August 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm By:

Every few years Paul Chadwick puts out a new Concrete story or series through Dark Horse Comics.  It’s one of those books that seems to slip past readers’ periphery in spite of the copious amounts of critical praise it’s received over the years.  Bottom line, Concrete is a book that has maintained relevance over its 25 year history, and the new Three Uneasy Pieces one shot is a fine place to start if you’ve at all been curious about the character.

First things first, I should point out that this new one shot isn’t really brand new, but collects three short stories as they appeared in the recent relaunch of Dark Horse Presents.  That title has been consistently good since the relaunch, but if you’re among those who don’t like putting down $8 a month for a new anthology, this gives you a chance to read the latest Concrete stories for the low price of $2.99.

So what’s the appeal of Concrete?  Imagine if a more philosophical version of Ben Grimm went out to space and was transformed into The Thing, only to return to a completely normal Earth with nary a costumed hero or villain in sight.  How would he make sense of his new body and life?  How would he spend his time and energy?  One of the consistently pleasing aspects of Concrete is how Chadwick allows the character to experience the mundane in spite of his lumbering new physique.  It’s a book that relishes quiet moments and isn’t afraid to feature the lead character awash in reflection.

At the same time, Concrete is still a story with the trappings of a science fiction or super hero comic.  He’s a human brain in a virtually invulnerable alien body.  There are all kind of common themes like responsibility and isolation here, they just don’t look the same way they do in most comics.  Concrete’s heroism often manifests itself in far simpler actions like using himself as a healthier alternative to a police Taser, than, say, fighting it out with a monster.

Three Uneasy Pieces affords you the opportunity to see three little slices of Concrete’s life in a way that won’t bog you down with continuity.  Chadwick has always excelled at allowing readers easy access to the character, regardless of where they find him.  If you’ve found yourself bored with the cyclical nature of storytelling in some super hero comics, give Concrete a try. Even after a long publishing history, Concrete remains a distinct body of comics work.


Filed Under: DISCUSS, Reviews

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