Sideways #3 – Dan Didio, Justin Jordan, Writers; Kenneth Rocaford, Artist; Daniel Brown, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: The Villain Is a Mess
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: One of the oddest things about the New Age of DC Heroes has been just how closely many of them hew to the vibe of classic Marvel characters. Sometimes, like The Terrifics, there are some brilliant twists to the mythos, while others just feel overly derivative. Sideways is somewhere in the middle – it’s a very entertaining series on its own, but the way it feels so much like classic Spider-Man is almost distracting at points. As Derek gets used to his powers and fights his first supervillain, his quippiness starts to get off the charts, and he’s really got that same sort of casual rookie superhero vibe that fans of Bendis’ take in particularly will recognize. Fortunately, Derek’s powers are unique, and it’s interesting to see him learn how to use them – with some bumps, often disturbing ones, along the way. This issue’s first major villain, Killspeed, turns out to have ties to another major DC title – she’s actually one of the many people who gained powers from the Speed Force Storm and has kept them until now.
However, in a dark twist, she was dying of cancer at the point when she got her powers, and couldn’t afford experimental drugs. Her powers allowed her to take the money she needed, but her metabolism also sped up her cancer to the point where it was too late. Dying and filled with rage, she’s taking her plight out on hospitals, and doesn’t really care that Derek is trying to help her. She’s as pretty compelling villain, one with obvious ties to real-world issues, and that’s where this comic is at its strongest – it may be fantastical in places, but the characters in it feel real. Derek’s mother is overprotective and strict, but it feels like it genuinely comes from a place of concern. Ernie feels like a real girl dealing with an atypical situation. The plot heats up at the end, with a mysterious organization looking to get its hands on Derek. I’m not sure about the four-page backup (by the same creative team) that recaps Derek’s origin from his perspective, but the issue overall is a win for DC.
Corrina: To me, what this book wants to be changes from issue to issue, so I’ve yet to get a handle on it. At first, it seemed like a book about a kid with strange powers learning that there are costs he never anticipated to those powers, as he was followed around by a giant Kirby-style opponent who seemed to believe that Derek’s powers were disrupting something vital.
But Derek (and the comic) has kinda ignored that problem the last two issues, and now he’s busy using his ability without thinking about the consequences promised in issue #1. It’s okay if the writer had a better idea, which seems to have happened with the mysterious organization at the end, but it’s jarring.
Protecting his mom at the hospital is good and the sequences where Derek moves the fight elsewhere is excellent too, with the amusing visual of Derek in his mask but clad in only a hospital gown. But while Killspeed seemed compelling at first, she changes her mind constantly–and then she vanishes.
I’d like some consistent focus somewhere in all this.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.