This is an incredibly difficult review to write. Not because of the book or anything in it, but because looking up links to post about Dwayne McDuffie makes me so incredibly sad. He was just so talented, and he did such a great thing creating Milestone Comics and characters like Static and Icon in a city like Dakota, and it just makes me sad. He was so young. I mean, he was an incredible blessing and talent in the comics and animation world and I don’t want to take away from that, but he was just so young and awesome and now he’s gone.
I was going to say that my first introduction to Dwayne McDuffie and his work was through the Static Shock cartoon (which is unfortunately not available as a complete series), but that’s not true. I was introduced to him through the Justice League cartoon on Cartoon Network. Whenever I saw his name at the beginning of an episode I knew it would have great one-liners or a fun plot. Whenever a new DC animation movie came out, I would check to see if either he and/or Bruce Timm were listed before giving it any of my time.
My daughter and I did watch Static Shock when it aired on Cartoon Network, and we really enjoyed it. We especially loved the Li’l Romeo theme song, and cannot, in fact, say Static Shock without adding the “Superhero” and “woo woo.”
As for the actual book, there are lots of differences between the comic book and the television show. Big, obvious differences such as Frieda is his best friend instead of Richie (and he is in love with her). Oh, and his mom is alive in the comic. Also, the tone is lighter on the TV show. Virgil isn’t a bullied kid, though he does still have a smart mouth. I don’t remember his origin story on the show except that he was present during the Big Bang, but in the comic he goes to get revenge on the kids who are pushing him around.
It’s hard for me to even write a review about the book because I was reading it as a celebration of the artist Dwayne McDuffie, not to read critically. I liked the look at the expectations for Virgil from his family, the way his mouth gets him in trouble, his angst about being a superhero, his romantic exploits. I like the different villains and not-so-villains. His relationship with Frieda is very interesting, and it would be nice to see how that continues to play out.
I think, if you like the television show, it’s worth the read. I think, if you are interested in the formation of an inner-city black superhero, it’s worth the read.
I think it’s worth the read.
R.I.P. Dwayne McDuffie. You will be missed.
YA of the ’80s and ’90s: 3; Support Your Local Library: 14/30; YA Reading Challenge: 9/20; POC Challenge 8/15; Graphic Novels Challenge: 3/10; Page to Screen: 1/5