ADVANCED REVIEW: Stranger Things: Into The Fire Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Stranger Things: Into the Fire #1

Published by Dark Horse Studio and written by Jody Houser, with pencils by Ryan Kelly, Inks by Le Beau Underwood, Colors by Triona Farrell, lettering by Nate Piekos, with cover art by Viktor Kalvachev The next Stranger Things comic is here: Stranger Things: Into The Fire  #1. Based on Netflix’s breakout series, Dark Horse’s Stranger Things: Into The Fire  #1 continues the ongoing saga of escaped test subjects Mary and Ricky.

Set in the extended continuity of the Stranger Things universe, Stranger Things Into The Fire Issue #1 follows a duo of man made psychics. Several years have passed since former test subjects Mary and Ricky escaped Hawkins Lab. The pair try to live normal everyday lives hidden away in Boston, MA. But when word reaches them that Mary’s twin sister Jamie may still be alive, the two set out to find her.

Gifted with incredible abilities, the pair live on the run, hiding from the shadowy government agency that hunts them. Now I’m a big fan of Stranger Things but up until this point I hadn’t spent much time with Dark Horse’s expanded universe. While Stranger Things Into The Fire Issue #1 follows two original characters created for the comic, the series retains its potent mix of blended genres, mashing up classic Stephen King sci fi with bold Silent Hill horror in just the right way. 

Stranger Things: Into the Fire #1

Speaking of psychics, Stranger Things Into The Fire Issue #1  brings a wide new array of psychic powers out to play. Unlike Eleven, whose powers of transdimensional telekinesis can knock out a room, Ricky and Mary rely on more subtle skills. Instead of raw power, the pair rely on persuasion and subterfuge to survive. Ricky has the ability to persuade others, flexing his charisma with all the ease of a Jedi mind trick.  Unlike her twin sister Janie, whose pyrokinesis is as powerful as it is deadly,  Mary doesn’t seem to have any powers. She relies instead on her own wits, sticking to the background and keeping secrets to further the plot.

I’m quite interested in seeing how Stranger Things Into The Fire Issue #1 develops Mary as a character. She does not get much time to shine in this issue. Instead, Jody Houser’s script mostly has the pair of escaped psychics living on the road, moving from town to town in a series of montages. Now these pages are laid out beautifully. Artist Ryan Kelly captures a complex array of shifting emotions in these scenes, while colorist Triona Farrell blends muted tones with a vibrant sunset pallet. The resulting pages look great, each montage a mini arc in itself. That said, I’d like to see less of these montages as the story progresses.

Stranger Things: Into the Fire #1

Expedited story development aside, Stranger Things: Into The Fire Issue #1 delivers a solid opening chapter for the latest Stranger Things adventure. Mary and Ricky feel like classic YA sci fi  protagonists. Unlike Eleven, whose powers can stop armies, Mary and Ricky’s have an underdog charm. They have enough skills to get out of a bind, but without any blockbuster abilities the duo must stick to the outskirts of society. It’s quite an effective story telling restriction, forcing our characters to behave like fugitives rather than vigilantes. As a series grounded in low budget 80s sci-fi, this works wonderfully.

Stranger Things Into The Fire Issue #1 sets Mary and Ricky on a path of discovery. Is Jamie alive? Will Mary and Ricky be able to save her? The only way to find out is to pick up Stranger Things: Into The Fire Issue #1 wherever comics are sold.

Stranger Things: Into the Fire #1
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TL;DR

Expedited story development aside, Stranger Things: Into The Fire Issue #1 delivers a solid opening chapter for the latest Stranger Things adventure.