THIS WEEK: After years of waiting, Milestone Returns #0 arrives in shops this week, marking the revival of the Dakato-verse.
Note: the review below contains spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.
Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Artists: Denys Cowan, Nikolas Draper-Ivey, Bill Sienkiewicz, ChrisCross, Juan Castro, Jim Lee, Ryan Benjamin, Jimmy Palimotti, Don ho, Khoi Pham, and Scott Hanna
Colorists: Chris Sotomayor, Wil Quintana, Alex Sinclair, and Hi-Fi
Letterer: AndWorld Design
This week’s marquee release, Milestone Returns #0, has been a long time coming. Indeed, DC Comics first announced the revival of the severely-underrated Milestone line’s Dakato-verse characters as far back as New York Comic Con 2017. Now, the first of the new comics has arrived, making its way to shops in this 40-plus page print format.
The book that’s hitting shops this week is bifurcated: half of it is the Milestone Returns: Fandom Preview published in conjunction with that event last year, while the other half is a new story titled The Big Bang. There’s some overlap between the two pieces, with The Big Bang basically re-doing some of the Static Shock vignette, this time with the work of Nikolas Draper-Ivy, one of the artists who will be illustrating that series when it arrives in earnest. And you know what? It’s all fine. It’s The Big Bang story that’s really for sale here, with the Fandome Preview feeling like a nice curiosity and a fun extra.
Teamed with legendary Static Shock creator, Denys Cowan, Draper-Ivy puts forth a stylish and modern take on the character. The story — written by Reginald Hudlin — opens at a Black Lives Matter protest in which militarized police and authoritarian forces (complete with giant shields and tanks) are tear gassing peaceful protestors. And it is in this context we get our first glimpse at Static’s updated design, at the interests that will drive the book, and at the themes that will presumably be present throughout all of these new Milestone comics. It’s all very poignant and exciting, paying homage to some of the most underrated superhero comics ever made while also updating them for today.
From there, Milestone Returns #0 moves to some of the Dakota-verse’s other characters, including Hardware, as well as Icon and Rocket. Totaling 24 pages in story, The Big Bang is a fantastic primer and tease for the new Milestone comics that are to come, enough to motivate readers to dive back into the old books (now available on comiXology for the first time) while also stoking anticipation for the new books this summer, the first of which is Static: Season One #1, slated to arrive in June from the creative team of writer Vita Ayala, artist ChrisChross, and Draper-Ivy.
So yes, the wait for these new Milestone comics has been a long one, and, hell, even the initial announcement of these most recent books was a little confusing, with them first being billed as digital-first releases before now transitioning to coming out same day online as in print. But in an ideal scenario, the new line will help to cement Milestone’s important legacy within the comics industry, while seeding a revival for the characters and the comics, one that will carry these stories into the future as superhero comics continue to change (ever so slowly) to better reflect the diversity of the country. Milestone Returns #0 is certainly a great start.
- So, let’s get to the news first: Stargirl Spring Break Special #1 essentially announces two new series. The first is a continuation of the story here, which ends with “To be continued in Stargirl #1!” This will presumably come from the same creative team that made this special, that being writer Geoff Johns, artist Todd Nauck, colorist Hi-Fi, and letterer Rob Leigh. The next is Justice Society: Past is Prologue, announced via a two-page spread at the end with the accompanying creative team of Johns, artist Bryan Hitch, colorist Alex Sinclair, and letterer Leigh. I’m not saying I’m super excited about either of these — one wonders what Johns possibly has left to say via a pair of properties he’s been writing forever — but they are happening. That’s the note.
- Robin #2 is another blast of an issue. The creative team on this title — writer Joshua Williamson, artist Gleb Melnikov, colorist Luis Guerrero, and letterer Troy Peteri — are clearly having fun, and it shows. I also caught Williamson on the Word Balloon podcast recently, noting that this book is going to launch another title in the future. Here’s hoping for a Connor Hawke-led revival of Green Arrow.
- Speaking of fun, I also had a raucous good time with Batman / Superman #18, which if I had to pick might be my favorite overall title at DC right now (and competition is fierce, because this post-Infinite Frontier line is really working for me). Written by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Ivan Reis (with Jose Luis), inked by Danny Miki (with Jonas Trindade), colored by Sabine Rich, and lettered by Saida Temofonte, this is a multiversal romp of a comic, complete with jokes about/themes drawn from the long histories of both lead characters. I know this opening arc — which is metafictional as all get out — has to end at some point, but imagine if it didn’t? What a world that would be.
- Teen Titans Acadmey #3 came out this week, next–
- Finally, Mister Miracle: The Source of Freedom #1 was a really intriguing comic. This series — written by Brandon Easton, illustrated by Fico Ossio, colored by Rico Renzi, and lettered by Leigh — has the unenviable job of following up the Tom King and Mitch Gerads Mister Miracle maxiseries, which shook the industry with its near-total critical acclaim. This comic is, necessarily, something entirely different. It’s entirely different from any appearance of Mister Miracle, really, save for the recent short stories that were part of Future State. A new character is now under the mask; he’s not Scott Free and he’s barely connected to Jack Kirby’s New Gods, save for having Mother Box technology. Instead, he is Shiloh Norman, a Black man enjoying secret celebrity as Mister Miracle. This book seems determined to unpack issues around the intersection of celebrity success with race, and it’s not shying from real world issues. In a standout scene, Shiloh stands in front of a video wall splashed with imagery culled from real photos of racial justice protests last summer, contemplating the trajectory of these issues in this country. “Damn right it’s not 1969, but it sure feels like it.” This is a book taking Mister Miracle in a new direction, and I’m curious to see the full scope of how it mixes these themes with the character’s inherent ideas of freedom.
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