Top 20 Black Superheroes-Milestone Edition

20th anniversary Milestone

This is the list of my top 20 black superheroes/villains from Milestone comics. Why 20? Well 2013 is Milestone comic’s 20th anniversary so it would be an injustice to countdown any more or any less. Now many of you don’t know anything about Milestone you were just too damn young but hopefully this list will be enlightening and informative at the same time. Thank you to the founders of Milestone Media INC. Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis and Derek T. Dingle! You guys created a truly diverse universe, fully realized that has touched the heart and minds of millions. I can also tell you based on website traffic they continue to touch even more every single day, regardless of not being on the shelves. I would also like to thank all the artists and writers who helped mold the characters over the last twenty years. Finally RIP to Dwayne McDuffie a truly great talent gone far too soon!

MILESTONE FOREVER!

 

1.     Rocket                                                             

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Icon #1, May 1993

ervin1Brief Biography: Raquel Ervin is an outspoken young black woman who is the first teenage mother in comics, the woman who inspired Augustus Freeman into becoming Icon and later becomes his partner. As the superhero Rocket, Raquel uses an inertia belt which allows her to fly, re-channel kinetic energy and even form shields.  Why she’s here: I can honestly say watching Rocket consider an abortion as a teen was one of the most touching moments I’ve ever had with a fictional character. Entering the clinic and the eventual changing of her mind despite her family thinking she should just ‘get rid’ of the problem is beautiful. Milestone really got under my skin and stayed there after Raquel Irvin decided to keep her child and not take the easy route out of her problem.

~DIG DEEPER INTO ROCKET HERE~

 

2.     Hardware                                            

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

hardware1st appearance: Hardware #1, 1993

Curtis Metcalf was blessed with a prodigious intellect in the art of computing, electronics, metallurgy. At a young age Edwin Alva took him under his wing and Curtis’ creations single-handedly made Alva billions. Upon realizing that his father figure was corrupt and he was held in little regard he rebelled. Creating the identity of Hardware he waged a one man war against Alva and his corrupt company. Over the course of his career he helped Icon repair his ship, befriended Rocket and supplied technology to Static during the new 52. Why he’s here: Hardware grew on me especially after I started working and realized that Curtis’ work environment mirrors most of our realities. Thankfully I managed to escape the ‘cage’ and soar free. Hardware however was my inspiration of never settling and demanding that if my worth can’t be acknowledge it’s time to go!

~DIG DEEPER INTO HARDWARE HERE~

 

 

 3.      Masquerade  

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Blood Syndicate#1, May 1993

masqueradeBrief Biography: The young woman who would come to be known as only Masquerade has a past shrouded in mystery. From an early age he realized his gender identity did not match his physical body; he was a man trapped in a woman’s body. After the Big Bang he gained the power to shape shift and immediately used these abilities to make his body reflect what’s always been in his mind, becoming physically a man. Masquerade has been both an ally and enemy of the Blood Syndicate over the years. Why he here: He Masquerade was the very first transgendered character I had ever encountered. Before Masquerade I didn’t even know what transgendered meant!The guys at Milestone also made this a complete non-issue which even by today’s ‘progressive’ standards is unheard of. 

~DIG DEEPER INTO MASQUERADE HERE~

 

4.    Wise Son

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Blood Syndicate#1, May 1993

Wise Son

Brief Biography: As a gang member in Dakota he was present at the Big Bang event. He came from the event with superhuman abilities and joined the Blood Syndicate. When he discovered he was indestructible he took it as a sign of a ‘holy mission”. After teammate Tech-9 died he took the mantle of leadership. He is a hard-line Islamic fundamentalist in many respects and continuously attempts to steer the Blood Syndicate towards these beliefs. Why he’s here: Honestly there is still widespread misconception when it comes to Islam. When I first released Hannibal’s biography a few Americans noted he was the first ‘re-usable’ suicide bomber, yeah they went there. With Marvel so excited by their Muslim Ms. Marvel it must be noted Milestone did it first! Hannibal started out as a woman hating man of violence but matured into a great level-headed leader and a man who took fatherhood very seriously.  Assalaam-O-Alaikum!

