Comic Book Review: Sideways #5
Sideways definitely has a pace of its own in contrast to the other new heroes. The others off the bat have some solid direction to them, but Derek James is lost at sea. He’s gotten himself into a surprising number of encounters so far with new and established villains, but you still don’t know what the future holds for the kid. Sinister forces have their plans for him, but that’s as far as we have gotten with something that has progress.
How Sideways #4 ended was a step in the right direction when the Tempus Fuginaut steps back into the story. I was worried at first that this was suddenly going to be ignored when the guy did say that there was something terrible unfolding because of Derek’s powers. Now with that said, I was a bit more worried that suddenly this changed to Derek’s power being the key to saving the multiverse. Luckily, this was remedied quickly through an explanation of what happened then, and what is happening now. Nothing was too clear, but at the very least there is build up towards purpose for Sideways beyond getting himself in trouble with the villain of the week.
The Showman is probably the kind of villain Derek needs right now in his life. Derek is already down, and kicked while he was down, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have room to also be humbled. This was the time to start asking the real questions when it comes to what makes a hero real or fake. Right now you could call Sideways pretty fake in terms of the need for glorification over being something genuine like the more respectable heroes. This encounter emphasized the importance of responsibility at the end of the day, and that might just be what we need to get over the growing pains of Sideways.
The only part of this chapter that made me cringe was the teen drama. There’s only so much that someone can handle sometimes. You know that you were Derek’s age once, and it adds to the weight of the world when you also have superpowers, but that doesn’t change the attitude that completely turns you off. Aside from the wonder that is having powers, everything else reads too much like that kid you would ignore because they were a cry for unneeded attention. The only redeemable aspect of Derek’s life currently is his connection with Ernie. She is the character you wish Derek was more like, but he’s not, so you appreciate her part in this no matter how big or small. The small focus they even put on Derek’s mother was appreciated when her perspective is important as someone who he is hurting with every act of rebellion. He doesn’t know the position he is putting her in as a mother and for her job,
For this issue we switch it up from Kenneth Rocafort to Robert Gill, and Dan Brown to John Rauch. As I will always admit I am a sucker for anything that Rocafort is a part of, which was also one of the main selling points on Sideways initially for me. Passing the torch to Robert Gill wasn’t a problem for me with that said. From the first page I felt at ease with his approach to this world. Gill is not an artist you sleep on because he is very detailed in his work and does not skip a beat. So the same level of work that went into creations like the Tempus Fuginaut, the effects of the rifts, and things otherworldly still had the same impact. The colors were a bit more faint, but they still also had the same depth and range to them. I give credit to this art team because while the team before had the spectacle, there was a bit more substance to take from this interior work. An overall stronger focus on the characters, the way they move, the way they express themselves. That all adds to the engagement from a story that is getting deeper as it progresses.
Up to this issue, I was struggling with interesting and understanding in the direction that this series was taking. Sideways is a creative new hero for DC. He has youth, charisma in action, and a power that not many in the DC Universe take advantage of. Sideways #5 was the issue we needed to see that there is still more to offer with the right steps taken towards Derek evolving as a hero, and as a person. Teen drama can bite, but sometimes its just something you have to get used to in order to get to what’s actually appealing.