WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Milestone Returns Zero, by Reginald Hudlin, Greg Pak, Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin, Denys Cowan, Jimmy Palmiotti, Don Ho, Bill Sienkiewicz, Khoi Pham, Scott Hanna, Alex Sinclair, Hi-Fi, Chris Sotomayor and Deron Bennett.
The most beloved in Milestone Media’s library of memorable heroes and villains is Virgil Hawkins, better known under his superhero moniker Static. As the publisher’s flagship character he was created by Milestone founders Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle in 1993’s Static #1. Introduced as a 15-year old high schooler in Milestone’s primary location of Dakota, Static became one of the most prominent superheroes in Dakota, moved over to the DC Universe and would later be adapted for animated television as part of the DC Animated Universe. And, in the one-shot special issue Milestone Returns Zero, Static’s origin story has been reimagined and updated for the modern-day.
In his original comic book origin, Virgil was caught in the middle of a gang war, lured by one of the bullies that had been ostracizing him at school. To break up the violence, the police arrived and unleashed what they believed to be normal tear gas on those present, unaware that it contained an experimental mutagen known as Quantum Juice. The incident was orchestrated by a mysterious agency and when they came to apprehend Virgil for further study, he revealed he had developed electromagnetic powers fueled by the Earth’s electromagnetic field. Creating the superhero alter ego Static, Virgil balanced his high school life with his superhero responsibilities.
The Milestone Returns special still has Virgil as a high schooler in Dakota regularly picked on by bullies. After learning that his classmate is going to be a Black Lives Matter protest in town, Virgil decides to join her, only to face the bullies that had harassed him in school who are a prominent part of a counter-protest. As the counter-protestors violently attack the BLM protest and the situation spirals out of control, the authorities come to quell the protests by firing tear gas into the crowd. The gas seemingly contains the mutagen, incapacitating Virgil until the following morning when he discovers he has developed electromagnetic powers, with the bullies that accosted him at the protest having acquired superpowers of their own.
While not explicitly revealed to contain Quantum Juice, Dharma’s appearance later in the special suggests that he is behind the tear gas and mysterious substance that unlocked Virgil’s powers. The authorities appear when Virgil showcases his new powers while confronting the bullies at his school, already showing he has gained a degree of mastery of his abilities as he outsmarts and outmaneuvers his opponents, including the riot police that burst into the school to presumably apprehend Virgil and the bullies for their powers, with Virgil successfully escaping.
Whereas inner-city gang violence was more of a societal concern in the ’90s, Static’s updated origin reflects contemporary social issues, with Black Lives Matter and counter-movements now serving as the backdrop for Virgil’s superhero transformation.
Milestone has never shied away from addressing timely social issues and Static’s new origin story makes the character more relevant than ever and sets the tone for Milestone’s upcoming relaunch this February. And with Static receiving his own original graphic novel, digital comic book series and a live-action film adaptation starring the character in active development, the updated origin could inform how Static is introduced to new audiences for good.
Milestone Returns Zero Spoilers!
Milestone Returns Zero Spoilers!
We open with a creator credits pages.
Then we get into the 17-pages of art.
DC Comics has indicated that the digital version of Milestone Returns Zero would be available on their website during the 24-event DC Fandome II this weekend for 24 hours for free.
Amidst speculation – much of it criticized – about what Marvel Studios may do with the Black Panther movuw franchise going forward, there has been some suggestion that future Black Panther movies may feature Shuri, as played byLetitia Wright, the lead role. As a result, early appearances of Shuri in the original Marvel comic books have jumped in value on eBay in recent days.
Opening this year’s Emmy Awards, host Jimmy Kimmel told the audience — the one at home, given that there was no one sitting before him in the stands of the Staples Center — that there were a great many moving parts in piecing together the ceremony. He asked, mordantly, “What could possibly go right?”
It turns out: Quite a bit. Pieced together with just enough in the way of production value to feel nourishingly of the once-and-future world and with a happy willingness to indulge serendipity that felt brand-new, the first major awards ceremony of the COVID era was imperfect, and knew it. But it met its moment with elán, charm and a level of effort so profound as to seem effortless — the sort of thing live TV at its best, social distancing or no, has always done.
That last point feels crucial to emphasize in part because it seems so likely to get lost: A massive passel of winners in various locations off-site were notified of their wins, handed Emmys (either by Hazmat-suited presenters meeting them where they were or automated cuckoo-clock-style boxes opening mechanically), and given the opportunity to speak, all of which went as well as it conceivably could have, give or take the participation of a few major nominees. The literal dispensation of awards went off seamlessly, and the requisite nods to the tension of the moment within the ceremony were done better than they often are. (Enlisting Americans affected by the COVID crisis in many ways, from a rancher to a New York City nurse, to present awards was an on-its-face bizarre decision that ended up injecting charm and a frank bit of reality into the show.)
