REVIEW: ‘Static: Season One,’ Issue #1

 – by Collier “CJ” Jennings

Static: Season One #1 is written by Vita Ayala with layouts by ChrisChross and finishes/colors by Nikolas Draper-Ivey, and lettering by Andworld Design. It is published by DC Comics. Following the cataclysmic event known as the “Big Bang,” Virgil Hawkins is gifted with the ability to manipulate electromagnetic energy. In addition to handling the trauma of seeing other teenagers suffer the Big Bang’s effects and the energy coursing through his body, Virgil must also deal with the strained bonds between his family and his old bully Francis Stone, who is now the fire-slinging Hotstreak.

This issue picks up in the wake of the Milestone Returns one-shot, which showcased the Big Bang and Virgil’s first confrontation with Hotstreak in full. However, new readers can pick up this issue and follow along with ease even if they haven’t read the one-shot. Ayala’s script manages to catch the audience up with what’s happening with Virgil and even dives into the torment he’s going through. And in fitting with the tradition laid down by the previous Milestone universe, Ayala mixes real-world issues with superheroism. Virgil’s inner monologue describes the terror he went through at the Big Bang and how his classmates’ looks of fear hurt worse than the gas that gave him his powers.

Ayala also mixes elements from the Static Shock animated series and the original Milestone run. Virgil is friends with Richie Foley and Frieda Goren, with Richie serving as Virgil’s confidant in the animated series and Frieda filling the same role in the original Static comic. Here, they both know Virgil’s secret and, like all good friends, worry about him, especially with what he went through. Virgil’s family also plays a large role in the issue, with his parents Robert and Jean trying to reach out to him and his sister Sharon actually clicking with him on some level. The best heroes have people in their lives that they can depend on, and Virgil is no different.

Bringing this world and its inhabitants to life are ChrisCross and Draper-Ivey. ChrisCross has a long history with the Milestone Universe, providing illustrations for its original run of titles, including Blood Syndicate and Heroes. Here he provides dynamic layouts that always put characters in focus, especially during the action sequences. Draper-Ivey’s finishes give the final product an anime-inspired look, with Hotstreak’s hair literally igniting and Virgil’s trademark dreads styled in the form of a samurai-esque topknot.  It also isn’t lost on me that ChrisCross and Draper-Ivey also design Virgil’s father Robert to have a striking resemblance to Dwayne McDuffie. And the action sequences feel ripped out of My Hero Academia, with Virgil utilizing his scientific knowledge and martial arts skills to battle his fiery foe.

Draper-Ivey also makes great use of color in the issue. A key example is a dual pair of double-page spreads that feature the Hawkins family at dinner. The first spread features the sun shining on the family as they joke around and discuss various topics, reflecting happier times. The second is set at night, with darkness surrounding the Hawkins clan—an apt metaphor for the troubles that plagued them with Virgil’s near-death experience. Both Virgil and Hotstreak’s elemental powers come into play during the issue, with Virgil’s electricity coming off as bluish-white and Hotstreak’s flames blazing reddish-orange.

Static: Season One #1 serves as both the perfect reintroduction to Static as a character and an entry point into the new Milestone Universe. I highly recommend this book to fans of the Static Shock animated series or the original comic, as well as new readers. As someone who has loved Static for most of his life, this book was a delight to read, and I cannot wait for future issues, along with the rest of the Milestone titles.

Static: Season One #1 is available wherever comics are sold.