“Stranger Things: Six #1” Season Three Prelude

Stranger Things: Six #1

From MAJK’s Coffee Corner:

Stranger Things: Six #1 whets the appetite of fans who eagerly await Stranger Things Season 3.

If you are looking to find Will Byers, Mike, or Eleven in this comic, you’ll be disappointed. If you are interested in learning more about the program from which Eleven escaped and the kids that were a part of it, then this is the comic for you.

Spoiler Warning: If you have not read Stranger Things: Six #1 There May Be Spoilers Below

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Stranger Things Season 1 Comic:

Dark Horse released the first Stranger Things comic series in the year following the release of Stranger Things season 2. The four-issue mini-series followed the events of Stranger Things season one with an interesting twist: it took place in the Upside Down. Fans finally got a look at what Will Byers went through during his time in that mysterious monster filled parallel world.

Stranger Things: Six #1 Creative Team:

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics        Writer: Jody Houser        Artist: Edgar Salazar

Colors: Triona Farrell       Letters: Keith Champagne  Cover Artist: Aleksi Briclot

Variant Covers: David Mack; Lyle Lambert; Jenny Frison; and Patrick Satterfield

Stranger Things Season 3 Prelude

Stranger Things: Six #1 kicks off an expanded universe for fans by introducing new characters. Intended as a prelude to Stranger Things Season 3, we are treated to a peek at what came before Wil Byers vanished and before the residents of Hawkins even met Eleven. Stranger Things: Six promises to let us in on the inner working of the Hawkins Lab. Fans of Stranger Things have always suspected there was a dark side to Dr. Brenner’s projects and now it looks like we might just get to see what was really happening.

Stranger Things: Six #1 page 1
Stranger Things: Six #1 page 1

Six comes before Eleven

Before Eleven, there was Six. Before she was known as Six, her name was Francine. She was a lovely young girl who was unique. Francine showed a talent for predicting the future. A talent that only worked under limited circumstances. Upon discovering their daughter’s gift, her parents leveraged it to their advantage. Her talent became their focus, causing them to see her more as a tool to achieve their wants. They forgot that she was their daughter, and a child needs to be loved.

Eventually, her precognitive abilities brought her to the attention of Dr. Brenner, and she was moved to Hawkins Lab. In the present, Six is a patient. Brenner is attempting to harness her powers for unknown reasons. Six has struggled through a lifetime of exploitation. She doesn’t quite trust Brenner. Her experience with her parents’ exploitation gives her a certain sense. There aren’t many people she can trust. Now, there is one less. In the hallway one day, she encounters Ricky, a young man from her past. A friend or so she thought.

Six expends her rage out on some furniture, resulting in a sudden burst of horror that may or may not have been real. Suddenly nothing is quite what it seemed and things are going to get even weirder.

Stranger Things: Six #1 page 2
Stranger Things: Six #1 page 2

Art & Writing of Stranger Things: Six #1

Houser writes a solid first issue that sets up what promises to be an interesting story. This is no surprise as she wrote the previous Stranger Things comic series. Houser ensures Six is the focus, despite Brenner’s presence. She introduces Francine and her supporting cast through humanizing moments. Flashbacks provide background information on Francine’s parents and her relationship with Ricky.

Fear, anger, happiness, doubt, and disappointment weave a picture of Six’s young life and compel you to walk with her. Despite the minimal action in this first issue, Houser crafts an intriguing enough experience that guarantees I’m on board for the next issue.

Salazar’s art does much of the emotional heavy lifting on Stranger Things: Six #1. We learn how Six feels with few words thanks to Salazar. It’s in the face of Francine as she grows to become Six. It tears at our hearts. The dawning realization that your parents are only interested in what you can do for them shreds Francine’s innocence. Her elation when she feels she’s found someone stable she can trust glows from the page. The devastation of betrayal sinks in as she recognizes Ricky.

Farrell’s colors communicate so much throughout Stranger Things: Six #1 in their choice and arrangement. The very seventies color scheme of Francine’s flashbacks sets the period perfectly. The muted and subdued pastels of the sterile lab speak depression. This is all the more clear when the vivid reds, blacks, and greens of the Upside Down bleed into her world.

Stranger Things: Six #1 page 3
Stranger Things: Six #1 page 3

Rating: 7 /10 Definite Buy

1 – 2 Stars = Take a Pass

3 – 4 Stars = Give it A Look

5 – 6 Stars = Borrow or Browse

6 – 7 Stars = Buy

8 – 10 Stars = Pull List Material

For any fan of Stranger Things, this is a no brainer, and I might even say put it on the pull list but for your average mainstream comic reader, this is a buy to try. Given that it’s a setup issue, things can feel a bit slow, the art isn’t your usual Marvel / DC fare and thus requires an appreciation for comics that aren’t just shy of an animated series.

It’s also a more mature comic in that it speaks to concepts of emotional pain, betrayal, and abandonment.

MAJK’s Age Recommendation:

Dark Horse doesn’t list an age recommendation on their site. ComiXology lists the age range as 15+ which seems about right to me at this point. There’s nothing particularly scary here in the way of creatures, violence, or such. There is a lot of subtext that mature readers will catch right away and that is a significant part of this comic’s depth.

Next Issue: Stranger Things: Six #2 will be available June 26, 2019

Stranger Things: Six #2
Stranger Things: Six #2
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