A Year of Cool Comics – Day 26
Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!
Today we look at the initial arc of Static!
Dwayne McDuffie co-wrote the first four issues of Static with Robert L. Washington III. The artwork was by the brilliant John Paul Leon.
The way I look at Static is that it was probably the best comic character who tried the formula of updating Lee/Ditko’s Spider-Man to a contemporary scene (it’s still something that people try today).
Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man is quite similar, set-up-wise, as Static – both books spend most of their time developing the characters, so much of the book is entrenched in the interaction of those characters.
Most important in this regard was Freida Goren, the best friend of our hero, Virgil Hawkins (AKA Static), who Virgil has an unrequited crush on.
Here’s our introduction to the pair…
Then after a fight, where Static mops the floor with the bad guys, he puts the finishing touch on things…
We then see Virgil try to perfectly time his trip back home and along the way to his room, he encounters his mother and sister, who give him some grief, but he gets past it and gets to his room just in time for…
Again, McDuffie and Washington do a marvelous job establishing a unique set of characters.
The end of #1, though, was particularly special…
Nice little twist, huh?
This leads us to #2, where we see how Virgil, in an attempt to impress Frieda, got his butt kicked by a wannabe gangster in front of everyone. Her call to console him had the opposite effect…
This then inspired him to be “macho.” He had a friend of his get him a gun and he went to a spot where a bunch of gangs were going to have a massive rumble. When the police arrived with tear gas to disperse the gangs, unbeknown to anyone, the gas was laced with some sort of radioactive material that killed many of the people there and those that did not die received super powers.
After this origin recap, we see Virgil make his heroic return.
The remaining two issues are intriguing because #3 sees how the new dynamic of Virgil and Freida does, with her helping him cover up his secret identity.
Issue #4 is a strong issue examining Static being seduced by the super-powered gangster, Holocaust, before his heroism helps him get through. It’s really strong character work, which was a highlight of Static.
And, naturally, the artwork by Leon was wonderful, as you can see above.
These issues were collected in the Static Shock trade (Static Shock: Rebirth of Cool), which is why I group them together here.