The speeches, too, felt notably unbound. In the comfort of their homes, without having to burn time on a walk to the stage, and understanding the peculiar nature of the moment, the winners almost to a one spoke with some combination of eloquence, effusiveness, wit, and grace. Particularly charming winners included Zendaya, the surprise winner of the Best Actress in a Drama trophy, overcome, and Jesse Armstrong, the utterly expected winner of Best Drama for his show “Succession,” acidly delineating the state of the world as he saw it. Between these two poles of enthusiasm and clear-eyed understanding of the state of things lie the best of the ceremony, which only faltered in some of its lengthiest bits but which thrived in a sort of theater-kid passion both for the arts and for using the arts to say something. Some of the stem-winders — Mark Ruffalo’s and Jeremy Strong’s speeches seemed to run longer than might ever have been allowed on a live stage — moved in part for their attempt to get at something, and their unrehearsed search for truth in the moment. To watch these, as well as the surprisingly unbound reaction shots of certain losers similarly freed by the comfort of home to be actively disappointed, was to watch high drama.
Both the speeches and the reactions of those not allowed to speak seemed to provide one implicit answer to the question of why the Emmys were happening at all. (Given the many delays the 2001 ceremony faced in the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, this is hardly a new question.) One answer: In September, a bunch of awards are handed out to people on TV to encourage them to keep making great work. It’s what this industry does, and finding a way to keep that going with a sense of camaraderie and fellow-feeling gives a sense of hope that a return to order may be closer than it appears. Kimmel, often too cool a host for the room he’s in, modulated his tone slightly for a room that was empty; it felt notable that he participated in presenter Anthony Anderson’s “Black Lives Matter” chat rather than maintaining his usual detachment. His presence suggested a sort of throughline with awards shows that had come before even as he effectively redefined his involvement in this one.
Another is that a platform this big — even with Emmy audience numbers in decline in recent years — provides the opportunity to say something. Emmy said something, for instance, in celebrating the work of Zendaya, Uzo Aduba, and Regina King; those winners — the latter two of whom wore shirts celebrating the life and mourning the loss of Breonna Taylor — had things to say, too. The show around those winners also included meaningful interludes with Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, and America Ferrera in taped pieces celebrating their outlook with what felt like meaningful curiosity and desire to amplify their voices.
The Emmys were purposefully imperfect, and they were often strange. A bit early in the ceremony in which Kimmel lit an envelope on fire and found it caught a bit more than he had expected (forcing a very game Jennifer Aniston to extinguish it at some length) felt apropos: This show burnt down tradition, and did so in a manner both very entertaining and just barely under control. But Kimmel, tasked with an impossible gig, kept the show moving and light in the moments he was shepherding it; the show itself, thanks to producers as well as to Emmy voters, took on the requisite seriousness of purpose without ever once congratulating itself for going forward. This was the final, crucial trap the show avoided: Instead of saying it was brave of the show to exist or Hollywood to celebrate itself, the Emmys, burning up an envelope and torching their usual ways of doing business, acknowledged that they were basically frivolous, and then pushed themselves to do a bit more in the way of celebrating Black Americans and essential workers in a way that made sense for the show. The end result was a show with a strange and compelling power: Reminiscent both of the time-tested and worthy ways of doing business in Hollywood and of a new frankness and openness that, even after COVID abates and awards shows reconvene, will always be welcome.
“These are the strangest of days,” Catherine O’Hara said Sunday night when the Schitt’s Creek star grabbed the Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series. That’s putting it politely, as Canadians so often do.
The SCTV alum was standing in a masked and socially distanced Toronto viewing party with her castmates, but O’Hara also nailed the paradox of pulling off the 2020 Emmy Awards in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
With Jimmy Kimmel back for a hat-trick hosting stint, the three-hour-plus ceremony saw big wins for Schitt’s Creek, Watchmen, Succession, Euphoria’s Zendaya, The Morning Show’s Billy Crudup and Ozark’s Julia Garner. What the HBO-dominated Emmys also saw was a big warning to the Golden Globes and the Oscars to be prepared to up their game before hitting the air next year, virtual or not.
Part of that new high bar is that everything went off flawlessly from a technical point of view for what my colleague Pete Hammond rightly called a Herculean task. However, like the difference between prog rock and punk rock, there was more than the daunting logistics of handing out awards for 23 top small-screen categories at stake. Sunday’s Emmys risked being tripped almost from the beginning by dead air or the threat thereof.
With an A+ for effort and a B+ for execution, it was an obstacle the ceremony executive produced by Reginald Hudlin and Ian Stewart primarily overcame.
“What could possibly go right?” asked Kimmel. Well, it turns out, almost everything.
The digital high-wire act came in strongest and most intimately near the end with the In Memoriam that started off with a moving tribute to recently departed Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and had a Prince soundtrack via H.E.R. In an era where awards shows often find new ways to face-plant, that loving look at those the industry has lost was followed by Governors Award recipient Tyler Perry’s poetic words that unveiled the power of true change in an America that often seems more frayed than ever. Then there was that joyful kiss that Succession’s stunned Jeremy Strong gave to the person who handed him his Emmy off-camera at home.
