Chris Cooper reviews Sidekick #1…
“The Cowl and Flyboy: renowned superhero and sidekick despite dopey names. They were famous, popular, and happy until the Cowl’s assassination. Now, no one takes Flyboy seriously. Follow his trajectory from barely tolerated hero to figure of ridicule, and witness his slow descent into madness, darkness and crime.“
Following the horror-noir Ten Grand released in May this year, J. Michael Straczynski’s (Judge Dredd) latest offering – Sidekick– is here under the new Joe’s Comics imprint from Image.
Speaking about his work with bigger publishers Straczynski said:
“Having worked extensively in the world of mainstream superhero comics for the last decade-plus, you are subtly informed that there are all these things that you can’t do to your main character, all these accepted rules for guys in spandex. The fun in Sidekick is in doing every one of those things that you’re never supposed to do. We’re going to spend a lot of time just beating the crap out of Flyboy until he finally snaps…and then the fun really begins.”
So here we are with issue one, and overall it’s good start. First issues generally need to hit the ground running as they don’t have long to capture interest. With the heroes costumes and their relationship with the police and public reminding of a Batman Forever-esque situation (campy, but the villains do actually blow things up), my attention was marginal, but things go wrong rather quickly, and I was left wondering how much worse they could get.
The sidekick in question is Flyboy, AKA Barry Chase. He can fly, and is fairly resistant to medium calibre bullets. Bar one great day, he stands firmly in the shadow of his hero, the imaginatively named Red Cowl, until his world is turned upside down by his partners assassination.
Fast forwarding some time we see the depths the depressed Barry has fallen to, with one in particular being the sort of thing you definitely wouldn’t see in a DC or Marvel comic. The assassination itself is pretty graphic and JFK-like. Straczynski clearly isn’t messing about.
I do find the artwork a bit late 90’s, but it is decent, and paints a solid picture, reminding me of Kevin Eastman’s work on TMNT.
Usually it is the sidekick that gets killed (Bucky and Robin come to mind), but here Barry clearly admires Red Cowl, so it will be interesting to see how that affects him in the future. So far his attempts to get back on track seem firmly rebuffed, so will ever get himself together and become the man he has always wanted to be?
The issue ends on a suitably intriguing point, and with the promise that Barry will be taking quite a pasting in the future I wonder what is going to happen to him. Rarely reading comics not produced by the big two, here’s hoping the team can keep pushing things on and hold the initial interest.