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Static Shock is an American animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation. It is part of the DC animated universe. It was animated at the Slightly Offbeat Productions Studios in Penrose, Auckland, New Zealand. The New Zealand based Animation Studio originally animated the show reel and then went onto produce the series, which premiered in September 2000 on the Kids' WB!block and ran for four seasons, with a total of 52 half-hour episodes.
The series centers on the adventures of DC ComicssuperheroVirgil Ovid Hawkins/Static and is based on the original Milestone MediaStatic comics. After the show's initial run on The WB it was later picked up for rebroadcast by Cartoon Network, airing initially during the Miguzi block. Disney XD aired reruns of the series (starting with seasons 1, 2, 3 and 4) in February 2009 in the United States up until 2010. Currently, Warner Bros. has no plans to release the series on DVD. In 2011, the first season was made available for download on iTunes.
Virgil was a normal 14-year-old trying to survive high school. His best friend is Richie Foley, and he has a crush on a girl named Frieda. He also has a dispute with a bully named Francis, or "F-Stop," and was saved by a gang leader named Wade. Recently Wade had begun helping Virgil in hopes to recruit him, but Virgil is hesitant, as he knows his mother was killed in gangfire. Wade eventually leads Virgil to a restricted area for a gangfight against F-Stop's crew, which is interrupted by police helicopters, during the dispute between the gangs and police, a shot was fired releasing gas causing mutations among the people in the vicinity. (This event was later known as "The Big Bang".) It also caused Virgil to obtain the special power and ability to create, generate, absorb, and control electricity and magnetism and become known as "Static". But the gas also gave others in the area their own powers, and unfortunately, it also led several of them to become supervillains. The people who were mutated were then known as "Bang Babies", and their mutations apparently spread to other people around them, which explains how Richie obtained his own special ability of enhanced intelligence, and later became Virgil's partner named Gear.
Throughout the series, Richie (Gear) has made many inventions, mainly for Static and himself. These include:
Static Saucer - A circular sheet of a Mylaralloy foil ("Stronger than reinforced steel"), that folds out to become a disk that Static rides on to fly through town. Originally he used trash can lids or manhole covers.
Jet Blades - Gear converted his rollerblades into these "Jet Blades" by incorporating miniaturized Harrier jet technology into them, making them his primarily method of transportation. He once used a Jet Board (a skateboard version of his Jet Board) in episode 49, "Linked".
Shock Vox - ('Vox' being Latin for "Voice"). Custom, handmade Walkie Talkies used between Virgil/Static and Richie/Gear to contact each other. The Shock Voxes were originally made by Virgil & Richie as a school project for Science class. The Shock Voxes have also been used also as a microphone for voice recorders, and as intercoms. In the episode "Future Shock", Static learns that Gear made newer generation models that include holographic projection that can store holographic video recordings (a futuristic version of an answering machine).
Tracking devices - Static can attach these to people and track them as long as he is within a 2-mile radius. In the 3rd season, Richie, as he comes into his powers, extends the radius of the tracking devices.
Zap Caps - Small, handheld devices of varying uses:
Zap Caps 1.0 - Small energy containment capsule grenades that, after being charged by Static, can create an explosion of electricity when thrown. Static can also take back the charge they hold to recharge himself if he's low on power.
Zap Caps 2.0 - Similar in appearance to the 1st edition, but larger; this version releases metal coils that wrap around the target on impact, making them containment restraints. In the episode "Gear," Richie tells Virgil that he can make them play mp3s, (though this has not been seen).
Other Zap Caps - These zap caps were specifically designed for certain meta-humans that Static and Gear have dealt with. Some had been used on Hot Streak and Aquamaria. One was used to give Aquamaria an antidote to turn her back to normal.
Backpack - Richie's/Gear's robot. Backpack is a supercomputer with a camera & tracking device, as well as a meta-human radar. Although Backpack can be controlled with a remote, it is linked with Gear, as it is Gear's intelligence and thoughts it can read and respond to; however, when Gear lost his superior intellect due to the Big Bang Antidote, he was barely able to read and understand the information Backpack sent him via Gear's mask. In "A League of Their Own, Part 1", Gear uses Backpack to download a song to the Watchtower multiple times, resulting in stopping Braniac, who escapes into Backpack. In "A League of Their Own, Part 2", Static uses Backpack's remote control to help stop Braniac and save Richie.
Icebox - A large icebox in Static and Gear's headquarters, capable of receiving voice commands to vend the drinks the user wants.
