Concrete Park is as impressive as they come in the realm of sci-fi and breaks away from many of the tropes that have made the genre stagnant over the years. It’s not a story relying on robots and tech to be flashy but an eclectic cast of characters that will blow you away. All of them living out their lives on the planet Oasis which is anything but. It’s a prison colony where if you survive your time in the ice mines you’re still stuck living in Scare City which is controlled by various gangs and factions. So when Isaac, along with his sister’s killer, are the only survivors when the latest transport crashes, his life is about to become much more complex. His presence is a game changer but we don’t know for who just yet as there are many secrets about Oasis that aren’t giving themselves up too easily. There’s also the lacking presence of the New Earth Council who seems to be far less concerned with sending supplies to the planet. Adding more complications to an already precarious living situation among the inmates.
This is a multi layered epic and Puryear and Alexander make sure it’s everything you’ve been asking for when it comes to storytelling. A solid premise that is reinforced with characters that really detract from what has become the norm. They even manage to keep things very unpredictable when we see a familiar plot element creep up which keeps you on your toes from start to finish. The large cast is easily followed due to their unique character designs and each has a distinctive voice that holds their own. From Luca, who’s inner strength hasn’t been realized and makes a wonderful lead character to the enigmatic Silas who has a secret connection to the history of the planet. Though it would be nice to get a little more development on the Potato King. A massive mountain of a man who controls a large part of Scare City but so far we only get brief interactions with him. With a character that holds so much power and influence it would be assumed that we’d get more face time with him. Hopefully as the series develops he becomes a bit more of a regular appearing character and not just mentioned by the others.
Tony Puryear continues his unique visual style in Concrete Park that has made this a stand out looking series since the first issue. This self taught artist delivers some interesting and diverse character designs that give this series it’s own unique flavor. There’s some very nice visual pacing throughout and sometimes the dialogue in some panels isn’t even necessary. We also get several action sequences that have a strong cinematic flow making them some of the highlights of the book. Puryear also makes it evident that you can draw realistically proportioned women and still have one hell of a sexy comic on the shelf. The colors are done by Puryear as well which are just as great and take his line work to the next level.
There’s also plenty of social undertones to be seen here that the creative team has woven into the story. They are subtle yet profound but at no time do they get in the way of the narrative. Concrete Park continues to be a great piece of sci-fi that breaks away from the usual with it’s cast of African American, Latin, and Asian characters. These are people barely represented in the realm of sci-fi and when they are it’s in a majority of cliche roles. Well, we get none of that here as he writes these characters with a purpose and respect.
Concrete Park: Volume 2 collects five issues along with bonus stories, a glossary, and a map of Scare City to go along with the cover gallery. So do yourself a favor and add this to your collection especially if you’re looking for something different in your sci-fi action/drama all wrapped up in some of the best art around!