It’s been years since we last saw Icon, Hardware, and the major characters of Milestone Media’s Dakota in actual comic-book form. Today at New York Comic Con, DC Comics and a host of high-profile creators unveiled the first wave of titles that will bring back the multicultural superhero universe.
Today’s presentation brought together original Milestone co-founders Denys Cowan and Derek Dingle with film writer/producer Reginald Hudlin—who’s a primary architect of the line’s revival—and comics creators Greg Pak, Kyle Baker, Alice Randall, and Ken Lashley and Greg Pak.
Fans in attendance got to see the history of Milestone Media revisited in clips from AMC Visionaries: Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics, a documentary show that starts next month. The universe’s rebirth is being branded as Earth M and will re-introduce older Dakota superheroes, as well as debuting new characters. It all starts with a title called Milestone, a series by Hudlin and artist Ken Lashley which will give an overview of the personas in the fictional landscape that first launched in 1993. The lead characters will be Icon and Rocket, and Hudlin said it’ll be a story that Superman would never do.
The other titles will be:
- Static Shock, an ongoing series from Hudlin and legendary artist Kyle Baker, will re-imagine the imprint’s most popular character. In this new book, Virgil Hawkins is a 14-year-old kid who loves science and comics and develops electromagnetic superpowers.
- Greg Pak will be writing Duo, a miniseries taht revolves around the twisted story of Jake and Julie Chan, a couple forced to live in one body for the rest of their days.
- Hudlin is also handling writing duties on Love Army, a miniseries that introduces a secret army of female planetary protectors with amazing abilities and super-strength.
- Writer Alice Randall will pair up with Hudlin on Earth M, a new series that will introduce a mysterious new vigilante character.
At the panel, Hudlin said that Earth M would be a total reset and wouldn’t lean on what had been done before. It’s also going to be a separate reality. “We thought the Milestone characters work outside of the mainline DC Universe,” said Hudlin. “Milestone reflected the times it was created in,” he noted, “and we want these new series to reflect these times. Milestone isn’t just black and brown characters, there were gay characters way before that was the norm. For us to repeat and rehash what was done before was not that exciting to us.”
One of the new elements showing up in Static Shock is the character of Amber. Hudlin described her by saying, “Usually in a black neighborhood, there’s that white family who can’t afford to move out. Amber is like ‘what if one of them were a superhero?’”
Hudlin also teased thematic details, hinting that the new Static Shock would touch on police brutality by saying, “I’m from St. Louis. You know what’s in St. Louis? Ferguson.”
Hudlin and Pak said that Duo will be “an extra spin on the Xombi premise”, referring to the classic Milestone horror action comic written by John Rozum. In thsi new story, the main characters are bound in one body when a wife allows herbiomatter to be repurposed to repair her husband’s body. The nanobots also transfer over her consciousness and the question of their existence become profound. “The person you’re most intimately connected with,” Pak said. “What if they knew everything you felt? What if they vied for control of the one body?’ As for the villains, Pak said “In a body like this, you’re immortal. What does that mean and who might not be that unhappy about that?” Jim Lee will be doing variant covers for Duo.
DC will be reissuing classic runs over time in digital form, said Hudlin. “Now, more than ever, with what’s going on in the world, is the time for these books” Cowan said. “It’s a time for heroes.”
“We’re proud of this set of characters and books,” Hudlin added. “We’re talking about with [DC creative executive] Dan Didio about what other mediums they might appear in as well and can’t wait for you guys to see what’s coming in the next wave.”
The DC/Milestone Earth M project is set to come out in spring 2018.