Stranger Things Halloween Special Review

by Nick Devonald on October 20, 2020

Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Todor Hristov
Colours: Chris O’ Halloran
Letters: Nate Piekos of Blambot

The Stranger Things Halloween Special does exactly what you would expect it to, managing to capture the feel of the TV show while delivering a satisfying Halloween story to boot. Focusing on our quartet of Hawkins kids, sitting around the campfire telling each other scary stories, it’s evocative of the series, and an excellent return to Hawkins. The focus on the story is the story within the story, about the ‘Child-Eater Of Hawkins’, but it feels like a story which not only belongs in the Stranger Things world it also delivers on the classic Halloween scary story, with several twists no less. And while there’s a twist towards the end of the story which most readers will see coming, it feels like an intentional decision and doesn’t lesson the impact of the twist either, it feels like readers are being let in on the joke even before the characters are.

Michael Moreci understands what readers want from a Stranger Things comic, and that’s a return to our four kids and the world of Hawkins. The Stranger Things comics are never as good when they try to expand on the larger mythology and ignore the characters we’re used to, it loses a little of the magic which makes it really special, so it’s nice that we're getting to spend time with characters we know and love. It also manages to capture the 80s vibe which Stranger Things is renowned for, this time really focusing on the classic horror stories from that era. It works really well, and is an easy read for anyone familiar with the world. More casual comic fans can enjoy this without being tied into reading any other Stranger Things comics. There is plenty here to delight fans, from the ittle touches like seeing the kids dressed up as Star Wars characters, to little Easter Eggs for the main series.

Todor Kristov was a great choice for this story, he really brings each of the characters to life and makes them each easily recognisable. Characters who aren’t the likeness of their TV counterparts can be an instant turn off for many, but there’ll be no complaints about that here. The kids sitting around the campfire is so well brought to life readers will practically here the crackling fire and eery nighttime noises from the woods. Then the main story within a story is brilliantly brought to life, very evocative and thanks to some clever art choices the horror elements slowly build up till it’s a full on scary story.

Colours are important at the best of times in comics, but with horror comics a skillful colourist can really help set the tone and build that sense of fear, which is exactly what Chris O’ Halloran manages to do here. Clever uses of shadow and darkness really do build up the horror vibe and it works incredibly well.

A welcome return to the world of Hawkins, it’s a setting ripe for one shot Halloween stories along these lines and fans will absolutely devour this issue. Something that can be easily picked up and read without reading any of the other Stranger Things comics it’s an ideal starting point for fans looking to explore a little more of the Stranger Things world. The characters are so brilliantly brought to life, the art is another fantastic reason to pick this one-shot up.

Our Score:


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