Underwinter Issue #1 Review

Written by Chris Micieli

Cover Rank: 9/10
Awesome artwork that makes you almost terrified to open beyond the front cover to read what’s on the inside. The art shown on the cover is consistent with the art throughout the issue, and it’s what drives this book to great heights.

Best Variant Issue: 8/10
They aren’t calling it a Variant but rather a secondary cover. It’s done by Jeff Lemire and this art style suits him perfectly. The red stripe going across the character’s eyes is a nice touch due to the story.

What I Like:
I’m a story driven guy who appreciates art. Which is why I love comic books so much. For me story comes first, then art. However, for Underwinter I flipped that script because the art is what drew me into this book. It’s just so bizarre and makes you uncomfortable. Remember the book Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark? The art style in that book still holds up to today even if the stories aren’t as scary to us as we have gotten older. Don’t believe me? Just do a Google Image search for it. The art style in Underwinter takes that type of art and elevates it to the next level. It’s minimalistic and makes you really focus in on not what you’re reading but what you’re viewing.

The story so far for Underwinter is pretty straightforward. If you have ever seen the movie Eyes Wide Shut then transplant that movie plot into this story. There was a piano player in the movie that was blindfolded and played music while the “party” was going on. That’s exactly what’s happening here except it’s not a piano player but a group of four violinists (and why there’s that red stripe on the cover). They even make reference that the people who started these parties got the idea from a movie, which it’s nice to see that the authors aren’t trying to come across that their idea is an original one.

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Again, and I want to emphasize, this book is about the art. There’s not much dialog per page but the time we would have spent on a normal amount of dialog is spent staring at the pages artwork. Awards are coming their way, at least from this magazine.

What I didn’t like:
Maybe this is the sign of a good book, but I don’t like that I’m still thinking about this issue a full day after I’ve read it. I’m waiting for the nightmares to come.

Also, there’s preview pages for Royal City at the end of the issue (which I’ve reviewed) and that’s been out for a few weeks now. Sure Lemire did one of the covers but there’s no need to preview a book that’s already out and available. Wasted pages.

Best Moment:
Nothing jumps out as an incredible moment with the exception of the ending. This isn’t a superhero story so there’s no big explosion or incredible fight happening. It’s a well told, simplistic story that grabs us with its look. Speaking of the ending…

Ending: 9.5/10
So the reasons I’m waiting for the nightmares to come is thanks to this F’d up ending. The group of violinists are at the party and playing the specific songs they have been asked to play while blindfolded. Of course, the blindfold on one of the players slips a little and she is able to see what’s happening around her. The image that is shown to us just makes you not want to eat for the rest of the day.

What I’m Looking Forward To:
Since there are references to Eyes Wide Shut, the final image might just be what was at the party in the movie. Yet, because this is a supernatural story, it could be exactly what we see with our own eyes. It’s killing me that I have to wait another month to find out.

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Underwinter Score

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