Now that Stranger Things season 3 has come out we can all breathe a sigh of relief since the show is back on track! But before we knew what Netflix and the Duffer Brothers were going to do, Jody Houser had been hard at work writing an excellent prequel series. It may not reveal too many secrets, but it’s developing our understanding of the previous numbered test subjects Dr. Brenner has been testing at the Hawkins Laboratory. The third issue is out this week and it brings back the tank Eleven was forced to plunge into.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Discover the origins of Project MK Ultra! Francine and the other gifted young people are being held in the Hawkins Laboratory by Dr. Brenner. Francine believes he will stop at nothing to harness their collective powers. Increasingly grueling experiments unlock dark visions of the future, convincing her and her friends that they must somehow escape with the rest of the children–but will their opportunity arrive too late?
Why does this matter?
Houser has employed a clever flash-forward look at what we’ve seen in the show via Six’s ability to see the future. This allows the comic to make connections to the show we already know, but that the characters aren’t aware of in the series. There’s a haunting nature to Six seeing the monster, since we know how bad it’s going to get.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
You may be surprised how excited you get over waffles when reading this issue. That’s all I’ll say, but in an excellent full-page splash, Edgar Salazar reveals to Six future moments for this series and the TV show that add a lot of weight to this specific series. This issue opens with Six going into the tank that helps enhance the powers of those who enter and it shows Six things she doesn’t want to see. Since we already know the laboratory is up to no good messing with kids, it’s not too much of a surprise when Dr. Brenner shows his true colors to Six, but it’s an effective turn as Six begins to realize what she must do.
Dr. Brenner continues to be an interesting figure in this series. We get to see him in two different lights this issue and it’s quite clear he’s capable of lying to anyone so he can get his way. It’s an interesting character in general since, I think, his approach is all about the ends justifying the means, but his treatment of children certainly makes him a villain. The “accident” that occurs does a good job laying on some sci-fi horror into the narrative while building on Dr. Brenner’s evil nature.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
As I’ve said in the previous two reviews, this series doesn’t add a lot to the bigger story since it can’t reveal more than what we already know. Read this as if it’s a nice way of experiencing the Hawkins Laboratory one more time and you’ll enjoy it well enough.
Is it good?
A good third issue that continues to reveal the powers of the Hawkins Laboratory children and the growing unease of Six as she comes to realize Dr. Brenner is an evil bastard. If the ends justify the means, this story certainly adds to the show.