Stranger Things #4 Review

by Nathan Koffler on January 02, 2019

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

I know that I have written it before, but I have to emphasize how much I love following along Will in the Upside Down and reading his thoughts. As a fan of the show, this adds such a great new layer to the story. Sure, I know what is going to happen a little bit into the future after this issue ends, but this series has given me an insight into how terrible and scary Will’s experience really was.

Jody Houser’s writing traps us in the Upside Down along with Will and scares us by using two things that a lot of people fear: loneliness and hopelessness. Will is constantly experiencing both of those terrible emotions and to help us understand, Houser attempts to also make us experiencing those things as well. She has succeeded in her endeavour because while reading this issue, I found myself feeling extremely sad for Will. But to add to how well Houser’s writing is, I also found myself feeling confident because she also shows us that Will can be brave when he needs to.

This issue has a sense of surrealism to it as it establishes just how creepy and hopeless the Upside Down is and also transitioning to things that Will is seeing, like his vision of the castle and seeing himself as Will the Wise. The transition was so smooth that the jump back to reality just made the Upside Down scarier.

The credit for why the setting terrifies and saddens me so much belongs to the artists of the issue: Stefano Martino, Keith Champagne, and Lauren Affe. These three talented artists have taken a dark story and showed us just how terrible the Upside Down can be. The Demogorgon, the skeletons, and even the nothingness of the Upside Down are all illustrated with a force that excites and scares me. The tone set by the colors kept me both interested and on the edge of my seat.

The scene where Will does transition to becoming Will the Wise walking into the castle was great writing for sure, but it is as beautiful as it is because of Martino, Champagne, and especially Affe. Colorist Lauren Affe amazingly shifts to this completely different place and different character and different story in those few pages all with the change of colors. It is easily one of the best visuals that this entire series has done.

Stranger Things #4 contains the sadness, the excitement, and the horror that make the conclusion to the mini-series work. It’s wonderfully written but especially excels in it’s gorgeous and haunting visuals.

Our Score:


A Look Inside