Monday, March 20, 2006

My Collection - STATIC [1993 Series]

Static [1993 series]
33 issues [1993 - 1997]
1 - 32, 44

The last of the four books that launched the Milestone line in 1993, this one featuring Virgil Hawkins, high school kid, who got electrical powers in the same "Big Bang" event that gave most of the Blood Syndicate their powers. It ran until #45. A few of the earliest issues were reprinted a few years later, along with a new mini-series, when the character got his own TV cartoon, which lasted for four years, though oddly not spawning much in the way of spin-off books beyond those initial offerings.

The series had the best first year of the line, with some great artwork from John Paul Leon and some really energetic (ha) writing from Robert Washington and Dwayne McDuffie for the first four issues, then Washington solo for the next while. It was probably the closest I've ever seen a series capture the best parts of the original Ditko Spider-Man of the 1960s, but in a thoroughly modern setting. Unlike a lot of super-hero books, where the secret identity stuff is either just filler or used for plot complications, the best parts of the book were frequently the scenes of Virgil interacting with his classmates and family.

Of course nothing lasts forever, and Leon was gone in under a year. There was some more-than-capable artwork after that, but it lacked that unique look of the early issues. Washington kept writing until #18 (with a few fill-ins), when Ivan Velez took over in mid-story, which was a rough transition. Velez got better when doing his own stories, but he was on under a year, and the following stuff made less sense to me. I did later pick up #44, because I liked the cover, and it was written by Mark Bright and seemed like a promising start, but I never did find the following issue, which would be the last in any case. I suppose I need to pick that up sometimes. Don't know about any of the other books from that 11-issue gap, looks like there were a few fill-in writers and artists.

Noteworthy bits of the run:

#1 - #4 provide the origin and first adventures of our intrepid hero, collected as "Trial By Fire". Lots of nice set-up, with some quick bits of characterization, a few hints that would pay off later, a nice mix of drama lightened by the sheer joy of super-powers.

#5 - #7 I'd say are the best storyline, "Louder than a Bomb" (and now that I'm much hipper, I get the PE reference). Static facing off against bomb threats and racial tensions, great stuff.

#21 is where Velez finds his feet, bringing in his Blood Syndicate characters for some crossover fun.

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