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Forgotten Childhood: Static Shock

Forgotten Childhood: Static Shock


Static Shock was a pretty cool show. I rewatched most of it in a nostalgic binge over about a week around a year or so ago.

The plot, if you’re unfamiliar, revolves around Virgil Hawkins who, during a gang fight, was exposed to a gas that gave him and many others super powers which was an event known as ‘The Big Bang’. He dons the identity of Static to fight against the other meta-humans created by the event (or ‘bang babies’ as the show more often refers to them) who are primarily criminals, or at least driven to crime.

His powers were electricity-based and he could shoot bolts of electricity at his enemies and fly on metal through manipulation of magnetic currents. He could also bend metal so just think of a good guy version of Magneto with Sith lightning powers.

Speaking of Magneto actually, I did think of Static Shock as the DC equivalent to the X-men cartoon. And yes, it was a part of the DC animated universe. There were two crossovers with Batman The Animated Series, one with Batman Beyond, one with Superman and one with the Justice League series. One episode also featured the Green Lantern, and The Flash I believe.

In the first episode prior to getting his powers, Virgil’s bully is set up. ‘F-stop’ who you’d better believe also gets powers, becoming one of Static’s primary antagonists known as Hotstreak (unaware of his secret identity mind you). He becomes a pyromancer and he can shoot fire from his hands. He shows up from time to time to go one on one with Static. He’s powerful but as the series progresses Static slowly outpaces him in strength. He’s given some development later in the series, he has a girlfriend who is a being of water, Aquamaria. He becomes upset when she almost has the chance to have her mutation reversed.

A more prevalent enemy of Static is Ebon, a meta-human who liked to recruit others into his gang to commit any gangland crimes. He didn’t seem to have any bigger goals other than the destruction of Static. Ebon was a physical shadow; he could change his shape and he could stretch or move along shadows cast. He could essentially teleport through shadows and even bring others with him, a tactic he used for kidnapping and escape. His primary weakness was bright lights and, surprisingly, he had a brother who was affected by the big bang too.

Ebon’s brother, Adam, gained the ability to stretch and took on the identity of Rubberband Man. He was interesting in that he started as a villain but reformed, helping the police fight meta-humans which made Static a bit jealous for a while. Though he was also understandably untrusting of him, he was also uncomfortable with Adam dating his sister. Static eventually grew to trust him, even clearing his name when he was framed for breaking other meta-humans out of prison.

Richie was Virgil’s best friend and confidant, providing tactical advice and designing gadgets for Static before donning an alter ego himself as Gear. His power is super intelligence so he fights crime using gadgets of his own design, notably a scouting robot that can rest on his back named ‘Backpack’ and his jet-skates as well as his rollerblades, which he’s modified to allow him to fly a la Iron Man. When fighting, he often used tendril grenades to bind his opponents.

Each episode tended to revolve around Static fighting a new bang baby, often found during a crime in progress. There was an implication that the big bang had a neurological effect on the meta-humans, which led them to violence and crime. It also caused physical changes that made it impossible for some to lead a normal life. Considering the majority of meta-humans and their immense physical mutations, only about a handful maintained their fully human appearances.

The threats and villains never seemed to be much of a threat to anything larger than Dakota City but the show itself was more of a character-based affair, dealing with the development of the main characters or telling the stories of the side characters.

The show had a fifty two episode run over four seasons so if you’re tempted to watch it, it shouldn’t be too much of a time commitment.

What do you think of Static Shock? Do you remember watching it as a kid? Let us know in the comments!