|For your viewing pleasure, page 11 from The World Below #1 by Paul Chadwick and Ron Randall.|
|It doesn't get anymore old school sci-fi |
than giant alien head attachments.
(From the cover of Vol. 2, Issue 2)
Like many old school sci-fi/adventure stories, the Team of Six follows Star Trek's United Nations rule of team building by including a diverse group of men and woman from a variety of different ethnic and career backgrounds. Each also has something to prove to themselves and to the team. If the set-up sounds like a television pilot, you're not too far from the narrative structure which includes flashbacks (each issue begins mid-action then works forward from an earlier starting point).
|The Team of Six are a veritable United Nations of scientific research teams.|
Some interesting choices are also made by Chadwick in transitioning from the first to the second series. One artistic flourish that began with Issue #3 was the inclusion of word balloons on the cover. During the late Nineties, many mainstream publishers were moving away from the more classic approach to cover design where an important scene of character interaction was teased on the cover. Chadwick's design for the World Below would seem to have flown in the face of this movement, and I for one was glad to see this--and wish that more publishers even 14 years later would revisit the practice.
|Volume 1, Issue 4.|
Of course, the conclusion to the series (a downer I won't spoil here), brings what appeared on the surface to begin as a comic booky exploration into wonder full circle to what Chadwick does best--(mostly) subtle political commentary. With a conclusion that would make Rod Serling proud, and squirm, as with all good serials though there remains the (extremely slim and as yet unrealized in publication) potential for a rescue team...
I recommend the entire eight issue arc as both an interesting source for analysis, and, more importantly, as an entertaining take on some familiar sci-fi/adventure comic book tropes. Both World Below and its follow-up World Below: Deeper and Stranger are likely available at your local comic shop for cover price ($3.99 an issue), or if absolutely unable to shop a lcs, online at any number of back issue outlets.