The Little Cookie Dough Cowboy
Written by: Tim Seeley
Art by: Stephan Molnar, Quinton Winter, and Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 24, 2018
***NON-SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM***
So far, this series has provided a great balance of fun story-telling and creepy character work. Tim Seeley, along with Stephan Molnar's art and Quinton Winter's colors, have crafted an interesting book that looks great as well. After the slightly gross cliffhanger of the last issue, I'm excited to see where Seeley takes Melba Li, Agent Crockett, and the IMP Polly Peachpit from here. I'd also like to see more of what is going on with Cameron and Charlie Chokecherry as well, so let's see if this issue keeps chugging along or goes flying clean off the rails. Hopefully a little bit of both.
Instead of picking up and seeing more of what Fraidy Cat is doing with Justin and the rest of the missing kids, this issue starts off with some backstory on Polly Peachpit. The first few pages are a lot of mumbo-jumbo about existing in a place that isn't a place at all. Somewhere "above the march of time" where no concept of places or self or time exists. It's all kind of confusing, but it doesn't last too long before we get some better information on Polly and Charlie's origins.
Polly and Charlie both came into being from the imagination of Melba Li, and gained Brinke as a follower as well. They fed off of the duo, but soon it became obvious that Polly was the main character of the story and Charlie was fading into the background. Instead of feeding on fear, Charlie gained a hunger for the rage of others, but soon faded to the Abyss of Abandonment. He stayed there, unable to return and feed, until Cameron found Brinke's notebooks and was introduced to Charlie. With Cameron's anger at Melba and Charlie's desire to get revenge on Polly, the two form a relationship built solely need, not because they like each other.
So Cameron shows up in Maiden Springs as a group is out looking for Justin, but Cameron just wants to find Melba. Meanwhile, Melba and Agent Crockett are talking to Ranger Sands about the missing children. He tells them that there definitely aren't any mountain lions, or really anything dangerous, in the area. Crockett wants to keep going further, but Melba hurls all over herself and they have to go get her cleaned up. She tries to play it off like it's a stomach bug, but Crockett isn't dense. He knows that she's hungover from going to the bar the night before. She begs him not to send her back to jail, and we actually get a great character moment as Crockett tells her that he understands. He's honestly a lot nicer about the whole thing than I expected.
After she cleans off, she tells Crockett that she thinks something is off in the town. She thinks that everyone there is numb to bad things that happen because something much worse has happened in the past. Crockett goes outside to wait for her, and now there is a pretty funny scene as Crockett stands outside and can only hear Melba's side of her conversation with Polly. Polly is mad at Melba for trying to use alcohol to silence her and Melba is forced to apologize to Polly. Eventually, Melba gets her to talk. Polly thinks that Ranger Dave is hiding something. Polly said she could smell the fear on Dave when Crockett brought up going further into the woods. That's good enough for Crockett, so he sends Melba back to the inn to look through the records while he goes back to the creek.
Back at the inn, Melba comes up with something while she's watching a video of an interview with parents of another missing kid. She immediately goes to call Crockett, who naturally doesn't answer. She tells his voicemail that every year on 9/11, one kid goes missing from within a 100-mile radius of Maiden Springs, but this year it happened on October 25. She doesn't know what this means yet so she goes to take a shower and tells Polly to leave her alone.
Back at the creek, Crockett sees someone pouring something in a whole, and tells him to freeze. The guy takes off and when Crockett goes to chase after him, some kind of drugs take effect and everything starts swirling. Crockett sees himself inside of an old, collapsing barn. He sees blood on the ground and can smell life, but then he's sucked back to reality and he is standing in front of the skeleton and police badge of a Ranger Sands. This section is trippy and a little confusing, but it looks great and the color change goes well with the mumbo-jumbo.
While that is going on, Melba Li looks out the window of the bathroom and sees someone staring up at her with a cat mask on. She turns around and there are three more people with cat masks coming out of the shower towards her. She calls for Polly as they tackle her, and when she manages to get one of the masks off, she sees that it's Justin attacking her. She can't do much about it as she is pushed over and smacks her head on the sink. Polly knows something is wrong and comes running to attack the kids and help Melba, but Charlie cuts her off and goes after her before she can get to Melba, who is being taken out the window by the kids. The issue ends with Charlie Chokecherry in attack mode coming after Polly. And hot damn does the last page look awesome.
I can't say enough about how much I love the art in this book. Stephan Molnar's art looks great for the characters, faces, backgrounds, and IMPS, while Quinton Winter provides excellent color work to give the book that eerie feel that this kind of story needs. Tim Seeley does a good job of balancing dialogue, narration, and emptier pages that let the art tell some of the story. The story still has me intrigued after three issues, and I like the fact that I have no idea where things are going to go from here.
Bits and Pieces:
I don't have the slightest idea as to where the overall story is heading, and that is really exciting. Tim Seeley is crafting a crazy narrative around great characters and the art team delivers an awesome looking book to go along with that. This series definitely gets my stamp of approval.