~DIG DEEPER INTO WISE SON HERE~

 

 

5.       Icon/Augustus Freeman                                                        

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Icon #1, May 1993

iconBrief Biography: Arnus is an alien who crash landed on earth during slavery and took on the appearance of a black human. He is equal in power to DC Comics Superman. As Augustus Freeman he was a lawyer who later becomes Dakota’s premier superhero after a chance encounter with Raquel Irvin/Rocket. After the merger of DC and Milestone he was shown to be friends with Superman. Why he’s here: Every fan knows I love me some Icon! But those above him have appeal not just to the comic fan but also on a socially conscious level. Everyone above Icon I can take into my classroom and teach a life lesson. Icon now is noteworthy for having lived the African-American experience from its colonial origins to its modern potential. Icon is a self actualized, though very separate from humanity kinda man. The Superman power levels and parallel also make him very popular.

~DIG DEEPER INTO ICON HERE~

 

6.        Static                                                       

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Denys Cowan, Dwayne McDuffie, Derek Dingle, Christopher Priest and Micheal Davis

1st appearance: Static #1, 1993

staticBrief Biography: Virgil “Static” Hawkins was exposed to a mutagenic gas that swept his city of Dakota, which gave him and other ‘bang babies’ superpowers. With the ability to control electromagnetism, Static joined the Teen Titans and continued to protect his city while serving on the team. During DC Comics new 52 he moved to New York and starred in his own ongoing title which was among the first wave of cancellations. Why he’s here: I know your all roasting me on an open fire for not putting Static first but sue me I just don’t think he’s more noteworthy or did we ever connect the same way as those above him. Static is Milestone’s biggest and best success story to date! Easily the most recognizable Milestone character thanks to his very popular Static Shock t.v series.

~DIG DEEPER INTO STATIC HERE~

 

 

7.      Holocauste

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, April 1993

1091423-holocaust_cardBrief Biography: Leonard smalls Jr. was the son of Dakota mayor/Thomasina Jefferson and her husband Leonard Sr. He was always a sadistic and cold person but stepped over the line when on his sixteenth birthday he killed his father. Taking to the street he joined a local gang where he made plans to take over the Dakota underground. At the Big Bang he was the only member of his group to survive. Holocauste then joined with the other survivors of the event to form ‘The Blood Syndicate” but unlike them was cruel, power-hungry and sadistic. Why he’s here:  Hands down there is no greater supervillain in Milestone history than Holocauste. He has awesome power, incredible design and is just straight up built for evil. Even DC realized his potential when they incorporated Milestone into their continuity and Holocauste found himself up against Black Lightning.

~DIG DEEPER INTO HOLOCAUSTE HERE~

 

8.       Buckwild

Publisher: Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Icon#13, 1994

buckwildBrief Biography: In 1972 Rufus was wrongfully convicted of a crime he didn’t commit, he plea bargained down from the crime he did commit and sentenced to jail. Inside he was abused by the prison guards, realizing he wouldn’t survive his sentence he volunteered for an experiment involving cryogenics. Unfortunately the experiment went terribly wrong, only his brain was frozen before his containment unit exploded. A side effect of this experiment he was granted superhuman strength. When Icon took a brief hiatus he served as his replacement. Why he’s here: Honestly Buck wild will change how you look at the blaxploitation era of comics and especially classic Luke Cage. Buckwild is a superhero parody of epic proportions and arguably the funniest black character in comics’ period!

~DIG DEEPER INTO BUCK WILD HERE~

 

 

9.       Rubberband man

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Static #33, 1996

rubberbandman2 Brief Biography: A small time crook caught in the Big Bang event which killed thousands but granted a handful superhuman abilities. A relative unknown until he challenged Static Shock to a battle on national TV where Static embarrassed him and he fled vowing revenge. He would later resurface as a member of a bang baby supervillain team and captured Static’s girlfriend Frieda. His team was defeated and he wound up behind bars.Why he’s here: To the masses, that is the non comic book fan community this is the most popular villain Milestone had to offer thanks in no small part to a recurring role on the Static Shock Tv series. I like his power set but think his comic book version needs a redesign.

~DIG DEEPER INTO RUBBER BAND MAN HERE~

 

10.   Fade

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, April 1993

FadeBrief Biography: Carlos joined the force syndicate with his sister Flashback in order to help them assimilate after moving to the US from Panama. He knew from early on that he was gay. While in the force syndicate he fell in love with  Tech-9 one of the founding members of  Force Syndicate, though Tech-9 had no idea Carlos’ true feelings. His gang-banger lifestyle left a strained relationship with himself and his father. On the night of the Big Bang event he was one of many gang members to  attend the event.Why he’s here: Now back in the 90’s when I was homophobic because I had never met an openly gay person before, Fade came on the scene. He was not effeminate or flamboyant, He was truly just like everyone else. This revelation blew my mind back then and stayed with me ever since.

