Saturday, June 4, 2011

Static Shock Special #1 (One Shot)

Among the many mysteries in life is this one: why is Static not starring in a hugely popular comic book?

Created in 1993 by Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle and Michael Davis, Static is a teenager named Virgil Hawkins who gains superpowers during the mysterious "bang baby" event, where dozens were apparently exposed to a rare gas that left them transformed - some into super-heroes, others into super-villains.

Being an extremely intelligent young man with quick wits and a great sense of humor, he invents a heroic persona and uses his mastery of electricity to fight the good fight.

I liked the comic from that first issue - it really captured the feel of the original Spider-Man stories, with a great mix of serious adventure, smart stories, lots of humor and interesting personal stories.

The series enjoyed some success, spinning off into a good cartoon titled Static Shock. These days the character pops up every now and then in guest spots and one-shot issues like this one.

This issue is obviously intended as a well-deserved tribute to the sadly departed McDuffie, who died far too young.

The story centers around the release from prison of Static's uncle Teshome Hawkins, who was framed for a crime and spent 10 years behind bars. On his release, Teshome is targeted by a powerful gangster who wants revenge - and it's up to Static to figure out a way to rescue his uncle.

The story is written by Felicia Henderson and penciled by Denys Cowan. They do fine work - I especially like the art - but the story is just too truncated to have the desired emotional effect.

The issue is rounded out with a two-page feature that's a more direct tribute to McDuffie, and there are several pin-ups featuring characters from the Milestone Comics universe.

While this effort isn't quite up to the standards of the original series, it does show the potential of the character, which is sadly being wasted while he languishes in comic book limbo.

I honestly think Static could be a top-tier character IF he had an ongoing comic book with a solid creative team, and if he got any kind of marketing push. He could be the Spider-Man of the '90s - but if he's relegated to just occasional appearances, he'll never live up to his potential.

Frankly, it's criminal.

Grade: B


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