Title: Static Shock
Release: September 2011
Writer: Scott McDaniel and John Rozum
Artists: Jonathan Glapion and LeBeau Underwood
Image via Artrick Playground
Given that this was the last week of the New 52 #1 releases, it seemed appropriate to go back and check out a couple of the titles from previous weeks. The success of Teen Titans #1 encouraged me to try others in the adolescent hero vein. Static Shock #1 was released on September 7th.
I like Static a lot. In fact, I'd say Static is my favorite individual character so far in the DC universe. He talks to himself, cracking stupid jokes. He hovers over the streets of New York doing good deeds and calls his mom on the way home. He's essentially Spider-Man!
And yet, the book didn't pass my curiosity test. I'll explain more about why in the spoilers section but this is a perfect example of what I wrote about in my Green Lantern: New Guardians post. My affection for the character is less important to me than hitting the story at the right moment. I might check in to see what Static's up to a few months down the road but I have no immediate yearning for issue #2.
I was cruising along with the story up until the very last frame. Then my brain went clunk. Dismemberment? Really? That's where you're going with this? In issue #1?!!!
Where do you go from there? His power over electricity allows for immediate healing? He gets some cool prosthetic? I'm not even sure why it bothers me so much. Maybe it's just too much, too soon. I wish the book had ended one frame earlier as Virule lines up Static in his sights, or as the shot is fired, or you know he's been hit but don't know exactly what happened. Something that allows for some suspense, not the end result. It just didn't work for me.
A few other nit picks. I am more interested in Virgil Hawkins than I am in Static. He's a genuine teenager, struggling to make friends at a new school and, even with his cool flying surfboard thing, forever begging his father for a car. While it's not necessarily a bad thing to prefer the alias to the superhero, it is a bit cart-before-the-horse. Superpowers are the whole point of this medium, aren't they? (Side note: yes, I know there are comics beyond the superhero genre but I hope you'll take my point here) It's far from a fatal flaw. My interest in Virgil was almost enough to pique my interest in issue #2 but not quite. I was pleased to see Static's brief appearance in Teen Titans #1, suggesting that he may occasionally pop up in that storyline.
Quite a lot of exposition was devoted to explaining Static's powers and the physics behind them. While it's interesting to a point and certainly appropriate for a relaunch issue, the techno text was a bit cumbersome after a while. One hopes they'll find a more palatable balance in future installments.