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Virgil Hawkins/Static leaps at couple of bullies in a a high school hallway, lightning arcing from his hands, in Milestone Returns #0, DC Comics (2021). Image: Reginald Hudlin, Denys Cowan, Nikolas Draper-Ivey/DC Comics

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Static’s new origin ties into Black Lives Matter protests

A new Big Bang for much younger Bang Babies

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Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Virgil Hawkins, the electricity-slinging teen known to Dakota City as the superhero Static, is back at DC Comics, from a creator lineup that includes both original folks who brought Milestone Comics to the world, and some of today’s hottest comics talent.

This week’s Milestone Returns #0 introduces audiences to the characters of Milestone’s new lineup, Static, Icon & Rocket, and Hardware — all available digitally or through a DC Universe Infinite subscription. But it’s been a while since the early ’90s, so The Big Bang, the gang battle/police crackdown that caused an explosion of superpowers among Dakota City’s youth, and turned Virgil into Static, has been reimagined for the modern age. How the creative team reworks the scenario is extremely timely, and compelling.

What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)

Milestone Returns #0

Teenagers march through the streets wearing face masks, and carrying signs that say Black Lives Matter, Dakota for BLM, Enough is Enough, Rest in Power George Floyd, and Not Justice No Peace in Milestone Returns #0, DC Comics (2021). Image: Reginald Hudlin, Denys Cowan, Nikolas Draper-Ivey/DC Comics

The Big Bang, origin of all the superpowered Bang Babies, is now a Black Lives Matter protest — and one that mirrors the last year in IRL demonstrations. Just like the Big Bang of the ’90s, police arrive and fire tear gas laced with an experimental chemical that was supposed to help trace all participants to their homes afterward. Instead, it transforms hundreds of teens in unpredictable ways.

And if you’re wondering, no, this story doesn’t otherwise make reference to the coronavirus pandemic: Those face masks are a very deliberate, bold, and effective reference.

Rain Like Hammers #2

A little round alien with feathery hands riding an insectoid mount explains to an alien man with a tail poking out of his suit that “Fingers are very important to humans [...] I consider myself a fanthropologist of human persons and human and huwoman citizens. My raison detre.” in Rain Like Hammers #2, Image Comics (2021). Image: Brandom Graham/Image Comics

For years a buddy of mine has been trying to get me to read Brandon Graham comics and fine! I’m doing it now! Two issues into Rain Like Hammers and I’m hooked! This issue doesn’t even seem to have anything to do with the first one! It’s about what happens when “a super criminal’s mind is transferred into a genetically engineered butler,” but I love this little merchant alien who calls themselves a “fanthropologist” of humans! Delightful. Infuriating that it took me this long.

Marvels Snapshots: Captain Marvel

Ms. Marvel comforts a lonely teen who wishes she were more like her, and shares that she also has strict parents who don’t get it in Marvels Snapshots: Captain Marvel, Marvel Comics (2021). Image: Mark Waid, Claire Roe/Marvel Comics

Marvel’s Snapshots series is designed to create one-shot issues that open a door to a superhero for a new reader, giving a window into the tone of their stories and a recap of their origins. The Captain Marvel issue succeeds hugely in that regard, focusing on both the Ms. and Captain varieties, with a relatably messy and struggling teen to hang the story around.

The Department of Truth #6

A speaker describes the invention of a profoundly dangerous weapon: The calendar, over images akin to illustrated manuscripts, in The Department of Truth #6, Image Comics (2021). Image: James Tynion IV, Elsa Charretier/Image Comics

Not much to say here except I’m still can’t look away from The Department of Truth, James Tynion and Martin Simmonds’ series about the secret agents who keep conspiracy theories from becoming real. This week’s issue is virtually standalone, with guest artist Elsa Charretier delivering some great Mignola-esque visuals. Also it’s about my favorite conspiracy theory ever, the Phantom Time Hypothesis.

Nubia: Real One

Nubia, dressed in a tight skirt and top, carrying matching heels in one hand, leaps to freedom from her bedroom roof, silhouetted against the moon, in Nubia: Real One, DC Comics (2021). Image: L.L. McKinney, Robyn Smith/DC Comics

DC kills it again with another YA graphic novel, this a reinterpretation of Nubia, the first black character to have been Wonder Woman in DC Comics. Even simply as a retread of the “teen struggling with keeping her superpowers secret from her friends” story, it is not to be missed.

Stray Dogs #1

“Your master,” says a small fluffy dog, “Broke into my lady’s house... and and he waited for her. And when she came home ... he... he killed her and he brought me here.” A group of other dogs regard her with worry, confusion, and suspicion, in Stray Dogs #1, Image Comics (2021). Image: Tony Fleecs, Trish Forstner/Image Comics

Would you like to read about dogs solving a dark murder mystery, drawn in the style of Oliver and Company? Stray Dogs has your extremely specific interests covered.

King in Black: Return of the Valkyries #3

A mysterious new Valkyrie — a black woman in silver armor with a blue cape — puts her feet up on a defeated foe and muses that she’s afraid to reenter the pergatory she was just freed from, as she drinks to dull her emotions in King in Black: Return of the Valkyries, Marvel Comics (2021). Image: Jason Aaron, Torunn Grønbekk, Nina Vakueva/Marvel Comics

Jason Aaron and Torunn Grønbekk are teeing up Marvel’s second attempt at bringing a Thor: Ragnarok-style Valkyrie character to the main Marvel Universe, and I’m here for it.

Future State: Superman: House of El

A member of the far future House of El, descendants of Superman, describes how her father used to tell her fairy tales about their family in Future State: Superman: House of El, DC Comics (2021). Image: Philip Kennedy Johnson, Scott Godlewski/DC Comics

Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Scott Godlewski do a lot in this Future State one-shot, telling a space fantasy-style story about the far far future descendants of Superman. Johnson and Godlewski introduce a whole cast of characters, put them through the wringer, and let them save the day in a single issue, and it’s all extremely compelling and extremely Superman. I’m really looking forward to what comes next in Johnson’s work on the main Superman titles.

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