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After having my favorite childhood cartoon ruined for me in Batman Beyond #1, I was very skeptical of how Static Shock, one of my other favorite childhood cartoons, would fare. Unsurprisingly, it is not the best of the New 52, but is a great start to Static’s story with a promising new plot, a surprising appearance from an older character and decent artwork.
Static gets his first ongoing series since the ’90s! Virgil Hawkins (aka Static), Detroit’s greatest superhero, has moved with his family to New York City where they are about as welcoming to Static as they are to Spider-Man. Static is working as an intern at S.T.A.R. labs under the mentorship of Hardware. His “warm” welcome in NYC is followed by getting a hit put on him by a group of super villains, leading up to an exciting cliffhanger.
Writers Scott McDaniel and John Rozum introduce many new plot elements that are full of potential and fun. The change of setting feels like the perfect excuse to introduce all the new plot points. While it is clichéd for superheroes to move to New York City, it sets up some interesting ideas. For example: Virgil’s internship. His job is not explored at all and is just used in this issue as a cover, so hopefully the aspects of what he does there will be unveiled in future issues.
Virgil’s mentor is more interesting than his job. An oldie but a goodie, Hardware is a great older hero created by the late and great Dwayne McDuffie (also the creator of Static) and Denys Cowan. The character was a nice surprise in this issue and has quickly shaped up in only one issue to be a great mentor for Static. Their relationship is something I’m also looking forward to seeing explored in greater detail in future issues. Static’s family relationship, however, is woven into this story pointlessly and really had no place in this issue other than to just establish that his family was with him.
Another excuse to use the NYC setting is to capitalize on the fact that all New Yorkers hate superheroes. This could work in small doses, but it was used too often in this issue. The constant hassles make this issue feel more like a Marvel Comic and not a DC Comic, but that doesn’t keep the comic from being a good read.
The plotline of Static Shock takes a while to get into, but you really feel like you’ve gotten what you paid for. The issue feels long and sometimes gets wordy, but it never feels drawn out enough that you want to put it down. It goes at its own pace, keeps you entertained and upsets you when there are no more pages left, filling you with anticipation for the next issue because of the uncharacteristically dark, but satisfying ending.
The writer, Scott McDaniel, doubles as the artist of this issue. The art is not as exciting as the plot. It is never mind blowing and has a cartoonish quality similar to Batman Beyond. The quality fits better in this series even if it never has any amazing moments. Static’s new costume is hard to notice unless you’re looking at both his costumes side-by-side, so I have no real complaints, other than the fact that his hover disk now looks like a weird misshapen Christmas cookie with a hole in the center. It is funny, considering how his simple round plate looked much easier to fly while this monstrosity threatens to make Virgil plummet thirty stories if he thinks about stepping in the center. It’s nit picking, but makes sense in a comic book logic sort-of way.
This comic is not “sensational.” It is a fun romp that leads to a rather dark conclusion, pumping people up for the next issue. Although it may not be the best New 52 title, it is definitely one fans of Marvel Comics and Milestone will enjoy. The issue is, unfortunately, hard for newcomers to jump into, with little effort put into explaining who Static is. NYC is utilized here as a great excuse to introduce many new plot elements that will come into play in the future, which looks very bright for our young superhero. I’m sure Dwayne would be happy with the direction his characters are being taken in, despite some missed or overused opportunities and mediocre art.