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.