Review - Unimaginable

You might recognize Tom Pinchuk's work from Hybrid Bastards!, a work released earlier this year for Archaia. That work answered the question about Zeus' infidelity and the craziness that inevitably would ensue as a result. Unimaginable is Pinchuk's next work and is published by Arcana and features Kurt Belcher illustrating, Levi Skeen inking and Zack Turner coloring.

Unimaginable tells the story of Stump, a young woman who wakes up in a strange world and is immediately put to work as a "problem solver." Alongside her colleagues Chin and Lank she solves problems, impressing the duo in the process. What's particularly striking about Stump is her ability to "think outside the box" and defy the rules and procedures that those in the world she's in strictly adhere to when faced with problems. Her approach strikes at the heart of the book's theme in that using the imagination can create a solution that, while not conventional or proven, can get the job done just as well.

Stump is in a dreamlike world/state that is never defined as such and could be a metaphor for some greater sense of the reader's imagination (Pinchuk leaves it vague). The greatest threat facing Stump and her team are the "Unimaginable" in that they're essentially a problem that can't be solved because it can't be conceptualized. The problem with them lies in the struggle to define them, creating further problems and conundrums that, inevitably, Stump will overcome. The book ends with a relatively lighthearted, classic joke (with nearly infinite variations) as a means of poking fun at itself and also making a point: sometimes overthinking a problem is just as bad as not thinking about a problem at all.

The core of the story is using the imagination and is almost presented as a moral in a fairy tale. Pinchuk doesn't flesh out the characters much as the plot drives the story and Stump is really the only character that makes a lasting impression on the reader. The concept of using the imagination to solve problems isn't quite original; in fact, growing up kids are often taught that the imagination is the first line of defense in solving problems. Pinchuk does well though by adapting the story to the strange world that Stump inhabits and including problems that have seemingly traditional solutions.

Belcher's art is somewhat difficult to describe. To call it plain would be shortselling it, but Belcher's illustrations are relatively minimalist in a sense. There are some interesting angles in some of the panels that add to the dystopian feel of the world. Turner's blunted colors fit the illustrations well, denoting a relatively boring tone in a world where the inhabitants live and die by rulebooks. Combined the art is relatively rough around the edges with little refinements. I also liked the different lettering for some of the characters, but some of it was difficult to read and after a while it became a little difficult to keep track of who was saying what.

Unimaginable features a fairly wacky script with somewhat absurd exchanges. All's fair when it comes to the imagination though and Pinchuk successfully delivers a story that is equal parts imaginative and mundane. Some of the illustrations are ugly in a sense and you have to wonder if this is really something imagined that things would be more attractive. I like the ambiguous atmosphere of the book and its penchant for solving problems with imaginative solutions. It's worth a read if you're looking for something unconventional with shades of imagination.