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One zip, then you zapped
Good against evil, get trapped
Look in my eyes, I got the power
Villains run from the static shower
Theme Song, performed by Li'l Romeo
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Static Shock is an animated series in the DC Animated Universe based on the Milestone Comics series Static (albeit with several deviations). Created by Dwayne McDuffie, it is one of the rare instances where a comic book's creator was also the main creative force behind the animated adaptation.

The series follows Virgil Hawkins, the son of a local youth center manager in Dakota City. One day on the way home from school, he gets caught in the crossfire of a gang war near a chemical plant. When the police come to break it up, they fire an explosive too close to a bunch of experimental gas, spreading it throughout the city and granting Virgil and countless others a wide variety of offbeat superpowers. This event comes to be known as "the Big Bang" and the teenage metahumans as "Bang Babies," since the Big Bang was the start of their new lives.

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Virgil himself finds out the next day he can control and manipulate electricity. Naturally, with some persuasion from his best friend, Richie Foley, Virgil decides to become a superhero, taking up the moniker of "Static" to defend the city from criminals, out-of-control Bang Babies, and any other super-powered threats.

Early seasons were notable for focusing not only on the usual superhero adventures, but the day-to-day struggles of inner-city life. Between the impressive super-brawls, episodes covered subjects such as gang violence, racism, bullying, gun control, and familial conflict, among others. Later seasons were more Bowdlerised, dropping the more 'adult' themes and focusing more heavily on celebrity guest stars and crossovers with other DCAU shows.note 

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Now has a recap page (with the episodes mostly in production order) that could use some work.

Definitely not to be confused with System Shock.


Tropes:

    open/close all folders 

    A-F 
  • 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.
  • Action Girl: She-Bang as she has helped Static and Gear a couple of times..
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • In the original comics, Virgil purchased a gun to shoot Biz Money B, the original Hotstreak, but only threw it away because he wasn't a killer. In the pilot, someone hands him a gun and he throws it away as soon as he realizes what it is.
    • Francis, the Canon Foreigner substitute for Biz Money, is not a hardcore racist, just a Jerkass.
  • 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: Virgil and Richie. While they're capable heroes on their own, they're shown to huge fans of other heroes like Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The pilot is rife with this. First, Virgil's beaten up at school by Francis, and a local gang offers him protection. Virgil wants to refuse because his dad made him promise not to join a gang, but the gang leader asks, "Can your father protect you?" Virgil has to think about it for a while and doesn't give a definite refusal.
    • To cap that off, Virgil reluctantly goes to a gang showdown, and is handed a gun. Virgil quickly disposes of it, but he doesn't avoid the Big Bang that ensues.
    • The Big Bang itself: an accident that releases mutagen to a bunch of children rioting in the streets. Quite a few get Blessed with Suck, like Time Zone and Talon, and others get used for their powers like Dwayne. It's a small wonder that Alva Industries tried to cover up their involvement, since it would be a PR nightmare.
    • Alva's son Edwin Sr., in an attempt to be a "Well Done, Son!" Guy that diverges into Calling the Old Man Out, gets turned into a statue while using Alva Industry products. Alva Sr. is wracked with guilt over this and stops focusing on Static to try and bring his son to normal.
    • 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.
  • All Up to You: Richie in "Gear".
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • Omnifarious had no permanent powers, but he cracked the secret of the Bang Baby gas, allowing him to use small, specially configured doses to obtain any power he wanted for a short time. At least until he used all of them at once and was petrified as a result.
    • Leech has the power to drain powers from other metahumans and use them as his own. He can use Ebon, Hotstreak, Talon, and Static's powers at the same time through this method.
  • An Aesop: One episode, "Jimmy", focuses around the title character, who's being bullied and brings a gun to school in a misguided effort to defend himself, though Richie tries to talk him down, Jimmy is unfortunately charged by two of the bullies, and Richie ends up being accidentally shot and wounded in the leg. After the episode ends, Virgil narrates a PSA about gun safety, especially with regards to not bringing them to school. The kicker? It begins with the aforementioned bullied kid being led out of the school gym (where the climactic scene took place) in handcuffs by police. Much of the first season had these. The troubles and realities of runaways and the homeless, the dangers of gang activities, and dealing with the loss of loved ones among other things.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The series ends with another big bang caused by Ebon and Hotstreak's fighting which restores Static and Gear's powers, but also merges the two villains into an Eldritch Abomination. The heroes manage to knock the monster into the sea, though they figure that's not the last they will see it. Gear also notes that they and other Bang Babies are very likely to be forced to take the cure once again, but declares he'll research a way to counter said cure so the two of them can continue being superheroes.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The Big Bang Gas creates (almost) all of the metahumans featured in the series.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    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.
