It’s hard to not have heard of the critically-acclaimed Netflix series that follows four kids in their journey to uncovering a terrifying supernatural phenomenon. While we wait for the fourth season to come out, consequently also seeing the kids grow older, I had no other choice but to satisfy my craving for this series’ adventure elsewhere, and what other place than comic books to get both the narrative and artistic dose? While I have picked up the first two comic book spin-offs written by Jody Houser and wasn’t too impressed, I am still too curious of any stories set in that universe to skip them… I also looked for other kids versus monsters stories that seemed decent. Let’s see what I’ve got for you guys!
This feature published at an undetermined frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, who knows) will present a couple of mini reviews on anything that isn’t a physical book that I own (ebooks, comic books, TV series or movies).
Click on the covers to be redirected to their Goodreads page.
Anything presented in this feature doesn’t necessarily mean that it won’t get a full-review treatment in the future. That will entirely depend on how much I loved it, how interested you are in hearing more on it, and how much I have to still say about it! 🤣
Stranger Things (Vol. 3): Into the Fire by Jody Houser.
Writer Jody Houser continues her story where she left off in Six. The story essentially follows the two escapees in their journey to find Nine, especially with the help of Kali.
While tying into the events of the TV series, this story never feels sufficiently original to withstand scrutiny or merit any attention. Everything simply happens, evolving without any real intrigue ever giving the reader a reason to care.
It’s not bad, as it allows writer Jody Houser’s ideas to seem relevant, but in the end, they simply feel mundane.
Stranger Things: The Bully by Greg Pak.
Remember the bully that Eleven counter-bullies by breaking his arm? Writer Greg Pak looks to offer this kid an entire story-arc where he tries to deal with his trauma and humiliation, while also exposing the external factors that might explain his behaviour (e.g. his father). This was pretty pointless, but it did make me giggle at the writer’s attempt to try and connect his character’s life to various events occurring throughout the following seasons in Stranger Things…
The artwork is average, mostly capturing the tone of the franchise. What remained a niggle was how some of the main characters barely looked like their TV series counterparts.
Stranger Things: Zombie Boys by Greg Pak.
This story-arc picks up right after the events in Season 1 and explores the group’s slow fracture following the recent supernatural horrors and loss. As much as I wanted to enjoy the idea, this one turned out quite unexpected, sending us on a journey of filmmaking with the introduction of a new kid who aspires to become a known director. I can’t help but find the ending so sudden and anticlimactic here, to the point that I just couldn’t see how I could even say I enjoyed my time with this one.
Something is Killing the Children (Vol. 1) by James Tynion IV.
Writer James Tynion IV introduces readers to a tantalizing new horror series where the children of Archer’s Peak are victim to a gruesome monster. Their hope now lies in a mysterious girl by the name of Erica Slaughter and her odd partner who are looking to put an end to this fear-inducing terror.
Artist Werther Dell’Edera excels in his artistic style and helps convey Tynion IV’s story with a near-perfect tone and atmosphere. The story unravels like a children’s horror folktale and readers are cleverly teased as to what is really going on as you read on.
KidZ (Vol. 1) by Aurélien Ducoudray.
This was fun to blast through. Kids living in a post-apocalyptic world, trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. It’s basically a blend of The Walking Dead with Kid Paddle or something.
These kids are reckless, wild, and violent when needed, but its the intrigue behind their secret back story that makes you want to stick around.
I did find that it rushed in its character development a bit too much, not allowing them to shine, and making those moments where they just scream at each other stand out more than needed. Otherwise, it does everything else within a post-apocalyptic world just right to make you want for a second volume.
Gung-Ho (Vol. 1) by Benjamin von Eckartsberg.
An interesting post-apocalyptic story that follows the reckless adventures of the orphaned brothers Zach and Archer Goodwoody as they arrive at Fort Apache and learn the rules to this little village in assuring the survival of its members.
The perverted behaviour of the kids in this village, especially those underage, does distract the core storyline but might be appealing to other audiences. The story also loses a lot of its intrigue as you progress, especially once you discover the actual threat outside the walls of their village.
The artwork is original and remains consistent from start to finish. While not completely absorbing or mind-boggling, the digital artwork remains one of this comic book series’ forte.