February's Official DC Book Club--Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool!

The Book Club hype train continues with our second Official DC Book Club of the year! But watch out…this month’s books are shockingly good! :zap:

In celebration of Black History Month, this month’s Book Club reading is Static Shock!: Rebirth of the Cool! Written by the extremely talented Dwayne McDuffie, these books follow the adventures of Static as he comes out of a (very) early retirement to gear up for another epic battle. Will our shocking hero shake off the dust and win the day? Only one way to find out…Running from February 14th to March 11th, this Book Club is one you won’t want to miss!

This series is FREE to read for registered users all month long!


For this Book Club, we’ll be going through each book week by week:

Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool 1
Feb. 14 - 20

Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool 2
Feb. 21 - 27

Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool 3
Feb. 28 - March 6

Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool 4
March 7 - 11

Here are some thought-starter/discussion questions to kick things off:

Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool 1 Discussion Questions
  1. How do you feel about one of Static’s lines in the opening pages of this first issue: “well, most things seem better in memory than they really were”? Does this resonate with you?

  2. What are your thoughts on a hero’s responsibility to protect the public vs balancing their personal lives? As an element of many superheroes’ storylines, do you think they owe it to the world to fight evil?

  3. On page 19, Static revisits a memory in which he feels like he should have done more to save someone…how do you think guilt effects not only Static Shock, but other superheroes as well? Do you think it’s a motivating factor?

  4. How important do you think it is for younger superheroes to have world perspective and experience? What do you think is the best piece of advice for a young superhero to hear?

  5. In a similar vein as Static’s final line of the issue: If you don’t start none, there won’t be none…what would be your superhero one-liner?

Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool 2 Discussion Questions
  1. How do you feel about the quote at the start of issue #2? “What the hell good does it do anybody to keep hope alive when there’s no hope at all?” Do you think hope ever really dies out?
  2. On page 15, Static says “I gave it everything I had and all I ever hear from people is what I should’ve done.” Do you think this is a regular occurrence for superheroes or do you think that people are being incredibly harsh on Static?
  3. All of the heroes in the series have fairly literal names. Iota, Static, Hardware, Iron Butterfly. Would you have named them differently?
  4. Static uses a trash can lid to fly around the city. Which object would you use if you were in his place?
  5. The final page sets up issue #3 to be a crossover with Hardware. Do you think that Static and Hardware are a good duo?
Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool 3 Discussion Questions
  1. A theme throughout this series has been the current heroes living up to both their own expectations and the expectations of others. How do you think having a seemingly perfect group like the Tower Family set the standard for superheroes would affect other superheroes who come after them?
  2. Hardware explains that the Bang Babies received their powers when the Q-Juice they inhaled changed reality to reflect their thoughts. Do you think that knowing this would be hard to hear for characters like Payback, who changed into monstrous forms due to the Big Bang?
  3. How do you think Q-Juice would affect you (assuming you survived it), or how would you want it to?
  4. Before they assault the villains’ lair, Static gives the heroes a pep talk in which he tells them that even though “they’re not the most powerful heroes in the world”, they’re “as good at this as anybody’s ever been”. What do you think this says about what it really means to be a superhero, and that it’s Static giving the talk and not someone older and more experienced like Hardware?
  5. Static’s guilt over the death of a fellow superhero led to him retiring, while Tower’s own death has led to him committing horrible acts to make himself stronger. What do you think this says about their characters, and what being a hero really means?
Static Shock: Rebirth of the Cool 4 Discussion Questions
  1. The opening quote from Frederick Douglass states that tyrants only have power as long as those they oppress endure them, which is a sentiment that Static echoes later when speaking to Tower. Do you think this is true just for superheroes, or for everyone?

  2. Do you think Static’s attempt to reason with Tower was genuine, or just a ruse to buy time?

  3. Tower tells Virgil that he was only good because it suited his ends. Do you think this is accurate, or was his perspective changed by his death and resurrection and then draining powers from Bang Babies?

  4. How many of the heroes in the splash page attack scene did you recognize?

  5. The series concludes with Virgil deciding to be a superhero whenever he’s called, but maybe not full time. Do you think this is a healthier “work/life” balance for him, and shows that he’s moved on from the burden and guilt that caused him to retire earlier?


