[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Ryan Kelly
Letters: Nate Piekos
Colors: Triona Farrell
Reviewed by: Carl Bryan
Years after escaping Hawkins Lab, two of Dr. Brenner’s former subjects seek to live normal lives. When news reaches them that the lab was shut down, they go on a harrowing search for Nine, a powerful pyrokinetic whose shattered psyche threatens to burn them all to ashes if they can’t find her and free her from her own malevolent imagination. ge.
Since the beginning of the phenomenon of Stranger Things and all things Eighties, the series has captivated a viewing population that craves the horror of their childhood. And what better medium to use than comics. Here we get to glimpse into the lives of those that have escaped physically from Hawkins Lab. But we also see how Dr. Brenner’s reach is far more than physical.
Jody Houser ties this comic to the conclusion of Six. This provides the continuity that is needed to sustain the Stranger Things universe as it branches away from the NetFlix series. The use of black and white flashbacks of final scenes in Six when Marcy and Ricky are escaping due to Six’s sacrifice provide a great catch up for those readers wanting to get immediately into this new series.
Ricky is the ” fake brother” to Marcy and it is evident that there has been a time jump between these issues. Ricky is mid-twenties now and his immediate task is for them to jump from town to town, and find what happened to others that were part of the Program under Dr. Brenner’s Hawkins Lab.
Marcy wants to be with her friends and get some normalization as she doesn’t have powers (or they have not manifested themselves yet). However, Ricky’s powers seem akin to a strong “Jedi mind trick” so people are more than agreeable to his suggestions. The byproduct, however, is the ever present “nose bleed” we are accustomed to seeing with Eleven.
While I don’t want to provide any spoilers, this is the issue where the TV series and the comic intertwine. Season two of Stranger Things contained other inhabitants of Hawkins Lab that had escaped and we see that Marcy’s sister is alive with some incredible “fire power” at her disposal. We also get some insight from some ….Eight.
This is the second prequel event to Stranger Things. With so much captivating material to explore, this is a solid start to another female participant in the Program. We all love Eleven and her waffles and bloody nose, but readers have to buy into the other characters that Hawkins Lab has generated. That said, it isn’t easy to divorce ourselves from the television series and get lost into the comic. But, injecting Eight from the TV series will help ween us off of needing to see all the kids from the show!
With the excitement of the series returning for a fourth installment on Netflix, and with prequels being the hottest way to “reimagine” stories, Into the Fire comes at a great time to reignite that craving of Stranger Things. Again, lots of back story to explore here and a lot more to add to Dr. Brenner’s reputation of physically and mentally torturing his participants!