Stranger Things: Into the Fire #1
Years after escaping Hawkins Lab, two of Dr. Brenner’s former subjects seek to live normal lives. When news reaches them that the lab was shut down, they go on a harrowing search for Nine, a powerful pyrokinetic whose shattered psyche threatens to burn them all to ashes if they can’t find her and free her from her own malevolent imagination.
This series marks Houser’s third forway into the world of the hit show Stranger Things and it truly feels as if her work is coming into its own now. The previous series were both very well written and enjoyable but this series marks the first time the spin-off feels exciting. The trappings of pre-existing narratives and pre-set conditions have fallen away leaving behind only a great adventure fraught with mystery and peril.
As with the previous series, Six, Into the Fire continues the exploration of the other children the Hawkins Lab experimented on but pushes the characters out of the sterility of the laboratory environment and into the world. Josh and Marcy encounter Eight living with what promises to be a colorful crew of outcasts that gives the book just a little more room to breath and perhaps latch onto the charm that made the show into the smashing success it has become. These new characters certainly won’t be carbon copies of the show crew but seem destined for a similar broadening of the world of Stranger Things.
The artwork here is among the best of the three series thus far, perhaps also due to the widening net the series is casting. Gone is the need to mirror the image of a previously established screen character which seems to give artist Ryan Kelly more room to create here rather than mimic. The lush and eerie sequences of Nine’s “princess fantasy” are a particular high point, reminding us that while Stranger Things is often remembered for its rich characterizations, it is, at heart, a horror story.
Once more into the breach with Stranger Things: Into the Fire #1 (Houser, Kelly, Underwood, Farrell, Piekos) in what looks to be the most promising of the Dark Horse tie-ins to Stranger Things.
Stranger Things: Into the Fire #1: Once Upon a Time…
Writing - 10/10
Storyline - 9.5/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 9.5/10
Cover Art - 8/10
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