As always, what would a DC Book Club be without some awesome digital perks? Check out these awesome Static Shock wallpapers and bookmarks!

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My buddy @staticshocks is going to love this! Can’t wait to read it! :smiley:

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Is this the first Milestone-based entry of the ODCBC?

Survey says “yes”, and for that reason above all, I’m happy to re-read this mini.

Right after I finish my re-read of Static’s New 52 book. :superman_hv_4:

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I’M STOKED! You bet I can’t wait to hit this with y’all! :grin: :grin: :zap:

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I instantly thought of you, @bjkicks, when I saw this month’s book club selection.

I am hoping to finish up Batgirl so I can read along this month!

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Week 1 discussion questions are posted!

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  1. How do you feel about one of Static’s lines in the opening pages of this first issue: “well, most things seem better in memory than they really were”? Does this resonate with you?

Definitely. There’ll always be bitter situations, and even relationships, that’ll leave that raw mark on you once you spend a lot of time reflecting thereafter. I’ve had my handful of burnt bridges that had me thinking that way too.

I think it’s pretty smart of Static to have that introspection now – and, sad as it is to say, to have even taken that initial blow – to remind him to keep his eyes wide open.

  1. What are your thoughts on a hero’s responsibility to protect the public vs balancing their personal lives? As an element of many superheroes’ storylines, do you think they owe it to the world to fight evil?

I think of it more as a personal oath than outright obligation. They don’t have to, but they can’t not do it.

In a lot of these stories, it’s pretty much impossible for a good hero to turn their back on a world in need, even if it means risking everything that keeps them “human”, so to speak. Heroism bears this special awareness on the conscience that reminds them that, even if they were to retire for the greater good of their personal lives, there’s always gonna be millions of other lives out there that they could be preserving in tandem – and it may even make them feel selfish for not utilizing their own powers for the “right” reasons. I think it becomes this huge back-and-forth dialogue that would haunt any hero if they didn’t make the decision to press on.

Where Static comes in specifically, I think it was originally hard to face a world that literally made him what he was – in both his mutation, and in the role of a young Black boy on the precipice of facing poverty and racial bullying to the point where he heavily considered murder – and try to decide what he wants to do with his newfound power.

Additionally, to call back to Holocaust’s debut in Static #4, where he and Static are targeted with slurs on a trespassing mission, it must’ve been hard to face the people who he’d been trying to protect and to have that all thrown back in his face for his race, of all things. The public isn’t just innocent civilians, but also a heavy mix of people who have made him an outcast in some way, and he definitely doesn’t owe them anything in the role of a minority/victim of the Big Bang. We can even see how he mulls over the options laid out for him at that point.

He’s definitely got a lot to lose, especially for such a young kid; I wouldn’t blame anyone for not wanting to fight. However, I think Static himself has a heart bigger than he knows how to handle (whether that’s good or bad), and no matter how unfair his entire life has been to him thus far, he’ll always step up to preserve those spare good moments, save lives, and fight for the rights of himself and the other Bang Babies in need.

  1. On page 19, Static revisits a memory in which he feels like he should have done more to save someone…how do you think guilt effects not only Static Shock, but other superheroes as well? Do you think it’s a motivating factor?

As a young teenager and novice hero, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for Static to be fueled by spite, anger, and a thirst for vengeance. Like I said, he’s very much wearing his heart on his sleeve at all times, and he doesn’t know how to handle the heavy things without shutting the world out. We see it in how he was bullied, how he handled losing his job, how he handled Frieda dating another boy. He hates to feel weak – hates to have his weakness SEEN – and the guilt of losing someone must be rock bottom from that viewpoint. Not only did he lose, but everyone saw him lose. That bears a huge weight on a young kid’s mind, but especially Static’s, who takes these things so personally. It wasn’t that they lost a teammate – HE lost them. HE is the weak chain link.

That said, Static’s not yet figured out his own personal justice system – what being a hero means to him, what he wants to do with his power at that point, who exactly he’s fighting for and for what reasons – so emotional responses for a person not yet hardened by a lifetime of hero duty seem rational.

Of course, the pain of loss effects everyone differently; just look at Batman, who I’m sure Virgil wouldn’t really want to be anything like in his steeled demeanor. But Batman, more or less, does use that pain as motivation, whereas I think it would become heavily misconstrued in Static’s heart if he held onto it and let it harden him for good.

