Stranger Things, Issue One of Four

Written by Jody Houser

Pencils by Stefano Martino

Inks by Keith Champagne

Colors by Lauren Affe

Letters by Nate Piekos of Blambot

Cover by Aleksi Briclot

Connected Back Cover by Fruiz

Publisher Dark Horse

I love the show Stranger Things, very much so, it’s fantastic. I love the 80’s setting, vibe and music, the old slang and especially seeing all the old labels and advertisements of products. So of course I had to read Dark Horses “Stranger Things” book.

I wanted to love this book, I was gunning for it to be good. Honestly it felt like it was just going through the paces. I know that Dark Horse wants to cash in on the Stranger Things property,(who wouldn’t?) but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have put in a little more effort. I feel like this book could have been much better. Even ok would have been nice.

The book starts out with the well remembered part of the show where Will Byers is leaving Mikes house after a game of Dungeons and Dragons and is chased by the Demogorgon into the Upside Down. Grabbing a rifle and firing at the creature. This is interspersed with cut-aways to the game he’d just been playing with his party of friends. Soon, Will realizes he’s not in his world and retreats to the fort he’d built in the woods nearby his house.

This is all interspersed with functional and boring thoughts, and snippets of D&D moralizing by Mike about a party/team standing or falling as one…bla bla bla.

The only part of the book that was kind of interesting were his brief glimpses of Eleven in the Upside Down, which I don’t remember from the show. I have to admit that could be due to the fact that I was White Boy Wasted every time I watched it. I find being really drunk when I watch sci-fi, dystopian, or fantasy movies and shows the perfect addition to a night of escape. It makes whatever i’m watching better, and I forget most of it so if I watch it again it’s like the first time. That’s a pro-tip to you guys by the way.

The writing was mechanical, the art was ok but the colors were awful. The color work was subdued and kind of smudged looking, and something else was going on with them that I’d have to call grainy. Maybe that could have looked better if done in the right way, for me at least. The best piece of the artwork was the front cover, which was good but not great, especially the bottom part you rotate around to see straight, loved the use of red and blue on that bit.

When the book ends with Will trapped in his room hearing the faint sounds of his Mothers voice on his radio as the Demogorgon enters the space, I was ready for it to end. At least it was a quick read. I’ll definitely read the following issues because of my love for the show, but I don’t really recommend it.

Skip it!

P.S.
I just found out that this book came out last year, I’d gotten it from DCBS as a re-list I think, so seeing as I’d have to track down the back issues or get a trade to finish the story, I don’t think i’ll be finishing this run of books. Take that as more evidence of the lackluster quality of it.

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