Time Belt - A belt created for fellow Bang-Baby, Nina Crocker, who briefly became a hero named Time-Zone. Unable to fully control her time-controlling/traveling abilities and powers, Gear created the belt to make sure that her ability would not randomly go off. Using a special remote (originally a VCR remote) that Gear adapted to regulate the time of when to travel can be chosen, allowing much greater control over her time-controlling ability.
Virgil Ovid Hawkins/Static (Phil LaMarr) – A high school student in Dakota City. As a result of accidental exposure to an experimental mutagen in an event known as the Big Bang, he gained the ability to control and manipulateelectromagnetism, and uses these powers to become a superhero named "Static." Countless others who were also exposed gained a wide variety of mutations and abilities, and Static spends much of his time dealing with these "Bang Babies", many of whom use their abilities in selfish, harmful, and even criminal ways. Virgil is named after the first African-American to go to law school (who was himself named for the RomanpoetsVirgil and Ovid).
Robert Hawkins (Kevin Michael Richardson) – A social worker who runs the Freeman Community Center as head counselor, he is a widower and the single father of two teenagers. Robert is a caring, understanding, but strict parent. He dislikes gangs and the destructive attitudes of most Bang Babies, and his work at the community center is motivated by a desire to counteract their bad influence on young people. In the episode "Static Shaq," it is mentioned that Robert has also been in the Marines and a camp counselor. In the episode "Blast from the Past," Robert states that when he was a kid, he was (and still is) a fan of the superhero Soul Power. In the episode "Linked," it is revealed that Robert played football in college, and he was nicknamed "Streak." At first, Robert disliked Static, believing that Static would one day go bad; his open opinion about Static in the episode "Aftershock" left Virgil worried that the Big Bang might have aftereffects. Robert remained unaware of his son's secret identity through most of the series, although part of him had suspicions about Virgil's behavior. In the episode "Kidnapped", Robert acknowledged the truth that had been right under his nose: his son, Virgil, was Static. In the end, Robert keeps his son's superhero identity along with Gear's secret, even from his daughter.
Sharon Hawkins (Michele Morgan) – Virgil's strong-willed, annoying, but caring, older sister. Sharon attends college, but still lives at home. She also volunteers at a hospital, and counsels young people at the Freeman Community Center, like her father. Sharon has always been a big fan of Static. Although deep down, she and her younger brother do love each other in a brother-sister way, they frequently argue, challenge, and tease each other, mainly about things such as the household chores, his studying, and her cooking (which is usually barely edible). Sharon has been dating Adam Evans a.k.a. Rubber-Band Man since the episode "Bent Out of Shape"; though she knows about his secret identity, she genuinely cares for him. In the episode "Brother-Sister Act," Sharon notices how similar Static and Virgil are, and tries to pin him down with proof of her suspicions, but is later tricked into thinking that her suspicions were wrong. In the episode "Out of Africa," she was the recipient of a golden spider amulet, which temporarily granted her the power/ability to create illusions; however when she returned the amulet to Anansi, the abilities vanished. At the end of the fourth season, Sharon continues to be in the dark about her brother's superhero secret, though in the final episode "Power Outage," she becomes suspicious once again of Virgil's behavior until their father (who had learned Static's true identity) interrupts them.
Richard "Richie" Osgood Foley/Gear (voiced by Jason Marsden) – Virgil's best friend and confidant. The first person to be clued in on Virgil's powers and a fan of superhero comics, Richie persuades Virgil to become a superhero. At first, he merely provides support for his friend, making gadgets for him and helping to cover for Virgil to protect his secret identity. In the third season, it is revealed Richie's passive exposure to the Bang Gas (assumed through his contact with Virgil) had given him enhanced intelligence, which enabled him to easily invent rocket-powered boots and "Backpack", a highly intelligent multipurpose device capable of surveillance and other semi-independent activity which he wears on his back. With this equipment, he adopted the superhero identity "Gear" and becomes Static's full-time partner in crime-fighting.
Richie did not appear in the Static comics, but is an amalgam of two of Virgil's best friends in that series: Richard 'Rick' Stone (who was also blond and wore glasses) and Frieda Goren (with whom Virgil shared his secret identity as Static).
