Stranger Things #1 Review

by Nathan Koffler on September 26, 2018

Writer: Jody Houser
Penciller: Stefano Martino
Inker: Keith Champagne
Colorist: Lauren Affe
Letterer: Nate Piekos
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

I was of course very excited about a Stranger Things comic book series when it was announced because of how much I love the show. And of course along with that excitement, I had a bit of concern about the quality of the series because I believe the show to be so good. These kinds of series always have a lot of potential to be tie-ins that are either pretty good or really bad. I am usually not blown away by any series that are tie-ins to media that I enjoy.

With all of that said, this first issue of the Stranger Things series falls in the pretty good category for me. The show is just so good that I really don’t know that another form of media can take the same exact plot and characters and make it as good. But what we have here is definitely a nice addition to what we already have with the show. 

In this first issue, we get a little bit of extra stuff from the first episode that we didn’t necessarily get to see on the show. This concept is always really appealing to me because I am always interested in knowing more about plots that I am heavily invested in. The information that we get in this first issue is definitely something that I was interested in seeing when watching the show. I think that it is really smart for the writers to reveal to us more of what was going on for Will in the Upside Down. Will’s situation is distressing enough when watching the show and getting a closer glimpse to the horrible reality that he is in is depressing and entertaining. 

As much as I love this concept for this series, I didn’t necessarily love the execution. I understand that we are going to need narration to a point since Will is in the Upside Down by himself but I personally found the narration in this first issue to feel clunky and at times a little too much in the way. However, I really enjoyed how Jody Houser continued to bring Will’s situation in the Upside Down to his adventures playing D&D with his friends. I also found the ending to be paced really well and it perfectly helped set up for an intense second issue.

I was unfamiliar with all of the artists for this series before this issue and I believe that this was a great introduction to their work. The penciller Stefano Martino, the inker Keith Champagne, and the colorist Lauren Affe all work together to create some fantastic visuals for this issue. The story that we know so well from the show has shown us that it is extremely creative especially regarding the visuals. These artists captured all of the 80’s clothing really well and also made the comic book as a whole in the style of the 80's.

This first issue of the new Stranger Things series packs a lot of great artwork and some interesting storytelling but fails to really flow as well as the show does due to some unnatural narration. The issue is pretty good for a media tie-in thanks to an already established plot but I am unsure just how good this series can continue to be while trying to make the little information we have from the show stretch. The show is still in the process of explaining a lot of details to us so it will be interesting to see if this series turns out to simply become a retelling of the story. 

Our Score:


A Look Inside