  1. How important do you think it is for younger superheroes to have world perspective and experience? What do you think is the best piece of advice for a young superhero to hear?

“Don’t be stupid,” probably.

Kids are kids, they’ve got a lot to prove and they want to show their capabilities. Not just in physical strength, but in their intelligence and comprehension skills, how quick they can think on their feet (especially Static, who we all know is a little scientific genius). They want to be taken seriously.

In this example, Static’s got power for the first time in his life (not just the actual mutation), and he’s ready to BELT IT. Any super kid would, because it provides this fresh breath of freedom and control, something they’re not known to have a lot of at that age, or at least not from their own perspective. They get to have their 15 minutes of fame and feel super accomplished/strong – but most importantly, seen. I definitely don’t blame any super kid for reacting to their abilities/carrying out their early hero life the way that they do.

That said, every young hero’s got something they cherish, and quite often in these stories, we see them lose what they love most. It’s not always fair to humble these kids through the route of pain and suffering, but it does pave the path of learning to ask for help, which is something they need when they’ve been dealt a heavy deal of trauma. Almost any experienced hero could tell them not to keep it all in, and to let it be a lesson rather than a punishment.

Also, kind of tying into where Hardware and Static align, it’s pretty important for Static himself to take a page from Hardware’s book and learn that not everything/everyone in power is as they seem … :eyes:

  1. In a similar vein as Static’s final line of the issue: If you don’t start none, there won’t be none…what would be your superhero one-liner?

I think Detective Montoya said it best on a t-shirt in some movie. :wink:

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  1. How do you feel about one of Static’s lines in the opening pages of this first issue: “well, most things seem better in memory than they really were”? Does this resonate with you?

I think that line relates to me a lot. When I think back at painful memories there seem to be mental blocks that blurs the events for the sake of not reopening old wounds.

  1. What are your thoughts on a hero’s responsibility to protect the public vs balancing their personal lives? As an element of many superheroes’ storylines, do you think they owe it to the world to fight evil?

I think its incredibly crucial to get your life straightened out before you do superhero missions. Personal problems affect your judgment in fighting for the greater good.

  1. On page 19, Static revisits a memory in which he feels like he should have done more to save someone…how do you think guilt effects not only Static Shock, but other superheroes as well? Do you think it’s a motivating factor?

Guilt is a very good motivating factor because it helps you become a better person in the long run.

  1. How important do you think it is for younger superheroes to have world perspective and experience? What do you think is the best piece of advice for a young superhero to hear?

The best piece of advice for young superheroes is to not beat yourself up for mistakes you make. Experience is the greatest tutor.

  1. In a similar vein as Static’s final line of the issue: If you don’t start none, there won’t be none…what would be your superhero one-liner?

“Insert cheesy one-liner here”.

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  1. How do you feel about one of Static’s lines in the opening pages of this first issue: “well, most things seem better in memory than they really were”? Does this resonate with you?

Definitely – nostalgia is a hell of a thing, especially when you’re in bad times.

I also had a thought from reading this issue if there’s a sort of meta double meaning to thing line and if this is a bit of Dwayne McDuffie talking to the reader about going back to this character. After all, this was a mini-series that came about three years after the original series was cancelled, made possible only because the cartoon’s popularity. Maybe there’s a feeling of “you thought things were just fine when you read the original series, but there’s more going on”? I dunno, I could be just reading in too deep and making things up.

  1. What are your thoughts on a hero’s responsibility to protect the public vs balancing their personal lives? As an element of many superheroes’ storylines, do you think they owe it to the world to fight evil?

I don’t know if “owe” is the right word. A drive, maybe, the need.

And I think not only is it good for a hero to try to find balance in their personal lives, it’s outright a necessity to keep them from falling apart. I mean, let’s look at last month’s subject in Peacemaker – that is a man who is committed 100% to his mission, has nothing else going in his life, and while his problems certainly are deeper than just not having a social life, I wonder how more balanced he would be if he had a life as Christopher Smith too.

  1. On page 19, Static revisits a memory in which he feels like he should have done more to save someone…how do you think guilt effects not only Static Shock, but other superheroes as well? Do you think it’s a motivating factor?

