UNDER-EARTH trade paperback review – Sci-Fi Prison Caper (Chris Gooch) IDW Publishing

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Thanks to IDW Publishing for the review copy!

As I started reading UNDER-EARTH, Australia popped into my mind because it was established as a penal colony. In UNDER-EARTH, criminals are sent to live on a colony as punishment for their crimes. Only in this case, that colony seems to be composed of the rubble of our society deep underground. The early part of the book spends some time establishing the characters and the rules of the universe the book takes place in. Enough information is given to explain why people act the way they do, but many questions remain unanswered. Sometimes letting the reader fill in the blanks is more interesting than providing all the answers, and UNDER-EARTH falls into that category.

While the book includes some sci-fi concepts, UNDER-EARTH is really a story about friendship. Perhaps more accurately, it is two separate but intertwined stories about friendship. I was particularly impressed with how the story cut between the two groups of main characters in a way that gradually increased the pace and tension of the story. The book is well choreographed, putting the pieces in place and then gradually moving them into position. In the meantime, it does an excellent job of making the characters feel real and worth investing in.

Largely in black in white, UNDER-EARTH makes creative use of color pops. The art is interesting, with thick and clear but wavy outlines. It provides a subtle sense of unease that fits in well with the story and setting.

UNDER-EARTH is a lengthy graphic novel, but I found myself breezing through it because I really wanted to know how it ended. Fans of prison dramas who also like science fiction and dystopian stories will want to give UNDER-EARTH a chance.


UNDER-EARTH is now available.


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