Static Shock #5

A comic review article by: Ray Tate

When last we left Static, he had a sinking feeling.

Rubber Overcoat

This issue resolves Static's certain demise in a clever way that makes use of Virgil Hawkins' genius. However, it ups the ante with ruthless villainy, changes of heart and bad news for one of the Sharons.

Piranha and the Slaters war for a particularly lucrative crime contract, but Static gets in the middle. The Slater Gang appear to have dropped the ball, and Piranha reveals that he knows Static's secret identity, or he highly suspects somebody of being Static.

A redo of Static's origin, courtesy of a dream state that becomes a nightmare, unveils the beginnings of Static's and Piranha's animosity, and it's this animosity that leads to the kidnaping of one the Sharons. Somebody you see cloned Virgil's sister, but neither appears to know which is the original. So, the family accepted both. Intriguingly, the other Sharon weeps for her sister. So the previous rivalry between the two clearly is friendly.

When Sharon's kidnaped, the writers really get surprisingly nasty. Both gangs treat Sharon as an object. She's a piece to be removed from chessboard. She's a commodity to prove the other's worth. She's a thing to be destroyed in order to remove another obstacle. It's one of the most viciously amoral depictions of criminals that I've seen in awhile. When the Slaters threaten Sharon, Piranha isn't screaming because of the conscienceless act but because without Sharon Piranha's scaly butt will be sautéing over the fire.

Criminals by definition behave within predictable patterns already laid out in abnormal psychology texts. The gang members void of feeling realistically presents them as monsters on the inside. Not all of the gang members however are quite as cold or maniacal. One makes a genuine effort to calm Sharon down and try to protect her. Only this villain exhibits any dimension. 

Cavalry

Such is their lack of decency that Static begins to reconsider his merciful actions, but Hardwire is on the line, and as he tries to talk him down, a Dakota reunion offers great promise next issue.

Scott McDaniel's artwork can be a little distracting at times, but my feeling is that he's just a little overwhelmed with a cast of thousands. Mostly, the narrative is easy to follow, and McDaniel's style is aesthetically cartoony. However, at the drop of the hat, he can turn the book into a creepy exercise or a hard pulp where innocent little girls can die.

 


 

Ray Tate's first online work appeared in 1994 for Knotted. He has had a short story, "Spider Without a Web," published in 1995 for the magazine evernight and earned a degree in Biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Since 1995, Ray self-published The Pick of the Brown Bag on various usenet groups, where he reviewed comic books, Doctor Who novels, movies and occasionally music. Circa 2000, he contributed his reviews to Silver Bullet Comic Books (later Comics Bulletin) and became its senior reviewer. Ray Tate would like to think that he's young at heart. Of course, we all know better.

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