Stranger Things #2
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Jody Houser
Penciler: Stefano Martino
Inker: Keith Champagne
Colorist: Lauren Affe
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
In Stranger Things #2, Will Byers is stuck in a world that is a crude mockery of his own. As he is being chased by the Demogorgon, he’s trying to get through to his mother who he is barely able to hear through his walkie-talkie. He’s finally able to break through and find a way to contact his mother, but he soon learns that the danger he is in can easily find its way to his family too.
The first issue of the Stranger Things comic series handily answered the question that might arise with a comic book that essentially has one character. This follow-up issue does a lot more that really makes the lone-character narrative a strength for this series. The third-person text boxes and Will’s thought bubbles made me think of the way a lot of classic comics told stories (sans the floating heads in text boxes to tell us who is talking) that still feels modern.
Not only that, but the artwork does a lot to get you to understand the sense of isolation Will must be feeling. One great example is near the beginning when we see Will in a bedroom that is clearly not empty, but as he is desperately trying to contact anyone that can hear him, he is drawn against a horrifyingly empty backdrop. His need for any kind of sign of human life tremendously increases the stakes and puts the reader in his shoes.
Houser also does a great job of making the comic book version of Will very believable. There are certain actions Will takes, such as unloading on a monster with limited ammo and running toward obvious danger, that can only be justified by realizing that Will is only a child and he is at his wit’s end. Occasionally, writers will depict children who make decisions based on how an adult would act, and I’m glad Houser avoided that pitfall.
Fans of the Stranger Things show will also find loads of familiar scenes in this book from Will’s point of view, including the infamous Christmas light alphabet scene. Will also stumbles across a familiar set of glasses in a fated pool, which might open up a sore spot for fans of a certain character.
Verdict: Buy it.
This is a strong follow up to the first issue, and it ensures this limited, four-part series will be everything Stranger Things fans need to fill in the gap of what happened while Will was in the Upside Down…and the gap while we impatiently wait for the next season to finally drop.