[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writers: Robert Gill, Justin Jordan
Artists: John Rauch, Carlos M. Mangual
Just Derek is feeling down about his recent blunders as Sideways, Tempus Fuginaut shows up to train him. Unfortunately, his doubts are further cemented when he sees a video of this guy called the Showman making fun of Sideways. Derek tries to go to school and forget about it, but the Showman shows up at school and called out Sideways! Can Derek put a stop to this internet troll causing chaos before things go Sideways? Meanwhile, Derek’s mom makes a shocking discovery…
This issue had the best art of the series. New artists John Rauch and Carlos M. Mangual were able to take what I loved about the original style, such as the really detailed backgrounds and well-drawn costumes, and fix the things I didn’t care for such as some of the facial expressions.
The tone also remained pretty consistent throughout the issue, and I appreciate that the comic tries to balance the humorous notes with the serious ones. I also appreciate the platonic friendship between Derek and his best friend Ernie. It’s not a relationship you see too often in comics, and it reminds me of a more immature Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz.
Unfortunately, Sideways took a huge step back this issue, and it starts with the dialogue. The attempts at teenage “lingo” hasn’t bothered me until now, but it got a bit ridiculous in this issue. “Did you have crazyflakes for breakfast” is not something people say, and all of the talk at school about being a loser and being friends with a loser was sort of off-putting. If the goal is to outright make fun of teenagers than they did alright, but teenagers are not that shallow.
The Showman was also an extremely weak villain. An internet troll that feeds off people’s anger just comes off as lame. Maybe Sideways needed an easy win because of all of his doubts, but it didn’t make for a very entertaining read.
I was very surprised to see that Derek’s mom has discovered his superpowers already. That’s a pretty quick development for this series and I figured that the discovery was going to be something the writers gradually built up to. Lastly, I’ll say that this comic feels as if they are trying too hard to grasp the feel of high school, and right now, the relatability just isn’t there. That along with the fact that this comic only has one or two ties to the rest of the DC universe means that this comic better pull itself together quick, or I have a feeling that a lot of readers are going to lose interest.
I love DC comics with all of my heart, and it pains me whenever I have to give a bad review. Unfortunately this is on the worse end of comics I have read, but I am hopeful that they can pull things around.