  • Artificial Human: She-Bang was crated in a lab.
  • Assimilation Backfire: The metahuman power parasite Leech was defeated with water after he absorbed Static's powers.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Sharon and Virgil occasionally have these moments, like when she cheers for him having temporarily become convinced that he's Static, and when he attacks the Leopard for knocking her down in the Anansi episodes.
  • Ax-Crazy: Shiv, he even told Joker that he is a big fan of his work; it does not help that he can literally turn his arms into axes.
  • Axes at School: "Jimmy" climaxes in this, with the titular character growing so tired of being pushed around by bullies that he brings a gun to school. He gets talked down, but two of the bullies charge him and the gun goes off, wounding Richie.
  • The B Grade:
    • Thomas Kim, a classmate of Richie and Virgil, becomes violently angry, to the point of actually Hulking Out, when he got a 99 percent on a test instead of the usual one hundred. The reason? He had a single contraction.
    • Richie gets one of these during the series finale. It's the first hint he's losing his Bang Baby super smarts.
  • Bad Job, Worse Uniform: The original Burger Fool, in which Virgil himself works for in an episode.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: Out of the four seasons' opening, the only one that's entirely accurate with the villains Static fights is Season 2 which has, in sequence, Kangor, Hotstreak, Puff and Ebon. The others are inconsistent in showing villains for different reasons:
    • Season 1: Rubberband Man is only an antagonist for one episode, and even then, he just wants credit for the beats that were stolen from him, while Dwayne attacks Static by himself instead of being persuaded by his jerkass stepbrother Aaron. It would have been more accurate to use Shiv and Carmen Dillo instead of Rubberband Man and Dwayne, respectively.
    • Seasons 3 and 4: The first villain that appears is the Heavyman, who is only a one-time villain. Professor Menace also appears, despite the fact that he is Soul Power's nemesis in "Blast from the Past", who only used his technology to appear younger. In addition, one of Brainiac's bots appears in the opening of the former.
  • Beam-O-War: Inevitably occurs whenever Static faces another mutant that can manipulate energy.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Edwin Alva Sr., who's completely disappointed with his son, Edwin Jr, states that he'd be better off with a statue due to what a failure the latter is. Guess what he gets at the end of the episode?
  • Berserk Button: Do not mention guns to Virgil, or bring up his mother. His mother was killed by gunfire during the Dakota riots.
  • Beta Outfit: In the first episode, Virgil rummages through Richie's closet to come up with a costume. One outfit, which remarkably looks like Black Vulcan's, is rejected for looking "like a battery commercial" before he settles on an outfit that includes a Chest Insignia and a white Domino Mask.
  • Big Bad: Ebon is probably the closest thing the series has, being one of the most recurring antagonists, as well as one of the most powerful.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Superman comes to Static's rescue just as he's about to get crushed by a giant robot cymbal monkey in "Toys in the Hood".
  • 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.
  • Body Horror: This happens to some of the Bang Babies. Noteworthy examples include one banger agonizingly melting into a puddle of purple goop at the end of the first episode, Royce Axelrod becoming a deformed, mindless monstrosity, and Edwin Alva Jr./Omnifarious' Superpower Meltdown.
  • Breakout Character:
    • Rubberband Man. Meant to be a one-off villain like he was in the comics, he was so sympathetic that he's allowed to reform and becomes a recurring ally to Static.
    • Richie. He was so popular with fans that he was promoted to a superhero in the third season; Dwayne McDuffie once said that Richie's popularity alone was what got them a fourth season of the series.
  • Broad Strokes: The series was originally supposed to be a separate continuity from the DC Animated Universe, as evidenced by having Superman and others mentioned as if they were fictional within the show's universe. However, later episodes featured crossovers with Batman: The Animated Series,Superman: The Animated Series, and Justice League, which would indicate that the older episodes happened, but without the references to the DC heroes being fictional.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The premise of the series' final episode, "Power Outage", is that Dr. Todd arranges for every Bang Baby to be cured of their powers without their consent. Static, Gear, Ebon, and Hotstreak regain their powers in the end, but it is left ambiguous whether the other Bang Babies remain powerless.
  • Burger Fool: Trope Namer. A fast food restaurant called Burger Fool exists in this series and Virgil at one point ("They're Playing My Song") has to work there.
  • Cain and Abel: The villain Ebon and the heroic Rubberband Man are brothers.
