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"Stranger Things: Six #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Dark Horse Comics

Stranger Things Six 1 00

Written by Jody Houser
Illustrated by Edgar Salazar
Inked by Keith Champagne
Colored by Marissa Louise
Lettered by Nate Piekos
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 29th, 2019

Review:

By now you've probably seen at least the first season of Stranger Things on Netflix. Odds are, you have some questions as to where this mysterious organization came from and how a young girl like Eleven got wrapped up with them, among other things. If we've met Eleven, were there ten other kids before her? The short answer is yes and in Stranger Things: Six, we get to know a particular young woman with precognitive abilities.

Stranger Things: Six is exactly what I was hoping for from comics based on this TV series. The first mini-series gave us some new information, but it was mostly a retelling of the first season. This book gives us another look at the Hawkins Laboratory and seamlessly introduces a new character into the mix.

This issue bounces between the past and the present, showing Six as a young girl named Francine as she's exploited by her parents. Basically, her father is using her abilities to play the lotto and bet on horse races. When she gets things right, they love her, but when she's off, the poor girl is treated like a monster. Unfortunately, this treatment extends to the Hawkins Laboratory as well. With all that she's been through, you just want to hug her and tell her everything is going to be okay.

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You don't see the abuse Francine takes, but much of it is implied. You can tell how unhappy she is based on her facial expressions. Artist Edgar Salazar captures this sorrowful feeling. You immediately get the sense as to how often this happens and how sad this makes Francine, even though you don't know all the specifics.

This is a tone that follows Francine throughout her life, from a young child up into her teenage years at the Laboratory. She sees how other kids are treated and understands that something isn't right with her upbringing, but she's trapped in this depressing spiral.

This presents some horrors on their own, however things take an unsettling turn halfway through the book. Remember, this is a Stranger Things story and precognitive abilities are just part of the fun. There are also all sorts of monsters and we get a glimpse of some of them here. The timing of this is perfect, positioned at just the right moment to make you jump out of your skin. It's completely unexpected.

Salazar paces this very well, repeating a camera angle over and over with slight changes to let this terror sink in. No, that wasn't just an imperfection on the page. There's something more there and it's getting bigger. Soon it will swallow you up.

Colorist Marissa Louise controls the tone of each time period in Francine's life. It's mostly drab and dark, with the color essentially washed out. There is one moment where she looks like she's happy. This scene is brighter than the others, full of life and the glimmer of hope. Of course, it all comes crashing down so this is wiped out pretty quickly.

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Similarly, this sequence appears a little more defined than the others. Inker Keith Champagne adds some thicker lines here which help solidify the importance of this scene. This is something that's etched into Francine's mind and it's just been soured by the events in the present.

This revelation is handled delicately. Letterer Nate Piekos drives home the impact of it with a single word balloon. The font is smaller, like Francine is practically whispering to herself. This is where she realizes how far the rabbit hole goes and it's heartbreaking.

The jumps between time periods are shown with images that mirror each other. For example, we'll see a downtrodden Francine as a child on the left side of the page and the panel immediately to the right is her years later with a similar expression on her face. This is a nice way to jump forward without having to take up too much room explaining it.

Stranger Things: Six is an excellent companion to the TV show. It definitely adds more to the experience and makes me even more excited for it. More importantly, writer Jody Houser is expanding the overall mythos with a supporting character that we instantly fall in love with. At the very least, we want to see her break this cycle of sadness. Maybe the creatures in the Upside Down will help with that...

Grades:

Story: Fourandahalfstars Stranger Things Six 1 Small
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Art: Fourstars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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