Static’s second issue continues to fully flesh out and build this modernized take on the popular character and Milestone universe, giving us deep and meaningful character moments on top of solid action beats. The art team pulls out all the stops to present truly stunning pages that bring every bit of this story to vivid bright and shadowy colorful life. Static is awesome and back, at long last.
If one could classify the first issue of Static: Season One as essentially the setting of the table (intro, origins, exploring relationships) the second issue is very much then the subsequent eating and enjoying of the meal. And there is quite a lot of proverbial food here to digest.
Vita Ayala, Chriscross, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, and Andworld Design provide a heavily packed and gorgeous issue that really throws up deep into this new version of the Milestone Universe and Virgil Hawkins/Static’s world. There are a ton of pieces of narration and dialogue and a lot of jumping around of scenes that set up more and more parts of the world but never does it feel like too much or jumbled in any way.
Ayala is truly one of the best character writers in the game right now, and they continued to prove that with this issue. Everything that was presented from the reactions from neighbors about Hotstreak’s attack on the Hawkins house, how Robert and June Hawkins debate/argue over these changes to Virgil, and how Virgil and his sister deal with it and more just all feel real.
They feel authentic like actual ways that human beings would react in these situations, not perfect or storybook in any way. They are nuanced and flawed and have good and bad motives depending on the persona and situation. Superhero books are often about how the good folks are good and the bad folks are bad, but the best stories are those that realize that humans are a jumble of emotions and don’t always lean in any particular direction. We’re complicated.
The action of the issue wraps up rather quickly and most of the book is talking and internal monologues but that’s not a bad thing at all. It’s all engaging and fleshes out the characters so much and is more than welcome. Honestly, some of the comics that catch attention a lot lately are those that are heavier on dialogue and less on the action and really explore human nature and the world around us. This book is doing a great job of focusing on real authentic issues of our world through the eyes of characters that could be actual people we know.
Chriscross and Draper-Ivey are a dynamic pairing that keeps delivering. There are more of the really gorgeous pages that are bright and bold like the ones where Virgil is at the school or moving through the city. Here the colors pop and the detailed images are a sight to behold. At the same time, the paneling is dramatic and inventive and stands out, making even a page of two people talking over a phone really stand out in the best way possible.
On the other end, there are some really great pages within the burned Hawkins house where the art and the colors do not shy away from the darkness that would be there in a ruined house with no power within it. Again, there is a page here with lots of dialogue (from the parent’s debate) that is boosted by the fact that the family is in the shadows mostly on the page save for the bright glowing light coming from outside through their broken window that stunningly illuminates them.
This light is used across many pages and panels to highlight the characters during these moments, especially the emotions and body language of the stuck in the middle Virgil. Followed by the really dark pages of him just exasperated and alone in his almost pitch-black bedroom. The pure exhaustion and despair just dripping off each page.
With such a large amount of dialogue, there comes the need for a letterer who can really make it all flow and be just as engaging as the rest of the pages. Andworld Design pulls that off fantastically. All of the dialogue just perfectly dances around the imagery, providing a great counterpoint to the darkness of some panels and fits right in with the brighter stuff. The Static colored caption boxes just rule, and the use of bigger bits of text to really hit home the excitement or terror of some moments is spot on.
There isn’t a lot of SFX here even with action, because this series is one where they are far more discerning about when to use it. SFX works great both in the realm of tons of it in a book and the realm of very little used. It all depends on the book and focus. Here it works to have just a few that really hit home a particular sound or moment, and not for every power use or action moment.
Static: Season One #2 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.