Review: Sideways #1

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writers: Kenneth Rocafort, Dan DiDio, Justin Jordan

Artists: Daniel Brown

 

Summary

Meet Derek, a teenager who took a trip to Gotham City and fell into some superpowers, literally.  The question, now, is how will he use them?

Positives:

While still having a ways to go, this first issue deserves a lot of praise for its humor and its tone, accurately capturing the humor, innocence, and awe behind a character who just got superpowers.

From the beginning, Rocafort and DiDio make sure that we get to know Derek before we get to know Sideways, something that I really admire.  Superpowers may be overwhelming and life changing, but its refreshing to see being a teenager come first.   The circumstances surrounding how Derek got his powers are quite traumatic, but the comic still manages to focus on the more light-hearted aspects of his new superpowers such as boosting his YouTube popularity and the fun of “rifting” all over the place.

The first issue really manages to get all of the basic information out of the way before moving forward.  We meet Derek, his family, and his friend and catch a pretty thorough glimpse of life with his overprotective mother and loyal best friend.  We see the origin of how he got his powers, and there is not much else to it.  There don’t seem to be any secrets from his past coming back to get him, and the comic focuses on moving forward towards a limitless future with this new character.

The antagonist is introduced very briefly as some sort of judge of space time and seems to be an interesting new all-powerful big bad villain that could have some implications on the rest of the multiverse.

The first issue also seems to move scenes very quickly, never staying in one play for very long much akin to Derek’s newfound powers.  We start at a friend’s house, move to Derek’s family, then school, followed by a flashback of how he got his powers in Gotham City, and ending with Sideways “rifting” around town until he runs into the villain.  That is a lot of locations for a first issue, and I like that Rocafort and Didio are trying to create a tone that reflects the character.

Negatives

Unfortunately, moving from place to place so frequently means that it is not very grounded.  The first issue may have gotten all of the basics out of the way, but I also had trouble staying invested in Derek’s character.  He is charming but not necessarily compelling, and there is a big difference between knowing about a character and caring about them.  While I have yet to care about Derek, I hope that this first issue was an attempt at getting a lot of exposition and background details out of the way.  I am curious enough for what is to come to at least read the next issue.

The artwork also bothered me a little bit.  The very rugged style is very contrasting to the lighthearted tone of the series, and I couldn’t help but feel that some things were drawn too seriously and seemed out of place because of it.

Verdict:

This is a solid first issue to a funny and lighthearted series.  Hopefully they will do a little more to keep readers invested, but for now I can say that I am pleased enough to warrant reading another issue.  I look forward to a more meaningful connection with Derek in the future.

 

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Ari Bard

I am currently a Sophomore at Case Western Reserve University studying mechanical engineering. I have been in love with DC since I saw the animated series and movies in the early 2000s. I started reading comics regularly at the start of Rebirth. My favorite character is Martian Manhunter.