Sideways #7 – Dan Didio, Writer; Kenneth Rocafort, Writer; Ivan Plascencia, Dan Brown, Colorists
Ray – 7/10
Ray: With Dan Didio taking over on writing duties full-time, Sideways #7 is both the most ambitious issue of the series, and the most troubled. The issue opens not dealing with last issue’s tragedy, but with a much bigger issue. Grant Morrison’s Seven Soldiers are gathering, as a massive threat looms and they make an attempt to rescue their missing member, The Manhattan Guardian. But for Zatanna, Frankenstein, Shining Knight, Klarion, Shiloh Norman (the second Mister Miracle), and Bulleteer, the only person who can get them where they need to be is Sideways. And as we know, Derek is dealing with his own major personal crisis right now. The murder of his mother has sent him into a spiral, consumed with guilt and grief as he believes he could have saved her if he wasn’t ignoring their calls. His relationship with his father, always cool, continues to deteriorate, and some of the scenes (such as Derek teleporting into the morgue for a brief visit with his mother’s body) are genuinely affecting and emphasize the human touch this book has always had.
Unfortunately, a big part of this book’s issue is that Derek can be…well, not the most likable character. His interaction with his mother last issue showed that, and so does the way he seems determined to push everyone away this issue. A confrontation with Ernie feels less like he’s trying to push her away and more like he’s being needlessly cruel. This then provokes a reaction from Derek’s long-time bully, and the way the students act knowing what happened feels so over the top it loses its believability as a depiction of modern high school. Students gathering around to mock a student about his dead mother? You can understand why Derek loses it in a grossly irresponsible display of his abilities. He burns his life down around him with such efficiency that it’s almost expected when the Seven (well, six now) Soldiers show up to recruit him, complete with a promise to set these recent events back they way they were before, putting his identity back in the bottle. I’m looking forward to this coming adventure with these oddball heroes, especially as Grant Morrison is coming along on plotting. The series still has quite a few narrative problems to work out overall.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.