Sideways #9 – Dan Didio, Writer; Max Raynor, Artist; Daniel Brown, Colorist
Ray – 7/10
Corrina: Not the book that was promised
Ray: Sideways has been a weird journey since it launched, and even more so once Justin Jordan left the title and Dan Didio took over as solo scripter. That’s because it seems to have lost the human touch it had early on. I used to mock it quite a bit as a Spider-Man pastiche, but those jokes were accompanied by high ratings because Derek was a pretty compelling character. That’s changed since Derek’s mother was abruptly killed off and Derek proceeded to expose his secret identity and rapidly run away to the Multiverse for a team-up with the Seven Soldiers of Victory. The opening of the issue calls back to those early issues, with Derek’s mother’s funeral. His relationship with his father is suffering by his absence, and the police are there to investigate his disappearance – as is Mrs. Dominus, who may or may not have been involved. There’s also a cameo from Lois Lane and Clark Kent, who seem to have known Derek’s mother during her early journalism days.
Derek, meanwhile, is stuck in another dimension after the Seven Soldiers got caught in a world-destroying cataclysm. He’s now in the kingdom of Perrus, a powerful but deranged sorcerer ruling over a clan of twisted superheroes who are apparently versions of Superman characters and other heroes.
Jimmy Olsen is a giant spiked monster, Lois is attached to a massive brain with spider legs, etc. It looks creepy, sure, but there’s really very little substance to this alternate world. It’s just a run-of-the-mill dystopia. Derek figures out that he has to escape quickly once it’s revealed that Perrus gets his energy by harvesting it from his subjects – and Derek is next on the menu. He tries to rebel but quickly gets tossed into the catacombs below the castle as punishment. There he discovers a mysterious cocoon containing…New 52 Superman? Okay? This is a very odd comic, sure, but it’s lost the coherent storytelling and character focus that made the original arc stand out.
Corrina: This comic started out promising readers a coming of age story for Derek, an irresponsible high school student gifted with a cool power that he didn’t quite understand. Complicating Derek’s use of his powers was his mother’s overprotectiveness because Derek had been a coma due to events of Dark Nights: Metal. The first few issues built a cast of friends and family around Derek. Now, I wasn’t as high on the book as Ray, as Derek seemed more irresponsible than heroic, but I could see there was room for improvement as the story continued.
Then Derek’s mom was fridged and this crazy journey started and Derek’s story lost all mooring. I don’t know what this book is now or what it wants to be, but it’s thrown out any goodwill I had at the beginning. Yes, even with the appearance of the Seven Soldiers.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.