Static gets a fantastic shock to its system

After an absence of almost a year, Static returns for a brand new miniseries that puts him on a collision course with a villain who Static shock fans should recognize. Static: Shadows of Dakota brings back the creative team of Vita Ayala and Nikolas Draper-Ivey from the 2021 series Static: Season One, with Draper-Ivey added as co-writer and primary performer. An indeterminate amount of time has passed since the events of Static: Season One, and our titular hero has a new costume, better control of his abilities, and more of a purpose in his hometown of Dakota. The revamp results in a more confident superhero comic, one that appears to be more confident and fast-paced than its predecessor.

When Milestone relaunched in 2021, it revamped Static and Dakota with elements of the Static shock cartoon, while also linking the “Big Bang” that gave Static and other “Bang Babies” their powers to the Black Lives Matter movement and the police response to it. Static: Season One suffered some weird pacing issues, with the comic struggling to weave together superhero action, the wider Milestone Universe, and social commentary into 20-page issues. To be blunt, sometimes it just felt like Static: Season One tried to do too much, though the comic captured the voice and authenticity of Static and his alter ego.

Shadows of Dakota takes where Season One had stayed – Static is a superhero who protects the streets of Dakota, while maintaining a somewhat secret identity (although it’s pretty obvious to anyone interacting with him that Virgil and Static are the same person). Meanwhile, Bang Babies continue to have a tenuous existence in Dakota, with vigilantes now trying to round up Bang Babies for an unknown purpose. It’s a bit odd for gunmen to try to grab civilians on a busy street, but it suggests it’s an offshoot of the government’s own attempt to apprehend Bang Babies during the previous miniseries. While Static puts a stop to such a kidnapping, one of the vigilantes is suddenly apprehended by a dangerous new force: Ebon, a shadow-powered Bang Baby who himself is searching for a missing person.

Ebon is perhaps the most famous villain from Static shock and is another example of Ayala and Draper-Ivey using the cartoon as a complementary strength while staying true to the original comics that inspired it. In his brief appearance, Ebon is deadly, dangerous, and also a wildcard – targeting the anti-Bang Baby vigilantes, but clearly not opposed to killing him. In short, in the handful of pages he appears, Ebon already makes more of an impression and impression than Hotstreak did during his multiple appearances in Static: Season 1.

In addition to teasing a much more dynamic villain, Shadows of Dakota feels much more focused than the previous miniseries. Part of it is that Virgil’s world is already established – there’s no need to try to capture how everyone in Virgil’s life feels about his powers like in the previous miniseries. However, the comic still finds time to address social issues, albeit in a more subtle way. In the first issue, Virgil steps in to help a homeless man who is being harassed by the police – the police are still… well, jerks, but we see the social inequality through deeds rather than words and lectures and it makes Virgil’s choices so important. more meaning.

Draper-Ivey’s art really feels like a leap in quality has been made Shadows of Dakota. I’ve always loved his manga-infused style, but the art just seems brighter and more polished. Part of this could be due to Draper-Ivey’s influence on the writing and layouts – he was the artist in season 1, but ChrisCross managed the layouts in the first miniseries – or it could just be a better understanding his of playing to his strength in making a comic page. Whatever the reason, the art looks phenomenal.

Shadows of Dakota starts very strong. I was always hot and cold Static: Season 1, but I recognized that there was a lot of raw talent and passion involved in the book. Something clicked with this creative team and Static has benefited. Don’t sleep on this comic, which could become one of DC’s top books if it maintains this level of quality.

Published by DC comics

On February 7, 2023

Written by Vita Ayala and Nikolas Draper-Ivey

Art by Nikolas Draper-Ivey

Color through Nikolas Draper-Ivey

Letters through Andworld design

Cover Nikolas Draper-Ivey

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