DC Births a Second Universe with Milestone Returns

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The INFINITE FRONTIER wasn’t the only Zero issue DC Comics released this week to reboot a universe.

Milestone Returns 0
Written by Reginald Hudlin
Pencils by ChrisCross, Denys Cowan and Jim Lee
Inks by Juan Castro, Nikolas Draper-Ivey and Bill Sienkiewicz
Colors by Nikolas Draper-Ivey and Chris Sotomayor

When the original Milestone imprint debuted with DC Comics in 1994, the only comic books I was reading were the four Superman titles the company published. Outside of a couple of issues of the Worlds Collide crossover that took place within Superman: Man of Steel, I didn’t really get much of a feel for this new universe the company created.

Now, almost 30 years later and a decade after the death of Dwayne McDuffie, one of Milestone’s founders, the imprint has returned. And it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. As if a global pandemic wasn’t enough to experience over the last year, a summer’s worth of unrest protesting the unjust murder of Black men by police officers upended the country.

Much like the riots in Los Angeles that preceded the creation of Milestone Media, the imprint’s return comes at a time when the country needs to see more representation. But the heroes that are being reintroduced to the world in Milestone Returns are much more than just one-dimensional offerings to voices that need to be heard. Even in the brief glimpses we get in this opening offer, these characters are well-developed. Writer Reginald Hudlin breaths such life into their origins and their movements that it feels like they never ceased publication.

Static has had a life beyond the Milestone comics imprint. The character had his own animated series in 2000. But seeing his origin here again, doused in a BLM protest by an experimental tear gas that gave him and other marginalized people powers beyond their imagining, has a particular weight after the last year. The other characters featured – Icon, Rocket, Hardware and others – were cornerstones of Milestone Media and all will return to publication in digital-first issues that begin in April.

I was already looking forward to the imprint’s return after the 17-page primer released last September during the DC Fandome – which is reprinted in this issue – and the new story printed this week has me even more excited. As a digital comics reader, I’m glad to see such an important addition to DC Comics’ online offerings, though I would imagine the world could have been better served by bringing Milestone back in print so they could be sold in comic shops.

Either way, I hope the renewed Milestone imprint succeeds. The world – especially the world of comic books – needs the stories these creators can tell with characters like Static.