Written by Jody Houser, Pencils by Edgar Salazar, Inks by Keith Champagne, Colors by Marissa Louise, Cover by Aleksi Briclot
Six is issue #1 of 4 in the first Stranger Things prequel series from Dark Horse, and explores the earlier experiments on, and experiences of Francine, designated Six, another test subject with abilities like Eleven, the popular character from the megahit Netflix series.
The story flashes back and forth between Six’s present (1978) and back to her difficult childhood (1970), where an abusive father uses her natural precognitive abilities to try and get rich. In the present Six is depicted as a teen, so it remains to be seen when she was taken to Hawkins Lab and how long she has been kept there.
Like he was with Eleven, Dr. Brenner is a “parent” to all the children and teens at the facility, encouraging them to push themselves and their developing abilities harder and harder. Disappointing the father-figure in her life brings back painful memories, and her mantra is always “I’ll try harder.”
Six is beginning to see disturbing visions of the future, and I am sure she is hiding that fact so that it won’t give the scientists more reasons to experiment on her.
The script and plot is spare, but effective; the artist is good at drawing facial expressions, and the page layouts feature lots of large panels, so the story reads very quickly; and the coloring has an interesting grainy texture to it, adding a retro feel.
My one story complaint was a lack of action. My one art complaint is Spanish penciller Salazar’s use of a very European-looking auto in the 1970s flashback scene with Six as a child with her mother. While it was an indeed a retro-looking auto, choosing to use a more obviously American car (like a Ford Pinto wagon) for a story taking place in America would have been more appropriate and nostalgic.
It will be interesting to see where the story of Six goes from here, and if we will see more action and more familiar faces in future issues.
• a surprise from Six’s past
• a possible glimpse of a young Eleven?
• the origin point of the Down Under?
Stranger Things: Six is published by Dark Horse Comics.