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The World Below Paperback – January 30, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chadwick's works, like his well-known Concrete, have always maintained a fiercely individual slant, but this collection of his two miniseries raids the back catalogues of Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Challengers of the Unknown and a plethora of underground exploration yarns. Chadwick sends "the Team of Six" into a hostile subterranean landscape replete with horrific monsters, strange natural phenomena, incredible technologies and lost civilizations with predictable results. The characters are much better written than what's usually seen in team books, with a story often interrupted by some random, oddball threat that is usually solved with a bout of action or a firefight. The action set pieces are quite lively, thanks to the author's no-nonsense artwork. It's clear that Chadwick was trying to develop a piece that would yield narrative rewards if given time to find its audience and thrive. However, the series was ended early, necessitating a rapid conclusion that solves most of the plot threads, resulting in an engagingly illustrated, deeply flawed but interesting curiosity. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In 1998 Chadwick took a break from chronicling his signature hero, Concrete, to take on a more conventional adventure. The World Below follows a team of six hired to explore a series of underground caverns containing potentially lucrative alien technology--and also bizarre creatures. As Chadwick's introduction notes, it's something of a precursor to Lost, featuring a disparate group thrust into a mysterious, menacing environment and incorporating flashbacks gradually revealing the cast's backstories. If the fantastic beings Chadwick conjures up are compellingly imaginative, and the action is gripping, the characters never really come to life. Lackluster sales that forced him to wrap up the story line rather abruptly when the title was cancelled didn't help, either. Chadwick kept the tale interesting by peppering it with philosophizing a la Concrete, and his highly wrought drawing and adept page design are as effective as ever. It's no match for Concrete, but 99 percent of other comics aren't, either, so that's no reason not to enjoy this lesser work's modestly successful blend of derring-do and thoughtfulness. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse (February 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593073607
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593073602
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #921,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Verified Purchase
Paul Chadwick notes in the introduction to this collection that this series was his attempt to broaden his audience and write something different than his successful title, Concrete. It focuses on an ensemble cast, rather than a single main character, and hearkens back to old-time adventure stories as well as new ones, like Lost. My personal take is that it's basically "Journey to the Center of the Earth" meets "Alien".

As an adventure with a sci-fi tinge, it measures up on several fronts. There are plenty of weird creatures and situations in a totally alien setting. It's handy to be on, or rather under, the Earth so that its not unreasonable for the team to be small and privately funded. On the other hand, the landscapes would make much more sense as the surface of a different planet. My educated brain couldn't make the leap to allow for so much undetected subterranean space and variety of life forms (even if they are supposed to be from another world).

The art is often up to Chadwick's fine standard. The humans are identifiable, though not altogether unique. The layouts and angles and settings are beautiful. Some of the alien creatures and machines are amazing and alien. Many of them aren't. They're muddles that seem like random collections of pieces and parts that barely make functional, much less anatomical, sense. This may have been intentional, in fact a couple of creatures seem to be capable of trading limbs and at least one machine appears to be made up of somewhat independent parts. And they are supposed to be alien and mysterious.

The characters are serviceable, if not entirely relatable or rounded out.
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I found this book to be an enjoyable escape from the grind of everyday life. The premise is clever yet bizarre and keeps you guessing what will happen next (almost anything!). I loved the fusion of high-technology with alien biology. Very fun! Wished the series would have continued. Great writing and art throughout. The writing and concept are very different from Concrete but chances are if you are a Concrete fan you will enjoy this, too.
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I read these when they first came out, over 10 years ago. Fun and exciting. Paul Chadwick came up with some fascinating non-standard monster designs. The characters are intriguing. The situations are generally unexpected and the Peril is palpable. Fun read. I didn't manage to get the final issue back then, and was unable to find one, so I bought this collection. Solid purchase.

Concrete has never been my thing so it is my hope that Paul Chadwick might someday return to Action/Adventure and create a new series. Maybe in a digital cbr/cbz downloadable format to eliminate the manufacturing costs so it can't get killed by bean counters.
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