Sideways #2 – Dan Didio, Justin Jordan, Writers; Kenneth Rocafort, Artist; Daniel Brown, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Two issues in, Sideways is doing a very good job of fusing cosmic mystery with a down-to-earth character-driven teen superhero story, and its secret weapon is…the main character’s mom. When Sideways #2 opens, our young hero Derek’s casual use of his “rift” power has attracted the attention of Tempus Fuginaut, a ruthless guardian of the multiverse who has decided to kill the boy he sees as a threat to the universe’s security. What ensues is a crazy chase sequence that ends with Derek plunging out of the sky, dislocating his shoulder, and coming off just as reckless as you’d expect a teenager with new superheroes to be. Also, Rocafort really gets to shine this issue with a two-page inverted splash page that shows Derek’s great escape in style. Getting the help of his best friend Ernie, Derek winds up in the hospital, and that’s where this issue’s best scenes play out.
As soon as Derek’s mother shows up, it’s clear that the usual “inattentive parent of teen superhero” tropes are not in play here. Derek’s not going to have an easy time continuing his adventures without being detected. The segment that flashes back to the time Derek was missing in Gotham are easily the best in this series, as we get a good look at his mother’s pure desperation as she searched for him. The issue flags a little towards the end, as Derek goes up against his first supervillain, a sadistic speedster named Killspeed. This whole line has been plagued by remnants of the 90s so far, and it’s creeping in a bit here as well. She’s basically a stock villain in both appearance and dialogue, but it’s likely the point is just to let Derek show off his powers. I was more interested in a creepy segment that shows what the consequences of Derek’s travels are. That poor duck. This book is finding its groove, and it just may have some legs to its story.
Corrina: There are a lot of good pieces in Sideways #2 but they don’t fit together as well as they should because there’s one essential question missing: What’s Derek’s goal?
As far as I can tell, Derek wants to be a famous superhero, hence his filming his debut, with a costume and all. That’s not out of character for a teenager who suddenly receives superpowers but it’s definitely selfish and naive, especially considering where his powers came from. I mean, the big giant head tells him that his powers are dangerous and are disrupting reality. I can see simply wanting to escape but wouldn’t Derek later start thinking about that and the implications of what he’s doing? If he had a goal, say, “I have to be a superhero to do X,” I might be more on his side. Like, say, Jaime Reyes had to learn to use his powers to control the scarab, which was hella dangerous without that training. He also had to learn to use them because people were coming after his family and community.
Derek, though, has no such goal other than maybe to show off? Maybe that will come in time.
The other problem I have is a narrative one. That his mom would tell this long, long story about Derek to an ER doctor makes me raise my eyebrows. It would have been better for her to tell her *son* all of this so he absolutely understands the terror that she went through and why he needs to take his health seriously. Of course, maybe she’s going to find out what he’s doing after he confronts Killspeed. (Horrible name, stock villain.)
Ray is sold on this series. I’m not, yet.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.