I absolutely love the character designs- especially when looking at the “imaginary friends”. Big Doll literally being a big doll makes me grin every time I think of it while others are so wild and out there that we readers are reminded just how amazing human imagination- especially as a child- really is. Alongside that, we also see common themes like Slatern’s Bad Cop to Snowgoose’s Good Cop. Well… Maybe it’s more along the lines of Veteran and Rookie, though Slatern is much more of a jerk than the noob Snowgoose is. We do get a small insight as to why Slatern acts the way he does towards the agency’s wards with some flashbacks and the way he handles and reacts to different situations. The twist at the end of the last issue was really unexpected to me. There are lots of events unfolding and people’s lives intersecting with each other because of what happened. Without giving anything much away, someone who “grew out” of their past has to acknowledge that it did happen in order to work with our dearly defunct Slatern and his I-didn’t-mean-to-zap-you-sorry partner Snowgoose. Even though a child is pivotal to the plot, they aren’t treated as a prize to be one of a toddler in distress. The child, Elliot, has his own personality and beliefs, and believe it or not, brains. He figures deceit out eventually, though a bit too late for what had unfolded already. Still, even the trusting child is capable of understanding lies and manipulation.
While I appreciate the lighthearted tone Agent Snowgoose adds to the story, I really think it’s high time he at least became accidentally useful. He seems to have a better path of logic than Slatern does and in fact may be even less prone to being influenced by biases and personal issues. That doesn’t come off as obviously as it should in the story and he really hasn’t done much as an agent other than banter with Agent Slatern. I mean, even the now-manipulated imaginary friend who Slatern burned was useful last issue- why not one of our main men?
This story is a great mixture of familiar motifs and themes with unconventional circumstances. As an young adult, I enjoy seeing the interaction between the agents and their wards alongside the kids and adults because I can understand both sides so completely at this age. As an artist, I feel that the art style is just child-like enough to give that imaginary friend phase of whimsy without going over the top to the point of being shown right after Teletubbies. Not a story for your toddler, but a great starter comic for the mid to late grammar school kid (if only for the capability of literacy). Definitely reading #3.
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