Comic Book Review: Concrete: Three Uneasy Pieces (One-shot)
To me, a one-shot is a low risk venture. It’s a one off purchase that gives you the flavor and feel of a character or creator, without the commitment to buy a six issue storyline. It’s a quick read and you’re done in the space of a bus or train ride to work. And, finally, once you’re done with it, you can leave it at a café or children’s hospital and whoever comes across it can also enjoy the flavor and feel without the commitment.
Well, Dark Horse has been dropping a few one-shots this year, including Criminal Macabre: Die, Die, My Darling and Resident Alien #0, which I’ve been enjoying. So it wasn’t a long stretch to expect me to check out their latest one-shot, Concrete: Three Uneasy Pieces.
For those who don’t know (and before reading Concrete: Three Uneasy Pieces I was one of you), Concrete is the brain child of Paul Chadwick. Concrete used to go by the name Ron Lithgow, but was abducted by aliens and had his brain transferred into his new rocky body. Since escaping them, he’s taken up a life of adventuring with his assistants Larry Munro and Maureen Vonnegut. Oh, and recently a baby rock-child has bubbled out of Concrete’s back.
Concrete: Three Uneasy Pieces tells three short tales: Intersection (where Concrete investigates a B&E but unwittingly finds something much worse), In a Wound in the Earth (Concrete and co. stumble across a wounded hiker and maybe clues towards Concrete’s origin), and Everything Looks Like a Nail (After witnessing a hostage situation, Concrete tries to design an alternative for the tazer).
What worked: In the space of 24 pages we get interesting stories, accessible to new readers, as well as some real character developing moments. Three told-in-one tales told in bite-sized portions. The art and story by Chadwick is easy on the eye and the imagination.
What didn’t work: Concrete’s rogues gallery. Or more accurately, the lack thereof. Someone once said (I think it was me) that a hero can be judged by his or her villains.
You can see where I’m going with this. Batman rocks. His villains are terrifying. Sleepwalker is lame. His villains are silly.
So taking this philosophy and applying it to Concrete, who seems to be the only freak of nature/superhero in the world as he deals with B&Es and domestic violence issues brings him across as a bit pointless. Concrete is a hero with no villains. Instead he simply seems to stumble across crimes and people in distress. It just doesn’t work.
Don’t get me wrong, I love it when I see superheroes helping out in real-world-style crisis situations. But when that’s the entirety of the super character’s accidental activities? There are already trained professionals to deal with this sort of thing. Why do they need a rock monster to do it for them?
So I guess I’m saying this isn’t a bad comic but it’s not really my style. It has an indie feel that I really like, but this particular comic is not for me.
Maybe if I could see Concrete in one of his environmental activist adventures, where he really could make a difference, I could be swayed, but in an urban street level crime setting, I think I’d prefer to see real cops take care of business.
Regardless, if you have a couple spare bucks, throw it down on this low risk one-shot. It’s worth a try.