Comic Book Review: Sideways #10


The last story arc with the Seven Soldiers wasn’t bad at all. As I’ve said numerous times, it simply felt off in placing for priority in storytelling. Derek needing to be home did make completing that mission with them urgent, but home is where he needed to be in the first place. It made sense how things turned out once this creative team also tossed in the things that Derek missed while gone, but there would have been problems regardless for how terribly Derek was behaving up to that point. Regardless, that was then. This is now where we now have the opportunity for Derek to finally begin picking up the pieces and grieving again.

My biggest worry for this new start to the next story arc was what they meant by a brief interlude on the cover. Were they planing on making us wait another issue to actually get back to real problems for Derek? Would they be so bold? Actually understanding what that meant put me at ease since anything else could have been a dealbreaker instantly. How they decided to integrate Derek back into his home was a tough pill to swallow when you knew what was awaiting him. There was some awkwardness, but also some tension when there’s no excuse in the book that could make up for both the time that he was gone and missing his mother’s funeral. The added troubles as well with the detective was great for shaking things up. I could tell already where they are aiming with that angle, but I do hope they will down the road stray from where that cliche will end.

I will give Didio credit, he made the confrontation between Derek and his dad worth it. He did not pull punches where an already invisible connection with the two was now further strained by the loss of the one person who they cared for most. It wasn’t a bunch of shouting, but the words all the same stung when the dad finally had the room to express how he has felt with everything since Derek’s adoption. Cold and painful words, but there are situations like this that someone can relate to out there. The same can be said for Ernie’s problems. I felt that helped as well when these two also needed something concerning them more than whatever problem they may have had before when Derek was being a jerk. Their heart-to-heart talk was the first time in this series where you could really look at these two and not see cliche stereotypes. They were real, dealing with real problems, and that is something we need to see more of. I’m pretty sure we have all been somewhere similar to their emotional states and simply wanted to drop everything to go far away. The conversation was engaging, and the superheroics were refreshing with Derek’s new perspective as well. How he chose to stop these terrorists was a big step up from how he would have conducted himself before.

My only concern right now is understanding the plans of Ms. Dominus. That is something we’re going to have to wait for obviously, though it goes without saying that her motivation is still questionable when her endgame seems like just another CEO power-hungry. Till then, it was interesting to see what makes this Bolt a great challenge for Derek. That didn’t play too much of a big part this issue, but the reveal was cool for getting us interested in the next one.

Having Kenneth Rocafort and Dan Brown as the art team again was a treat. Honestly these two were made for a boom like Sideways for the way that they render these characters and the world around them. If it isn’t the background design, it is the stunning color work, and it if isn’t that it’s the brilliant detail that Rocafort is able to get into. For this issue in particular it was the focus on the characters which stood out. Mainly with the more emotional scenes. This was one of those times where you could really give the guy credit for the expressions he can bring out in them. The sorrow, the tears, everything that is supposed to make you feel sympathetic towards what these characters and families are going through. Brown’s ability to capture the face of someone tearing up is impressive. From the last time that this art team was on this book, this was also a big improvement on the way that Sideways’ powers were used. Much more clarity and fun put into the way he uses his rifts. The rendering of Paris was just the icing on the cake as well. I love that settings are no problem for this art team. Everything about Paris was natural, scenic, and fairly accurate in structural design.

This was probably one of the better issues of Sideways aside from the one where Derek’s mother was unfortunately killed. Sideways #10 proves that you can do wonders when you put substance over style. This is a young hero book where you want to capture the energy of being new to the world of heroes and the sacrifices, but you should never forget the moments that are supposed to help you care about the person underneath the mask. This includes the people in their circle of trust too.

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