Dark Horse Comics 2021
Written by Greg Pak
Illustrated by Diego Galindo
Coloured by Francesco Segala
Lettered by Nate Piekos
It's January 1985 the Hawkins crew survived their battle with the mind flayer, but Will and Joyce are still reeling from the recent death of Bob Newby. Will's friends have been too busy with their girlfriends to notice how much he is struggling. After he and Mr. Clarke discover a mysterious map Bob left in a box of old nerdy memorabilia, Will rallies the crew to investigate. Is there a secret hidden in the hills of Hawkins?
Everyone deals with grief and trauma in different ways and the boys just cannot understand what Will went through which honestly is a part of the problem. The other part is they don’t know how to see past their own grief and needs to see that their friend is hurting the way he is. I mean poor Will is doing his darndest to put on a brave front though honestly I don’t think he’s succeeding. The others are coping the best way they know how, by trying to move forward and forget the past, which forgetting the past is usually the best way to repeat it. So I’m a Will fan and this spotlight on him right here is really impactful upon the reader.
I am loving the way that this is being told. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is presented exceptionally well. The character development that we see through the narration, the dialogue, the character interaction as well as how we see them act and react to the situations and circumstances which they encounter does a marvellous job bringing their personalities to the forefront. The pacing is excellent and as it takes us through the pages introducing the story we’re enveloped by this like a warm blanket on a cool night.
I am impressed with how we see this being structured and how the layers within the story begin to emerge and grow. The layers open up avenues to be explored and while some will be and others won’t be they all add this great depth, dimension and complexity to the story. Dustin is the one to look out for here because he knows Will isn’t right yet. How everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow as well as how it moves the story forward is extremely well achieved.
I am completely in love with the interiors here. That the likenesses are so amazingly accurate and yet the style of work feels so original is a very unusual thing to see at this level. The linework is phenomenal and how we see the varying weights and techniques being utilised to create this level & quality of detail within the work is astounding. That we see backgrounds so essential to the story, I’d like to see one issue without a blank background though, and expand and enhance the moments is a beautiful thing. They also work within the composition of the panels to bring out the depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a masterful eye for storytelling. I lived through this time period as a kid and seeing the interiors of Will’s house, the kitchen especially, it really brings back my own memories and it’s amazing.
I love that these stories take place within the television universe and that they aren’t separate from it. This is just the best possible extension of the franchise that we can witness and it really goes to this wonderful place that engages the reader in the story to wander off the pages and into their own minds. This is what a comic book should do, entertain, engage and have you become invested in what you see and this does that with aplomb. It is truly beautifully written with incredible characterisation and with mind numbing interiors.