Monday, March 14, 2005
Milestone retrospective part nine of ten.
Milestone was a comic book company with a difference. One of they’re primary objectives was to create and publish comics featuring minorities in main roles and to discuss issues that affected minorities. Thus Milestone comics were filled with people of black, Latino and Asian ethnicities, and of various sexualities. Issues such as racism, homophobia, eating disorders and other things were discussed. Thus I find it somewhat sad that they could not survive as a company, and after just over four years folded.
I first picked up issues 0-3 of Xombi from a fifty cent bin because I’d heard good things about them. I thought they were really good and thus started my quest to acquire lots and lots of Milestone comics. I looted my local store’s quarter and fifty cent bins and came away with about fifty Milestone comics and started reviewing them in more or less chronological order. Since then I’ve picked up about forty more, but I’ve still got loads to find.
Static issues 33-35 (March-May, 1996)
Writers: Addie Blaustein & Yves Fezzani
Penciller: Jeffrey Moore
Static is a teenage hero who gained electricity powers at “The Big Bang” (the even which started the Milestone universe). Static uses these powers to fly around on garbage can lids and fight crime. A lot of the story in Static (and indeed many Milestone comics) was also about their alter ego. Virgil Hawkins had to deal with racism, homophobia, eating disorders and other problems facing youth during his comic. I found the writing was generally really good for a comic book about a teenager, which unfortunately is not something that common.
These issues are some of the first of this writing team and are pretty solid, they have a villain who is made of bees, which is pretty cool, but not as cool as The Swarm (the nazi bee villain from Spider-Man). The other villains to show up in these issues are kind of stupid (The Rubber Band Man?), but at least the aspects of Virgil’s life are pretty good.
Heroes issues 2-4 (of 6) (June-August, 1996)
Writer: Matt Wayne
Penciller: Chris Cross
I think this was originally intended to be an ongoing series, but got reduced to a miniseries before it even started. It features a bunch of characters from The Shadow Cabinet (an earlier Milestone comic that had been cancelled by this point) and Static. I don’t’ recognize all of the characters appearing, and a lot of the character interactions seem to be based on The Shadow Cabinet, also: missing the first issue can’t help.
The story is about a new group of superheroes in the Milestone universe. They intend to be a public superhero team and have press conferences and a not so secret base and so forth. It’s a pretty fun comic, the dialogue is good and the characters are part of Milestone’s attempt to have not just straight, white, Americans in comics. In addition to the people of other races usually found in Milestone comics, two of the major characters are also lesbians. This leads to a pretty amusing scene where Static (a fifteen year old) finds out and gets fairly excited because he’s a fifteen year old kid. The stories in general are pretty fun, the group trying to find a base, taking the subway (a joke used before in Blood Syndicate) and other stuff. I don’t really like Chris Cross’s art though.
Wise Son: The White Wolf issue 2 (of 4) (December, 1996)
Writer and Penciller: Ho Che Anderson
Wise Son: The White Wolf is a miniseries Milestone had been hyping in their…hype pages since they started publishing comics. It finally comes out just a few months before the company closes. My only previous experience with Ho Che Anderson is with the first two volumes of his biography of Martin Luther King. I wasn’t that impressed by it, though the second volume mentions his extreme slowness in regards to creating comics. Hmm…
This story follows Wise Son from the Blood Syndicate during a time he is not with that group (I thought they’d broken up in the last issue of Blood Syndicate, but they appear in another Milestone comic this month too). It’s mostly about Wise Son and his life before he became a super powered guy. It deals with his old friends, his family, his ex-girlfriend (who he has a child with (raised by his parents), and who is now pregnant again by someone else). It’s not about Wise Son: guy with superpowers. In the end though I can’t really get into it, and it sort of saddens me that this is the last of the regular Milestone comics I’ll be reviewing.
Links: http://milestone.luthor.com/: Basically the only Milestone site I’ve been able to find. It’s pretty good though.
Next week: The tenth and final part of my Milestone retrospective. Static Shock #1-2 – A miniseries appearing in 2001 (I think) that revisited the Milestone universe.