Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
Static Shock is an animated series based on the Milestone Comics series Static. Created by Dwayne Mc Duffie, it is one of the rare instances where a comic book's creator was also the main creative force behind the animated adaptation. The main character, Virgil Hawkins, is the son of a man who runs a youth center. When a bunch of experimental gas explodes, it grants him and some other teenagers a wide variety of offbeat superpowers (it also mutates various animals and at least one fungus). This event is later referred to as "the Big Bang" and the mutant metahumans are known as "Bang Babies," as the Big Bang was the start of their new lives.Virgil has been best friends with Richie Foley for years, although there is friction when Richie's father is revealed as a racist. In the cartoon, it is later revealed that Richie is a Bang Baby as well; he's become a technical genius and adopts the superhero moniker Gear.Adam Evans, a.k.a. Rubberband Man, a shapeshifter who initially appeared as a villain, is another major character. During the course of the series, he reformed and became a good guy, even dating Virgil's sister at one point. There were other villains and supporting heroes, some more interesting than others.In later seasons, the show began to slide away from its original characteristics. Many later episodes focused on celebrity guest-stars and featured real-life athletes in primary roles, occasionally as super-heroes themselves. The show became less about gangs as time went on, regularly featuring Anviliciousaesops. At the same time, almost all traces of gang warfare and other urban issues were dropped, in favor of having Static go up against random metahumans or teaming up with another superhero every week.There were a few crossovers between Static Shock and other DC Animated Universe series, despite the fact that the original Milestone comics weren't set in the DCU. Early episodes seemed to portray characters like Superman to be fictional; in the second season, however, they had the two-parter "The Big Leagues", a crossover with Batman: The Animated Series where the Joker comes to Dakota, with the Dark Knight soon on his heels. Later episodes also featured Superman, the Justice League, a separate appearance by Green Lantern John Stewart, an episode based around a Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy team-up and even a trip to the future of Batman Beyond, where Static meets his future self (now considered one of the most powerful heroes on the planet). Going the other way, Static himself (his future self, anyway) makes an appearance in the Justice League Unlimited first season finale.
Academy of Adventure: The accident that created the metahuman surge occurred in the midst of a fight between teenaged gangs; most the victims of the Bang were students at the same school as Virgil, and villains arose from the student body throughout the series.
Adult Fear: Virgil's father, after discovering Virgil and Richie's secret identities, and realizing that they've been fighting dangerous superpowered criminals since the Big Bang incident. He manages to get over it, if only slightly.
Adaptational Villainy: In the comics, Aquamaria was a member of the Blood Syndicate, a superhero team. Here, she's just one of Ebon's flunkies.
Adorkable: If you don't believe Virgil and Richie are this, you haven't seen the show.
Static: Let's see, so far I have you [Ferret] down for robbery, vandalism and excessive cruelty to produce. Want to add anything else?
Art Evolution: The first two seasons featured almost-painfully bright, solid colors and fairly traditional character designs. Starting with the third season, the artwork became more angular and the colors were toned down. Of course, this was prevalent in all of the DCAU as the styles converged.
Bait-and-Switch Credits: Out of four seasons, the only one that's entirely accurate with the villains Static fights is Season 2 which has, in sequence, Kangor, Hotstreak, Puff and Ebon (all recurring, knowingly bad foes). The others are inconsistent in showing villains for different reasons:
Season 1: Rubberband Man was only an antagonist for one episode, and even then, he just wanted credit for the beats that were stolen from him (he'd never resort to rob jewelry stores to get his way), while Dwayne attacks Static by himself instead of being persuaded by his jerkass stepbrother Aron.
Seasons 3 and 4: One of the foes shown is legitimately evil, but he isn't a Static foe: that's Professor Menace, Soul Power's nemesis in "Blast from the Past", who only used his technology to appear younger.
Be Careful What You Wish For: Edwin Alva, Sr., completely disappointed with his son Edwin Jr, stated that he'd be better off with a statue due to what a failure Jr. is. Guess what he gets at the end of the episode.
Big Eater: Richie, and his future self shows what happens when you continue your habits as your metabolism lowers.
Black Best Friend: Neatly inverted. Richie is the white best friend to a black protagonist, in a work where most of the major characters are black.
Bloodless Carnage: Richie is accidentally shot in "Jimmy" and there is not even a single drop of blood.
To the show's credit, it represented a gunshot wound as incredibly painful, and inflicting a wound that required surgery and significant recovery time. Unfortunately, the next episode negates that last point by showing a fully-recovered Richie.
Chased Off into the Sunset: The episode "The Usual Suspect" ends with Virgil's sister, Sharon, chasing after him after one too many wisecracks.
Clark Kenting: Both Static and Gear have masks to cover their faces, though in Gear's case, his helmet's visor appears see through for the viewers since it covers his completely as opposed to Static's Domino Mask.
Demoted to Extra: Frieda, especially in comparison to her role in the comic series. She starts the show as Virgil's primary love interest, and is actually the first "civilian" to speak to Static, but after Daisy is introduced, she quickly becomes superfluous to both the plot of the show and the relationships between the characters.
