and savvy veteran in what is a very natural progression. While Stump rises out of her humble beginnings, her companions supply information about the world, provide comedy relief and they show what characters look like when they don’t evolve with the story. The characters really brought this story to life.
The comic book is elevated with its art and its artistic direction. This comic book story is something so strange and psychedelic that it takes a special art team to pull off what the story calls for. Somehow this art team achieves what the story demands. The book breaks imagination boundaries in ways that some books, like Orc Stain, manage to do. The character designs are creative, colorful and flat-out bizarre. The coloring is contrasting and eye catching. Even the lettering adds yet another aspect of the story that requires attention. Perhaps my favorite artistic scene was the character with the flowing brains (the one with the cube versus the circle problem). The image is disturbing, funny and scenery eating. Overall, it’s easy to get lost in this story because the artwork simply takes you away.
Unimaginable is a well thought out and crazy book at the same time. The book has a flow to it, but if you study it too hard looking for answers then you will be disappointed. You have to read the book to escape and trust that the answers will follow at the end. If you are dying to try something new then this book is worth tracking down.
4 out of 5 Geek Goggles