Goosebumps: Download and Die! #3
Writer: Jen Vaughn
Artist: Michelle Wong
Colorist: Triona Tree Farrell
Letterer: Christa Miesner
Review by Evan Maroun
(Find out what we thought of issue #2 here).
I have absolutely no shame in saying I loved the first two issues of Goosebumps: Download and Die! This creative team has managed to capture the essence of being a kid while navigating relationships with both friends and technology today. It also simultaneously updates and pays homage to the iconic Say Cheese and Die! story from R.L. Stine. With issue #3, we come to a thrilling conclusion–but does it maintain it’s chilling charm to the end? For the most part, yes!
The issue picks up with Mitra and Kyra in the perilous situation they had literally fallen into last we left off. In the first two issues, Vaughn allows us to get behind this friend circle through believable dialogue and a steady pace. Here, while the former is still intact, the pace really ramps up. And, this change does come at a cost.
While it is undoubtedly exciting to get reveal after reveal and more action, it doesn’t always give us time to appreciate those smaller moments. This is the third act, so I understand why priority was taken, but it is worth noting. It almost feels as if the series could’ve used an extra issue to balance this. Still, pacing aside, there is a lot to love here. All of the characters featured so far in the story are brought together and have their role to play in the finale. This allows Vaughn to effectively tie up a few of the subplots set up previously. Almost all of them feel earned and satisfying, except one regarding Mitra and the girl she had a crush on, named Weather. That one felt slightly anti-climactic because of the buildup, but to her credit, she gives an understandable character reason for why it doesn’t wrap up like you may be expecting.
I won’t spoil it, but it feels like Vaughn was also listening when I had a question regarding a familiar character featured on the previous covers. We get the answer, and it works quite well. She also ends the book by bringing back a small character I honestly thought was just a one-off spook; It ends in classic Goosebumps fashion, and, for that, I very much appreciated it.
Michelle Wong continues to crush the look of this book in all the best ways. She had some seriously fun material to play with on this issue because the more supernatural aspects of the series really come out to play. Her portrayals of these elements stay in line with her style but really pop in combination with Farrell’s vivid color work. Even when things get creepy, the colors never really fade, opting to let bright colors shine through. It’s a choice that has paid off, matching the lighter tone of the series throughout. I also wouldn’t feel right without mentioning Miesner who has made the experience of reading this series an effortless one, with consistent and clean lettering work since the first issue.
Verdict: Buy it!
Despite a slight pacing change-up, I’m crestfallen in knowing this is the conclusion. The creative team on Download and Die! is certainly a force to be reckoned with, giving young comic readers one of the best miniseries in recent memory. I’ll be looking forward to seeing what they all tackle next.