  • Canon Immigrant: While Static did exist prior to the animated show, its popularity led his looks and uniform to change matching his TV appearance (at least for the first two seasons).
  • Captain Ersatz: Soul Power, who was created because the show wasn't allowed to use Black Lightning. Sparky seems completely original, surprisingly.
  • Chained Heat: This happens to Static and Hotstreak in "No Man's an Island". The "heat" part being literal.
  • 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.
    • At one point, Ebon sees Virgil outside his costume. Talon points out that they have similar hairstyles. Ebon replies that lots of kids have that hairstyle.
    • When Static first faces off against Omnifarious, the latter needed to look through the mask with X-ray vision to see who was behind the mask. He couldn't figure it out at first because he didn't know Virgil, but he later figured out after seeing his picture in a newspaper on a charity event he attended.
  • Comic Books Are Real: Earlier episodes mention that Virgil reads Superman comic books. Later we find out that Static Shock is in the DCAU, and Batman, Superman, and the rest of the Justice League are real.
  • Composite Character: Richie is a combination of Rick Stone (same appearance) and Frieda (Secret Keeper). Interestingly enough, Frieda appears here too, but as a Muggle, while the role of Virgil's Love Interest is passed over to Daisy.
  • Compressed Vice: Richie gets addicted to the powers of a Super Empowering old man for one episode, driving him to commit crimes so the old man will keep him supplied.
  • Contagious Powers: It takes some time, but Richie has a delayed effect (that took two whole seasons) from the Bang Baby residue to become an inventing genius gadgeteer superhero, Gear.
  • Cool Loser: Virtually every heroic character in the series.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Edwin Alva Sr. is one.
  • Costume Copycat: Static, Rubberband Man, and Green Lantern.
  • Crossover: A couple with Batman: The Animated Series (In fact the season openers past the first one had Static crossing over with Bats that it was practically a tradition) , Superman: The Animated Series, Batman Beyond, and Justice League. Hey give Dwayne credit, once he had an in with DC Comics, he took advantage of it.
  • Death by Adaptation: Virgil's mother was still alive in the comics.
  • Death by Secret Identity:
    • Omnifarious is turned into a statue in the same episode in which he discovers Static's identity.
    • Speedwarp discovers Static's identity after freezing and unmasking Gear, threatening to expose who they are if they interfere with him. He winds up trapped in hypertime, causing him to move at a snail's pace in real time.
    • Omnara discovers Static's identity and blackmails him into committing crimes by holding his father hostage. Thanks to a counter-virus from Gear to prevent her from taking control over all technology, she gets reduced to a catatonic shell.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: Virgil has dreadlocks.
  • Demoted to Extra: Frieda, especially in comparison to her role in the comic series. She starts the show as Virgil's (implied) love interest, and is actually the first civilian to speak to Static. However, after Daisy is introduced, she quickly becomes superfluous to both the plot of the show and the relationships between the characters.note 
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Virgil, because his mother died from a stray bullet while attending to the injured in the Dakota Riots.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The series 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.
  • Eating the Enemy: In the series finale, Ebon and Hot Streak, in all their quarreling, create a new Big Bang explosion which gives them and Virgil and Ritchie's powers back. However, in the case of Ebon and Hotstreak, it works too well as the two fighting so close to the explosion causes their powers to meld together, ultimately fusing the two into a big fiery, shadowy Eldritch Abomination. The monster catches and tries to eat Gear but, Static is able to free him. Then the monster's stomach turns into a suction vortex. Before they can get sucked in, Static is able to throw an oil tank into the portal and blow the beast up.
  • Electric Joybuzzer:
  • Electric Slide: Soul Power uses this a lot.
  • Empathic Weapon: Gear's Backpack. It can function as a usable weapon depending on the circumstance.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Ovid. Virgil isn't happy when Sharon says it aloud:
    "Sharon, my middle name is NEVER to be spoken aloud. You know that."
  • Enemy Mine: Seen in "Romeo in the Mix" (Static + Hotstreak + Ebon + Talon trying to escape Leech) and "No Man's Island" (Static and Hotstreak work together, as well as Talon).
  • Engineered Public Confession: This happens in "Replay" when Richie has a camera film the episode's titular villain gloating about ruining Static's reputation with an energy duplicate and broadcasting it live.
  • Expy: The show has several:
    • Onyx is based on Coil, Puff's partner-in-crime in the comics.
    • Thomas Kim, Tantrum, is one of Bruce Banner, the Incredible Hulk, as both of their metahuman forms are triggered by anger. The only difference is that Tantrum is purple, as opposed to Hulk's green.
