I review the first issue of the new Sidekick series by J. Michael Straczynski, with art from Tom Mandrake, published by Image Comics.
Story: J. Michael Straczynski | Art: Tom Mandrake | Cover A: Tom Mandrake & HiFi | Publisher: Image Comics | Price: $2.99
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.
I really don’t need more titles on my pullist, but I decided to check out Sidekick #1 as I kind of should be following more independent titles, and I figured that with Straczynski having written enjoyable stuff in the past, I couldn’t miss the chance to get on board this new series, with a fun premise.
This book itself is basically perfect for anyone who doesn’t like the whole concept of superheroes having sidekicks (See Robin, Speedy, Bucky, Aqualad, etc), and really explores upon the idea of what would happen to a Sidekick if a superhero died, and wasn’t popular enough by readers to be ‘resurrected’ in a few issues time? The book tells the fall of The Cowl, and the story of how his assistant Flyboy finds himself in a growing state of depression.
The story itself is a pretty interesting idea and J Michael Straczynski pulls it off pretty well indeed in the opening issue. It’s a fairly solid debut and features Flyboy’s descent into a state of depression pretty well indeed, allowing us to uncover his journey as he initially tries to perform as a superhero before realising that he quite simply isn’t as accepted as well as the Red Cowl has been, and nobody treats him in the same manner that they did of this hero, often with disrespect.
The book itself is firmly a superhero comic and manages to update and twist the tropes used in this setting quite well, setting the ground for the series to come but not really blowing the reader away unlike a recently debuted Image #1, Lazarus by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark, which is currently two issues in.
Whilst this issue may not be the best of the week, it’s a fairly solid one from J. Michael Straczynski and it’ll be interesting to see how a superhero book can work outside of Marvel and DC, where no constraints are on who survives or not. It gives the book an air of unpredictability, and the misery that Flyboy looks set to embark on as a character will be very interesting to read about indeed. Whilst he may not be an entirely sympathetic or likeable character as of yet, we are only one issue in after all.
So Sidekick is a fairly solid start. Not exceptional, but far from a poor opening. I’ll be very interested to see where this can take the reader, and if this debut is anything to go by, things are certainly going to get even more fun – especially if you’re the sort of person who dislikes characters like Bucky, Speedy, Robin and more. In short, it’s recommended – but don’t expect it to blow you away.