Comics / Spotlight / Black Astronaut

Milestone Media: Static #2

By Leroy S. Douresseaux
September 30, 2007 - 13:29

The intense cover to an intense story.

Introduced in the spring of 1993, Static was one of the early comic book series created by Milestone Media and published through DC Comics.  Milestone Media was a comic book imprint and media company established with the intention presenting more minority characters in American Comics.  While most unimaginative fans strictly saw Milestone as “black comics,” the company’s titles included the most diverse cast ever presented in American superhero comics.  Although Milestone Media stopped producing comics in 1997, Static was reworked as the WB animated series, “Static Shock.”

Static #2 (with a cover date of July 1993), entitled “Everything but the Girl,” finds our hero, Virgil Ovid Hawkins AKA Static, fresh off the whuppin’ he received from Hotstreak at the end of #1.  Virgil is nursing his wounds at the home of his friend Frieda Goren, a girl for whom Virgil has romantic feelings.  Frieda manages to coax an origin story out of her humiliated friend, so Virgil takes Frieda and the readers back into the recent past.

The birth of Static all began at Ernest Hemingway High School the day Virgil and Frieda first met.  When Virgil tries to come to Frieda’s aid after another student accosts her, the bully, who calls himself Biz Money B, gives Virgil a good thrashing, forcing Larry, Virgil’s thuggish friend, to intervene and keep Virgil from getting an even worse beat down.  For Virgil, the post-beating humiliation is far worse than losing the fight, as he returns home to shame – even from his mother who, in bitchy fashion, takes advantage of Virgil’s humiliation to diss both her husband and child.

Later that night, Virgil takes Larry up on his offer, and Larry delivers a pistol to his still-smarting friend – a weapon Virgil intends to use to peel Biz Money B’s cap back.  Virgil tracks Biz to an isolated section of the city docks, where the young hood holds court with his fellow gang members, the Firecrackers.  In the end, Virgil can’t bring himself to shoot his tormentor, but while disposing of the gun, he gets caught in a strange gas attack that comes out of nowhere and passes out.

After an unknown, but short passage of time, Virgil awakes to finds much of the gas remains, hovering around like a low-lying fog.  He discovers that Biz Money B and his boys have also been affected, and Virgil even spies a group of people flying in the airspace over the docks and headed for the city (Dakota).  His attention, however, is drawn back to his own situation, when out of the mist comes two monstrous, mechanical figures.  They begin collecting the victims of the attack when they spot Virgil.  They attack him, but he fights back, surprised to find that he can discharge electricity from his hands.  He uses a trashcan lid attracted to him by his new powers as an escape vehicle and soars into the sky.

Smartly, he begins to practice with and test his powers, and he also begins to work out to improve his physical strength.  The origin tale ends, and Virgil informs Frieda that Biz Money B is also Hotstreak.  Now confident that the psychological block he had in confronting Biz Money B/Hotstreak is gone, he finds his adversary and handily defeats him.  Hotstreak submits like a beaten dog and promises that he and his hood rats won’t bother Static or his friends, family, and neighbors again.  Static #2 ends with two ominous figures discussing Static.

The script for this issue is exceptionally strong.  Writers Dwayne McDuffie and Robert L. Washington skillfully tell a complete and engaging tale in a single 22-page issue, while setting up the next issue’s story, as well as laying the groundwork for a likely longer story arc.  Their best work in this chapter has to be the origin sequence, particularly the portrayal of Virgil’s feelings about being beaten at school with all his friends watching.  The writers perfectly capture the moods and sensations of a high school age boy facing shame in front of his peers and family.  Coming in the middle of this chapter, Virgil’s inner turmoil and mixed up feelings of hate and anger resonate strongly and bridge the events of Static #1 with #2.  Everything here rings with an impeccable sense of the truth.


Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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