Rating if the Book Were a Movie: PG-13
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Sunando G
Colors: Dan Jackson
Letters: Nate Piekos
Cover: Marc Aspinall
Editor: Spencer Cushing
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Story: 3.4 Stars
Artwork: 3.5 Stars
Cover Artwork: 3.8 Stars
Dialogue: 3.5 Stars
Mechanics: 3.5 Stars
Editing: 3.6 Stars
About the Book:
We first met Murray Batman in season two of Stranger Things. He was the eccentric conspiracy theory reporter with a personality that viewers would never forget. Stranger Things: Tales from Hawkins #2 shows Murray going native in Hawkins to dig deeper into the disappearance of Barbara and Will. Are the Russians involved? We see all of the events leading up to Nancy Wheeler and Jonathan Byers showing up on his doorstep.
There are two opinions when it comes to adding a story to a timeline in a franchise that is already well established. The first opinion is that it is much easier to do because the base characters and plot are already created for the writer. The second opinion is that it is more difficult to write a story of this nature because of preconceptions and expectations that fans of the franchise will have.
Personally, I believe that the latter holds more truth to it. Hell hath no fury like a pissed off fan base. I will cite the fans’ reactions to the last three movies in the Star Wars franchise. They weren’t necessarily bad movies. Fans had set such unrealistic expectations that the best response creators could hope to receive was ”as expected”.
Jody Houser has made an art of writing stories for established franchises. I loved her work with Doctor Who and Star Wars: TIE Fighter. With Stranger Things she didn’t have to create a story arc. Here her objective was to show us what kind of reporter Murray was.
Murray wasn’t some conspiracy theory nut job. He did his due diligence. He embedded himself in Hawkins to get the real story. He set up a hotline for tips regarding the disappearances of Barbara and Will. He followed up on those tips until every piece of information he had was exhausted. He was eccentric, and going down the wrong path; but he was thorough.
This cover gives us a glimpse of how Murray operates. He processes things the way John Nash did in A Beautiful Mind. To the casual observer it looks like a big mess. To him everything is laid out to make perfect sense.
I liked the artwork on the interior pages. It brings us right back into Hawkins with the little details. Panels that show us Main Street and the details in the Hollands’s home were essential in making this happen.
As a geek on a budget I believe Stranger Things: Tales from Hawkins #2 will be a hit with fans of the franchise. Newcomers to the franchise may not understand or appreciate the Easter eggs scattered throughout the story. As a fan of the franchise, I’m eager for the next installment!