Solid State

Concept: Jonathan Coulton
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Albert Monteys
Letterer: Barbank
Publisher: Image Comics

A review by Greg Brothers

One of the things that drew me to wanting to read this book was the creative team. Jonathan Coulton is known primarily as a song writer whose songs usually focus on geek culture. In 2014, Coulton worked with comic book writer Greg Pak to bring his song Code Monkey Save World to the pages of its own comic book. With the success of that book under his belt Coulton has teamed with Matt Fraction to turn his latest concept album into a graphic novel.

While the album tells its own story the synopsis for the graphic novel Solid State states…

Two guys, connected by a name and hundreds of years, somehow stand at the end of man’s beginning, and the beginning of man’s end. But…it’s funny? Also kind of a nightmare. But mostly funny? A funny science-FACTion nightmare about the end of everything, but how that’s all kind of okay.

The story that Matt Fraction is able to create from the concept album is a very intriguing read. While two separate characters are the focus of Solid State, Fraction is able to create a common theme between the two of them as they both come to the awareness that the life they have been living is not what it has seemed to be. The characters are presented in a way that is relatable as they deal with many of the mundane things that we all deal with.

To be honest the subject matter in Solid State, is heavy. It deals with things such as privacy concerns, government control, and transparency. In another writer hands, Solid State could have become a heavy handed and overbearing commentary of today’s society. However, in Fractions hands he can navigate the pitfalls and tell the story in a way that is filled with humor while not taking away from the seriousness of plot or coming off as hokey.

The art is bright and colorful and works well throughout to really add the story. For most of Solid State we get a traditional square panel look. The line work is clean and crisp with the characters designed in a more cartoonish way but not overly so. Although in many panels the characters are in similar uniforms the design make them stand out from one another.

The Verdict
Buy it! 
Fraction does an excellent job of taking the concept album and turning it into Solid State. The story is interesting and holds your attention through and really makes you think about what our lives are truly like. After reading it you will never look at those user agreements that we all click on every day the same again. The balance between serious plot and humorous dialogue is a perfect match and keeps the book from leaning to far one way of the other. If you are looking for an intriguing read that is different than anything you have read recently Solid State is for you.

Gregory Brothers
Ohio born and raised. Avid comicbook fan who is always trying to find time to get through my ever growing read pile. When not working on that I Teach, coach youth sports, and cheer on my hometown Cincinnati teams, and Buckeyes. Can also be heard talking comics and pop-culture on The Comics Agenda Podcast.

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