The Stranger Things prequel you didn’t know you needed is back this week with issue #2. In it, Jody Houser and artist Edgar Salazar explore the slightly earlier stages of the Hawkins Laboratory, we learn more about Six, and Dr. Brenner doesn’t seem so bad…yeah, right!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Trapped inside the mysterious Hawkins Laboratory, gifted teen Francine struggles with nightmares and dark flashbacks as Dr. Brenner attempts to truly unlock her precognitive powers. And an old friend tries to make amends–but can she really trust him?
Why does this matter?
This story is starting to open up a bit with a big reveal of a certain someone at the Hawkins Laboratory. It also teases answers for why the lab was opened at all and what the ultimate goal of all this research is for.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Jody Houser has quite a clever premise in this story, with a narrative that explores the future while telling us a story of the past. Six can see the future, we know that now, and she’s seeing awful things while attempting to master her powers in the Hawkins Laboratory. We’re talking monsters walking the halls; season 1 sort of stuff. That allows Houser to not spoil the series and let us relive season one a bit. At the same time, we’re learning a bit about Dr. Brenner’s intentions and gain a more thorough grasp of what this lab was for in the first place. We kind of already know these things, but it’s fun to get confirmation. This issue also delivers on a few familiar faces that should get fans excited for more.
A more complex element being explored is how Six was sort of duped into admitting herself to this laboratory. It’s all about a boy and we learn what his power is in this issue. The complexities of relationships is already a lot, but for Six it appears she got dealt the wrong hand.
The art by Salazar with inks by Keith Champagne and colors by Marissa Louise continues to give a thin-lined and more realistic look at the Hawkins Laboratory and the characters within. Brenner can sometimes look a bit off, but for the most part, you get the feeling he’s a younger man so that works. The color palette is subdued which helps sell the underpinning horror of it all.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Like most licensed comics (I’m looking at you, Star Wars) there’s the subtle reminder while reading that it’s about the journey and not the destination. What I mean is that there are no big revelations or new details that add a whole lot to the series as a whole. That might let some down hoping to squeeze more info out of the narrative to understand the series.
Is it good?
I thought this series would not crossover more than it already has, but it does, so I was very happy with this issue (staying subtle to avoid spoilers). This is a great adventure into the Stranger Things Hawkins Laboratory past.