Writer: Jeff Parker, Artist: Steve Lieber
Published by Image 2010
The economy has fallen out of the bottom of Marion, Kentucky and many, led by local merchant Winston Barefoot, see their salvation in a series of rare caves, which they hope to see opened to the public. It’s a move likely to cause permanent damage to the site and one vigorously opposed by environmentalists, led by Rangers Wesley Fischer and Seth Ridge. The story was set in motion when Barefoot’s men attempted to dynamite a more accessible route into the caves and were discovered by Fischer and Ridge. Since then it’s been a cat and mouse game - who will live to tell their version of events? Last month I reviewed another story in which the plot was essentially one long chase scene, which never came together to make an interesting story. In Underground Parker and Lieber get it absolutely right.
Parker presents a complicated situation and lets events unravel to another, criminal, level. There are good guys and bad guys in this story, but this isn’t another crime comic, with people doing bad things simply because they’re bad guys. Lieber also steps up, working through two unusual constraints: most of the action takes place in what is essentially one big room, and it takes place in the dark. Everything has been developing at a measured, suspenseful pace and issue five brings it all to a head. The Rangers are searching for an alternative entrance as a means of escape, while the work of their pursuers has been discovered by the authorities and a rescue party is sent in behind them.
Lately I have been concentrating my reviews on graphic novels, but a preview copy of this issue - out March 3 - allowed me to sit down and read through Parker and Lieber’s new mini in one sitting. Underground has been earning a lot of positive buzz and I can only add myself to its growing list of fans.