by Sam Kusek Created by screenwriter Tony Puryear and his wife and actress, Erika Alexander (Déjà vu), Concrete Park follows the story of several young people, like former gang leader Luca and violent convict Isaac, who have loved, lost and committed terrible crimes, and now been given the chance at a new beginning, on a whole new planet. Sent from an over populated Earth not able to house its denizens any longer, the near future’s underclass have been sent to this new world to mine for resources. Old habits die hard though, as new gangs begin to form, creating an environment reminiscent of the old ganglands on Earth. Can our wayward heroes turn over a new leaf and make the most out of this second chance or will they fall back into their old ways and resume the lives they once left behind?
Concrete Park does a really good job of setting the stage of the world and the characters we’ll be seeing. It is a very well paced story, as we are thrown into three action packed stories within the first two issues (Luca, Isaac and Silas right at the end of #2) running concurrently with one another and the focus is shared equally across the board, often bleeding into one another. For example, Isaac’s story discusses what happened back on Earth and why so many young violent people were sent to this new planet, which helps the reader to understand where Luca is when we are first introduced to her. Tony obviously doesn’t keep his readers in the dark, with back story as we moved forward, which is something I greatly appreciate.
This book really shines from an artistic standpoint. Puryear has a bold sense of style when it comes to his characters and world, utilizing thick dynamic lines to help define the shape of everything. I would liken his drawing style to Jaime Hewlett, as the characters and worlds walk the line between realistic and fantastical, but Puryear is denser and less manic. Puryear’s style is much less sprawling, focusing more on structure and the use of shapes, creating a more compact world for the viewer.
Having only read the first two episodes of Concrete Park, I have only had the opportunity to be slightly introduced to the world and its characters and it is difficult tell where things will be going. This book has been likened to A Song of Ice and Fire and I can certainly see the beginning of that in these issues. The story so far is focused mostly on the gang culture aspect of the book, particularly in how it has previously effected the lives of our heroes and how they will choose to interact with that world moving forward but I am looking forward to when it starts to delve more into the science fiction notes. I think the overall concept for the book is a very strong tried and true staple in science fiction and that Puryear has put enough of a modern spin to attract a vast array of readers.
TL;DR: Concrete Park is a science-fiction epic dealing with what it means to start over and how hard it can be to escape the past. Recommended for readers who are looking for more of an action-oriented book.
Concrete Park is written, drawn and colored by Tony Puryear. Published by Dark Horse, it is an ongoing story in Dark Horse Presents starting with DHP #8 (Feb 2012). You can also find more information, world guides and some preview pages on the Concrete Park website.
A review copy of Concrete Park was graciously provided to Spandexless by the author.
Samuel “Self Confidence Skeleton” “Big Ol’ Robot” Kusek has always been an advocate for the comic book format and specifically a big fan of Manga. He previously wrote for Popcultureshock’s Manga Recon and enjoys a good bowtie. You can find his tweets at @SamKusek.