Friday, December 31, 2010

I Reads You Review: MILESTONE FOREVER #1

WRITER: Dwayne McDuffie
PENCILS/INKS: John Paul Leon (framing sequence)
PENCILS: Mark D. Bright
INKS: Romeo Tanghal
LETTERS: Sal Cipriano
COLORS: Snakebite
COVER: Admira
48pp, Color, $5.99

Milestone was a comics imprint published through DC Comics’ from 1993 through 1997. The brainchild of Milestone Media, a collective of African-American comic book creators, the imprint produced comic books featuring minority characters, specifically African-American characters and superheroes. The imprint published several titles including Hardware, Icon, and Blood Syndicate. One of them, Static, gave birth to an Emmy Award winning animated series, Static Shock.

Except for sporadic appearances in DC Comics series, Milestone’s characters mostly disappeared. In the summer of the 2008, Milestone Media co-founder Dwayne McDuffie announced that the Milestone characters would be merged into the DC Universe. Milestone’s universe was known as the “Dakotaverse,” named for the fictional Midwestern city, Dakota, where most of the early stories were set. Published earlier this year, Milestone Forever is the event comic book miniseries that chronicled the events leading to that merger.

Milestone Forever #1 stars the core Milestone characters, but opens with a framing sequence focusing on a character named Dharma. He initiated the “Big Bang,” the event gave characters like Static their superpowers. Now, Dharma needs those same superheroes to save the universe. Meanwhile, the Dakotaverse heroes are having their own issues. They are caught in a struggle begun by Holocaust between the old and new versions of the Blood Syndicate.

Thanks to the pencil art of Mark D. Bright, Milestone Forever #1 has a thoroughly 1980s vibe. Bright’s page design often emphasizes large panels, half-splash pages, and sometimes full splash pages – the better to capture superhero combat. The style recalls John Byrne’s art on his short run on the Hulk in the mid-80s and John Romita, Jr.’s art on Cable and Uncanny X-Men in the early 1990s. This is old school superhero comics (in a good way), but with colorist Snakebite’s fiery hues to give the art a modern touch.

I like Milestone, more now than I did in its original incarnation, but I don’t know if Dwayne McDuffie’s script offers anything new that would attract readers who ignored Milestone a decade-and-half ago. For Milestone fans, this is a nice goodbye that looks like the way it used to be.


[This issue has pin-up pages, including a Hardware illustration by J.H. Williams.]


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