Reviewer: Andy Campbell
Story Title: Underground (2 of 6)
Written by: David Hine
Penciled by: Lan Medina
Inked by: Alejandro “Boy” Sicat
Colored by: Digital Rainbow
Lettered by: Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Jimmy Betancourt
Editor: Mike Marts
Publisher: Dan Buckley (Marvel Comics)
When District X started, it was swiftly called a “poor man’s” Gotham Central. I think the book has evolved past those sentiments now, and is really coming into its own. Each month, I’m treated to a fascinating story about mutants, and what you “don’t see.”
Part one of “Underground” left us with a couple of plot threads. 1) Officer Ishmael Ortega, one of District X’s two main protagonists, has been fighting with his wife. Worse yet, she seems to be growing closer to the other main protagonist, Bishop. 2) Mr. M, an enigma with god-like powers, was shot. 3) Winston Hobbes, a nasty, worm-like mutant, lives underground because of his sensitive eyes. However, he seems drawn to the world above him.
When this issue kicks off, we see that Mr. M is, in fact, still alive, thanks to his tremendous powers. Ortega finds out, however, that Mr. M’s shooting was a professional hit, so he seeks out Bishop for some assistance. Bishop goes to his superior and “leans on him” to convince him to stay away from Mr. M.
Meanwhile, Ortega, his kids, and Mr. M are in the park. While the kids play with Mr. M, Ortega notices a group of “tunnel rats,” mutants who live underground. When he learns that some of them are kids, he becomes enraged that kids are sleeping underground. When he tries to approach them, though, they get angry and leave. It is then that Ortega learns that the tunnel rats have weapons.
Meanwhile, Bishop has gone to Ortega’s apartment to wait for him. Inside, Ortega’s wife cries on his shoulder about her various problems. Ortega and the kids walk in on the two embracing, and Ortega snaps. He goes ballistic, slamming his wife against the wall and shouting at her. He then goes outside and punches Bishop in the face(!).
We then see the “tunnel rats” having a meeting underground, lead by their leader, Melek, a telepath. He says that the time has come has strike out at the world above, so he orders the detonation of their explosives, which are set over strategic points in the power grid. The city’s power goes out, and then Winston, the worm-like mutant, breaks into St. Jerome’s Children’s Hospital and goes on a tear.
I’m intrigued to see where this arc goes in the next four parts. Opening the world of Mutant Town to show the underground community should prove to be interesting at the least. Ortega’s marital difficulties, and vicious temper, are adding some much-needed dimension to his character
As for the art, I liked the previous issues with David Yardin on pencils a little better, especially in the depiction of Officer Ortega. However, Lan Medina still does a very good job; there’s certainly nothing offensive to the eye.