01/12/2009. Contributed by Ewan Angus
pub: Titan Books. 192 page graphic novel. Price: £14.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84856-323-0.
check out website: www.titanbooks.com
It's funny how reading older comics can either fill you with an immense excitement, like revisiting 'The X-Men X-tinction' storyline does for me or buckle your knees with nostalgia. This kind of does the latter, except it's not really a weakening of the knees, rather it's a bludgeoning to the head.
This comic screams out with early 90s passion and is unflinchingly DC in its output.
To begin with, this is not an original piece of work. It wouldn't even have been original in 1993 when it was first published. Overall, it's a very generic tale. If you can get over this, then you will enjoy this.
The plot kind of goes like this:-
Oh why wont that girl I fancy like me back?
I'm going to attempt an evil act that I wont go through with because I'm filled with a strong moralistic core so unflinching I make innocent children look evil.
Oh no, I seem to be caught in some sort of experiment.
Now I'm on the run and have mildly awesome super-powers.
Oh but do I use them for good or for bad...
Boo hoo, I'm so angst-y right now.
And so on and so forth.
'Static Shock' strikes me as a very weird choice for a modern reprint. The art is quite good, in a late eighties kind of way and the characters are suitably cool, in an early nineties kind of way. The tagged-on back story involving gangs, drive-bys and a screaming mother is a re-telling of almost every single hero comic ever made. As for the dialogue, the cool hip hop lingo of the first issue had me scratching my head. I'm sorry I don't speak Jive.
Don't get me wrong, this has its moments. I just can't think of one that hasn't been done and done better in another comic.
The storyline starts off with Static saving the girl he has a massive childish crush on. Coincidence!? I think not, this is the 90s. He then teams up with someone named Holocaust to take revenge on gangsters. Holocaust? Does that not give you a little bit of an idea what the chap is like. Oh yeah, sorry, Static's confused about his place in the world! He is just a kid after all. A kid with extraordinary super-powers.
He then goes on to have a mid-life crisis at the tender age of fourteen whilst trying to save a group of super-heroes who have been captured by another super-hero who has gone, yes I know, bad.
The whole thing is like a time paradox when I hold it. It looks new and it looks shiny but it has no place in our society or time for that matter. I keep expecting my phone to ring and someone to say the 90s would like its greatest creation back whilst laughing hoarsely down the phone.
The main reasons comics are so poignant nowadays is their attempts to have long lasting cultural relevance. This is culturally relevant if the culture is the 90s or the streets of Baltimore from 'The Wire'. Let's be honest, everyone's glad that chewing gum and computer game adverts don't still pollute our monthly issues of our non-clichéd super-heroics. Wait, they do. Sorry.
Now can I please stop saying 90s.
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