Early Installment Weirdness: The show wasn't originally part of the DCAU despite being made by the same production team; some episodes in the first season refer to Superman and other DC heroes as fictional.
Family-Friendly Firearms: Frequently played straight, but averted in both that Virgil's mother was killed by a regular gun, and in one episode about the dangers of gun violence.
Fat Bastard: Slipstream. Even before finding out he was a Bang Baby, he was a prick.
Fate Worse Than Death: Speedwarp, after stealing a belt Static was using to speed himself up to match the villain's technology, ends up using it and becomes stuck at super slow speed. The last scene in the episode shows him trying to run from Static in slow motion.
After gaining the ability to absorb matter, Heavyman, a.k.a. Dr. Koenig, ends up with such a dense mass that, in the end of the episode, he is unable to move at all.
Five-Token Band: Any team is bound to be from different ethnicities or backgrounds. Pretty much the nature of the universe. Justified since urban areas tend to be pretty diverse.
Flight of Romance: Static woos Frieda this way in the first episode. He later does the same thing with his later love interest, Daisy.
Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: Richie goes through this in the final episode, as he starts to lose his super intelligence due to the Bang Baby cure. He gets better in the end.
Ink-Suit Actor: The cameos of real life celebrities (Shaquille O'Neal, AJ McLean, Karl Malonenote the only member of the Hoop Squad who was voiced by himself; Steve Nash, Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady had other voice actors, Li'l Romeo - who performed the show's theme from the third season onwards - and boy band B2K) plus Replikon, who was appropriately enough voiced by Coolio.
Ironic Superhero Name: Static, ostensibly, refers to static electricity. It can also mean something fixed or stationary, lacking movement or vitality, or showing little change. Virgil is none of those things, in either the comics or TV series.
Though when his powers first manifest he has a severe case of static cling with his bed sheets.
James Bondage: Richie, so, very, very much. That he escapes on his own is the only thing that maintains him being semi-badass.
Jerkass: Primary mentions go to Specs and Trapper, who arrogantly believe that everybody is beneath them because "they're smarter". Also, Hotstreak.
Lighter and Softer: In the original comics, the "Big Bang" was not an accident, but an attempt by the authorities to spray gang members with a radioactive marker to track them down; it gave them superpowers instead. To give credit where credit is due, the show did keep the circumstances as a gang war between rival thugs, and Virgil was given an actual gun instead of a laser.
New Powers as the Plot Demands: Madelyn returns in Season 4 with her mind control powers replaced with telekinesis, as a result of Static frying her brain before.
Not Using the Z Word: "Attack of the Living Brain Puppets". Then again, it's not like anyone is dead there.
Oh, Crap: When Hotstreak thinks in "A League of Their Own" that Static's with them he panics. (Batman's past experiences with Static are why the League need him and break up the fight he's in with the Meta-Breed).
Taken for Granite: Omnifarious. And it's an extremely cruel irony; Omnifarius became said villain because his father, the Corrupt Corporate Executive, cared more about his company than his son. And how does he prove this?
Although there is the implication later that the Bang Baby juice causes some of the monster behavior. Both Aqua Maria and Talon seemed much nicer after they were depowered.
The Knights Who Say Squee: Static meets John Stewart, his hero on multiple levels. However, the initial meeting has somewhat less squeeing than usual because Stewart is arriving after Sinestro has been impersonating him to commit crimes.
Second meeting, actually. They first meet when John's with the Justice League, in "A League of Their Own". However, the whole fanboy part isn't played upon there (at least not on Static's part).
Token White: Maybe, maybe not. Richie is by far the most prominent of all white characters in a very diverse cast, but he is not the only one present. Frieda, the original love interest of Virgil, was white, as were other characters who popped up throughout the series.
Took a Level in Badass: Canonically, Static becomes one of the most powerful heroes in the DCU as a mature adult.
Trick Bomb: Gear made a shock bomb that Static could use if he ran out of juice, and a net bomb that shot a net out when it hit something.
Very Special Episode: Several. The most prominent ones focused on racism, guns, dyslexia, drugs addiction, and poverty.
The comics dealt with these issues a lot as well, partly because the publisher, Milestone Comics' main focus was adding more diversity to superhero comics, so it makes sense that the cartoon would have these.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Implied to be the case with some Bang Babies, though only blatantly said in a few situations as many of the Bang Babies are either implied to have been the way they were even before the Big Bang, or are acting out of desperation.
Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Many of the kids who gained powers from the Big Bang gas had serious emotional problems. Justified in that the majority of those exposed to the Big Bang were either gangbangers or any other people who you'd reasonably expect to be in such a crummy part of town.
"Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: A sunspot is messing with Static's powers, but unfortunately, he has to deal with Hotstreak. He tries to trick Hotstreak into thinking that the sunspot has made him even more powerful, but the ruse falters. Static gives Hotstreak a chance to surrender, which he just laughs at. Static mutters that he'll take that as a no. Hotstreak responds "Wrong. This is a no!" and starts hurling fireballs at Static.