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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Comic Review: Concrete: Three Uneasy Pieces (one-shot) ARC

Writer: Paul Chadwick
Artist: Paul Chadwick
Publication Date: July 18, 2012
Format: FC, 24 pages
Price: $2.99
UPC: 7 61568 21597 7 00111
Dark Horse

One of the medium’s all-time greats is back in this collection ofConcrete stories from the relaunched Dark Horse Presents! In three new adventures, the most human of heroes intervenes in a burglary that turns out to be much more, investigates a possible sighting of the aliens who gave him his rocky body, and develops an alternative to the Taser: himself. This issue strikes the perfect balance of inviting stories for new readers and character development for longtime fans.
*Collecting the Concrete stories from Dark Horse Presents #1–#3!
*Great jumping on point for new readers!

Prior to reading this book I had no notion of who Concrete was, but I thought the idea of a man abducted by aliens who then put his brain in a body made of rock struck me as intriguing. Concrete isn't a new character though, so for a neophyte like me there needs to be a way to get me initiated without having to go back to the start with issue number one. Thankfully, Paul Chadwick offers a one-shot issue called Concrete: Three Uneasy Pieces.

The book is made up of three stand-alone stories. The first, "Intersection," is presented a crime drama involving a disgruntled wife and her lover driving by Concrete on the city streets in the midst of a burglary. Concrete gets them to stop so he can use their phone, which brings the police and a whole new set of problems for the lovers--not to mention what's in the trunk of their car.

The second story is the lengthier of the three. "In a Wound in the Earth" has Concrete come to the rescue on Maui where a young man is trapped at the bottom of a chasm. Concrete, along with his assistant Larry, and his love interest Maureen, save the man from certain death. After our heroes rescue him from the chasm, the man begins to babble in cryptic phrases that have them all wondering if the aliens who abducted Concrete have struck again.

Then the book wraps up with a less than subtle rebuke of tazer use by law enforcement. Concrete, after witnessing yet another abuse of the convenience the device offers, strives to create an alternate mode of subduing suspects without the need for lethal force. Himself. It's amusing in one sense, as Concrete hugs criminals and suspects into submission, but his naivety makes way for cynicism and his unconvincing idea starts to wear thin.

As an introduction into the world Chadwick has created here, Three Uneasy Pieces is definitely uneasy. While Concrete manages to shine through as a man (Ron Lithgow) with an earnest outlook on the world, the supporting players of Maureen and Larry are barely hinted at. Plus, the brief mention that Concrete has a newborn child spawned from his own flesh, only for that huge plot point to fall to the wayside, was more jarring than anything else.

I'd be interested in reading more from the Concrete series, but I get the distinct feeling I would have to go back to the beginning and read some trades before trying out another one-shot.

3 Sheep

guest reviewer:
Gef Fox
rabid reader, wrabid writer
Wag The Fox: a den for dark fiction


  1. Hmmm. I've never heard of Concrete either, and your review makes me think that perhaps I'd do best to 'go back to the beginning' too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  2. I also haven't heard of Concrete... but I do think that I know someone who would enjoy this and probably know who this is! Thanks for bringing it to my and my cousin's attention. :)

    1. you are welcome! I hope Gef Fox does more reviews for us :)

  3. Wow what an awesome review from Gef! Woot hope we got more. Lots more!