Static Relaunch: Milestone Returns #0 - Reviewed

2020 has been, if we’re being honest, a bit rough. We’ve had a pandemic, wildfires, and double hurricanes and yet the most unbelievable thing to me has been the return of Milestone Media. But I can’t say I’m upset about that last one. 

The imminent return of Milestone Media is something that I personally have demanded for as long as I can remember. It was practically a crusade,along with demanding a Miles Morales movie and a standalone Black Patner flick and now that I have both, it was the last remaining holdout. But now it is done. Milestone had returned. 

Milestone Media, founded in 1993 was the brand that gave us Milestone Comics, the comic imprint line that was under DC Comics’ publishing line. The founders (the late great Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, and Michael Davis) believed, correctly, that minorities were underrepresented in the comic landscape and sought out to fix that with their own creations, the most well known of which is Virgil Hawkins, aka Static(just Static, no shock). 

Static is a character that I’ve loved since I was first introduced to him in Static Shock, the early 2000s cartoon show that incorporated him into the larger DC Universe, pairing him with the likes of Batman, Green Lantern and even the entire Justice League in some of the Justice League Unlimited episodes. But my adoration for the character goes deeper than his cool design and high quality tv show. 

Growing up as an black child in a very white superburb Static was the first time I saw myself represented on screen as a hero. It was something I did not have the words to articulate until I was much older but seeing Static on tv was hugely influential. It made me believe that I could follow my dreams, be the hero that he was in the same way that black kids today see Black Panther and know that they too can be heroes. It was monumental to see that.

Which is why I was dismayed at the handling of Static in the 2000’s. He;s largely been absent do to the bane of all creative minds: licensing. There was longstanding confusion as to who owned the rights to not just Static but all of Milestone’s character and when Static was in the larger DC Comic Verse his writing was inconsistent to put it kindly. The less said about his New 52 Run the better. 

This has been a long walk to say that I am glad he’s back and being given the love he deserves. DC announced at Fandom that the Milestoneverse is set to debut next year and as a primer on the universe they released Milestone Returns #0

Milestone Returns #0, is an introductory issue that acts as a sort of soft welcome to people who are unfamiliar with the imprint and its characters as well as giving new context for origins for people who are already familiar with the brand. . It centers around Raqurtl Ervin, better known as Rocket and Icon and their monitoring of this new metahuman on the scene, the one, the only Static.

Both origins are brief, but they accomplish what they need to. You get a feel for each character, with Rocket being more of a fiery assertive personality counterbalanced by the Stoic alien Icon and Static being a classic reluctant hero given great power and thus great responsibility like some sort of arachnid-man. The main thing this issue does is set up intrigue. We are shown glimpses of other Milestone characters and are given a question: Why are all these heroes appearing now? Is it coincidence? Or design? We’ll have to wait until February to find out. 

As a quick introduction, Milestone Returns does a solid job. I especially like the design of Static’s costume and the inciting incident for him receiving his powers from being gassed at a Black Lives Matter rally. It’s in line with the pro-black spirit in which the imprint was founded. 

Furthermore what made Static so good in his original '90s run and cartoons was that Static dealt with serious issues regarding race, something I was worried a mainstream publisher like DC would be skittish about supporting.  But here it is, front and center, in the first issue of the Milestone relaunch. It’s a strong statement and one that gives me confidence that readers will get the full Milestone experience come February 2021

Milestone Returns #0 had a big job: reintroduce the universe after years of absence to a brand new audience who may have been unaware of its existence and it succeeded. Mostly.  It’s light on plot and Static’s character model needs work(I’m not entirely sure Rocket’s comment about his barber being after him isn’t a meta dig) but it’s a good first impression. 

 February 2021 can’t get here fast enough.

-Parker Enix-Ross