      • Tamara Lawrence, the "Monster", is also this to a certain extent, albeit a female version.
    • Permafrost is more or less a female Mr. Freeze.
    • Soul Power is a stand-in for Black Lightning, due to rights complications.
    • Speedwarp is an obvious Expy of The Flash, though his powers are controlled by a device.
    • Chainlink is one of Doctor Octopus, due to his trademark metal tentacles.
  • Evil Redhead: Hotstreak, to keep with his fire motif.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening sequence for each season keeps the general "Virgil wakes up, runs into numerous villains on the way to school" framing device, but exactly which villains Virgil runs into changes with the season. More explicit status quo changes like Gear and Virgil's dad finding out about his secret identity are also incorporated into the later season openers.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: Frequently played straight, but averted in both that Virgil's mother was killed by a regular gun, and in "Jimmy", a Very Special Episode about the dangers of gun violence.
  • Fat Bastard: Heavy C, who'd later become Slipstream. Even before finding out he was a Bang Baby, Heavy C was a total prick who constantly tormented three teens at Burger Fool and spitefully ate their food without their permission (and blatantly ignoring their suggestion that he order his own).
  • 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 faction is bound to be from different ethnicities or backgrounds—pretty much the nature of the universe. But it's a justified since urban areas are generally very diverse (ethnically- and economically-speaking).
  • 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.
  • Flying Firepower: Static can use Shock and Awe and use his electricity powers to fly.
  • Former Child Star: Replay. For bonus points, he was voiced by pre-Dr. Horrible/How I Met Your Mother Neil Patrick Harris, for whom the trope applied.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Richie develops an awful lot of technologically advanced tools for Virgil to use early in the series. It's because he's slowly developing super-intelligence. Richie's blood looking the same as Virgil's through a microscope implies that he is a Bang Baby as well.
      • Better yet in the episode that Richie becomes Gear, Virgil comments that he's suddenly becoming "Braniac the Maniac". Guess who appears in a few episodes and what happens to Richie...
  • Future Badass: As an adult, Static becomes one of the powerful superheroes in the DC-universe.

    G-L 
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Even before becoming Gear, Richie had a habit of tinkering with electronics. He even made much of the field equipment Static uses, like the Shock Vox and the Zap Caps (which he adapts for himself once he takes on his own superhero identity).
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In the premiere episode, "Shock to the System", Virgil indirectly calls his sister a bitch by telling her to not forget her flea collar. He then says "Woof, woof".
    • In "Aftershock", Virgil goes to the doctor to tell him about the changes his body is going through. The doctor tells him the changes are normal and asks if there is another person involved. Virgil replies with "lots of 'em", which then causes the doctor to ask if Virgil's father is aware of this. It is clear that the doctor initially thought that Virgil was describing puberty and had been sleeping around.
    • "They're Playing My Song" features another instant of Virgil calling his sister a bitch without actually saying it when he remarks "Keep it up, and I'll stop bringing those Milkbones you love so much".
  • Gilligan Cut: When Robert thought of a different solution for Virgil's money problems:
    Virgil: "Work study"? ... wait a sec! Are you talking about... a JOB!? (cut to him working the register at a fast food joint) Welcome to Burger Fool, where we're a fool for our customers.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Sharon has these as her main hairstyle.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: A common side effect of the metahuman gas.
  • Grand Finale: The episode "Power Outage", which begins with the Bang Babies being cured of their powers without their consent. Static and Gear regain their powers in the end and vow to continue fighting the good fight in Dakota after bringing down Ebon and Hotstreak merged into a two-headed giant.
  • Green Lantern Ring: Both literally and as a trope for several characters.
  • Green Rocks: Big Bang Gas is responsible for creating the Bang Babies.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: McDuffie explained that this is used to hint at Richie's sexuality by having him repeatedly make suggestive comments in order to cover up his urges.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Rubberband Man was initially a villain who reformed and became a recurring hero who worked with Static.
    • Edwin Alva Sr., after his son turns into stone, turns his efforts towards bringing him back, and completely forgoes his agenda concerning Static.
    • Bang Babies Nightingale and Brick betray Ebon when he tries to block out the sun.
    • Talon in the series finale after she reverts back to her human form.
  • Hide Your Gays: McDuffie said that Richie is gay, but the show never dealt with or revealed this fact.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Onyx and Puff, respectively. They're a villainous duo who are always seen together.
