At the end of DC’s Milestone #0, a recent one-shot relaunch of the publisher’s short-lived, African-American led 90s imprint of the same name, police action during a Black Lives Matter rally triggers a chemical attack which sparks the mass development of metahuman abilities amongst a number of the event’s attendees.
One such attendee of this event was a young Virgil Hawkins, better known as Static Shock, who walked away from the colloquially named “Big Bang” event in possession of newfound electromagnetic abilities.
Picking up from the end of his brief Milestone #0 appearance, the fan-favorite character’s new series, Static: Season One, explores the origins behind Hawkins’ adoption of his super-hero alter ego.
However, the series is not a simple retelling of Static’s original origin story, as series writer Vita Ayala and colorist/character designer Nikolas Draper-Ivey have reportedly approached the series with the intent to ground Hawkins’ story in the modern sociopolitical climate.
“I wanted to kind of take him and put him into our context,” Ayala said to Polygon in a recent interview. “What does it mean to be that kind of character: slightly annoying, but in a cute way; a really, really smart black kid in 2021; how do you survive and keep that optimism and keep that kind of heroic nature?”
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Ayala then explained that, to her and Draper-Ivey, Static is meant to be more street-level and localist than before, particularly in service to his community.
“It’s not this higher order, I’m gonna save the Earth, it’s like, I’m gonna save my block,” she continued. “That was important to me, to bring that forward into the context of a more contemporary time.”
However, while the two are “working very hard to give the fans something familiar,” Draper-Ivey clarified that the pair wanted to put their own spin on the lightning-wield teenage hero.
“But then there comes a point where you realize that you are telling a different story and doing your own thing, y’know, you’re not your predecessors,” said the artist. “You have to have respect for them but in the end, ultimately, you have to try to make it your own. So I think that’s what we’re trying to focus on.”
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Believing Hawkins’s origin to tied to a form of trauma, Ayala noted that she wanted wanted to explore how such dramatic circumstances changed him, powers or no powers.
“Even if Virgil had not gotten any superpowers from being there and seeing the things that he saw, it changed him,” she explained. “It changed [his family], even though he was the only one that was there. That’s the impact that these events have on our community.”
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Furthermore, according to Ayala, she and Draper-Ivey are receiving support in their relaunch efforts by unspecified members of Milestone’s original creative trust, whose consultation on their new title is something the writer is buoyed by.
“It’s an incredibly supportive environment,” she said. “I’ve been made to feel comfortable going, ‘Well actually, based on how you have set this up, I think this is probably what would happen.’”
“And all of the discussions that I’ve had with people, both in terms of people working on Static and also working on other books, have been incredible,” she continued. “It has been really, really incredible. I feel both like, y’know, a fanboy and also as a peer. The discussions are very honest and supportive.”
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Explaining her mindset going into this reboot, Ayala described Static: Season One in a way that sounds akin to what Ben Affleck termed a “starting-out version” of a character, as she isn’t aiming to introduce every element of the hero’s mythos right away.
“The goal of this first arc is to make him into Static. And that’s something that, you know, we usually see him when he’s figured out stuff already,” she began, adding that they have “a lot of freedom to play with the story” to their sensibilities.
Somewhat shy about calling it a reboot, Ayala stated that the things fans of the property want to see will be brought in in different ways.
“So, I think that even if it’s not, you know, a strict reboot, or rather, even if we are going to incorporate things that have come before, if we do, it’ll be in completely new ways,” she claimed.
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Static and the rest of the Milestone heroes are poised to see a revival in the form of a series of movies which is currently set to be produced by Michael B. Jordan and his film label, Outlier Society.
Static: Season One #1 is on sale now.
What do you make of the direction Ayala and Draper-Ivey want to take Static? Let us know your thoughts on social media or in the comments down below!