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Complete Concrete, The (1987)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Complete Concrete, The (1987) author/artist: Paul Chadwick

This book collects the original ten issues of Paul Chadwick's creation. The first story introduces the seven foot tall, rock-like character who has become a media sensation. The government says he's a cyborg creation in order to hide his real, much more complicated, origin from the public. In order to get some good press, he helps at a cave-in where there are trapped miners. But he gets trapped as well and is not able to save all of them, showing that although he is now powerful and has certain abilities, he's not Superman.

Then, the book presents the story of senatorial speechwriter Ronald Lithgow, who goes on a camping trip with his friend Larry. While exploring a cave they come upon some weird machinery, which turns out to be an alien lab. They are captured and when he wakes up finds that he's in this stone-like body, as is Larry. For whatever reasons, the aliens have transplanted their brains into these bodies. Ron manages to escape before the alien ship takes off. Concrete goes to the senator he works for and he's studied by the government. He no longer needs to eat food--rocks will do just fine--and in addition to the strength he has incredible vision. The government allows him to go free as long as he sticks to the cover story about being a government made cyborg. He even does talk shows.

Concrete is assisted by Dr. Maureen Vonnegut, who wants to learn all the secrets of how his boy works, and Larry Munro, his assistant. In other stories he becomes a body guard for a rock star, then offers to help a farming family down on their luck. He single-handedly helps them get back on their feet by doing repairs and building new structures. Yet, they have a sinister secret about the disappearance of their father and he's not sure he'll be able to keep it. He even gets a three-legged pet dog, Tripod. The weirdest story is when he starts growing these lumps on his head, which then turn into horn-like growths that don't stop growing. He also decides to climb Mt. Everest, because he can, and sneaks in to visit his mother on her deathbed because he wants her to know that he's still alive.

The thing with CONCRETE is that the stories are low-key. It's easy to compare him to Marvel's THE THING but that's only a vague resemblance. The stories revolve around what it is to be human.

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