Guest Review by Brittany DeSalvo
Joe’s Comics’ new debut “Sidekick” through their partnership with Image Comics is written by J. Michael Straczynski and illustrated by Tom Mandrake and HiFi.
This first issue leaves a little to be desired, partially due to the length, but there is a lot of promise for what’s to come. First impressions had me thinking that, it’s a comic: show, don’t tell. Starting with lines like “We’ve beaten the Sonic Master, but his sound bomb is still active and there’s no way to defuse it before it goes off in two minutes! His threat is going to come true: He’s going to destroy the city and there’s nothing we can do to stop him!” is like force-feeding the audience the plot. Luckily, the force-feeding of back story didn’t last long.
The main character of the story, Flyboy (aka Barry), who is the young sidekick of hero The Red Cowl, debuts by breaking out of the sidekick cocoon and rising beyond his normal limits by saving Sol City when the actual hero had admitted defeat. That one shining moment of glory does not define him, though, and he is about as far from perfect as a crime fighter can get. So far, he’s really not that likable of a character. Then again, he’s not supposed to be. The fallen Flyboy is gritty, he’s depressed, and he’s pathetic, but he’s relatable. Sidekicks have fallen victim to stress and depression before, but it looks like Flyboy is going to take falling from grace to a whole new level. From putting up ultimately unsuccessful campaigns on “Dreamstarter” to raise funds to fight crime for Sol City to staging robberies to look like he’s saved the day, Barry’s attempts to take control of his life become more and more futile.
By the end of issue #1, it seems as though he’s already hit rock bottom, but sounds as though he has a lot farther to fall. Just how far will his spiral take him, and where’s he going to end up? How will this spiral and ultimate turn towards evil differ from that of other more recognizable comic book characters who have been burned by the citizens they want to protect and ended up on the dark side because of it? Questions readers will genuinely want to know the answers to after reading this tantalizing introduction to Straczynski’s new story.
‘Joe’s Counter,’ the blurb at the end from the author, is a nice touch. Straczynski says, “…every month for the next twelve issues we are going to drive Flyboy deeper into madness and mayhem, darkness and depravity. We’re going to do to him all the things mainstream comic writers stuck with sidekicks are told never to do to them. It’s going to be wonderful. Also deeply disturbed.” His writing in this portion of the comic is superb; it’s intriguing and it leaves the audience wanting more. The idea is good, the desire to turn it into a successful story is there, we’ll just have to wait and see whether the folks at Joe’s Comics can pull it off and make this a unique comic truly worth reading.
“Sidekick #1” is available August 7. Visit our friends at Image Comics.
About the Author: Brittany DeSalvo is a freelance writer and editor for the start-up nerd site TheNerdyBomb. Her author page is accessible at http://thenerdybomb.com/author/brittany-desalvo/.