Static Has Some New Hardware | COMIC BOOK REVIEW

What’s up, everyone! Tré from Advent Seven here, and I’m back with another review from DC’s Milestone Returns. This time we’re talking about the first issue of Hardware: Season One and the third issue of Static: Season One.

Hardware: Season One #1 is written by Brandon Thomas with art by Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Chris Sotomayor. Static: Season One #3 is written by Vita Ayala with art by Chriscross and Nikolas Draper-Ivey. Hardware was released on August 10th, 2021. Static was released on August 31st, 2021. Both are available in both digital and print.

The following section contains spoilers for Static and Hardware

Hardware: Season One #1 is titled “Angry Black Man”. Hardware’s story starts with a short flashback showing a 3-year-old Curtis Metcalf at his first protest. It’s one of his happiest memories because he was with his father, but it’s also a memory that he goes back to whenever another injustice happens. In the present, Dr. Metcalf is preparing for the inevitable arrival of the police.

In case you forgot, Dr. Curtis Metcalf is a brilliant scientist. He is being accused of causing “the Big Bang” by former boss and mentor Edwin Alva. Metcalf is not surprised it turned out this way, but he’s not going quietly. The proceeding event is a bombastic demonstration of Hardware’s power suit. With the aid of Metcalf’s AI, P.O.P, Hardware blows up his lab, takes flight, and is chased by two military-grade helicopters. He’s able to take down one helicopter, but another damages his jetpack causing him to crash.

At Alva Industries, Edwin Alva speaks to the police. It’s difficult for Alva to believe that Curtis could be responsible for the horrors of “the Big Bang”. Alva recounts to himself how he discovered Curtis at a science fair. Alva recognized Curtis’s potential and invested heavily in Curtis’s future. According to Alva, Curtis had become entitled, wanting more. When Alva denied him, Curtis used “the Big Bang” as the perfect opportunity to ruin Alva and his company.

Hardware awakens after his crash. He’s a little sore, but he immediately focuses on taking down the helicopters. He does this by throwing a flaming knife at one, causing it to explode. Hardware then flies to Alva Industries to confront Alva. Alva condescends to Curtis like he’s a disobedient child. Alva claims that Curtis would be nothing without him. Curtis responds by shattering the window in front of Alva. Hardware could have easily ended this here and now, but he decides Alva needs to suffer first. Hardware flies away, declaring, “We’ll see who made who.”

Hardware is not the style of character or story that I enjoy. He’s almost a Punisher archetype. He is someone who is out for justified revenge, and anyone who gets in his way is probably going to die.

The paneling is a little hard to follow during the first helicopter encounter. The coloring uses a lot of grays with bursts of orange explosions. An interesting detail throughout the story is that it is raining at night. It gives everything a somber, yet intense feel, which is a plus in my book.

It’s amazing to have one of the co-founders of Milestone Comics, Denys Cowan, return to do the penciling for this series. We are also treated to the “caged canary” allegory from the original Hardware comic. I rate this issue: 7/10.

Static: Season One #3 is titled “Run It Back”. This issue begins with Virgil about to be arrested. Using his wits and powers, Virgil manages to escape with a bag full of goodies from Mr. Metcalf’s lab. We’re also treated to a Static staple, him flying on a manhole cover.

When Virgil gets home, he goes through the bag hoping whatever was inside would be useful. To Virgil’s excitement, there was enough gear in the bag to put together a complete superhero outfit. We also learn that Virgil was an anime fan when he was younger. He even learned to sew, so he could make costumes for himself and his friends.

After finishing his costume, Virgil decided it was time to clear the air with his dad. They have a real heart-to-heart while fixing the roof. The good feelings keep coming. Ritchie and Daisy show up to help repaint, apologize, and eat some home cooking.

Sadly, the good times can’t last. The next day, government agents arrive at the school. They are here to find potential Bang Babies. Unfortunately, the agents have someone with them that can point out the targets, Hotstreak.

Static: Season One continues to be one of my favorite stories to read. However, this issue takes a small step back. Nikolas Draper-Ivey only illustrated the first half of the comic. Pages 13-20 were drawn by Chriscross and Will Quintana. Their art is not bad by any means, but the art change proves that Nikolas’s skills have given Static new life.

Static’s new costume is solid. It takes elements from previous Static costumes, including the OG Malcolm X hat. I also love that it takes inspiration from Power Rangers/ Super Sentai. I rate this issue: 8.5/10

The next issue of Static is due to be released in October. Icon & Rocket #2 is already available, and #3 will be available on September 28th. Hardware #2 will also be available on September 28th.

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TL/DR: Static: Season One #3, available now, rating 8.5/10

Hardware: Season One #1, available now, rating 7/10

By: Tré Hanzy

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