  • Hulk Speak: The monster in the episode "Tantrum". He's even an expy of the Hulk, only purple instead of green.
  • Humanshifting: Replikon a.k.a. Marvin does this best during "Duped".
  • I Have Your Wife: Virgil's father in the episode "Kidnapped", and Richie/Gear several times. "Sons of the Fathers" and "Hoop Squad" are two noteworthy episodes.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Briefly in the Justice League crossover, Static does this to Gear possessed by Braniac.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: While no one dies in "Consequences", Static attempts to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Puff and Onyx for sending Daisy to the hospital. Rubberband Man later reminds him that this only happened because he was showboating instead of worrying about her safety, adding to Static's guilt.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Shiv cries for mommy in "Kidnapped" when Static interrogates him for the whereabouts of Puff and Onyx.
  • Identity Concealment Disposal: We finally get to see what Ebon, the main antagonist who up until now just looked like a shadow, looked like before the Big Bang in the last episode.
  • Idiot Ball: Static during "Bent Out of Shape", while he does get suspicious of it, does not instantly recognize the obviously purple and rubbery trash can as Rubberband Man, despite being on the lookout for him and knowing he can do stuff like this, until he starts talking after a dog starts biting him.
  • Improvised Weapon: Static mainly uses his powers to pick up and throw whatever he finds around him. For the first season, he even flew around on a manhole cover.
  • In Name Only: The series has almost nothing in common with the original comics due to its numerous deviations, character alterations, Canon Foreigners and crossovers with some of the other DCAU installments, despite the fact that the comics weren't set in the main DCU.
  • In Space, Everyone Can See Your Face: Gear's helmet. It protects his identity despite the fact that the viewer can see his face perfectly through it.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The cameos of real life celebrities (Shaquille O'Neal, AJ McLean, Karl Malone,note , 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.
  • Inverse Law of Complexity to Power: The average Monster of the Week has a narrower power, while Static himself has electrical powers (well, technically electromagnetic) with Lightning Can Do Anything in full force. Two recurring villains have dark and fire powers.
  • Ironic Nickname: Static, ostensibly, refers to static electricity. It can also mean something that is fixed or stationary, lacking movement or vitality, or showing little change. Virgil is none of these things. In fact, the only time this is actually the case is when his powers first manifest, resulting in a severe case of static cling with his bed sheets.
  • The Jailer: Leech, who kidnaps and holds captive other Bang Babies, the reason being his Big Bang-induced powers is the ability to assimilate those of others - temporarily. Victims include the criminals Ebon, Talon, and Hotstreak, but he seriously messes up when he tried to go after Static himself, grabbing rapper and Special Guest Lil' Romeo instead, who is wearing a Static costume.
  • James Bondage: Richie. That he can escape on his own is the only thing that maintains him being semi-badass.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: "Tantrum" has Thomas Kim transform into a purple behemoth whenever he gets angry. Static even compares the transformations to Jekyll and Hyde.
  • Jerkass:
    • Primary mentions go to Specs and Trapper, who arrogantly believe that everybody is beneath them because they're "smarter".
    • Hotstreak since he likes to bully Virgil.
    • Ebon since he's the closest the series has in a Big Bad.
  • Jumped at the Call: Despite being initially freaked out, Virgil almost immediately sees the potential of his new powers to be used for good. Not that he needed much convincing to be a superhero.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!":
    • Gear towards Superman.
    • Static meets John Stewart, his hero on multiple levels.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Static vs. Terry McGinnis when he's flung forward in time.
  • Leitmotif: Every character with powers has one, at least.
  • 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 rivals, and Virgil was given an actual gun instead of a laser gun.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Static electricity, actually.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Static and Richie do change shirts from time to time, but Hotstreak and the other villains who wear casual clothes while terrorizing the public seem to be attached to their look.
  • "L" Is for "Dyslexia":In "When the Rubber Meets the Road", it's revealed that Rubberband Man has dyslexia.
  • Long-Lost Uncle Aesop: Averted with She-Bang, played straight virtually every other time.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Eddie Felson, a.k.a. Speedwarp, who stole a time-manipulating device just so he could have all the time in the world with Daisy.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: Most of the members of Ebon's gang have these.

    M-R 
  • Mad Scientist: Static runs into a few: Specs and Trapper, Dr. Koenig/Heavyman, etc.
  • Magnetism Manipulation: Static has this as a secondary superpower that comes with his electricity powers. He can use electricity to magnetize metal objects and attract them to him like keys and change, as seen in the show's intro. And he uses his electric powers on a metal disc so he can levitate on top of it in the air via diamagnetism. This extends to his appearance in Young Justice.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: The Big Bang was responsible for most, but not all, metahumans in the series.
