Static Shock #4

Story by
Art by
Andy Owens, Scott McDaniel
Colors by
Guy Major
Letters by
Dezi Sienty
Cover by
DC Comics

"You're the first woman I've ever seen whose legs can shave themselves." That's the reaction Static has when he meets Guillotina, a new super-powered villain made of metal and razors. It's part of what makes "Static Shock" so much fun, with the main character's motor mouth running a mile a minute even as he ducks, weaves, and blasts his enemies. He's not just the star of "Static Shock," he's the reason to read it.

With "Static Shock" #4, though, I feel like Scott McDaniel and outgoing writer John Rozum have slightly lost the plot in places. The comic jumps from scene to scene a bit haphazardly, introducing new characters left and right and veering from one idea to the next. It's what's holding back "Static Shock" to some extent, needing just a bit more smoothing of the plot to get it all moving from start to finish without feeling like the book is secretly out of order, or perhaps missing a page or two.

"Static Shock" #4 also is starting to reference more of the plot devices from the Milestone Media issues of "Static" and company. We're getting mentions of the Q-Juice (which transformed both Static and the Bang Babies from titles like "Blood Syndicate" and "Icon"), but the ideas behind them are quickly brushed over. I have a feeling that "Static Shock" is a title that's already preaching to the converted, which is a shame, but I'd still like history from comics decades old to be introduced a bit more gracefully.

That said, what "Static Shock" does right, it does incredibly so. Static's dialogue, as mentioned before, is priceless. An entire comic of him dissing villains is my idea of hitting the jackpot. Even better, though, is the scene involving the two versions of Static's sister, Sharon. Rozum and McDaniel have been building up the idea of the two being utterly identical, to the point that not even S.T.A.R. Labs can figure out which was the original and which was the duplicate, but this issue's scene of their side-by-side therapy sessions manage to get even creepier than their nightmares from the previous issue. It's not just unnerving, it also makes the Sharons pitiable; it's a nasty situation for them to have been put in, and there's no easy solution to resolve it. And with Guillotina's savior giving his side of the story, well, it changes him from generic bad guy to someone far more interesting. I'm still not exactly sure what he thinks capturing Static will do, but his driving force to do so involving survival is far more intriguing than just random conquest.

McDaniel's pencils are overall good as always, although there are a few moments where I think the storytelling could use some tightening (the transition to flashback for Pale Man, for instance, isn't terribly strong). But when we get the reveal of the latest thugs exposed to the Q-Juice, McDaniel's character designs are bizarre and funky enough to grab your attention, and that's something I like a great deal.

"Static Shock" is a nice book, although we've had stronger issues prior. As this is Rozum's last issue as co-writer, though, I'll admit to being a little worried about what's ahead. Hopefully the book will stay strong, and I wish that Rozum's departure had been with a slightly better final issue (or not happened at all). For now, though, "Static Shock" is in a wait-and-see holding pattern.

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