~DIG DEEPER INTO FADE HERE~

 

 

11.   Technique

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Hardware #9, 1993

TechniqueBrief Biography: Tiffany was always a brilliant woman so when she chose to become a cyberneticist it was no shock. After achieving her doctorate her skills caught the attention of Edwin Alva. She was given her own staff to put an end to Hardware. She made fast friends with Kurt Metcalf who assisted her as the head of the “Anti-Hardware ” team. It was her idea to use a female pilot for their own version of a power suit since the female pilot would be lighter making the armor more maneuverable. Upon the armors completion it was named “Technique”. Why she’s here: In the Dakota Hardware was quite possibly the smartest man on earth. Technique was a woman who could go toe to toe with him, intellectually and physically. She was the yin to Hardware’s Yang in every sense of the word. It also doesn’t hurt that Mcduffie planned for her to be Hardware’s successor as chronicled in ‘Milestone Forever’. Don’t sweat the Technique!

~DIG DEEPER INTO TECHNIQUE HERE~

12.   D-Struct

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Static #12

d-struct 2Brief Biography: An ex-gang member who was caught up in the big bang event. After surviving that ordeal he quit the gang and returned to high school to finish his senior year and graduate. When surviving gang members learned he was alive he was attacked for what they saw as abandonment. Using his powers he fought them off and came to the attention of static shock. He later clashed with static when said gang members captured his father. Together they defeated the gang and him and his father left Dakota to find a better life. He got a job with Alva Technologies and teamed up with Hardware later. Why he’s here: Damon is a good example of someone who started out doing wrong and turned his life around. That’s inspirational!

~DIG DEEPER INTO D-STRUCT HERE~

13.   Virus

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Static #9, 1993

Paul Morris-VirusBrief Biography: After his father left them both, Virus followed his mother into the streets where she became a crack addict who abused him constantly. Despite his large size he suffers from an unspecified mental illness that gives him the mental ability of a child. He eventually joined the force syndicate, Dakota’s “Misfit” Gang because they treated him with care. For this surrogate family he began stealing. Then came the Big Bang, his gang was killed and he discovered he had been granted super powers. Virus then lived under a mall where he stole to survive. Befriended by Static he was taken to St. Peter’s mission where he still resides. Why he’s here: Like many others on my list this was the first time I had seen a grown man with the mind of a child. What was more interesting was his sad life and his longing for acceptance. People do many bad things but a very simple reason for that is what we all want…to be accepted, embraced and loved. Food for thought even twenty years later.

~DIG DEEPER INTO VIRUS HERE~

14.   Starlight

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Shadow Cabinet #7, 1994

starlight6Brief Biography: Stella was a girl who always had an aptitude for mathematics, to this end upon graduating from High School she enrolled in a college level degree of said subject. It was here that she witnessed her college professor using an experimental Tachyon telescope for a teleportational experiment. It went horribly wrong and he was being bombarded by cosmic rays. Fearing for his life she pushed him out-of-the-way and took the full brunt of the cosmic rays and radiation. She was transformed into a human pulsar. She was found by Hardware who used his technology to help stabilize her powers and help her control them. Why she’s here: I’ve always like her design and all of her appearances after her debut suggest she was going to be a major player in Dakota. With her power set she’s a female Static, easy!

~DIG DEEPER INTO STARLIGHT HERE~

15.   Flashback

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, April 1993

Flashback-Sara QuinonesBrief Biography: At the Big Bang Flashback was one of only a handful of people to survive the massacre. After the incident she gained superhuman powers and joined the Blood Syndicate. For awhile she dated teammate and then leader Holocaust. Because of the nature of her power she was used as a fail-safe for her teammates when in hectic situations. If anyone was mortally wounded she would travel back in time and prevent them from dyeing. Over time however this took a toll on her psyche since she had memories of all her friends  being horrifically killed. To compensate for the nightmares which haunted her she turned to cocaine use. Why she’s here: As a kid I thought all junkies or drug users were just bad people. Sara put a different spin on things, humanizing drug use and the reason we do it. Plus by overcoming her addiction she serves as inspiration for those trying to recover.