For an America and industry that is pretty much Zoomed out, those up-close and personal moments in a time when many of us feel so isolated from each other over the past six months, were the real wins.
“Hello and welcome to the Pandemmys,” said Kimmel kicking off the ABC show from a near empty Staples Center in downtown LA. In seats punctuated by cardboard cutouts and, for a short time, Ozark’s Jason Bateman, the late-night host was determined to make the best of a COVID-19-determined raw deal. Spotlighting a Hollywood shut down since March due to the global health crisis and the chaotic response here in America, the Emmys had a lot riding on them this year.
Yes, the Friends mini-reunion and Bateman’s subsequent photo bombing was pure cheese and the overall energy level waned more than once (talking to you, David Letterman), despite one-man band D-Nice’s best efforts and beats. That’s OK, because the 72nd annual Primetime Emmy Awards ended up being much better than anyone presumed or maybe even thought it deserved to be – which is a win by any measure.
“The world may be terrible, but TV has never been better,” Kimmel asserted in his opening on a night that saw the broadcast networks virtually ignored in the prestigious categories despite the sarcastic best efforts of past winner Sterling K. Brown.
That’s debatable to some extent, but from footage of star-studded audiences from past awards shows at the start to a game Jennifer Aniston, fire extinguishers and trophy black boxes, this slice of television soon saw the novelty value expire.
There were needless skits on Emmy Delivery Training and Russian infiltration of the USPS filling up time. Beyond that, however, a real narrative emerged on Sunday’s Emmys that had truly something to say.
On a night that saw record wins by African-Americans, the emphasis on the power of inclusion and representation as told by the likes of Anthony Anderson staunchly declaring Black Lives Matter, Lena Waithe, America Ferrera and Cynthia Ervo, stated this was an Emmys for 2020. Closer to home for Hollywood, the sit-down segment with Insecure’s Issa Rae on how a meeting with a bigoted executive early in her career left her “fuming” and re-motivated in its discrimination was just as razor sharp. The Emmy nominee cut to the bone when she said, “You know, one of us got fired after that.”
The participation of frontline essential workers and health care worker to TV’s big night was a lovely bow to some real-life superstars. Yet, truth be told, for a town that loves to opine, we could have done with much more political and cultural riposte in the final stretch before America votes on if Donald Trump or Joe Biden will be POTUS and just days after the death of the Notorious RBG.
With the exception of Succession boss Jessie Armstrong un-thanking the former Celebrity Apprentice host, there seems to have been an agreement to never mention the current occupant of the White House by name tonight. In fact, the names of former VP Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris went unspoken also, but you certainly could pick up what was being put down.
Kimmel didn’t hide where this was all coming from when he proclaimed “this isn’t a MAGA rally, it’s the Emmys” over not having a real and potentially superspreading audience in front of him.
The host wasn’t the only one.
Pleading with Americans to “have a voting plan” and closing with a “rest in power RBG,” Regina King’s two-minute-plus acceptance speech for her Watchmen Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie win had more to say about the state of the nation than most cable newsers’ primetime schedules.
He never said Trump, yet, following with his own Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie victory, I Know This Much Is True’s Mark Ruffalo took to the stump too in a passionate plea for “love, strength” and an equal opportunity American Dream.
In true Rose family fashion, Dan Levy and the Schitt’s Creek team put on a show of their own with their party up North. Promising everyone had been tested and advocating artists be a “bull in the china shop,”Watchmen’s Damon Lindelof held a West LA shindig for the HBO show’s writing staff too. Both were a contrast to the Staples Center presentations by Black-ish’s semi-political Tracee Ellis Ross, a COVID-19-tested Jason Sudeikis and the at-home glimpses of non-winning nominees in various categories. Like the Emmys themselves, they were just all too long, as losing nominees Ramy Youssef and Taika Waititi displayed when they individually caught the moment with tweets:
From almost the day this very different Emmys ceremony was announced, Kimmel and the producers have been working overtime to play down expectations.
Often unprompted, the host and the people BTS have predicted glitches, virtual SNAFUs and record-low ratings. With hundreds of camera kits sent out to nominees all over the City of Angels and the world, wildfires raging in the Golden State, potentially unstable Wi-Fi and a plethora of wild-card factors always a possibility, the “live without a net” element of the whole thing managed to be much more exhilarating than it was excruciating.
Still, the fact is the L.A.-based Kimmel faced both the NFL’sSunday Night Football on NBC and the Los Angeles Lakers beating the Denver Nuggets in a dramatic second game of the Western Conference Finals in the NBA’s bubble playoffs on TNT. Coming off last year’s hostless show’s record-low ratings, the quality of the 2020 Emmy Awards will have problems snagging a big quantity of eyeballs tonight.
Which is a hard reality and a shame, because the show was fun and, despite what Kimmel insisted in his opening monologue, it was important too. And that’s certainly a win in these very strange days.