DCAU #386: The Breed

IN THIS ONE... Ebon and his Meta-Breed try to recruit Static.

CREDITS: Written by Christopher Simmons; directed by Denys Cowan (Static's original artist, he also drew seminal runs of The Question and Black Panther; this is his first directorial work).

REVIEW: This episode introduces the Meta-Breed, a gang of Baby Bangers led by a shadowy character called Ebon (and it bugs the HELL out of me that they pronounce it EE-bawn and not EBB-in, anyway...)and they're just like the gangs from the pilot in that they try to recruit Static under pain of being branded an enemy. It's also the game they run on Derek Barnett, a track star Virgil is tutoring, whose luck runs out when he turns into a big glowing monster. So was he at the gang bang, or did other people get a whiff of the quantum juice? I wonder, because he seems a pretty straight guy, and of course turns on the Meta-Breed when they get violent.

Ah yes, the violence. Well, the action. Lots of very cool beats on that front. The police car sliding towards the grocery store. The sporting goods store sequence (Dakota is a commercial town, isn't it?). The subway train escape. And the show is dead against qualifying super-powers and setting limits on them, so their use often surprises with new tricks, even with Static who we've seen in action for three episodes now (he gets his trademark mylar disc in this one; gone are the days of trashcan lids). The effects are a bit samey, mind you, a lot of glowing white energy, but nevertheless, Static, Shiv and D-Struct all have their own unique shticks. Turtledove and Ebon lend some visual variety. Oh and I see the "power up" animation is reused... feels silly to me to go the Sailor Moon route.

Looking ahead, I see Ebon returns, but it sure looks like Static kills him in the climax, doesn't it? Light destroys shadow, but there's nothing onscreen to indicate he actually retreated or somehow survived.

IN THE COMICS: Ebon and the Meta-Breed are original to the show, except for D-Struct who is based on a similar character who appeared in Static #12, but was a career criminal called Damon Biggs. Ebon's powers are a nod to the Shadow Cabinet's mode of transport; they were a super-team who had its own book in the Milestone line. Also watch for references to Lois Lane and, perhaps incidentally, to Valiant Comics' Shadowman.

SOUNDS LIKE: D-Struct/Derek Barnett is played by Bumper Robinson, Bumblebee in Transformers Animated, who as a young actor, played the teenage Jem'Hadar on DS9's The Abandoned. Gary Sturgis voices Ebon; in addition to a lot of voice work, he was a number of Tyler Perry movies. Talon's Tia Texada played Maritza Cruz on Third Watch. Some might remember Shiv's Brian Tochi from Revenge of the Nerds or Police Academy; he was also the voice of Leonardo in the first three live action TMNT movies.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Straight up and action episode. There's nothing wrong with that, but there isn't anything essential about it either (unless you count Ebon).


Brian said...

re: pronunciation of Ebon

My first thought is how the initial-e in the neologism 'ebonics' (the professional colloquial for urban black English) is stressed. Especially if Ebon is a character from the 90s Milestone books (I don't know that), or even if he's only an early-millennium character from that milleu, having an urban black teen introduced to the word's pronunciation in this manner makes sense.

Siskoid said...

Sounds justified, just outside my experience.

(Ebon is not from the comics as far as I can tell, but that shouldn't matter.)


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