Sidekick #1 (Image)

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Rating: 3.5/5 – The problems with being just a sidekick…

It’s tough to root for the main character in this first issue of the new series by writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Tom Mandrake titled Sidekick.  Flyboy is the title’s “sidekick” and to put it simply, he’s kind of a loser.  Once the proud partner to the Red Cowl, he now patrols Sol City on his own, looking to stop any crime or find any job that can restore his once proud name.  The book has a dual feel to it as the scenes involving  main characters Red Cowl and Flyboy invoke that feeling of the Silver Age of comics, while the majority of the book involving the scenes with just Flyboy feel and read much darker.

After witnessing the brutal killing of his partner, Flyboy falls into depression and can’t shake the stigma within Sol City of being just a “sidekick”.  He’s become somewhat of a laughing stock and has resorted to things such as creating a kickstarter campaign in order to fund those things needed to wage a war on crime (which fails miserably), or filling out applications for sidekicks at local comic conventions.  Since the death of the Red Cowl, he’s become somewhat pathetic.  Straczynski does a great job of making you not like this character.  You feel sorry for him, but at the same time you don’t necessarily root for him.  As the series progresses we’ll see if that changes, but for now, there’s really not a like-able character in the book.

Tom Madrake is the artist for this issue and it’s good to see this long time penciller who’s best known for his art on DC’s Spectre book from the 1990’s, teaming up with a high profile writer like Straczynski.  Tom has a heavier line to his work which fits this darker story, but he’s also able to pull it back a bit when he draws the flashback scenes with the Red Cowl and Flyboy, giving it that cleaner silver age look mentioned above.  Overall the art works, but some of his non-costume characters can come off a bit stiff and look rushed.

There’s a great cliffhanger to the book that opens up some great potential for future storylines which I believe Straczynski will deliver.  Although at this point I may not be rooting for the characters in this story, I am rooting for the creators involved and hope they’ll create something special.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas – shawn@comicspectrum.com
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