Warning: SPOILERS for Stranger Things
The first official Stranger Things tie-in comic finally answers some of the most intriguing questions from season 1 - including just how Will escaped the Demogorgon, and wound up stranded in the Upside-Down.
The first season of Stranger Things proved to be an absolute hit, with the show's young stars garnering universal praise. Curiously enough, though, the most important character was the one who was in it the least. The first episode saw Noah Schnapp's Will Byers disappear, stranded in a mysterious dimension known as the Upside-Down. Finally, Will's experiences in the Upside-Down are being explored in the first Stranger Things tie-in comic.
Netflix is taking a leaf out of Star Wars' book, attempting to expand the Stranger Things universe into different mediums. Last week saw the release of the first Stranger Things comic, written by Jody Houser and with art by Stefano Martino. It's focused purely on the story of Will Byers, and reveals exactly what happened to him in season 1.
The issue opens with a scene lifted straight from the show, with a desperate Will fleeing from his house into the shed. It seems Will did manage to load and fire that shotgun; amusingly enough, he does this with a cry of "Fireball," one of the spells from his game. But the crucial detail revealed in the comic is that the recoil from the shotgun knocked Will back into the wall of the shed - and, significantly, through a tear into the Upside-Down. Ironically enough, Will was left in the Upside-Down, while the puzzled Demogorgon - which had just been shot in the mouth - was still in the real world. Confused and exhausted, Will returned to his own home, and fell asleep.
It was only when he awoke that Will realized something was strangely wrong. His tired mind had been unable to deal with the reality of the Upside-Down, but now, fresh and alert, he's horrified to realize that he's not truly home at all. What follows is a fascinating glimpse into the reality of the Upside-Down, which seems even more closely bound to normal reality than we'd previously believed. Most chilling of all, when the disorientated and confused Will begins to explore the Upside-Down version of Mirkwood, he can actually hear the search parties calling out his name - but can't reach them.
The most dramatic reveal of all in the comic is Eleven, who it seems was more than just mentally transitioning between normal reality and the Upside-Down. Will catches a glimpse of her ghost-like form, and desperately calls out for help; but she vanishes before his eyes. It's a brilliant and surreal scene, and neatly explains how Eleven knew Will was in the Upside-Down in the first place; they actually briefly crossed paths.
Finally, inspired by movies, Will decides there has to be a way to communicate with his friends. He retrieves his radio - and, in a bizarre twist, it turns out the radio connects him to his house-phone. That's how Will kept calling his mom from the Upside-Down: he was on the radio all along. The issue ends with the Demogorgon appearing once again, keen to kill the prey that escaped it before. It's going to be fascinating to see how Will survived so long in the Upside-Down, especially without food and water.
Stranger Things #1 is available now from Dark Horse.