A lot of kids knew him as Static Shock. He started on the periphery of at animated DCU, later being fully infused into it through guest appearances and as a member of teams in the future. The happy-go-lucky star of that animated series was not the most direct adaptation of the character who appeared in one of Milestone’s first four comics and is set to make his re-debut in January’s Terror Titans. To get an idea of who Virgil Ovid Hawkins, aka Static really is, we’re flashing back to Static #1 from 1993.
This issue jumps us square in the middle of Virgil Hawkins’s life. He has already established himself as the popular teenaged super-hero Static, though it seems he hasn’t done TOO much at this point. We don’t learn his origin in this first issue, but we are introduced to several supporting characters, and see a pretty even amount of Virgil and Static.
The book shows Static get into a scrape at an arcade, saving Virgil’s crush. He uses his static electricity based powers in pretty inventive ways. In fact, it’s the best thing about the first issue. There are a surprising number of things you can do with static electricity. He levitates, thanks to a garbage can lid, and later a garbage can, he uses it as some form of telekinesis, and makes forcefields all with static electricity.
The book then showed an extended sequence of the Virgil half of his identity. Here we meet his prospective girlfriend again, as they have a very natural high school-style phone conversation. Oddly, it seems Virgil actually exudes more cockiness than his alter-ego. We also meet Virgil’s mother and sister, and a few friends in their high school. Part of Milestone’s promise was to provide comics that use more natural speech and don’t hide behind political correctness. Writer Robert L. Washington III definitely delivered with the first issue. The dialogue may seem dated now, but it fits very well with 1993 highschoolers. The story went on to reveal Static’s first villain, a speedster/pyrokinetic appropriately named Hotstreak. There’s a nice tease at the end of their fight, as Static recognizes Hotstreak, but we don’t find out exactly how.
Washington also noted in the first letters column that all of this was very intentional. He really wanted to tell a story of not just a popular super-hero, but of the person that he is behind the mask. He wanted to be in-your-face, and managed to do it without being too over-the-top, or just sounding silly. Really, this an all-time great first issue. It does a great job of introducing the characters, showing off a unique and honest voice. It’s a tough thing for another writer to grab onto and be successful with, and it’ll be interesting to see how DC’s current crop of writers handle the character.
Do you know Static from the comics, or only from the TV show? Which version do you like better/hope will show up in the DCU next year?