Friday, September 09, 2011

Review: Static Shock #1

I loved many of the characters Milestone Media introduced to the world, but Static was my favorite. He felt brand new and familiar at the same time, like he was supposed to have been around a lot longer than he actually was. In the world of cape comics, new, original characters often lack staying power, but Static felt like he had a really chance of lasting. Static ended his 45 issue run in March of 1997, when Milestone's comic book division folded. While this might have been it for many other characters, Static lived on, getting his own animated series and even appearing in the DC animated universe.

In 2008, when DC announced the Milestone universe would be merging with their own, I was pretty thrilled. But while many characters were integrated into the DCU, and Static himself found a place with the Teen Titans, I wanted more. It may have taken years for Static to get an ongoing again, but so far, it looks like it looks like it was worth the wait.

Static Shock opens with a page that gives you a feel for just about everything you need to know about Static. You get a sense for his powers, some of Virgil's natural skills and abilities, and best of all, you get to know and love his charming, goofball personality. It sets a lighthearted, fun tone, and it let me know that I was probably going to have a great time reading this issue.

Scott McDaniel's art has a few problem spots, but overall, he's a great fit for this book. It has this young, playful vibe to it that really works with the character, and his background as an electrical engineer is definitely an asset when drawing a character like this. Not everyone is sold on the costume, but personally, I love a good jacket, and I think the yellow really makes it pop.

There are many characters that I was hoping to see in the pages of Static, but I wasn't expecting to get to see Hardware so soon! This was a real treat, and seeing him serve as a mentor to Virgil is definitely going to be a highlight of the comic for me. The characters play off each other really well, and I'm hoping to see Virgil develop some of his own awesome tech under Hardware's guidance.

Even though Static has left Dakota and villains like Holocaust behind, it looks like he'll have no shortage of foes to fight. I'm not expecting too many of these guys to stick around, but more than a few of them seem to have some staying power. Still, I have to ask, what's with the Joker cosplayer hanging around in the background? It also looks like we might be seeing a certain mace-wielding hero in the not-too-distant future.

While this issue was clearly designed to introduce Static to a new audience, it was full of moments for longtime fans of the character to appreciate. I especially liked that they acknowledged Virgil's hatred of his middle name, something that appeared in the original Static #1. And while they wisely didn't spend much time on establishing Virgil's backstory, I still got a clear sense that his adventures in Dakota still happened, and I definitely feel like there's room to more of his old supporting cast in the future.

There were a few aspects of this issue that I question. While New York seems like a good fit for Static, I'm not crazy about the people of the city having it out for him. It's fine for a first issue, but Static has a lot in common with Spider-Man already, and I hope he proves himself to the people of the Big Apple in the stories to come. I also don't get why Static was given a second sister. I didn't see any need for the character, especially given how similar she seems to Sharon, and it seems superfluous given how many other changes have been introduced.

But none of those issues keep Static Shock from being a highly enjoyable comic that brings a much needed dose of fun to the DCnU. The issue isn't without moments of violence, but on the whole, it feels upbeat and is packed to the brim with witty banter. I'd recommend this issue to fans looking to fill the hole left by lighthearted books like Power Girl and Stephanie Brown's Batgirl, and to fans of both the cartoon and Static's original comic series. I'd also suggest that fans of Spider-Man give this series a go. Virgil may not have Peter's rogue's gallery or unusual troubles with women, but he does have smarts, a wicked sense of humor, and a keen interest in science- all things I think Spidey fans will be able to appreciate.

In a perfect world, the late, great Dwayne McDuffie would've been the one to bring Static back to life, but he's in capable hands with John Rozum and Scott McDaniel, and I can't wait to see what they do with him next.

By Marceline with No comments


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