Comic Book Review: Sideways #4
The heroes life is more than Derek bargained for when he is thrust into the dangers and perils pretty fast. Some things by chance, while other things he definitely could have avoided if he wasn’t the kind of kid he is. As I said last month, it’s either Derek grows up fast enough to survive the rough patches that comes with this lifestyle, or he will get swallowed whole by the next big threat. This month’s issue brings us the excitement in seeing how else he will sink or swim.
This issue wasted little time to answer that question. Again, the troubles with a hero like Derek is living in the modern world of superheroes. One where the same humility and sense of duty doesn’t apply when faced with the opportunity to become the next big thing. Sure, that may not be the kind of hero some are interested in seeing, but that is the kind of niche that must be inevitably filled in by younger blood. Of course it doesn’t help that as Sideways he falls to the joking too easily when he should be trying to separate from the comparison to Spidey. Having Ernie at his side was for the best as well considering she is the conscience that he ignores. For as much that makes you cringe about Derek, she more than makes up for by being able to think and take advantage of what most younger heroes should have at their disposal instead of winging it.
When it came down to Derek’s latest stunt as Sideways, I liked the direction this took when this created our meeting with Hotspot who we have not seen in a long time since his time as a Titan. It honestly took me a good minute to remember that, but all the same loved the fact that they could dig up a hero like this who could create that contrasting image of a new hero and one who has genuine experience. The fight with Replicant was intense, yet at the same time it was also a joke if not only because there wasn’t too much about it taken seriously. Particularly the way this encountered ended, because that was the peak of convenience next to how Derek escaped that cosmic entity in the first issue.
The further depth given to the Dark Star Sciences angle has been a point of interest when they aren’t an organization as big as some others in the DC Universe. This was a great time to see what makes them tick, and try to figure out what plans they have for Derek who they are aware is Sideways with the exception of his own mom. With that said, you definitely feel more towards his mom when Derek is just breaking her heart time after time. This interview may not be to the benefit of Derek, but it is an important task for his mom who has a reputation at stake when he doesn’t hold up to his end of a meeting.
For this issue a number of things did stand out. Particularly when it came to Replicant and Hotspot. Replicant’s suit design was stunning as I expected nothing less from Rocafort’s sleek aesthetics for the suit, and the coloring that had such depth for someone who mimics powers. That was quite a beautiful use of oranges that not many artists will take advantage of the way that this art team has. Then when it came to Hotspot, I enjoyed the familiarity that came with this character. There was more depth given to him and we could also see that he has aged given the time since he was with the Titans. That aside, the way Sideways fought Replicant was different from some of the others. He had more confidence this time which allowed him better coordination from one move to the next.
With the conclusion of Sideways #4, Derek is really living up to the name when everything he tries to do comes up sideways. Things aren’t getting better for the kid, and I think the strength of this story will come when he reaches a point to become humbled. A lot of our new heroes we admire because they had something tangible to achieve. In the case of Sideways that is both refreshing and risky when he loses appeal as a character.