Saturday, October 5, 2013

Retro Review: Static #1

Milestone was a little comic company started in the 90's by a handful of black comic creators that ended up being published under DC. The most well known is of course Static due to having a pretty successful cartoon and eventually finding his way into the DC universe. So let's take a look at issue one shall we?

Our story starts with a young girl named Frieda going to a local arcade. There she is attacked by the 5 Alarm Gang who's leader, a villain named Hotstreak, wants to spend a little quality time with her. Static then shows up and spouts some super dope fresh lingo or whatever.
So Frieda gets rescued by Static, who unbeknownst to her is her best friend (friendzoned?) Virgil. She even calls Virgil to tell him and he of course acts surprised. The next day in school Frieda is kidnapped right out of class by the 5 Alarm Gang and brought right to Hotstreak.
Ooooo look she flipped him off. Truly this urban flavor comic pulls no punches people. So it seems Heatstroke, sorry I mean Hotstreak (Heatstroke is a better name) now wants her to get to Static, which works as he shows up and the two of them fight for a while. Once Static unmasks Hotstreak he recognizes him which surprises him allowing Hotstreak to get the best of him and beat the crap out of him. He leaves Frieda and the half conscience Static telling them he doesn't want to see either in town ever again. Frieda unmasks Static to see that it's her friend Virgil.

Milestone founder, the late Dwayne McDuffie, used to often lament that Milestone was seen as the "black comics", a title he thought was completely unfair despite the company being founded by all black creators and this being the initial line up of it's characters.
Yeah Dwayne, you're right, I don't know where anyone would ever get that idea. Look if a bunch of black creators want to make comics about black superheroes, I by no means begrudge them that, but don't act like that's not what you're doing. And when you got your hero wearing a Malcolm X hat as part of his costume and spouting urban gansta dialogue like he's the star of a mid 90's UPN sitcom, don't be shocked when the white kids don't want to read it.

All that being said, I actually kinda enjoyed Static #1, despite the fact that I'm clearly not the intended audience. The dialogue is rough, just a constant stream of Fresh Prince style one liners, many of which are funny but the book is just over saturated with them. But even with it's flaws, this book had a lot of charm and I can see why Static became a cult classic while the other Milestone characters faded into obscurity. The artwork is a little amateurish, but in a way that had a lot of heart, sort of like the old Evil Ernie or early TMNT. Static is a likable character and the cliffhanger at the end kinda makes me want to check out issue two. Who was Hotstreak that Static recognized him? Now that Frieda knows Virgil is Static will he get out of the friendzone? If you find Static in a dollar bin, which is usually where I see Milestone comics, I would check it out. It's not great, but it's not bad either.

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