Sideways #4 – Justin Jordan, Dan Didio, Writers; Kenneth Rocafort, Artist; Daniel Brown, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Derek is a snot
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Of all the original characters to make their debut in The New Age of DC Heroes, thus far Derek Flynn, the star of Sideways, is the one that stands out to me the most. Sure, there’s a distinct similarity to Spider-Man here (hopefully, without the rude awakening of the death of a parental figure coming), but this is one of the only books that I’ve seen that accurately explores what a teenager who suddenly got superpowers would do today. That includes starting a superpower stunt channel with the help of his best friend Ernie, the only person in on his secret so far. While Derek plans to go out and find a new supervillain to fight – this time, the power-stealing Replicant – unbeknownst to him, his mother is meeting with her powerful boss to try to get him an internship at the mysterious corporation where she serves as press flack.
Derek’s next superhero battle doesn’t go much smoother than his last one (where the supervillain speedster he went up against lost her arm), but this time he has an ally in the obscure DC hero Hot Spot. This near-forgotten Titan is yet another clue that all of DC continuity is slowly making its way back into the Rebirth era, and I like that neither of them really seem to know what they’re doing. There’s an unpredictability to the fight that shows once again just how dangerous Derek’s powers can be. I also didn’t expect to see the return of the figure waiting in Derek’s room – with a very different proposal than last time. However, this book wouldn’t work nearly as well if Jordan and Didio didn’t make Derek and his family and friends as compelling as they are. The scenes involving his mother in particular give the character a lot more context than a superhero’s mother usually gets. Of the entire line, this is right next to The Terrifics for me as the best.
Corrina: Maybe I’m just not into a teenage coming of age story. Maybe it’s that the writing of this book gives Derek many extra bonus points for impulsivity and arrogance and zero for thoughtful reflection or planning. But for the first few pages of this book, I wanted to smack Derek, not read about his adventures. There’s being a teenager and there’s being an idiot. Not all teenagers are idiots, you know.
This is a kid who knows he got his superpowers from a dark evil universe, was told in issue #1 that using his powers is causing a problem, screwed up enough last issue that people were hurt, and he hasn’t learned anything from it. I’ve no idea what Ray sees in the kid but, whatever he does, I don’t.
Plus, the idea that Derek would blithely jump into doing something supeheroic without a plan at the same time he knows his mother wants him somewhere is not endearing or sweet or whatever. It’s annoying. I like the relationship between them but his mother’s need to have her brand-new boss hand her son a job makes no sense. What professional in a brand-new job goes out on a limb with a kid they know is unreliable? The answer is that this overall plot requires the company to be interested in Derek, so it happens. It’s sloppy storytelling.
At least Ray and I agree that The Terrifics is terrific.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.