Review: Sidekick #1
WITNESS A MODERN HERO’S FALL FROM GRACE!
The Cowl and Flyboy: renowned superhero and sidekick despite dopey names. They were famous, popular, and happy until the Cowl’s assassination. Now, no one takes Flyboy seriously. Follow his trajectory from barely tolerated hero to figure of ridicule, and witness his slow descent into madness, darkness and crime.
Sidekick #1, the second title from the relaunched Joe’s Comics, hits today. The story is written by J. Michael Straczynski with line art by Tom Mandrake. HiFi provides colors and Troy Peteri handles lettering. So is Sidekick worth picking up, or should you kick it to the curb?
The story centers on Flyboy, the former sidekick of The Red Cowl. Flyboy saved the city from a bomb once, but everything else was all Red Cowl. Flyboy is your stereotypical kid sidekick. Everything is going well until one fateful day when the hero and sidekick take part in a parade to celebrate Red Cowl’s heroics. A sniper’s bullet kills Red Cowl. The story cuts back and forth from the golden days of Flyboy’s time with Red Cowl to his current life as a washed-up has been. He has to turn to a crowdfunding site to try and make money to continue his heroics, but it isn’t going well. Nobody cares about Flyboy and he can’t even get picked up as a sidekick anymore. He’s too old to be a sidekick, but nobody takes him seriously as a hero. He has to fake crimes jus to try and get attention. Being so thoroughly debased, broken, and alone, there seems to be nothing left for Flyboy. But what will happen after we’re let in on Red Cowl’s greatest secret? How will that change Flyboy’s predicament?
Straczynski presents a story we’ve seen done a million times with a bit of a twist. The ‘sidekick without a hero’ deconstruction of superhero comics has been done before. Straczynski gives us a more broken character and a seedier and uglier world in which he lives. Things are bad, like Alan Moore comics bad and seedy, for Flyboy. It’s a great character piece and it looks like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. That’s the best kind of tunnel to have for this type of story. Mandrake’s art is good. There are a few instances where things don’t look completely polished, but that’s just a handful of instances. Mandrake has an interesting little shift from the golden age optimism of Flyboy’s time as a sidekick to his dark and grimy present. You have to give credit to HiFi’s colors for that as well.
Bottom Line: Sidekick is story we’ve seen done before, but Straczynski has enough differences and a heck of a cliffhanger to warrant a return trip. The book has bite, but it doesn’t quite break the skin. 3.5/5