Wednesday, 26 December 2012

So I Read Underground

A 250 word (or less) review of the Underground graphic novel
by Jeff Parker, Steve Lieber, and Ron Chan.

I have a tendency to enjoy complicated comics with elaborate plots or with grand thematic discourses. Underground is kind of the opposite in that it avoids pretense and focuses on telling a damn good story. This isn't to imply that Underground is somehow less than other comics: it's technically an amazing comic with a very well written straight forward story that is brilliantly rendered. The book is like
good design: it's exactly what it needs to be to be perfect at what it does. Underground is a story about the Stillwater Cave and what to do with it. Local wealthy businessman Mister Barefoot, wants to open up the cave and turn it into a tourist attraction. Opposing this idea is park ranger and avid caver Wesley Fischer who wants to preserve the cave in its pristine state. Mister Barefoot, in an effort to speed up the process, sends his boys down to the cave to start a-blasting. This attracts Wesley and Seth, a fellow park ranger and love interest, who investigate the sounds leading to misunderstanding, violence, and an underground thriller comic. Parker's script is tense, fun, and surprisingly informative about spelunking and the artwork by Lieber and Chan really sells the claustrophobia, danger, and wonder of caves. Underground reminds me of 80s movies: the story has a cool salt-of-the-earth concept, a sense of humour, a charming cast, and a snobs-vs-slobs conflict. It’s great. Underground also possesses the quality and accessibility good for new or youngerish readers. Check it out.

Word count: 250

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