Yes and no. It’s affecting Static, but at the beginning he’s doing the opposite of letting it drive him. The guilt of what happened in the fire made him want to completely run away from his duty as Static.

Which I guess proves the point I have. Guilt can be a motivator, it can make you strive to be better. A good, similar example to this going on right now is the new Batman, Jace Fox.

However, if you let it consume you, it can make you second-guess yourself and even sap away your desire to do better.

  1. How important do you think it is for younger superheroes to have world perspective and experience? What do you think is the best piece of advice for a young superhero to hear?

I mean…isn’t that good advice for…well, everyone?

  1. In a similar vein as Static’s final line of the issue: If you don’t start none, there won’t be none…what would be your superhero one-liner?

I’d like to think I would have something clever and devastating, but knowing my luck it would probably end up something like:

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  1. Oh, definitely. I think this would especially so if you’re doing something super dangerous, like being a superhero. It would be easy to think about all the cool stuff you did and all the people you helped and forgot about all the times you almost died.
  2. I think this would be a really hard aspect of being a superhero. I was reading a Superman issue last night that mentioned this. It’s rough, because everyone deserves to have their own life and happiness, but being in a line of “work” where if you take a day off there’s a good chance people could die would make it really stressful. But then also if you are spending every second you’re awake pummeling bad guys you’re not going to function too well after a while.
  3. I think it definitely is for a lot of superheroes. Even if it’s not something as blatant as Spider-Man losing Uncle Ben because he was selfish, I think every superhero probably has some experience where they wish they had done things differently or done more. I don’t think it’s the healthiest or most productive thing to be motivated by guilt, though, because then you could end up in an Injustice situation. :stuck_out_tongue:
  4. I think it’s extremely important, both because younger superheroes just haven’t experienced as much in their careers, and also people tend to be more naïve and take unnecessary risks when they’re younger. I think some good advice, particularly for Static in this issue, would be just to do your best and don’t worry about the outcome. If you’re doing all you can, that’s what’s important.
  5. I’d have a hard time coming up with something cool and catchy. I think the better way to go is something slightly confusing that just throws evildoers off a bit and gives you an edge. “Stop your crime!”, “My fists would like to say hello!” or “This is a crime-free zone!” or something.
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  1. That line is my life story, but although some things do, you can never recapture the same joy of that moment in time via a memory.
  2. As someone said with Great Power comes Great Reaponsiblility, but although I do think those who can should help those who can’t, if your heart isn’t in it, then you shouldn’t do it.
  3. Yes, I think guilt will motivate heroes eventually, as their failures would be more magnified in comparison with their successes , as they would seem to be the type to take any failure personally, and strive to improve, so it won’t happen again.
    4 Although world perspective and experience is great to have, most heroes start off locally, and to that extent probably have a basic understanding of their community needs, so I think they can do their job without it, perhaps even more effectively as more experience leads to more doubt and questions and more grey areas. The best advice for a young hero is don’t immediately react to a situation unless it calls for it, analyze it first if possible.
  4. You wanna fight or go get a drink?
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Questions added for issue #2! :slight_smile:

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  1. How do you feel about the quote at the start of issue #2? “What the hell good does it do anybody to keep hope alive when there’s no hope at all?” Do you think hope ever really dies out?

In some cases, yes. Hope is a very lonely thing, and it’s definitely not as contagious as we’d like it to be. I think it takes a very special kind of person to keep hope alive in miserable times, so I’m curious to see if Static has what it takes to step up and restore that feeling in those who really need it.

  1. On page 15, Static says “I gave it everything I had and all I ever hear from people is what I should’ve done.” Do you think this is a regular occurrence for superheroes or do you think that people are being incredibly harsh on Static?

Both, probably. In this (fictional) day and age of heroes being a more regular thing, I’m sure people have sunken into the security of having one around at all times – thus the high expectations and entitlement come into play. It’s highly likely that they stop seeing them as real people with their own problems and agenda and more so as super-powered soldiers that exist only to protect them in that moment, so when a hero fails to do exactly that, they get the communal beatdown.

In Static’s case especially, I’m sure people can see that he’s very young from the way he handles himself. It probably infuriates some of the public that their lives are in the hands of this kid who acts like his repartee alone can save the world. They’re probably eager to beat some humility into him because again, he’s not exactly a person to them – he’s just a loose, wise-cracking hero who’s too caught up in his own abilities, and they want to mold him into their own idea of “dependable”.