  • Master of Delusion: Almost every major character thanks to their powers.
  • Missing Mom: As mentioned above in Death by Adaptation, while Virgil's mom is still alive in the comics, she's deceased in the TV-series—her death had quite a bit of emotional baggage on her husband and their children, but especially Virgil. It wasn't until the episode "Flashback" that Virgil finally comes to terms with his mom's death.
  • Monster of the Week: Several of the Bang Babies in this series are one-shot villains.
  • Morphic Resonance: Strangely, while Rubberband Man can shapeshift to impersonate people no problem, whenever he becomes an object he maintains his standard costume's extremely conspicuous purple pattern.
  • Mundane Solution: When Static and Gear were trying to locate where Madelyne's gang was at:
    Gear: (activates Backpack) I've got Backpack scanning for any pressure changes, temperature spikes, high-frequency sounds...
    Static: (sees tornado caused by Ebon) ... Or we could just use our eyes.
    Gear: Er... yes, but that would've been too easy.
  • Mundane Utility:
    • Static himself does it a lot, especially early on. He even uses his powers to grab his keys and change in the opening credits!
    • After Rubberband Man helps Static defeat Aquamaria, he takes his time to sign some autographs for the adoring crowd, using both hands. When his phone rings, he holds it to his head with his foot.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the rejected costumes Virgil tries on in the series' first episode is that of Black Vulcan.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Static is named after two Roman poets, Virgil and Ovid.
  • Never Found the Body: The mutated form of Ebon and Hotstreak is dropped into the ocean in the finale and presumably either drowns or is extinguished. However, Static and Gear both believe there is a chance that the villains have survived and decide to prepare themselves for their eventual return.
  • 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-So-Harmless Villain: D.J. Rock (Ice-Pack's producer) in "They're Playing My Song", as Rubberband Man learns the hard way.
  • Not Using the "Z" Word: In "Attack of the Living Brain Puppets", the brainwashed students are referred to exclusively by the term in the episode's title, despite the fact that their behaviour and appearance is blatantly based on the classic depiction of a zombie.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Surprisingly very few characters in the series really don a hero or villain costume with a majority of the Bang Babies just going in regular clothing if their mutations haven't affected their body too much. Of those that do are Static, Gear, Rubberband Man, Slipstream and Madelyn.
  • Oddball in the Series: The only DCAU show to be an In Name Only adaptation. Heck it's one of the rare times the creator of the character was involved as well.
  • Official Couple: Rubberband Man and Sharon. However, they seem to be in an on-again-off-again by "Bad Stretch".
  • Oh, Crap!: Hotstreak briefly has this reaction in "A League of Their Own (Part 1)" when the Justice League shows up to help Static and Gear.
  • Old Superhero: Soul Power is an old hero who helps Static.
  • Overclocking Attack: "A League of Their Own".
  • Overprotective Dad: Mr. Hawkins cares very much for Virgil and Sharon and the kids at the community center.
  • Personality Powers: Surprisingly, most Bang Babies' powers don't mirror their personalities.
  • Pet the Dog: Hotstreak in "No Man's An Island" at first seems to abandon Static to the mercy of Alva's guards; he returns, however, takes Alva as a hostage to get the guards to stand down, and then offers his powers to restore Alva Jr. along with Static.
  • Power Incontinence: All Static's electricity is released in an EMP if he gets wet while charged up. There was also one time that his powers fluctuated wildly due to interference from a solar flare.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Shiv. The only time we see him acting solo is when he decides to rob a toy store, for every kind of obvious reasons.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The Quantum Vapor that causes the big bang is depicted as purple as well as a number of mutations it causes including the color of Static's electrical powers.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The episode "Jimmy" has a very realistic potrayal on school shootings and bullying. Even though no one dies and Jimmy shooting Richie was an accident, Jimmy still has to spend a few months in juvie and has to receive counseling for bringing a gun to school, and everyone who witnessed the shooting is also required to attend counseling, while Jimmy's bullies get suspended and have to do community service for everything that they did to Jimmy (as Jimmy probably wouldn't have stolen his father's gun in the first place if they hadn't pushed him around) and for tackling him with the gun which indirectly led to Richie getting shot, and despite what happened there is still bullying at Dakota Union High.
    • In "Hard as Nails", when Virgil discovers has classmate Allie has been exchanging e-mails with two web hosts who claim that they have a cure for her powers and she plans to met them in person to get the cure, Virgil correctfully believes something is wrong as he knows the dangers of anyone asking a child to met them over the internet.
