Welcome back to everyone’s favorite Wicked Horror segment: Fallon loses her mind over a comic book, the part of the show where Fallon spends an entire article gushing over a comic. Like a dork. And Dark Horse’s Stranger Things: SIX has given me plenty to gush about. I knew I was going to love this book within the first five pages of issue #1. Since then, it’s only steadily gotten better and better with each installment. So much so that waiting for each new issue is legitimate torture. Guess that’s just a tell tale sign that this comic is doing it’s job, right?
If you’re unfamiliar, Stranger Things: SIX is a comic following Francine, a teenage girl with the ability to see into the future. The book follows her struggles as a teen with superpowers. She hopes to find solace among fellow freaks in Dr. Brenner’s Hawkins Laboratory. However, with the help of her cool superpowers, she senses a greater evil is approaching. It takes place a few years before the events of Stranger Things and is a must read for fans curious about all the strangeness that went on before Eleven’s great escape. Plus the art is gorgeous. The art on it’s own is enough to earn this series five stars. The line work is on the coarse side and the coloring comes off as slightly faded, giving it a nice vintage vibe. I love how it’s so detailed yet still so character focused.
In the last issue, we see the not so good Dr. Brenner decide that Francine is ready to see the lab’s latest gadget: the sensory deprivation tank. This lightless, soundless tank filled with saltwater greatly enhances psychic abilities. In the Stranger Things series, we see Eleven use this tank plenty of times, in SIX we watch as Francine seems to be the very first guinea pig to give it a try.
In complete isolation Francine gets a look several years into the future. Clearly it’s referencing the show’s first season as we get a glimpse of Christmas lights, young Eleven and Eight in the “Rainbow Room”, loads of blood, monsters and waffles. It was mostly waffles. Which is the only detail she spills when Brenner probes her for information. Clearly Francine has made up her mind about Brenner (finally!).
Things grow even more tense after an experiment goes wrong. It’s good to see her listening to her gut about Brenner’s little operation. Up to this point, she’s been on the fence about the whole thing. Including whether or not she trusts his intentions for the residents at the lab. And it’s understandable why. On one hand, Brenner is the first person to treat Francine like a normal girl, to tell her that her abilities aren’t some weird thing that should fall under scrutiny. Instead he tells her that her powers could actually be used for the good of humanity. But on the other hand? He’s incredibly shady, treats tragedies in the lab–including casualties–like they’re nothing and just has a bad vibe to him.
Either way, enough is enough for our main character. The issue concludes with a cliffhanger as Francine starts the process of convincing her friends that they must somehow escape with the rest of the children. Will their opportunity arrive too late? Will everyone be on board with this plan? Or will Francine be forced to go on the run alone? I’m gonna need more of that dun-dun-dunnnn music, please?
As always, do yourself a favor and add Stranger Things: SIX to your summer reading list. It’s seriously worth checking out. It’s a lovely mind bender that plays on that fine line between fantasy and reality and brings it to the next level thanks to the evocative, lyrical writing.
Stranger Things: SIX is published by Dark Horse and is written by Jody Houser, penciled by Edgar Salazar, and inked by Keith Champagne. The lettering was performed by Nate Piekos, colored by Triona Farrel, and the cover art was drawn by Aleksi Briclot, Kyle Lambert, David Mack, Patrick Satterfield and Jenny Frison. It is now available in comic book shops and via the Dark Horse Website.
Wicked Rating: 8/10