From his peers’ perspectives as well, I think they can definitely see how bright Static is and how big his heart is, too. He’s got the makings of a hero, but he takes things very personally in his young age (and inexperience), and it can obstruct his view from the bigger picture. If the pressure is coming from his fellow heroes (who are usually much older), it’s likely because they believe in him more than anything and are counting on him not to repeat their mistakes.

  1. All of the heroes in the series have fairly literal names. Iota, Static, Hardware, Iron Butterfly. Would you have named them differently?

Probably not. Keeping things short, simple, and fairly literal is what makes them memorable! :stuck_out_tongue:

  1. Static uses a trash can lid to fly around the city. Which object would you use if you were in his place?

While I love his hobo-chic take on getting from A to Z, I’d go for something more like a metal skateboard. :metal:

  1. The final page sets up issue #3 to be a crossover with Hardware. Do you think that Static and Hardware are a good duo?

Yes! I crave more interactions between those two. They’re both incredibly intelligent people and I wish the circumstances were better for either character so that they could actually have more than a few minutes with one another (especially off the battlefield). I think Curtis definitely has a lot to teach Virgil and vice versa (a little bit like Icon and Rocket :eyes:). Found family trope for Curtis please?

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This sounds like a form of toxic positivity or delusion. If a situation really is hopeless, then yes there’s absolutely no reason to keep pretending that there’s hope.

However, I think that a truly hopeless case is an incredibly rare situation!

This reminds me of that scene in Hancock:

Hancock Train

Yes, he handles the situation like an ape, but the man on the tracks gets to go home and see his family.

No one’s perfect, but as long as they try to do the right thing, that’s what matters.

I’m not the creative type, so renaming them would be tricky. I do like the naming conventions for the characters in this series, because whilst they are quite literal, they’re not as ‘on the nose’ as other characters such as Batman and Catwoman.

The trash can lid is simple and easily replaceable in any major city, which I like. However, I feel like I’d test out using a manhole cover. The bonus weight gives me an extra weapon :eyes:

I know very little of Hardware, but based on their interactions in issue #2, I’m super excited to see how things pan out. I think there’s good chemistry and the chance for a dynamic duo in the making.

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  1. Hope should never die, because otherwise what are you living for, sounds like a bit too much negativity for my taste. Though constantly maintaining it while the world beats you down is impossible, but hopefully it will rise again.
  2. Yes, because you are never going to satisfy everyone and if you solve one issue but can’t solve the other, you don’t get credit for the one you solve. Today people expect more and feel more entitled to some extent than past generations I believe, so this type of response is more typical than not.
  3. No, I am a pretty literal fellow, but as I read in a book once allowing your enemy to know your numbers or strategy before battle isn’t the wisest move sometime, i would apply it to powers as well.
  4. I was originally thinking manhole cover, but I like the skateboard idea better, as it provides an alternate means of travel when you need it.
  5. I think the inherent conflict between youth and adulthood, the generation gap, and different background can make for an interesting pairing and provide for growth by both characters, but that is up to the writers.
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I feel like there’s a lot of backstory I’m missing by starting with this series, so I’m not going to answer every question because everyone has had really thoughtful answers so far. BUT it is making me more excited to get to other Static series I’ve had on my list. I watched the cartoon as a kid but I remember pretty much nothing except for the costume.

The art in this series is so different from most other comics I’ve read, but i actually really like the way it’s done. It feels like it fits the time and the series.

  1. All of the heroes in the series have fairly literal names. Iota, Static, Hardware, Iron Butterfly. Would you have named them differently?

I actually like their names as is. They are specific, but somehow still vague enough to keep some mystery around their characters and their abilities. @Alec.Holland you have a good point that they are not as on-the-nose as “Batman” (and all of the batfamily), “Catwoman”, “Aquaman”, “Wonder Woman”, etc. It’s something I haven’t really thought about too much but now that it’s brought up I’m like wait…

I also like that the names for the characters in this series are very gender-neutral! Let’s get more of those! It gives more room for other characters who take over the mantle one day, like Flash or Green Lantern (not that we’ve seen TOO much variation in the type of people that take over those names, but there’s still been some).

