- June 16, 2021
Static #1 & Comic Book Reviews 6/16
DC has been going ham these last few weeks with showing off their diverse heroes, but this week is the beginning of something more long term. Representation isn’t in just a one-shot, but in the start of a new series about a classic hero. Static returns with a new #1, and it’s… intriguing.
The Hellfire Gala also continues to carry on. It cements the strengths I’ve talked about before, and its weaknesses. It could still pull the rug out from under us like X of Swords did, but I expect Hellfire Galal to stay its course.
And its course, it works towards something beautiful.
Static: Season One #1
Written by: Vita Ayala
Layouts by: Chris Cross
Finishes and Color by: Nikolas Draper-Ivey
Lettering by: Andworld Design
Alright, first things first, if you didn’t like the show Static Shock, you can leave.
All the haters gone? Good.
Now, real first things first, this may be the first issue of the series, but it directly continues the events of Milestone Returns #1. That first look into the Milestone Universe left options open for the story to take any direction it wants. With that freedom, the creative team here has chosen to chart a completely new direction for Static.
Don’t expect this series to retread on old plot points and origins. This series is carrying over staples like the powersets of characters and the verbal terms of the Milestone Universe, but this is not the Static from the show or the original comic. This Static is not only has a younger feel, he has a different origin, and a different upbringing.
The Virgil Hawkins here isn’t low middle-class, he isn’t being raised by a single dad, and he isn’t dealing with gang-related issues, at least not yet. He comes off as high-middle class, in a really good science program, with a big house, with a family able to afford martial arts classes. There’s nothing wrong with doing something new like this. At the same time, there might be something wrong with changing the things that made Virgil and Static so relatable. It works well enough here, I just hope the creative team is careful.
Now they have to find different ways to touch on the issues Static is known for. It seems like they’ve chosen to do this by framing the conflicts in a more personal way. Having Hotstreak be a bully seems simple and uninspired until he shows up at Virgil’s house. It brings stakes to the series in an immediate and bold way. Sure, villains have shown up at the homes of superheroes before, but they rarely feel so personal. This scene is horrifying in a human way, and if the team can maintain this kind of story-telling, this series will be something special.
Here’s hoping they don’t miss their intended points by making Static more privileged than the people he fights, or those he fights for.
Hellfire Gala #7-9
Written by: Gerry Dugan, Vita Ayala, Tini Howard
Art by: Pepe Larraz, Alex Lins, Alberto Foche
Color by: Marte Gracia, Matt Milla, Sunny Gho
Lettering by: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Designed by: Tom Muller
As an event, this the Hellfire Gala is both amazing and not. It avoids so many of the pitfalls that people hate with these big crossovers. The way it continues each of the stories of the independent series seamless with the events of the event is something to commend. Plot lines are not being interrupted but interwoven. Other events wish they could pull off something half as great.
Yet, this doesn’t feel like an event, but all tie-ins. Planet-Size X-Men #1 has felt the most like an event since the first issue, and that doesn’t feel particularly good to say that when the event is more than half over.
If it feels like I’m complaining that something great, is only great, it should. The Hellfire Gala is still better than any of the other events that have come from Marvel or DC in the past few years, save for the other X-Men events. It just feels like this one may end up being the weakest event overall. I can certainly say though that it is filled with highs better than all previous highs before.
Take with what you will, I still can’t recommend this event enough.
And Planet-Size X-Men is easily one of the best issues of the year, if not my favorite so far. Yes, a bunch of people called the big twist on Twitter weeks ago, but that doesn’t change how amazing it is in motion.
*SPOILERS* The terraforming of Mars could have easily been this frightening act of colonialism. The creative team could have easily made mutant kind appear like terrifying conquerors, but instead, by using the themes of mutant unity, safety, and happiness to quite literally terraform Mars, it becomes nothing short of beautiful. The creation of Planet Arakko may very well contend with the beautiful birth of the Krakoan nation.
