Static Shock: The Complete Third Season
Now available from Warner Archive is the third season of Static Shock, the cartoon about the electrically powered teen superhero. These 13 episodes, each 21 minutes, originally aired in 2003 and appear on two discs in this set, as follows:
|Disc One||Disc Two|
|Hard As Nails
Static in Africa
The Usual Suspect
A League of Their Own, Part 1
A League of Their Own, Part 2
Romeo in the Mix
|Toys in the Hood
The Parent Trap
Blast From the Past
As the only extra, also included is “Obsession”, an episode of Superman: The Animated Series that serves as a prequel to “Toys in the Hood”.
This season has many more connections to the DCU, with the first episode, “Hard as Nails”, taking Static to Gotham City. A “bang baby”, a superpowered young woman from Static’s city of Dakota, has been suckered by Harley Quinn (Arleen Sorkin) and Poison Ivy (Diane Pershing) into helping them rob a ship full of gold. Static (Phil LaMarr) teams up with Batman (Kevin Conroy) to stop them in a fun encounter that demonstrates that sometimes Bruce Wayne’s power of money is as effective as superheroing.
In “Gear”, Static’s buddy Richie (Jason Marsden) becomes a hero as well, fitting with the change from everyday high school stories to more wide-ranging adventure. “Static in Africa” brings Static, his father (Kevin Michael Richardson), and his sister (Michele Morgan) to Ghana, where he teams up with Anansi (Carl Lumbly), a local hero. First, though, he has a revelation that many viewers will appreciate.
“It’s amazing! There are black people everywhere. Ever since I got here, I’ve felt different. Connected. It’s like I’ve been carrying this weight around all my life without knowing it. And now it’s gone. In Africa, I’m not a black kid. I’m just a kid.”
That episode is explicitly about the need for role models that look like them that kids can relate to. For a show that’s 15 years old, that’s a very timely topic, much discussed of late.
I won’t go into everything on the set, but other highlight episodes include the two-part “A League of Their Own”, in which the Justice League (Batman, Hawkgirl, the Flash, the Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern, who is also voiced by LaMarr) get Static’s help with a power outage and a piece of Brainiac. The performer behind the show’s theme song, Lil’ Romeo, appears as himself in “Romeo in the Mix”, and Superman (George Newbern) guest-stars in “Toys in the Hood”.
“Flashback” explores Static’s background, as it’s been five years since the riots that shook Dakota. During them, his mother, an emergency worker (Alfre Woodard), was killed. When Static and Gear meet a bang baby who can go back in time, he winds up with the chance to meet her once more.
“Blast From the Past” brings back an outdated 60s electric superhero, Soul Power (Brock Peters), in a piece that reminds the viewer just how far portrayals of black superheroes have come. (Conveniently, everyone has differently colored lightning powers.)
Static Shock: The Complete Third Season is a short but great collection of all-ages superheroing that provides some welcome diversity to the DC animated universe. It’s rare when the best episodes of a show are those with guest stars, but that’s true in this case, as the other heroes expand Static’s universe and make clear his unique position. Heck, this set is worth it just for “Static in Africa”, a true standout.
Static was created by Dwayne McDuffie, Derek T. Dingle, Denys Cowan, and Michael Davis for Milestone Media. (The studio provided a review copy.)