Comic books have always been a facet of my life, but it’s only in recent years have they been used to enrich and continue our favorite movie and TV stories. Case in point, the Stranger Things comic, which has shown us what Will went through in the Upside Down off camera. The third issue drops this week as it continues to tie his acts in the Upside Down with the first season of the TV show.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
He knows there are doors to the other side; he just has to find them before the demogorgon finds him. Will ”The Wise” always does what is best for the ”Party”, but how long will that keep him alive in the Upside Down?
Why does this matter?
This enriches the main series while also blending in character development for Will and his group. You get to see their bond, but also see how their gaming enthusiasm for Dungeons & Dragons plays a part in the bigger story too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue does a great job showing just how scary Will’s journey was in the Upside Down. More than once I thought about the trauma he was going through and how the events transpiring in the comic add weight to how strange he acts in season 2. This issue shows what Will was up to around when he communicates to his mom as well as reveals how he helped out one of the kids preventing them from getting murdered. Will is a real hero and possibly one of the most heroic kids in the group. That is further proven when we get some fun Dungeons & Dragons scenes in flashback form. Writer Jody Houser is layering in how these boys may be young, but they know they need to do the right thing whether it’s in a game, or as we know from the show, in real life.
Artist Stefano Martino gets to draw much more of the Upside Down in this issue with most of the scenes taking place there. The weird portal is the main feature that Martino makes look gross, yet also like something out of a fantasy. Will’s fear and trauma is also on full display. You’ll feel for him due to the way he’s rendered.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Being a prequel story closely connected to the first season of the series hinders the general plot of this issue. Houser has to get Will from point A to point B but it’s done in janky, unnatural ways. It’s not very natural from him to run away, run back, then just so happen to be nearby when another character needs help. It’d be nice if there was more purpose to his moves in the Upside Down. There’s also not much for him to do at all beyond be scared and hide. Maybe the creators didn’t want this narrative to overshadow the show, but it lacks a purpose.
Is it good?
This is the first issue in the series that hammers home how traumatic Will’s adventure was in the Upside Down. You’ll feel bad for the kid as he holds it together just enough to not be murdered.