    • When Virgil's father Robert is kidnapped by Puff and Onyx in the episode "Kidnapped", Robort easily figures out that Vigil is Static, as why else would anyone use him to get to Static, unless Static is somebody he's close to.
  • Reality Warper: Dwayne Price, a kid who uses his powers to shapeshift rubbish into tasty junk food and makes a fountain spew cherry soda. He's not a bad kid, but his stepbrother is manipulating him into serving his own ends.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Hotstreak and, oddly, the Joker.
  • Retired Badass: Soul Power is a retired superhero when Static first meets him.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: In "Flashback", Static, Gear, and Timezone travels back in time to save Static's mom. While Static does meet her, he ultimately fails to save her. When Static returns to the present, he learns from his father that on that fateful night, all his mom talked about to her coworkers was how proud she was of her son because he was a superhero. Meanwhile, Timezone returns to the night of the Big Bang to ensure that she never received her powers due to the fact that it was too dangerous.
  • Rogues Gallery:
  • Rollerblade Good: Gear wears a pair of rollerblades.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In "Now you see him", Speedwarp slows down time so he can personally talk with Daisy and confess his feelings for her, symbolizing he wants to speed up their "relationship". Daisy says she just wants thing to go back to normal.
  • Running Gag: The superpowered characters (usually Static and Gear) are frequently knocked/thrown into dumpsters during fights. Lampshaded by Gear.
    Gear: Dumpster. Why is it always a dumpster?

    S-Z 
  • Scary Black Man: Ebon plays this astoundingly straight: deep voice, and his name means "black" (because he has control over shadows). He usually appears pitch-black, except for a grey vest, glowing eyes, and a light purple glow around the edges, as if facing away from a faint light).
  • Secret Keeper: Richie, before becoming Gear. Virgil's dad at the end of the series, though deep down he always knew.
  • Sense Freak: Due to his heightened senses, Ferret's mind seems to revolve around nothing but food and good smells.
  • Sequel Hook: Despite being the series finale, it was left open how many Bang Babies may have been repowered by the end of the episode, or if Ebon and Hotstreak had really met their end or if they could still be a threat.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: In "Flashback", Static travels to the past to save his mom.
  • Shapeshifter Showdown: Happens in "Bad Stretch".
  • Shock and Awe: Static's powers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When brainstorming nicknames for Richie's tech-suit identity: "How 'bout Hardware?" "I think it's taken."
    • In the Superman crossover episode, "Toys in the Hood", apart from the very title, Static fights a bunch of clown robots created by Toyman, prompting him to quip "Man, this Clown Posse really IS Insane".
    • In the first episode, when Virgil is trying on potential outfits, one of them is that of Black Vulcan. Richie dismisses it as looking like a battery commercial.
    • In "Big Leagues", Static imitates Star Trek's Captain Kirk when using the Bat Wing to locate Batman and Robin
    Static: "Computer. Engage. Autopilot. Find Batman and. Robin."
    • Speedwarp's name is Eddie Felson - "Fast" Eddie Felson.
    • In "Aftershock" an news anchor calls Static a "Mutant" which Virgil remarks is degrading.
    • In "Static in Africa", Virgil meets the local hero, Anansi the Spider:
    Virgil: Quick! Hit him with a web blast! (does the thwip gesture)
    Anansi: I am not that kind of spider.
    • And again in "Out of Africa".
    Gear: You're the Spider guy? I was expecting you to swing around on a web!
    Anansi: I get that a lot.
  • Sidekick Glass Ceiling: Richie, played straight and then subverted. When he first gained the Green Lantern Ring style powers and lost them, and later when he gained super intelligence.
  • Sneaky Spider: On a trip to Africa, Static meets a superhero named Anansi, whose powers come from a golden spider amulet. Anansi has the power to stick to walls and ceilings and to cast illusions.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Speedwarp on Daisy. He used his power to trap her in still-time so he can have her all to himself. It ends up backfiring on him.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: "Hard as Nails": Static pulls this on Nails... and Batman. The former was even looking right into his face when he did it:
    Batman: The kid's got style.
  • Super Empowering: In the form the Big Bang, a Mass Super-Empowering Event. On a much smaller scale, an old man named Ragtag acquired the ability to grant other people powers for a short amount of time.
  • Super Serum: The Big Bang gas is an unstable mutagen that grants superpowers but also tends to mess with people's mental state. A not insignificant portion of Static's rogues gallery have been driven insane by the gas.
