cover image Underground


Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber, Image, $14.99 paper (136p) ISBN 9781607062660

This fun story, set in the Stillwater cave systems beneath Marion, Ky., sets a high-action plot amidst the tensions between business and environmental concerns. A pair of park rangers, female caving expert, Wes, and her love interest, Seth, are pitted against town businessman, Winston Barefoot. While Barefoot wants to turn the cave system into a tourist destination for personal profit, Wes wants to protect the caves. When some of Barefoot’s minions blow up a section of the cave, it sets off a chase between the roughnecks and Wes and Seth. As the title suggests, the chase takes place entirely underground, with Wes leading the way with intrepid spelunking. Full-color pages alternate with dark-toned images portraying what happens inside the cave, and in both cases Lieber tells the visual story in sharp, action-oriented drawings that highlight the suspense with tight close-ups and the shading that depicts menace. A simple story is made interesting by the unusual setting, the characters’ specialized knowledge, and a gratifying ending. Extras include an illustration of how a page of the book is created and the original B&W short story that inspired the graphic novel. (May)