Static Fights Back; Hardware Gains Allies | COMIC BOOK REVIEW
What’s up, everyone? I know it’s been a minute since my last article, but I’m back with another review for the revival of Milestone Comics. I’ll be reviewing Static: Season One #4 and Hardware: Season One #2.
Static: Season One #4 is written by Vita Ayala with art by Chriscross and Nikolas Draper-Ivey. Hardware: Season One #2 is written by Brandon Thomas with art by Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Chris Sotomayor.
Before I start the review, there are a couple of updates I’d like to tell you. First, because I’m a bigger fan of Static than anything else, I have not written a review for Icon & Rocket. But I want to spread the word about all of Milestone’s stories, so I plan to review issues 2, 3, and 4 in a separate article. After that, if Static 5, Hardware 3, and Icon & Rocket 5 are released close to each other, I will review all 3.
Second, DC FanDome was last month, meaning there were several updates for all things DC. One of those updates is that DC will be producing a Milestone Media animated movie with involvement from Nikolas Draper-Ivey (confirmed) and the other artists and writers (rumored). Also, for those of you who want to write or draw comics, DC has launched the Milestone Initiative. The goal is to empower new voices in the comic book industry, especially if you are interested in creating new characters of different backgrounds. However, at the time of writing this, the deadline has already passed. I will still leave a link at the end of the article.
Finally, the comic industry has been suffering from a paper shortage. It has caused delays in releases as well as fewer copies being available in general. While I will do my best to stay up-to-date on releases, there’s always a chance I may miss a release. With only two issues of Static left, I will be watching the release dates like a hawk, so you don’t miss out on the conclusion.
The Following Section Contains Spoilers for Static #4 and Hardware #2
Hardware: Season One #2 is titled “Shrapnel.“ The story begins with a father and son witnessing the aftermath of Hardware’s battle with the helicopters. The father urges his son, Deke, to move away from the window and go to bed. The next day, Deke gets in trouble for doodling superheroes in class.
Meanwhile, at Alva Industries, Alva is informing his employees about Curtis Metcalf. Alva still feigns that this is all a misunderstanding and hopes the police can clear this whole situation up. Those who are close with Curtis know this is all bull.
Curtis is infiltrating Alva Industries, searching for something important. Ms. Tiffany Evans, who is a former colleague and potential love interest, stops him and offers to help Curtis. She was distracting Alva while Curtis stealths his way past the FBI agents. And by stealth, I mean, set off a massive explosion.
After erasing some data, Metcalf makes his way to the roof and jumps into his armor, similar to Iron Man in Avengers 1. Hardware is, once again, on the run, but this time his suit isn’t at 100%. A pulse grenade sends Hardware crashing into a car. The driver was Deke’s father, and Deke was in the passenger seat. Deke is showing no signs of life. The suit eventually detects a faint life sign. Hardware jets to the nearest hospital hoping to save the young boy’s life.
Disheartened by the preceding events, Curtis seeks comfort and reassurance from his ex, Baraaki Young. Talking with Baraaki doesn’t seem to improve his mood. Curtis determines that this fight needs to only be between him and Alva. Using what little power he has in his suit, Hardware rockets himself towards an eastbound jet. At the same time, he leaves a message for Virgil Hawkins. He wants Virgil to "find another way” and to “stay safe out there.”
Hardware #2 does a lot to show Curtis’s softer side. His rage and sorrow at the possibility of Deacon dying because of his actions were visceral and real. I was also impressed by both Tiffany and Baraaki. Both are examples of strong black females. I laughed when Baraaki shot Curtis (not knowing it was him) because he was a strange man who had broken into her home.
I still have trouble following the paneling in the places. There are pages where I get lost and read things out of order. This was a problem in the previous issue but it isn’t as big of a problem this time. While the color palette still uses dark grays and bright oranges, there are scenes with brighter lighting. Overall, I rate this issue: 7.5/10.
Static: Season One #4 is titled “Naming Names.“ The "men-in-black” that were looking for Virgil at school arrive at his home. Virgil’s parents and the entire neighborhood stood their ground and protected him. Once the government goons leave, Virgil decides he needs to do something. Virgil gears up, and just before he leaves, his sister tells him she has his back and gives Virgil an EMT jacket. The Static costume is now complete with iconic aspects from all his iterations.
Virgil and his friends, Ritchie, Frieda, and Darius, meet up outside a bang baby holding facility at the edge of town. The plan is simple: take out the security system, find Daisy and the other prisoners, and get everyone out safely.
Static short-circuits the alarm and takes out the guards. Things seem to be going well, meaning trouble is about to turn up the heat. Hotstreak throws a fireball, catching Static off guard. It’s time for round 3. With his increased speed and mobility, Static easily outmaneuvers Hotstreak and unleashes a blast of electricity. But this time, it wasn’t enough to stop Hotstreak. He gets up, surrounded by flames, and hits Static point blank with a fire blast to the face. The final panel is of Static on the ground, the lower half of his face burned.
Static #4 is a fast and bombastic installment to the series. I say this every review, but Nikolas is the absolute best artist for this series. The action is dynamic. The almost graffiti-like composition makes every panel come to life. What’s truly amazing is that Nikolas recently had eye surgery to fix his left eye. He took two days off after his surgery and then went straight to work on this issue, including an Akira-style variant cover. Nikolas Draper-Ivey is a force of nature.
I do want to highlight Vita Ayala’s writing. Vita’s skills at writing emotional, real conversations are unreal. Every time Virgil has a heart-to-heart with one of his family members, I just feel that, if you understand what I mean. I rate this issue: 10/10.
The current release schedule says that Static #5 will be available on November 30th. Hardware #3 and Icon & Rocket #5 will be available on November 23rd.
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TL/DR: For more info on Milestone Initiative DC Milestone (dcuniverse.com)
By Tré Hanzy
Static: Season One #4 available now, rating 10/10
Hardware: Season One #2 available now, rating 7.5/10
Be on the lookout for Icon & Rocket super review
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