  • Superpower Lottery:
  • Talking to the Dead: Virgil often talks to his deceased mother, asking her for advice.
  • 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?
    Alva, Sr. Edwin Alva, Jr., my legacy. I'd be better off with a statue.
  • Technopath: Gear and possibly Tech.
  • Teens Are Monsters:
    • Most of the villains in the series are teenagers with severe violent tendencies, although there is the implication that the Bang Baby juice causes some of the aggressive behavior. Both Aqua Maria and Talon seemed much nicer after they were depowered.
    • This series' depiction of bullying is far more extreme than that of any other animated series at the time. In "Jimmy", the titular character is harassed so much he is driven to steal his father's gun and go after his tormenters with the full intent of killing them. By the end of the episode, he is commited to a mental institution to receive psychological treatment, and we see yet another student at the school being bullied, implying that his breakdown had zero impact on the school grounds to keep the bullies in check.
  • Thicker Than Water:
    • Virgil and Sharon fight all the time, but neither one will stand for the other being insulted or hurt.
    • Ebon tries to invoke this with Rubberband Man, to no avail:
    Ebon: Blood is thicker than water!
    Rubberband Man: And what's right and wrong is thicker than blood!
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Gear says this word-for-word in the episode "Wet and Wild." Static says in response that he has to get in line.
  • Those Two Bad Guys:
    • Specs and Trapper.
    • Puff and Onyx.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Canonically, Static becomes one of the most powerful heroes in the DCU as a mature adult.
  • Totally Radical: The show tries a little too hard to capture late '90s urban slang. It's not quite as jarring as most examples, but still present.
  • Tragic Monster: Many of the more sympathetic Bang Babies are anti villains who aren't fond of their mutations.
  • 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 ("Sons of the Fathers"), guns at school and bullying ("Jimmy"), dyslexia ("Where the Rubber Meets the Road"), drug addiction ("Power Play", with a Fantastic Aesop spin to it), and poverty ("Frozen Out"). 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.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Static and Rubberband Man's interactions are in this vein.
  • Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The opening actually shows Virgil waking up, going to school, fighting some villains... and barely making it on time for class.
  • Walk Into Camera Obstruction:
    • "The Usual Suspect", where Marcus attempts to beat up Virgil:
    Marcus: "I'm gonna knock you into a whole new ZIP code."
    • "Attack of the Living Brain Puppets" at the very end where Virgil and Richie pretend to be hypnotized and Virgil's yellow shirt fills the screen
  • Walk Through The Camera:
    • "Romeo in the Mix" has it close to the end, where the police take the Leech away. "We'll take him downtown with the others."
    • "Bad Stretch" with Carmendillo screaming and saying, "Gotta hide, gotta hide!"
  • Welcome to the Caribbean, Mon!: The animated show remembers that Virgil is Jamaican, so he has a slight patois to his voice.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Edwin Alva Jr. Specs and Trapper too, though they're not Alva's sons. All three are trying to win the approval of Edwin Alva Sr.
  • Wham Line:
    • A lesser one in “Gear”:
    Richie: I’m having some kind of strain-on-the-brain breakdown! I could be going crazy!
    Virgil: Rich… know what I think? I think maybe you’re becoming a Bang Baby.
    • In "Kidnapped":
    Robert: "You can drop the act, Virgil."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • It's never revealed what happened to Wade from the first episode.
    • This happens to Trina, the police officer with whom Robert starts a relationship. She has one focus episode, appears in another, and is dropped from the series with no explanation.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Richie feels this way when he discovers his Big Bang power is super intelligence. He gets over it once he uses the gadgets he's able to create to save Virgil.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Daisy gets hospitalized, Static goes on a furious rampage, roughing up punks more violently than usual when interrogating where Puff is. Rubberbandman was the one who stops him and calls him out on his methods as well as pointing out that Static's showboating was what got Daisy hurt due to negligence, so he was just as much to blame as Puff is.
  • 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.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: "The Usual Suspect" introduces Marcus, a former schoolmate of Virgil and Richie who went to juvenile hall because of his temper. Due to a large bang baby attacking places where Marcus lost his temper, they believe he's a metahuman who transforms into a monster when angry like the Hulk. However, when Virgil pisses him off, he learns too late that Marcus was in therapy during a recent attack. The real metahuman was his ex-girlfriend. She was making it look like he was the monster because she blames him for her transformation.
  • "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.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Madelyn Spaulding started one of these once she figured out she had mind control powers. She would've moved on to a global scale, if Static weren't there to stop her.

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