'Static Shock' Returns & 'Batwing' Takes Flight in New Solo Books

by Curtis
September 9, 2011 7:24 AM
7 Comments
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The new adventures of the late Dwayne McDuffie’s co-creation teen hero Static and the brand new action of Batman’s protégé Batwing were released earlier this week in their own comic books, and I’m happy to say that they’re actually pretty good.

I curtailed my comic book buying for years now, winnowing my list down to about five to six books a month now. But DC Comics relaunch (they say it’s not a reboot) of its entire line of books - commonly referred to in geek circles as the DCnU – to make their line more modern and approachable also held in it a decree to make their heroes and lines of books more diverse, an initiative they’ve gone full steam with this week with the first issues of these new series.

Static, aka Virgil Hawkins moves from his imaginary DC/Milestone Universe city of Dakota to New York, Harlem (Uptown!) specifically, with his family in a story we’ve yet to find out about why. But he lands an afterschool job at S.T.A.R. Labs, a multi-city R&D firm, thanks to help of Dakota-verse hero Hardware – an Iron Man type who now mentors Static – and is having him investigate strange goings-on in that company. The book opens with an intense battle scene and never loses the humor aspects that Static is known for, as well as Virgil’s talent for science and using his electromagnetic powers in various intelligent ways. But Static soon gets mixed up in something insidious that leaves us with a doozy of a cliffhanger.

Batwing is a much different book. Taking place in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s fictional city of Tinasha, it follows police officer David Zavimbe’s efforts to clean up his country, and all of Africa, from corruption. No small feat. Donning an armor that allows him to fly and enhance his strength, he uses his detective skills to seek out those doing wrong and teach his fellow officers that they too can make a difference. Based on what we’ve seen so far, much like where it takes place, this book can be brutal (there’s dismemberment all around) enhanced by Batwing’s first real nemesis, the villain named Massacre.

I didn’t know what to expect from Batwing, but between the writing and the story I am pretty impressed. Of the books released this week, it was in my top three. Static, while a bit back and forth at times, is worth sticking with as well. It’s refreshing to pick up a book from a major publisher and have the characters look like me, think like me, and sometimes even talk like me (or rather, many of us) – and by that I mean intelligently, playfully and (the big one) non-stereotypically.

Next week is my most anticipated book though: Mr. Terrific, who’s the third smartest man in the world.

Stay tuned!

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7 Comments

  • Curtis | September 11, 2011 5:21 AMReply

    Thanks everyone!

    Didn't know that Static is selling out like that. Great news...Thanks Ghost! BTW, what city did that happen in (may write some coverage on this when I review Mister Terrific)? Makes sense though - o/s of the big three, and maybe Aquaman, he is the most recognizable DCnU character.

    @Keyon - Def will do. Thanks for the reminder.

    @Lynn - Totally agree. I'll also write about the other Black characters like Vixen in the new JLI and Cyborg in Justice League when I do next week's review.

    Speaking of, did anyone read Stormwatch? Wondering who this Adam One guy is supposed to be...

  • Troy | September 10, 2011 3:40 AMReply

    I just picked all of the #1's up, I'm about to read them right now.

  • Ghost | September 9, 2011 12:10 PMReply

    Static sold out almost everywhee in my city. In another part of town-it sold out in less than an hour.

    @neziah

    If you are going to buy Static's book, you better do it ASAP. For some reason books that feature him vanish real quick.

  • Neziah | September 9, 2011 8:57 AMReply

    Holy crap, I'm definitely going to pick these up.

  • Keyon | September 9, 2011 8:30 AMReply

    bout to get these right now please repost when mr. terrific drops so i can get that too your link said it drops on the 14th

  • Boron the Negromancer | September 9, 2011 8:23 AMReply

    As a Black archvillain and the supreme enemy of Black people, I will do everything in my power to undermine these comic series! Ha ha ha!

  • Lynn | September 9, 2011 7:57 AMReply

    Have to say I was definitely impressed by the Batwing comic!

    The artwork was by far the best of the relaunches so far as they held back on the "cartoonish" look most other books have and chose a grittier-darker tone that fit perfectly with the story.

    Its amazing though that both endings were MAJOR cliffhangers and I'm really curious to see what happens next.

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