Static: Shadows of Dakota #2
There are two forces stalking the streets of Dakota City - one of darkness and one of light and neither are good news for the Bang Babies trying to live a normal life. Can Static and his friends stop the kidnappings and disappearances of the city's youth before it's too late or will darkness completely envelop their beloved city?
There’s something sinister happening in the underbelly of Dakota.
If the first volume of Static was a cool, coming-of-age action story, this volume leans more towards the horror/mystery side of things with a reflection of past real-life events. In stark contrast to the first issue’s introduction of Ebon in its final pages, this book begins with a horrifying display in a brightly lit white space as Adam Evans, Ebon’s younger brother, is shown being tortured by a scientist to test the limits of his powers. It’s nothing but pure body horror that echoes such things as the Tuskegee Study and the Agent Orange experiments as Adam’s rubber limbs and face are contorted beyond their bounds. It’s a striking first image that allows readers to see the level of dehumanization that some are capable of when it comes to people slightly different than they are, presumably in effort to suppress their abilities and control them through trauma.
Though thankfully, Ayala and Draper-Ivey also present the opposing view when Virgil’s family decides to open up a community center for Bang Babies to give them shelter and a place to hone their powers. This concept was last seen in the animated series, and I’m glad it found a way into this story and shows the efforts that the Hawkins family is making to ensure that the youth stays out of trouble. It helps to foster the idea that these kids aren’t the dangerous monsters the government was making them out to be. Still, scared people trying to figure out a way to live in the world, especially now that they’re being targeted for their abilities.
Draper-Ivey’s art in this book continues to stun, as it looks fantastic from start to finish. The first few pages are haunting as Adam’s body is pulled and contorted in various directions that shouldn’t be made even worse by the white light showing what bit of bone structure he seemingly has left. He captures the terror of the experimentation with Adam’s pained, inhuman facial expressions and the ghostly visage of the scientist experimenting on him as we’re barely able to see them or their face – just a lifeless, sterile lab.
It’s only when we switch to the perspective of Virgil and Quincy that we get humanity and color back into the book with washes of blue and purple as the pair talk to each other, with the blues acting as the sadness that Quincy feels as his parents aren’t able to spend as much time as he would like with them while also being a nice color as the pair play video games in an arcade together.
Draper-Ivey’s got a great creative eye for panel structure as he can convey movement through locales with full shots of the characters acting as foreground elements while the background panels pass behind them. This works exceptionally well for a later moment when Static and D-Struct, one of the teenagers he rescued in the last volume, use their powers to stop the mercenaries from trying to capture the Bang Babies. They fly across their respective pages with dynamic posing that showcases their abilities, ignoring the borders between panels to convey a smoothness to the movement while also keeping the eyes entertained.
His linework is thick and well-inked, ensuring that each detail is preserved for character clothing and power effects. It all flows so well and allows readers to get a sense of texture and intensity, from the stretching of Adam’s skin to the blue and orange neon highlights of the Static’s lightning and D-Struct’s plasma as they crackle and pulse in these pages. Draper-Ivey also likes to weave a few easter eggs into his art, such as a potential reference to St. Jean, the patron saint of teachers, on Quincy’s jacket and an image of the nuclear explosion from Akira on D-Struct’s t-shirt.
Overall, this is yet another fantastic entry in this modern Static story. Nikolas Draper-Ivey and Vita Ayala are weaving a terrifying tale of heroism and dehumanization that Milestone isn’t afraid to tackle with amazing art and writing. This series has been great so far and we certainly can’t wait to see what comes next!
Static: Shadows of Dakota #2 – The Limits of Power
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10