I second @staticshocks on the metal skateboard.

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  1. I get the point it’s trying to make, but to me it just seems really self-defeating. If you’re keeping hope alive, then there is still hope, even if you’re the only one keeping it going.
  2. It does definitely seem to be a recurring theme in this series, that Static feels like he’s let everyone down. I haven’t read a ton of Static stories before this, so I’m not really sure how justified it is for him to feel that way. I would hope other heroes would be more understanding that he’s done the best he can, but it doesn’t necessarily seem that’s the case.
  3. I think from the writer’s perspective, it’s incredibly hard naming new superhero characters. From what I’ve read of Milestone, the character’s names overall definitely make them stand out from the typical DC characters. I think if Static decided to call himself “The Magnetic Kid” or “The Lid Lad” he would really stand out. :stuck_out_tongue:
  4. I feel like practically speaking, something like a metal trash can (a new clean one, of course) would be the best thing, since you’d have cover, but that would just be setting yourself up for Oscar the Grouch jokes.
  5. I’ve only seen the two of them together in this issue, but it seems like they’re a good pair. I always think it’s useful for a younger/less experienced hero to be able to learn from someone who’s been at it longer.
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  1. How do you think Q-Juice would affect you (assuming you survived it), or how would you want it to?

I would like to still look the same after taking Q-Juice and not take on a monstrous form like Payback. If I could choose a Bang Baby ability it would probably be to create psionic weapons out of thin air.

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I’m a little behind on this, so here are my thoughts on issue 2:

  1. How do you feel about the quote at the start of issue #2? “What the hell good does it do anybody to keep hope alive when there’s no hope at all?” Do you think hope ever really dies out?

I don’t know if I would say that people can run out of things to hope for, but I think it’s fair to say that people’s capacity for hope can burn out if subjected to enough trauma.

  1. On page 15, Static says “I gave it everything I had and all I ever hear from people is what I should’ve done.” Do you think this is a regular occurrence for superheroes or do you think that people are being incredibly harsh on Static?

I’m sure this is something that even the most powerful heroes have to deal with at one point or another. I haven’t read all of Static’s first series, so I don’t know if he fully copies the Spider-Man formula and he’s considered a menace by most of Dakota, but it seems probable.

I will say I wouldn’t be surprised if the biggest person telling him the things he should have done is probably himself, his inner critic.

  1. All of the heroes in the series have fairly literal names. Iota, Static, Hardware, Iron Butterfly. Would you have named them differently?

:thinking:

…Nah, they’re cool.

  1. Static uses a trash can lid to fly around the city. Which object would you use if you were in his place?

The trash can lid seems like a good idea in theory, but I don’t know if they stick around enough to really work – not to mention the smell…

For me, if I can’t personally fly around…maybe a skateboard? Just zap that and then zoom around on that.

  1. The final page sets up issue #3 to be a crossover with Hardware. Do you think that Static and Hardware are a good duo?

Seems to have a good dynamic – Hardware being the straight, stern, stick-up-his-butt (that’s probably helping him to walk right now) guy, with Static being the younger, freer, quippy and funny guy. It’s a little Batman & Robin, and that dynamic has worked for almost a century now.

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  1. Is that any different than the Dc Universe with Superman as an example, but seriously it is only an issue if you try to emulate them, which some will and some won’t. It may make you make more mistakes and not notice your success, as they weren’t perfect. Trying to live up to an ideal is fine, but not accepting that you won’t always, will lead to some serious doubt and depression.
  2. Knowing that what’s inside you made you a monster would be hard to take, but could lead to anger or it could lead to one trying to improve themselves. Though, some folks might prefer for their evil to show on the outside.
  3. As to powers, matter eater lad type powers, I would be a human garbage disposal. Cause I am sure, when it happens I would be thinking of Food.
  4. It says that all you can do is try your best, and if you do that, good things should happen. Static is the one with optimism in himself and others, while Hardware can’t get over his own troubles, so of Course Static would give the speech.
  5. Well it says that being a hero isn’t about you its about helping and protecting others, and if you don’t feel you can do that, then be a hero in a different manner and learn from your mistakes. On the other hand Tower is concerned about himself and not others first, thinking that being the hero is more important than being the one who helps as they can. As
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