Friday, May 3, 2019

Stranger Things: The Other Side by Jody Houser, Stefano Martino, Keith Champagne - Comic Book Review

From the publisher: The hit Netflix series from the Duffer Brothers is now a spine-tingling comic that recounts Will Beyers’ harrowing survival in the treacherous Upside Down!

When Will Byers finds himself in the Upside Down, an impossible dark parody of his own world, he’s understandably frightened. But that’s nothing compared with the fear that takes hold when he realizes what’s in that world with him!

Follow Will’s struggle through the season one events of the hit Netflix show Stranger Things! Written by Jody Houser (Mother Panic, Faith) and illustrated by Stefano Martino (Doctor Who, Catwoman)

I'm a recent fan of Stranger Things, having only seen Season 1, but I was drawn in immediately. So, when I saw the opportunity to read and review a comic story in the same universe, I jumped at it. Jody Houser has written Stranger Things: The Other Side, which tells the story of of Will Byers's adventure (probably not the right word for it) in the Upside Down. This is a companion tale to what was happening in Season 1, and presents Will's view of events.

For those not familiar, Stranger Things gets going when a shadowy governmental facility accidentally opens a hole between our world and another dimension (it's referred to as the Upside Down). On his way home from a Dungeon and Dragons game with his friends, Will slips through the hole, where he is trapped for the majority of the season. In fact, the main plot thread is Will's friends trying to find and rescue him. The tv show doesn't spend a lot of time with Will, which left room for this story.

The Other Side follows Will as he tries to figure out what happened, how to make contact with the real world, and how to fight and/or escape a monster known as the Demogorgon. There isn't a lot of room for depth here, as Will is sort of the damsel-in-distress of the story, but Houser does a fine job tying the two stories together. There are several references to "Will the Wise", Byers's D&D character, and the game he and his friends were playing. It's also interesting to see the process by which Will communicates with his mom, Joyce. Additionally, Houser provides several other nods to events from the show, almost Easter eggs for those who've seen it and pay attention to the little details.

Overall, Stranger Things: The Other Side by Jody Houser is a fun read that is excellent at what it does; support the main story of the tv show. Houser doesn't break any new ground, but does succeed in telling a story that is canon (I believe) in the Stranger Things universe. I would say that anyone could read this story; however, it is definitely intended for those who have seen, and are fans of, the tv series Stranger Things. I would also be interested in reading any further stories Houser, or other authors, write in this universe.

I received a preview copy of this book from Dark Horse Comics in exchange for an honest review.

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