Sidekick #1 [Kamak's Corner]

By Contributing Writer Brian Kamak

Sidekick #1 (Image): It’s perverse, drug-fueled, and mocks yoga-pant-adorned heroes. No, Ennis didn’t start writing that piece of crap Dicks again. This is the second release from J. Michael Straczynski’s relaunch of the Joe’s Comics imprint. The first, Ten Grand, is a book that my mentor here at Thirteen Minutes has already grown weary of by the fourth issue. [Editor's Note: killer variant cover art aside, I also didn't feel like the campy awkward interior art stood up to the gravitas of the deconstructionist tendencies of the script, but there's no accounting for taste, I guess...]

I, too, have a love-hate relationship with JMS. My hate for him is geared mostly at Amazing Spider-Man #36. Yes, the 9/11 issue. Being raised in New York, and literally witnessing that tragedy firsthand, I was simply appalled by his attempt to shed any light on this particular subject. [Editor's Note: But, Kamak, none of the 9/11 "special" issues from any company were any good!] Brian K. Vaughan’s Ex Machina was the only book that I was ever able to relate to in that regard. [Editor's Note: I certainly approve of this title!] But, enough of the sob story.

JMS has done a brilliant job pairing Tom Mandrake and Ben Templesmith to Sidekick and Ten Grand, respectively. With Mandrake’s art and colors by HiFi, it’s a brilliant combination that creates a surreal superhero world. This art would fit perfectly on more mainstream titles, yet captures without flaw the downward spiral of this superhero universe. As the issue progressed and got darker in tone, so did the coloring. Lately, I haven’t been shelling out cash for variant covers, but I did for the Charlie Adlard cover of Sidekick, and I’m in the process of tracking down a convention exclusive cover as well. I guess I’m just another sucker for that Sidekick cover art.

The basic premise is that Red Cowl (the “Batman” of Sidekick) is offed, leaving Flyboy (the “Robin” archetype) to fend for himself. Once seemingly upstanding Red Cowl is out of the picture, Flyboy’s downward spiral begins. The satirical hilarity ensues post-villain-thwarting, when Flyboy blackmails a hooker into giving him head (either that, or she was tying his shoelaces crouched behind a dumpster!). Things are kicked off when a lawyer informs Flyboy that there’s nothing left to inherit in Red’s estate, progresses to the newscasters tearing him a new one , and then to the search for a new role where he fails miserably. There’s also a twist… WOW! [Editor's Note: Spoiler Alert!]
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, but I don’t see how it can continue moving forward based on this premise. I want to love this series, so I hope JMS uses some of his literary magic to keep roping me in. Please don’t have me growing bored by issue #4. Grade A-.


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