For the past several issues The Slate Gang has been giving Static some serious trouble. Though one member in particular has come closer to killing him than the others, and that is the creature known as Virule. This issue gets a little creepy when Virule makes physical contact with Static, and it seems his power has a peculiar effect on the monster. On top of all that, he’s attempting to adjust to his move to Harlem and the fact that his family has increased by one. A clone of his sister is now living with them, and neither is backing down in their claim of which is the real one.
Static Shock has always been a pretty hard sell for me. When the character first appeared in 1993 under Milestone, it took some time to get to a point where I liked him and considered buying his titles. There was an assumption that when the character was being brought into DC’s continuity with Milestone Forever, and then the New 52, that there wouldn’t be a period of adjustment. Well, even with Milestone alum John Rozum co-writing this book, I’m not enjoying it the way I thought I would. There are parts of this title that are fun and entertaining, but most of those revolve around what was already established about the character decades ago. The plot that we’re getting does seem to be improving over the last two issues, since a little more about Virule is being explained. Then we also have the one guy who strangely resembles Joker (albeit a much younger version) coming into play here. McDaniel and Rozum have also found very cool ways for Static to use his powers, which has made for some pretty exciting fight scenes and action sequences. The look into Virgil’s family dynamic has always been a strong point for the the series since its debut, and it’s good to see that it’s being carried over here as well. What’s not so great is the group of villains that he’s put up against for this opening story arc. Sure, it’s a set up for something else, but we all know that a hero is made a lot more interesting by who he’s up against and tested by. Static has eaten chumps like The Slate Gang for breakfast and spit them out just as quickly. After seeing what he’s done while in the Milestone Universe and his brief stint with the Teen Titans, this is a bit hard to swallow, and it’s like a step backwards instead of progressing the character forward. Without sounding too harsh, these bad guys are just lame.
McDaniel’s artwork is another thing that’s been a major plus for this title so far. I’m still not convinced that people wouldn’t be able to notice the extreme similarities between Static and Virgil and come to the conclusion that he’s one in the same. But if for over 70 years Kal-El can get away with a pair of glasses and a slouch to conceal his secret identity, then I’ll go with it.
With this arc now at an end, and the tease of an old enemy coming back next issue, I’m still on board with the series for now. There’s so much potential for great stories here that the writers can tap into that will definitely get the fans excited about Static all over again. Hopefully we’ll get a bit more character progression as the series continues, because Static needs to be treated like the flagship character he was over at Milestone and given just as much attention as these other DC characters.