Bringing Back the Static: How the Last Vision Captures What Came Before

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In 1993, Milestone Media released four superhero titles in an effort to provide meaningful diversity to a readership that was not adequately represented in mainstream comics. The most popular and best known of these was and continues to be Staticwas a major contributor to the animated series that aired on weekday afternoons in the early 2000s. Static’s popularity only grew when he appeared on other DC shows like Justice League: Unlimited and young justice and saw its comic title revived under the DC umbrella in 2011. With the recent relaunch of Milestone, what was once old is new again with the initial four titles reimagined. Next to Icon and Rocket: Season 1 and Material: Season 1Milestone’s most famous teenage hero is back in Static: Season 1.

Fans are sure to recognize the mix of mythology in this early storyline, drawn from both the original Milestone series and the 2000s animated series. As these two superhero touchstones told the hero’s story electrostatic teen Virgil Hawkins superpowered crime-fighter in the city of Dakota after gaining his powers on the night of the Big Bang, the original series was darker than the cartoon, and Static’s costumes were entirely different! The comic had her don a skin-tight bodysuit with a baseball cap and an oversized overcoat, while the show transformed the coat silhouette into a jacket and kept her long hair free with a wrap-around mask and gold-colored goggles. For the first season, artist Nikolas Draper-Ivey pays homage to both creations by giving Virgil the baseball cap and bodysuit in issue #3 (with the materials to create it a gift from Curtis “Hardware” Metcalf), while that in issue #5 during the battle with Hotstreak, Virgil’s costume suffers burns and pulls out the classic anime series look.

Static’s look isn’t the only place where you see mixed influences. With the supporting cast of Virgil – a comic book mainstay – we’re reintroduced to Frieda Goren and Daisy Watkins, as well as Richie Foley. Richie was the animated version of Rick Stone, a friend of Virgil who was bullied after it was revealed he was gay. This version of the character is inspired by the more widely recognized animated version, but references his orientation in a more direct way than what the television series’ creative team was allowed to show at the time.

Finally, at the end of issue #5, we see some very familiar faces in the form of the Metabreed. Puff, Onyx, Shiv, Talon, and D-Struct are all on display as kidnapped Bang Babies that Static frees from the government compound. Of the five, Puff was the only animated series villain who originally appeared in the comics (specifically Static #10 with his partner Coil). Shiv and Talon were usually seen with Static’s most dangerous enemy in the series, Ebon, while D-Struct was a struggling college student struggling to be a Bang Baby in episode three.

But while all of this occupies the world of Static, how is the story told? And Virgil himself?

For starters, writer Vita Ayala takes a lot longer to get inside Virgil’s head, meticulously bringing him to the idea of ​​becoming a superhero. For a large part of Static: Season 1, Virgil is very upset about the circumstances of his new power and the harm he threatens to his friends and family. There’s a constant refrain with him feeling buzzing in the back of his head whenever he feels stressed or angry or pressured into action, even at risk to himself. He constantly thinks about going on a rampage and the consequences if he did, which is a more thoughtful engagement with a story about a super-powered black teenager.

There’s also the setting of the Big Bang itself, originally a deadly police intervention at the site of a citywide gang war. The Big Bang is now an event where police attack and gass a crowd of young Black Lives Matter protesters. As a result, feelings of injustice burn through Virgil’s mind, and between the thrill of discovering his newfound abilities like flight and fending off bullets, he’s often rendered as seething against the status quo that keeps his friends and family together. family underfoot.

However, the biggest change from each previous version of Static’s story is that Virgil’s abilities are known or seen in public by a large number of people. In the original Milestone series, no one knew Static’s secret identity except for Frieda and a few other heroes like Hardware. In static shock, Virgil told Richie, who became his confidant and eventual partner once he manifested his own powers. In Static: Season 1, Virgil’s battles with Hotstreak (his first and oldest enemy in each incarnation) take place in public places like the school hallway and right outside his house. Unsurprisingly, a handful of classmates, including a podcaster named Darius, pester him for information, while his neighborhood collectively keeps things a secret from the government for the sake of his parents. His mother and father argue over the best way for Virgil to deal with his powers, from his mother, Jean, urging him to seek treatment, to his father, Robert, wanting him to learn how to protect himself better. His sister Sharon, often the bane of his existence, just wants him to stay safe and gives him glucose tablets to keep his ever-spending energy going. Yet, despite the strong presence of Virgil’s family and friends, Season 1 still keeps us firmly in our hero’s head, experiencing the fear, joy, outrage, and heroism of Virgil with each new chapter.

With a terrific mix of old and familiar with new, and exceptional artwork by Nikolas Draper-Ivey and ChrisCross, Static: Season 1 is a smash hit and a worthy return for Milestone’s most famous teenage hero. If you’re a fan of the animated series or a lifelong fan of the ’90s original, this book will likely thrill you and is just the start of what promises to be an enduring part of Static’s legacy. .

Static: Season One by Vita Ayala, Nikolas Draper-Ivey and ChrisCross can now be played in full on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE. It’s also now available in bookstores, comic shops, libraries, and digital retailers in a collected edition graphic novel.

Donovan Morgan Grant writes about comics, graphic novels, and superhero history for DCComics.com. Follow him on Twitter at @donoDMG1.

NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Donovan Morgan Grant and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros.

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