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Static’s back in his second issue and is just as much fun as he was in the first with even better action scenes, but a few more problems that could negatively effect how popular the title could become. If you are tired of the depressing storylines in Batman or just need a breather and a more light-hearted series, this is a great one, even if it is hard for new readers to follow.
Scott McDaniel and John Rozum team up again in this issue as the writers and have Static facing off against the Slate Gang and Virule, powerful foes who want him dead. But after a close call, Static realizes how powerful he is becoming.
After the thrilling conclusion to the first issue, the second starts off with Static not only saving himself, but discovering that he has become even more powerful. This is another great element added to the story that has endless possibilities. The writers have already started playing around with his powers, and have even made the discs Static flies on important. Last issue I talked about how their design change felt odd and unnecessary, and it seems like the writers have taken that into account by enabling Static’s disks to shape into different things and be used as a shield. It definitely makes up for them looking like an oddly-shaped wafer.
Static loves to talk to himself in this issue, and while it is crazy when you think about just how much of a conversation he can have with himself, it is refreshingly unique compared to the monotonous inner monologue almost every DC comic features. He also continues to give us his trademark humor, which mostly works, but you will never find yourself chuckling too hard and some of the jokes fall flat, like his Al Pacino expression which a caption box feels the need to explain to us. The writers do not want to explain anything else to us though, and that is the biggest problem with Static Shock #2. It is not a good book for new readers.
The New 52 was supposed to be a re-launch geared towards new readers, so they could have a starting point for DC’s series. But Static Shock is a huge fan pleaser and wastes little time explaining anything. The venue might be different, but everything that happened to Static in Detroit, which we are never shown, is still very important. He reminisces about his old friend Frieda, but it means very little to new readers. It is also revealed to newer readers in this issue that his sister has a doppelganger and his family cannot tell which girl is the real Sharon. This is another great story element, but it’s worked into the plot sloppily. The ending is also disappointing, with Static ending up in almost the exact same position he was in by the end of the last issue, making it feel like very little was accomplished in this issue, despite some new and important plot points being introduced.
The enemies are also not very interesting. Two seem like crummy knock-offs of King Shark with the cannibalistic tendencies and an emo-reject Joker. The more creative Slate Gang have a cool design, but are not very interesting to listen to or care about. However, they are definitely intelligent and threatening, already having devised a realistic plan on how to figure out Static’s civilian identity. The action scenes they have with Static are great, with the writers obviously having a lot of fun with Static’s powers. That’s how the whole story feels. At all times, it is clear that the writers are enjoying the material they put into the issue, and that helps the reader enjoy it too. It is just much harder to enjoy for people who are not fans of the character. However, it is refreshing how enthusiastic, knowledgeable, and respectful they are about the property, even naming Virgil’s school after Dwayne McDuffie, the original creator of the character and a subtle homage that I greatly enjoyed.
Scott McDaniel’s art has a cartoonish quality that fits the tone of Static Shock well and is appealing, if not a masterpiece. None of the character designs were impressive, but served their purpose and never was there any truly poor artwork. McDaniel always managed to keep his artwork balanced.
This issue is hard for new readers to get into and is lacking in the villain department, but it introduces many promising plot elements and Static is always fun to watch. The action was great, the art fit the tone well, and I can clearly see how much fun the writers had making it by how much fun I had reading it. This is one of the series I enjoy the most from the New 52, but does have a lot of problems in the way it is crafted. Would I change anything? Yes – but I’m happy enough now not to care about anything other than enjoying the story and character. I am just as eager as I was last issue to get to the next one.