Static Shock #4

It's been seven years since the animated Kids' WB series Static Shock signed off, but the character still has lots of juice. DC Comics launched a monthly Static Shock series in September, bringing the character into the comic book mainstream. In issue No. 4 (on sale Wednesday at comic book stores and online) readers will learn more about the conspiracy involving Static's new enemies (including one who isn't what he seems) and the mystery surrounding his sister and her clone.

Click here for an exclusive preview of pages from Static Shock No. 4.

The character of Static (aka teenager Virgil Hawkins, who fights crime with the help of his electromagnetic powers) was created in 1993 by the African-American media company Milestone. His profile exploded in 2000 with the debut of the Static Shock cartoon, but after the show's cancellation in '04 his appearances had been few and flickering.

When DC decided to relaunch their entire line of 52 comic books this fall (the so-called "New 52") Static was given a solo title, adding to a small but growing group of racially diverse superheroes with their own series. (The company's new lineup also includes the African vigilante Batwing, the African-American genius Mister Terrific and the Latino teenager Blue Beetle. In an unfortunate bit of irony, Static's upgrade meant the disappearance of DC's other electricity-wielding African-American superhero, Black Lightning.)

One of the biggest changes made for this new book was moving Static from the fictional city of Dakota (the setting of his Milestone Comics adventures and the cartoon) to New York City. "The New 52 is supposed to be a fresh new start for DC and its readers," says the book's editor, Harvey Richards. "New York City is cool. It's known for diversity. It was an easy fit for Static and his family."

New York has also introduced Static to a new rogues gallery. "Villains are tougher, smarter, and meaner in New York, which will make Static strong," Richards says. "Heroes are only as good as their villains make them."

In addition to his own series, Static will also appear in the pages of Teen Titans No. 6 (on sale in February) and The Savage Hawkman No. 7 (out in March).

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