STRANGER THINGS #3 / Writer: Jody Houser / Penciler: Edgar Salazar / Inker: Keith Champagne / Colorist: Marissa Louise / Letterer: Nate Piekos / Publisher: Dark Horse Comics / Published Date: July 30, 2019.
Hawkins Lab and Stranger Things
In the Hawkins Lab, Francine, known as Number Six, is about to be put into the isolation tank. Dr. Brenner wants to push the limits of Six’s future sight ability. She is reluctant to cooperate, but when she does she sees strange things she can’t explain, including waffles. She tells Brenner about nothing but waffles. He is not happy and about to show her what life at Hawkins Lab can be like. At least she has reconnected with Ricky, Number Three, who was her boyfriend. Or has she?
Relationships and Characters
Jody Houser has really hit her stride with Stranger Things. Her ability to create the world within the Hawkins lab while relationship-building is engaging. This issue is the best yet. Houser’s Six has depth, intellect, and bravery, which is shown against the backdrop of her former, fearful self. We see how she has grown on top of seeing her current state.
Houser also gives the reader clues to what may be hiding beneath the surface of the characters. It’s blatant with Dr. Brenner, but I find myself a bit suspect of Ricky’s behavior as well. She weaves certain dialog into both characters that draws a manipulative line between them. Layering each character is the appeal of this issue. Even the twins, Nine in particular, have issues. Drive is one thing, hurting yourself to achieve is another. Houser takes care to make sure each character is well crafted.
Edgar Salazar and Keith Champagne support this great story with realistic art mixed with science fiction. The full-page art of Six’s view of the future is suspenseful in its wonderful, piecemeal depiction. It also lends familiarity for those that are fans of the TV show. The art does a great job of highlighting subtle facial reactions. A sinister smile from Dr. Brenner, the determination of Nine, or panic from Six are all well depicted.
Marissa Louise’s colors also support Houser’s vision for the issue. The muted earth tones of previous issues continues to make the Hawkins Lab drab, as life there must be. Some accents, such as the coloring of the underwater helmet and Three’s blue eyes, are beautifully done. It would have been nice to see something other than fire tones for the future sight moments. After having very muted tones for the series, using muted tones for the sci-fi just felt a bit repetitive, even in a different shade.
Overall, More Stranger Things Please!
Overall, I’m really looking forward to the next issue. Jody Houser has connected us to these characters and curious about the evil brewing. The art team works fantastically with one another to create this drab world, while also building familiarity between characters trapped there. If you are a fan of the TV show, this is a must read. After binging the latest season, I want more Stranger Things. This series is the perfect way to alleviate that need. Here is hoping Houser’s Six gets added to the next season.
I’m sad this is only a four-part series. This issue was really about relationship and character building for Houser, not the action one would expect for the second to last issue. That being said, it’s very enjoyable. Hopefully Dark Horse will invest in Houser to write another Stranger Things series after this one ends.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5