What was that about only owning a little island, Namor?
Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #1
Written by: Tom King
Art by: Bilquis Evely
Colors by: Matheus Lopes
Lettering by: Clayton Cowles
It almost bothers me how much I love Tom King’s voice when he writes. For some reason, the way he writes the characters as both high fantasy and out of this world pulls me without fail. It lets me ignore the way he writes my favorite characters totally out-of-character. It lets me ignore the way he skirts around plot holes and retcons mischaracterizations. If I had to guess, I would be far from surprised if this series is in my top ten of the year. This book both angered and thoroughly entertained me from the first page.
I don’t like the fact that Ruthye is the narrator of Kara’s story. This ultimately tells me that its not truly Kara’s story, but Ruthye’s. Kara is an instrument for Ruthye’s growth and Kara is a symbol Ruthye will constantly look up to. At the same time, love Ruthye’s narration. She has so much character with her internal monologue. The way in which she’s driven, and the way in which she looks at Kara, takes hold of my senses and never lets go. The way she speaks, essentially like Tom King speaks, drives me to make a certain effort to sound smarter.
I don’t sound smarter, but I have fun trying to.
I will love this story and hate it. Kara is incredibly out-of-character with how very down-to-earth she is when speaks, and my down-to-earth I mean head first in the mud. I don’t even want to touch on the idea that Kara would go and get drunk on her 21st all alone. This all comes together to make King’s Supergirl incredibly flawed in an incredibly human way. Strange as it may sound, Supergirl isn’t one of my favorite characters of all time because I find her terribly human. In reality, I find her better than human, too pure and good to be human.
But that doesn’t stop me from enjoying this characterization. I love the two characters leading this book, but if anything I wish this wasn’t a Supergirl book. Kara isn’t so cynical or controlled by trauma, though King makes good points on why she should be.
My feelings on this book are conflicted to say the least. The best thing I could say to convince you that you should or shouldn’t read this book, is that it is very much a Tom King book, more Mister Miracle than Batman though.
Written by: Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt
Art by: Ron Garney
Colored by: Bill Crabtree
Lettered by: Clem Robins
One day I would love to know how Keanu Reeves and Matt Kindt went about writing this story. Reading this after Supergirl, really brought out the inner fantasy nerd in me. There is an excellent balance between showing and telling here. Sometimes with comic books this is a struggle because it is a visual medium and a written one.
Here the narration may seem like its giving things away, but in reality its giving the bare minimum when the visuals are showing a ton. In other places, it helps us understand the events on the page when the visuals are giving us little to go off of. It also helps that Ron Garney’s art, combined with Bill Crabtree’s coloring and unblemished by Clem Robins lettering, allows for some of the best visual storytelling I’ve read (seen?) this year.
It was a risky choice to spend another issue on the main character’s origin, but it works here. He’s become a completely sympathetic character with how he was created to be used. Yet, he still somehow has a comical dearth of expressions fit for an action character played by Keanu Reeves. I’m not quite sure where the character’s arc is going. There seems to be heading towards some kind of revenge or divine punishment against humanity. As generic as that may be, I believe I would be happy to see their take on the tired trope.
I don’t like the idea of talking about how much I want to see an adaption. Comics are their own medium and their success stands on its own. This issue is proof of this creative team’s success in that effort.
Static Shocks (Get it?) With a Good Time, and the Hellfire Gala Parties on!
There was a lot of new and interesting stuff. Old heroes came back in new ways, and continuing series added some much appreciated flavor to their usual outings. With the series on my pull list, DC and Marvel did not disappoint, and Boom! honestly never had so far. They both have me at the edge of my seat, waiting for the next issues in a way I haven’t been in a few months.
I’m glad to say this, and not be talking about a Batman book. My palette feels cleanse, my pull list feels diversified, and honestly, comic books made me very happy today. That’s the best compliment I can give art.
It made me happy.