Bullied nerd Virgil Hawkins wasn’t the kind of kid you’d normally find on the streets at a protest– but like everyone else in the city of Dakota, he was fed up. Unfortunately, the first time he stood up to raise his voice, the world turned upside down. The experimental tear gas released that day left some of his classmates maimed or dead…but it left Virgil, and others, with stunning new abilities. Virgil has power inside him now — real power, the ability to channel and manipulate electromagnetic fields. But there’s anger burning inside him, too. What is he supposed to do about all of this? And first and foremost — what is he supposed to do about his bullies, now that they’ve got superpowers too?
This is truly a reboot in the fact that Virgil’s origin is revamped to match the current social climate and he isn’t even a hero yet. As I stated in the DC Pride review, it would be interesting to see Vita Ayala tackling the iconic and fan-favorite version of the character of Static. This title could still turn out to be good or bad under her writing as it continues on. But this issue starts off on a weak note. It begins right after the Static segment of Milestone Returns; an overall reintroduction of Milestone characters. So there are a lot of holes in the start-up, unfortunately making this a bit of a rocky start. First off, multiple people know Francis is Hotstreak, and multiple people saw Virgil use his electric powers, and as a reader, it leaves you in disbelief that he’ll ever have any kind of secret identity. There are also the social issues brought up in Milestone Returns that hardly get addressed, except for a brief 2-page reference.
I did think it was nice to see him as a regular teenager before seeing him as a hero. It makes him more human. Virgil is a teenager going through changes (puberty and approaching adulthood metaphors ), but it leaves an odd taste in your mouth that he, as Static, will match up to this. Vita writes Virgil as such a relatable teenager in this premiere issue that when it comes time for the heroic side, I hope that aspect isn’t lacking. The art, coloring, and inking by Nikolas Draper-Ivey are gorgeous. It’s smooth and embodies some real personality within the characters from a visual standpoint. For me, the best part was right at the end of the issue when Hotstreak attacks Virgil at home and the paneling takes on a manga-like style. So the action flows smoothly and dynamically. But, even this leaves this reader scratching my head because he is clearly already known to have electric powers? So, when he’s flying around fighting crime, what are the stakes behind a maintaining a secret identity? These are questions that hopefully get answered, but I worry they might not be.
At the end of this issue, it’s safe to say this isn’t a recommendation as much as a “wait and see”. Between the massive holes in the story, the significant social issues that were brought up in the anthology, but left hanging here, and an above-average character portrait, I think this could clearly go well or very badly. Besides all that though, there really wasn’t something that grabbed me and made me want to read more, which is a shame. For a reboot looking to make a splash, this NEEDED a hook and I’m afraid this issue just doesn’t have it.