~DIG DEEPER INTO FLASHBACK HERE~

16.   Tech 9

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, April 1993

Rolando Texador is Tech-9

Brief Biography: Tech-9 was a loyal founding member of the Paris Bloods, on the night of the Big Bang, he was blessed with the ultimate compliment to his natural marksmanship ability-no weapon he holds ever runs out of ammunition. His obsession with military strategy and discipline won him the leadership of the Blood Syndicate. He led the team and even successfully defended his leadership mantle from the more physically powerful Holocaust/Pyre. His powers were unstable however and his body liquefied soon after killing him instantly. Why he’s here: Tech was the guy who took the remnants of two gangs and made them a superhero team fighting to save their community. Without him they may have ended up villains. Tech also served as the first example that being a “Bang Baby” could kill you.

 ~DIG DEEPER INTO TECH-9 HERE~

17.   Rocket 2

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Icon #4, 1993

rocketII 2Brief Biography: Darnice grew up with Raquel in Dakota since they were young children. They eventually became best friends. Darnice was the only person to whom Raquel confided that she was Rocket and that she was pregnant. When the original Rocket was close to giving birth she had no choice but to stop being a superhero temporarily. To this end Darnice was given the mantle of Rocket and the powers. Raquel trained her in the proper use of the powers and she was teamed with Buck Wild who became a temporary Icon.Why she’s here: Honestly there was no greater friendship for me than Darnice and Raquel. They were really down for each other and trust me the conversation they had about sex in Icon #4 makes me chuckle even today! Darnice proved that you don’t need superpowers to be a superhero when she convinced Buckwild to accept death and move on.

~DIG DEEPER INTO ROCKT II HERE~

 

18.   DMZ

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Blood Syndicate #1, April 1993

dmzBrief Biography: When a member of the D’masi police force chased an intergalactic criminal to earth. An African-American man stepped in between her and certain death resulting with him mortally wounded. Grateful to the lower life form for his sacrifice she used her people’s advanced technology to heal him and in the process unlocked his full potential and enhanced him. After this she left earth promising to return for him one day. After the Big Bang event he became the most mysterious member of the super human team the Blood Syndicate. Why he’s here: DMZ was the most intriguing mystery posed by the original Milestone line of books. We had never seen his face, his power was vague and his connection to Icon just really drove us crazy. When the great Dwayne Mcduffie revealed his past on a comic book forum years of head scratching and speculating had ended and I was sold!

 ~DIG DEEPER INTO DMZ HERE~

19.   Oblivion

Publisher: Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Icon #22

OblivionBrief Biography: A long time ago before Arnus came to Earth he sentenced Kali’lkak to isolation though he did not wish to do so because he was unable to live among civilized beings. Though his isolation was as comfortable as any citizens everyday life he did not view it as an act of mercy. Before he was sentenced to isolation though he decided to hurt Arnus and thus sabotaged his ship resulting in his crash landing on earth and him eventually becoming Icon. His exile was supposed to be rehabilitative but he left what he called a “prison planet” after killing his therapists he went on a rampage across the galaxy on his way to Earth to kill Icon. After killing over three hundred life forms he took to calling himself Oblivion. Why he’s here: Like the lady below him he was not on my initial list but he’s the most evil, vile sadistic villain Milestone had to offer. Like the Joker, Bullseye or Sabretooth he takes joy in his villainy. His powers also allow him to take on any shape and even kill superhumans. If Milestone ever had a villain who could jeopardize the whole of Dakota, it’s OBLIVION!

 ~DIG DEEPER INTO OBLIVION HERE~

 

20.   Lysistrata Jones

Publisher:Milestone Media INC.

Created by: Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan

1st appearance: Icon #13, 1996

Lysistrata jonesBrief Biography: The self-styled arch nemesis of BuckWild, Mercenary Man. She developed a unique but effective fighting style from viewing countless hours of cheesy martial-arts films. After a similar marathon session of viewing a series of ‘Blaxploitation’ films, she decided to become the “Black Queen of Crime” (or ‘Queen of Black Crime,: she’s still deciding which). In addition to her criminal genius, she is a talented choreographer. She met Buckwild at some undisclosed point in the past. He tried to thwart her latest plan by taking out her gang but she escaped after ensnaring him with her ‘P-whip’. Why she’s here: I had two other characters in mind but could not pass up on Ms. Jones. Like Buckwild she’s a combination of Blaxploitation jokes, Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth and a dose of reality. She controls men with her P-whip. Get it? Black dudes be getting pu**y whipped all the time and this vixen is its symbolic manifestation!

