Advance Review: Exploring the Larger Universe in `Stranger Things: Kamchatka’ #2
by Tom Smithyman
Don’t let the title fool you – this isn’t the Stranger Things with Hopper, Eleven and Dustin. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because it’s a strong story borrowing many of the elements and themes found in the streaming show.
If you’re a fan of the Netflix series Stranger Things and are thinking that the new comic book tie-in series called Kamchatka will give some details about Hopper and his unexpected trip to the 1980s-era Soviet Union, you’re likely to be disappointed. But if you’re looking for an interesting story featuring strong-willed kids, flawed adults and the evil demigorgons, this series is for you.
Kamchatka has tenuous link with the streaming series, but clearly shares many of the same attributes. More important, the story is strong, and readers will likely stop complaining about any perceived bait and switch and instead realize they are invested in the story of two kids searching for their father.
Dad Orlov is a scientist who created a device that taps into the Upside Down – the dimension we were introduced to during the show’s first season. In doing so, the Soviets were able to trap one of the terrifying monsters from that other world. The Russians want more, but Orlov refuses to help, so he’s held hostage. Cue the kids to rescue him, assisted by ex-KGB agent Frost. And the race to Kamchatka to find dad – with other KGB agents in hot pursuit – is on.
Writer Michael Moreci does a great job creating an exciting story in which the reader quickly becomes invested. No, it’s not the Stranger Things we’re used to – or likely why we bought the book in the first place. But it sits within the greater universe and is no less compelling. Artist Todor Hristov and colorist Dan Jackson present an appropriately drab Soviet Union near the end of the Cold War. Their work on the ailing demogorgon is instantly recognizable and frightening.
The series’ next installment is likely to give backstory on Frost and how he lost his daughter, which will hopefully explain his motivations instead of dragging down a fast-moving and enjoyable tale.
Stranger Things: Kamchatka #2 will be available for purchase on April 20, 2022.