Review – Static: Season One #1
Story: Vita Ayala
Colour: Nikolas Draper-Ivey
Letterer: Andworld Design
Published: DC Comics
Available: 16th June 2021
RIP John Paul Leon
One of the greatest artists of our generation, he was also one of the nicest and most talented creators one could be lucky enough to have met.” Denys Cowan writes “I met John Paul Leon when our Milestone partner Michael Davis introduced us—JPL, as we quickly took to calling him, was a student in Michael’s illustration class. JPL was a nice, almost shy, soft-spoken man, so he barely made eye contact with me as I looked at his sample pages. I remember them being a Superman story—which may have been an actual assignment. To say we were all blown away by his talent even then would be an understatement. His work showed a depth and maturity and understanding of comics that far surpassed so many other artists of his age…really of any age… he was that good. We hired him to do Static on the spot. One of the best decisions we ever made. He gave me some credit early on for one thing or another to do with his career; it was generous of him. The truth is I was just smart enough to know that I was in the presence of genius, and all I had to do was get out of the way. John Paul Leon was a very good man and a great artist. His loss will continue to be felt throughout the world of comicsJim Lee, DC Comics
EPISODE ONE: TRIAL BY FIRE
At long last, the most famous face of the Milestone Universe is making his shocking return!
Bullied nerd Virgil Hawkins wasn’t the kind of kid you’d normally find on the streets at a protest—but like everyone else in the city of Dakota, he was fed up. Unfortunately, the first time he stood up to raise his voice, the world turned upside down. The experimental tear gas released that day left some of his classmates maimed or dead…but it left Virgil, and others, with stunning new abilities. Virgil has the power inside him now—real power, the ability to channel and manipulate electromagnetic fields. But there’s anger burning inside him, too. What is he supposed to do about all of this? And first and foremost—what is he supposed to do about his bullies, now that they’ve got superpowers too?
A dynamic creative team of new comics voices and Milestone Media veterans join forces to open up a new chapter in the story of the most iconic Black teen superhero in comics history.
Story: Vita Ayala
With the sad passing in May 2021 of original Static artist JPL this issue is a fitting memorial to the Milestone and fan favourite Static.
Ayala starts the story with an angry and frustrated Virgil thinking back to when he lost control of his powers and attacked Francis, the high school bully, in front of his friends. Virgil was exposed to an experimental gas released by police during a student protest that saw some kids die and other mutate powers. Virgin can harness electricity and his body acts like a battery soaking it up.
Virgil is now an angry young man lashing out at his family, challenging authority and being a general asshole to those around him. His emotions are building and when Hotstreak (Francis) turns up at his house during dinner Static finally explodes all his fury and pent up anger at him.
With clear parallels to current world events and the protests of 2020, we see the rebirth of 2021 Static here, full of power but somehow feeling powerless to fight back or channel his rage without hurting others. Vita is tapping into the mood of the nation here and I can’t wait to see what happens as there are always consequences to reacting to bullies both police and high school.
Artwork by Chriscross set’s a sombre tone and you can feel a storm brewing on each page and the steady and continual build-up of energy and stress that will explode. Virgil reactions to his family, show a kid on edge, but not looking for help but for a fight. The panelling (particularly the double-page spreads showing the family dinner before and after the riot and how it’s affecting the whole family. The pages are crammed full of amazing details that catch your eye as you read. The electric blue colours pulsing through and finally out of Virgil look alive and malevolent
Let’s take a moment to remember the passing of JPL as we read this amazing first issue. It taps into the BLF zeitgeist showing the frustration many feel with a broken system. Vita’s writing grounds this energetic issue which looks to actually explode in issue 2. 100% perfect for this relaunch.
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