We see another aspect of Joe’s “density control” power – and that’s the ability to make himself go super dense. The denser he becomes the “less breakable” he also becomes – but it requires a lot more focus and he can’t as yet move much in that state – hence the fact he looks like a statue. There has of course been a running gag about the fact that he loses his clothing when he turns into his less dense, gaseous form (see pages 2.43, 4.98 & 4.122, and the robomat sequence at the start of this chapter… 5.10). Mention has been made there also of his ability to go super dense and the antagonism from fellow cadet Louis about Joe’s failure to use his power in any adequate way has been an increasingly prominant feature of their interactions. Truth be told I wanted to have this moment – Joe uses his power to save Louis – in Chapter 4, but there was way too much going on to just drop it in so I decided to feature it in this chapter instead.
Joe is by no means a master of his power yet – he can go much less dense (probably occupying the area of a football stadium) and much more dense (probably down to the size of a sugar grain… keep in mind that his weight would remain constant so that would be a very heavy grain!) As for the question of his clothes, or whether he could be inhaled by someone (and what that would do to either inhaler or inhalee) these will have to be answered some other time.