Review - Underground #1 and #2

Today we have a new review of an interesting new property being published by Image Comics. Underground takes place in Marion, Kentucky, where a cave system has been discovered. What follows is a battle between the businessmen of the town who want to blast the caves open for tourism and conservationists who want to keep the system in its natural pristine form. The story centers on two park rangers, Seth and Wesley, who find themselves thrust into the middle of the situation due to a series of events. Sound like there isn’t too much here in terms of excitement? I beg to differ. This comic builds slowly but I found that by the end of the second issue I was being slowly drawn in. The contrast in art between the bright colors above ground, and the darker, shades of black and white in the caves was really well done. The basic human conflicts that take place can also be refreshing. This won’t be your cup of tea if you are looking for blood and gore, superpowered individuals or just nonstop action, but it is intriguing. If you are still on the fence read on for a review of the first two issues in this new series. Our story starts in the cave, where dynamite has been set for reasons unknown. What is known is that the spelunker who is deep in the caves does not seem pleased to be finding dynamite right in her return path to the surface. Blissfully unaware of her predicament, the two men operating the detonator hit the button. Next the story shifts to Seth and Wesley who appear to have had an interesting evening together following a party. They go to breakfast and have lots of awkward conversation, when suddenly big businessman Winston Barefoot enters. They briefly trade words, with Wesley clearly on the side of preservation while Barefoot stirs the economically troubled town in his favor with talk of economic renewal due to tourism that could be brought in by the cave. The two rangers leave and head to the station. Seth goes in and switches with a partner to patrol the Stillwater Cave. While there he catches some people in the cave blasting, which is illegal. Unfortunately when he approaches them they set off the charge, knocking him unconscious. As the kids drive away, Wesley is driving by, hears the blast, and investigates. She finds Seth in the cave. The two blasters report to a man named Harden, who then calls Barefoot’s store to get gear to get to the park ranger. Barefoot seems to be more then just an honest businessman interested in the cave. Suddenly he seems to be pressing matters by illegally opening up the cave. Wesley manages to revive Seth in the cave, but while they are surveying the damage Harden and several people arrive. They fire a weapon at the rangers in a misunderstanding and the chase deeper underground commences. The rangers hide and notice that there are bats in their hiding place. When the group finds them they have a confrontation. The ranger makes a move for a bullhorn, and one of Harden’s men mistakes it for a gun. She blasts the horn and everyone is covered in a shroud of bats. While there are certainly bad and good guys in this book, it seems to be centered on a series of unfortunate misunderstandings and the inability for the rangers and the blasters to communicate. See kids…communication skills ARE important in a career or life threatening situation! This comic could go either way for me. I’m not sure how exciting a constant chase through a cave would be in the long run, but it certainly held up well through two issues. There is a natural terror whether you are claustrophobic or not that eats at you while reading. Being trapped in a cave deep underground with no way of escape makes my heart race just thinking about it. That said, if the events above interested you I would pick this one up in stores and stay tuned for future issues. Happy reading!