Adam Evans/Rubber-Band Man (voiced by Kadeem Hardison) – A meta-human whose body structure consists of living rubber, which he can shape into a wide variety of forms, even to the point of altering his physical appearance into that of another person. Adam is also a talented musician who is on the verge of a professional career. His greatest personal weakness is a reading disorder, which he has to struggle through. He is the younger brother of Static's archenemy, Ebon. Prior to the Big Bang, Adam was part of his brother's gang before he took a stock-clerk job at a music store called Stonegas Records. Rubber-Band Man first appears a tragic villain when he goes after an opportunistic record producer who had stolen one of his songs. He subsequently breaks out of prison but decides not to pursue a criminal career, however; he begins dating Virgil's sister Sharon, and although he initially clashes with Static, he does not carry on his grudge against him after meeting Sharon and even reforms and becomes one of his allies in crime-fighting. While on patrol, Rubber-Band Man typically acts as an older brother figure to Static, keeping him from showing off and reminding him of consequences in their work, something that Adam's real brother Ebon never actually did when he looked after Adam prior to the Big Bang. It is unknown if Adam Evans was exposed to the cure for the Big Bang that neutralized many of the Bang Babies in Dakota at the end of the series. The name "Adam Evans" is derived from the names of former Milestone writers Adam Blaustein and Yves Fezzani, who created the character. The alias "Stringer" Rubber-Band Man uses in one episode is his real last name of his comic version, first used in Static #34. Since Rubber-Band Man and his brother Ebon can both stretch themselves; it is possible that the effects of the gas may have something to do with the person's genetic code.
Shenice Vale/She-Bang (Rosslynn Taylor) – A girl who was genetically engineered in a lab to have enhanced strength and agility. The two scientists who created her, Drs. Jonathan and Dolores Vale, took pity on her and took her home from the lab; although she was not their natural child, she and her husband still considered her their baby. Throughout her life, Shenice had been pursued by agents from the lab who wanted to recapture her for mass-cloning. In her first appearance in the episode "She-Bang," she hopes to fit in and be mistaken as a Bang-Baby in Dakota because it was frustrating for her to pretend to be a quiet wallflower of a girl. In her three appearances, she shows up Static and Gear nearly every time they face off against rogue meta-humans. Personality-wise, in her superhero identity, Shenice is not very modest or humble; her showing-off as She-Bang tends to get on Static's nerves to the point where it causes tension on their always shaky friendship, though she gradually learns her lesson. She has a little crush on Virgil/Static.
"The Big Leagues" - Dakota gets a real jolt when the Joker hits town, recruiting a band of Meta-Humans to wreak his own special brand of havoc. Batman and Robin appear, pursuing the Joker. Static must put his hero worship in check as he teams up with the Dynamic Duo to put a shock to Joker's system.
"Hard as Nails" - Static travels to Gotham City to rescue Nails, a school girl friend of his who has fallen in with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, who are promising to cure her of her Bang Baby affliction.
"A League of Their Own", Parts 1 and 2 – When the Watchtower has a sudden power drain, the Justice League are forced to recruit Static to "jump-start" their station before it re-enters the atmosphere. Unbeknownst to either Static or Gear, the power drain also releases Brainiac from confinement.
The Teen Titans were originally planned to guest star, but those plans were scuttled since these episodes would air before the Teen Titans TV series premiered. Justice League was used instead.
"Toys in the Hood" - Static teams up with Superman when the Man of Steel's old nemesis, Toyman, appears in Dakota.
The original plan for Superman's guest appearance would have had him meeting Shaquille O'Neal (in his second appearance in the show), since he was a fan of The Man of Steel. This did not happen since O'Neal was unreachable.
"Future Shock" – After helping Batman with a case, Static finds himself accidentally sent over 40 years into the future, where he has to help the Batman of that era, Terry McGinnis, save a captured superhero: Static's future self.
"Fallen Hero" – Static faces off against his idol, Green Lantern (John Stewart) when he causes chaos all over town. This is an instance of a voice actor "talking to himself", as Phil LaMarr voices both Static and Green Lantern. (The story itself is a rewrite of a story in Green Lantern vol. 2 #7, which features Green Lantern Hal Jordan (John Stewart's predecessor) being trapped and impersonated by Sinestro.)
"The Once and Future Thing", Part 1: Weird Western Tales – Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern chase a time-traveling villain to the past, where they team up with the greatest heroes of the Old West. Static only appears at the end of this episode. (Note: This is a Justice League Unlimited episode.)
"The Once and Future Thing", Part 2: Time, Warped – Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern go to the future of Batman Beyond, where they meet a 65-year-old Static working for that period's Justice League. This older Static is wiser, but still jokes around a lot. (Note: This is a Justice League Unlimited episode.)
A Static Shock video game for the Game Boy Advance was to be released during 2004, with a story by Dwayne McDuffie. Unfortunately in the year 2002, despite advertisements in magazines and comic books, the game was cancelled when Midway Games stopped distributing GBA games because of a series of financial difficulties.