When Stranger Things and D&D’s Adventure Party Grows…

15 Jan

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Dark Horse Comics
Available Now

Spoiler Alert

Will, Mike, Dustin and Lucas think life is back to normal, but I suspect the Upside Down has other plans. We just don’t see it just yet, until a crack breaks reality. Just what lies beyond it could be anything, and as anyone knows–from season two to which this tale takes place after–someone has to seal the rift, that crack from one dimension to another. Thankfully it’s been closed, and now the boys bring in Eleven and Maxine to the game of Dungeons and Dragons. The artwork of Diego Galindo fantstically shows that the girls aren’t all that enthused.

The theme remains consistent with how everyone must back each other if they are to succeed. But this time, there are other forces who can hamper their progress. Hooper finally makes an appearance in this tale, and Eleven shows she’s not in full control of her psionic abilities.

But in a different world, Will the Dungeon Master sends the party to Broken Rock, an aptly named place, perhaps from his own emotional world, in a search for a quest. But before they arrive at a village, a random encounter with a giant insect appears! The fantasy versions of themselves are stock portrayals, but the players are not. The parallels are also evident as Mike the Paladin wants to protect Eleven the Elf. This issue serves to start certain relationships more than the Netflix series itself.

Hopefully, the group didn’t awaken anything since this tale takes place before season three–where they are older and not as into playing D&D. I see Will holding on, his youth, to cope from his past ordeal.

As for how writers Jody Houser and Jim Zub plans to wrap things up, I’m guessing the next issue will pick up from where this left off. Even Will admits their adventure ended on a cliffhanger, and after Summer camp they can resume.

The final variant cover by David Beck shows Will’s character facing off against a Mind Flayer, and it may suggest how the story ends. Perhaps its been manipulating Will in soft ways the rest of the gang discovers and save him from! The final issue is due to hit shelves February 17, 2021.

For further reading:
(available to purchase on Amazon USA)
(disclosure: sales from these links help keep this site going)

Stranger Things Vol 1: The Other Side
Stranger Things Vol 2: Into the Fire
Stranger Things: The Bully
Stranger Things Vol 3: Science Camp

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