The long-awaited first full week of DC Comics’ New 52 has finally arrived! I’ll be reviewing all 52 #1 issues released this month, and you can find all of the reviews on the Comic Book Reviews index page. Here’s one of the few books launching as part of The New 52 where I can truly say I have no clue who the lead character is. But hey, Static looked like fun and I love the idea of new/underutilized characters getting a major push. That’s the whole point of The New 52, so I went into this with an open mind and an optimistic attitude. Did Static Shock #1 electrify me? (Don’t hurt me for the pun.)
This review will be as spoiler-free as possible.
Static is fun! He has a cool, unique voice and watching him fly around in costume is a great visual. Static flying around New York City and cutting loose with his powers is exciting and fun to look at.
Unfortunately, Static flying around New York City and cutting loose with his powers is pretty much all there is to this book. For a first issue meant to hook new readers, this may be the most reader-unfriendly of all the first week’s books of The New 52. This book is 90% action and 0% explanation, and as a potential new reader that does not work for me at all. At all.
It’s mentioned in the exposition that Virgil is a genius, but is his genius all-around and including areas like athletics, writing, art, math, and so forth or is it limited to science (particularly regarding his knowledge of his own powers) ? And speaking of his powers, what are they exactly? They’re not clearly defined–or even poorly defined–in this first issue. I don’t know how they work or where Virgil got them or even if the powers are part of him or created by some device Virgil uses. He has an Obi-Wan Kenobi-like mentor in Hardware, but I don’t know what the precise relationship is between the two, how they met, or if Hardware is even a living creature or a man-made construct. Is Static’s family wealthy, poor, or in-between? What’s that weird platform Static flies around on and how does it work? All this question has left me with is questions. I don’t think I know Static any better for having bought and read this comic than I did from my assumptions about him based on the cover art. And that’s a bad, bad thing.
Overall: There are 52 DC Comics launching this month. That’s over $150 worth of comic books, all competing for comic buyers’ dollars. A lot of those 52 series, especially ones like Static Shock that feature obscure/unknown characters, are only going to get one shot from buyers. And unfortunately, this first issue does not make the most of that one shot. I feel like Static has a fun voice and the potential to be interesting, but all I got in this issue was “ACTION!” with little to no explanations or future dramatic potential built-in. I wanted to like this book, but it’s all flash and no content. Scott McDaniel obviously prioritized making Static “cool” for this issue, but that’s not enough to keep my three dollars coming back for another issue.