A True Shock To The System: Reviewing ‘Static: Season One’ #4
by Scott Redmond
The new age of Milestone Comics is soaring high, and Static is leading the way not just for the imprint but for comic books as a whole. There is a fully unique energy that permeates this book on so many levels, from the gorgeous distinctive artistic end to the deep resonating realistic and emotional character level. We need a whole lot more of this book for years to come.
Comic books, like most forms of artistic expression, have a long history of dealing with the issues and situations that many of us encounter in the real world daily. They might be surrounded by the fantastical trappings of superheroes or science fiction or even horror, but they still hit in a way that resonates with all or parts of the audience. It’s not an easy dance to mesh the reality and the fictional, but when it’s pulled off it creates something truly special.
That’s what we have with Static: Season One, something special.
Sure there is the superhero aspect of this rebooted series that is part of the revival of Milestone Comics, but it’s the character moments and the touching on issues of real life that make it work. Vita Ayala is hands down one of the best character writers around in comics right now, and that is on full display within this issue. Reaching those levels means not just hitting all the right notes with the main character and their immediate supporting cast, but with the variety of supporting cast members and even the extras that make this world feel fleshed out and lived in.
There are some amazing moments from the Hawkins parents here, as they stand up for their son, and turn away the government. In those scenes, though there are also onlookers in the community who rise up to speak out and make comments while looking out for their neighbors. To many, it might be a small thing, but it really is something big in a way. Here in that moment are flashes of the levels of community that some see all the time and that others strive to see become a regular occurrence all around our society and world.
It’s not just this scene though as there are really powerful ones between Virgil and his sister Sharon, between him and his friends before they engage on a mission and even the moments when Static/Virgil and Hotstreak/Francis face off once more.
While Ayala brings the heavy character work that fleshes out this world and brings a uniqueness, on the artistic side what Nikolas Draper-Ivey is doing based on the layouts of Chriscross is just as powerful. Draper-Ivey’s work adds its own weight and heaviness to the proceedings while giving the book such a unique and visually distinctive identity. There really isn’t anything else like it that comes to mind right now on the stands. There is an overload of energy to every single panel and page, fitting for a book about Static, and everything feels like it might leap off the page at a moment’s notice.
There are a lot of bright colors befitting a superhero book, but there are also a lot of well-used shadows and darker tones to add that aforementioned weight to the world, but also to keep the real-world sort of aspect strong. There is a lot of inventive paneling going on that helps keep that energy going, making even the pages of characters having discussions pop and stand out.
Not to mention how fluid and different the superpowered pages look compared to other ways we’ve seen characters’ abilities visualized. Everything about the pages where Hostreak and Static face-off, and even when Static fights some of the government agents, looks amazing. Their powers look natural and the way they are unleashed and even play off the environment around them just in slower moments takes superhero work to a whole other level.
The same can be said of the way that Andworld Design handles the lettering within the book. There is a lot of great work done across the variety of dialogue, little quirks added here or there to differentiate characters and their voices, as well as a ton of the SFX that is spread throughout the issue. Much like how the powers are depicted in the rest of the art, the various bits of SFX have their own life and personality and the ones attached to the powers have the same energy as how those powers are depicted.
Essentially every single aspect of this comic supports and connects with and enhances every other part, which is how the great comics do things right.
Static: Season One #4 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.