Vachss: Underground

When all sources of “news” are so clearly
biased that none can be considered even remotely trustworthy or reliable, there
is no news . . . and The Terror descends. For decades, The Rulers have been
using prisoner/slave-labor to construct Underground, confident that those who
flee there will willingly trade their freedom for security. Now,
“truth” is what the Rulers say it is, and The Rulers rule all aspects
of the human existence. But even within this antiseptically evil world, a
revolutionary movement is brewing. A new breed of journalists–“The Book
Boys”–risk everything to graffiti the truth on Underground’s pristine
walls. The intolerable act of creating a reliable source of truth–“If
it’s written in blue, it must be true.”–is against The Rules –a huge
bounty has been offered for identification or capture of any of this crew.
Lately I’ve had the fortune of being able to read a
handful of graphic novel adaptations for screenplays which never came to
life.  It’s been quite interesting to see
these works of fiction that unfortunately never saw the light of day.  Vachss: Underground is the most recent in
this list, spawned from a very serious and pretty dark piece from Andrew Vachss.
With Underground, we take a look at a series of stories
all based in a grim dystopian future where “The Rulers” sit at the top.  The primary drive behind these tales is how
the new, guerilla media aka “The Book Boys” are fighting back against this
oppressive society.  Although the book is
split into multiple chapters that can stand on their own, by the end you come
to find out how the all in some way are linked. 
Each part tells its own account of different sides of this society and
the harsh life most live within it.  Some
of the stories are more interesting than others, but as a whole the writing is
extremely remarkable.
The brutal, dismal world that is narrated in the book is
illustrated in an equally dark manner.  As
dirty as the world may be, the artwork is wonderfully clean.   I liked
how everything throughout the entire book retained a muted, shadowy look to
it.  This really drove home the overall
feel to the story and helped reinforce the setting the story is based in.
While this story may be a bit much for some readers to
take in, it is totally worth the effort to read through.  I’m always a sucker for anything dystopian
and this was a refreshing new addition to my experiences with the genre.  I would definitely say to check this off on
your list of grabs for comic day and put aside that afternoon for reading it.

For more on Vachss: Underground or other Dark Horse
books, check out Dark Horse Comics.
Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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