~DIG DEEPER INTO LYSISTRATA JONES HERE~

There you have it guys, in no particular order of course, so don’t freak out that Static or Icon were not number one. If your favorite didn’t make the list leave us a comment below on why they should be included. Also be sure to leave us a comment on what Milestone comics meant to you as a fan, some founders peruse the website so this is your chance to let them know how their work inspired or changed your life.  

Also below is the fan edition of the this list so VOTE! VOTE! VOTE!

So your favorite can get the top spot!

While we celebrate drop by our store and buy TPB’s from the Milestone collection!!

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Caribbean born college lecturer, Multidisciplinary specialist/Androgogue/Philosophical Pedagogue; founder/CEO of World of Black Heroes, freelance writer and all around comic book geek. I enjoy a good book, video games, movies and most of all fatherhood. Written credits include work for Islandstage.net, Comicvine, Independent comics etc.

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20 thoughts on “Top 20 Black Superheroes-Milestone Edition

  • December 13, 2013 at 6:40 am
    Permalink

    Excellent .
    Thank you for this list and especially for the commentary.

    Reply
      • December 13, 2013 at 7:24 pm
        Permalink

        I should also add that this list has motivated me to go back look over my back issues and ” re – appreciate” the art and especially the stories.

        Reply
  • December 13, 2013 at 3:17 pm
    Permalink

    Good list but I personally think certain characters like Static, Icon, Tech 9, and Oblivion should be higher and Wise Son should be lower in my opinion, he tried so hard to steer the Syndicate in his Islamic direction which is basically trying to force your beliefs, he may not represent Islamic stereotypes but he definitely fits a religious stereotype.

    Reply
  • December 13, 2013 at 3:24 pm
    Permalink

    Nice list, makes me wanna check out some of these heroes. I will forever miss Young Justice because they added Milestone characters and they were gonna keep doing so.

    Reply
  • December 14, 2013 at 1:34 am
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    Hardware is the most under rated hero in the whole DC universe.

    Reply
  • December 14, 2013 at 5:17 am
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    Nice list, and I really appreciate how you’re showing the way some of these characters changed your views of minorities. I’m a big fan of Wise Son, but I’d question the description of him as ‘level-headed’. I like him because he’s a character who had to grow and mature once he assumed the responsibility of leadership, and slowly grew into the role. The Times he still acted like a bigot, or just straight-up arsehole made him more human, and made his eventual maturity that we saw in Milestone Forever more satisfying.
    It’s a tribute to how well McDuffie and especially Ivan Velez wrote him that a committed atheist like me still uses his name as my online alias so often.

    Reply
    • December 23, 2013 at 12:11 am
      Permalink

      (Facepalm)
      Honestly James I totally forgot about his past! This is literally off the top of my head. It was when I was re-reading the entire Blood Syndicate run that I realized Wise grew up allot over the course of that series!

      Thanks for reminding me! 🙂

      Reply
  • December 16, 2013 at 12:12 am
    Permalink

    It’s nice to see this list. Just wanted to make a couple of corrections. I never created Rubberband Man. That was Bob Washington III. And as for the rest attributed to me, I never created the basic members of Blood Syndicate. I only created their real names, sexual orientations, ethnicity, and in some cases, gender… mostly because they were kind enough to let me help build the team a bit. The ones I can honestly admit to creating out of whole cloth were Kwai, Dogg, Boogieman, Aquamaria, Oro, Ash, Bad Betty, Iota, Dusk, Mother and Grandmother from SYSTEM, Pearl, Kuka, Demon Fox, John Wing, Edmund and Cornelia, and a few others… 😉 These were the ones that would not have existed without me being there. 😉 (and Kwai, Bad Betty, Demon Fox and Oro were my drawing designs as well).
    It’s so nice to see you all remember the hard work. 😉

    Reply
    • December 16, 2013 at 12:36 am
      Permalink

      We remember Ivan! AND MISS MILESTONE crazy! Every time I see Valiant on the shelves I keep wondering what a re-envisioned Milestone would be like……or even just the old stories using modern coloring techniques…..

      Corrections made! I’m currently trying to contact Michael Davis and Denys Cowman to get some clarity on exactly who created which characters so credit can be given to the right people.

      Thanks again~

      Reply
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  • September 26, 2014 at 5:15 pm
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    Great list, reminds me that I seriously need to get my hands on Static, Hardware, and Shadow Cabinet books.

    Reply
    • May 16, 2015 at 9:04 pm
      Permalink

      You should try our store for TPB’s to finish your collection!

      Reply
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