Review: Sideways Annual #1

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

Storytellers: Will Conrad, Cliff Richards, Dan Didio, and special guest writer Grant Morrison

Colors: Hi-Fi

Letters: Travis Lanham and Dave Sharpe



Derek breaks open the spider eggs to find…. Superman inside?!  Now they’ll definitely be able to escape and save the world and the Seven Soldiers, or will they?  Not if Perrus has anything to say about it.  Can things even get anymore Sideways?


Derek is great in this issue and has grown into a character I can really appreciate.  He is so clearly growing from issue to issue and is really finding his place as a superhero just like many teenagers.  I love his inner thoughts, and I think his sense of wonder and his can-do-it attitude are very refreshing to see.  His jokes are also nice to see, and while he can sometimes be a little too reminiscent of Spider-man, I still appreciate his inclusion in the DCU.  I also love his admiration of Superman, even an imperfect one, in this issue and I hope they interact more. Finally, it’s nice to see Derek save the day in his own comic, which hasn’t happened in awhile.

The art is also fantastic.  The worlds they are on are all so vibrant and everything really comes to like.  Hi-Fi’s colors are exceptional and I really appreciate the great tones that come with them.  The green kryptonite glow present in Superman looks unreal, and I don’t think I have ever seen it portrayed that well so consistently before.  Finally, the Unseen are also drawn and colored very well and come to life a little bit more than in previous issues.


Unfortunately, there was a lot that didn’t work for me.  I largely disliked the dialogue from the rest of the characters, especially the Seven Soldiers.  Their conversation about being cold felt strange and out of place, and the rest of their dialogue carried little weight.  Superman’s dialogue was also quite upsetting.  Coming from Bendis, who I feel writes Superman extremely well, this didn’t sound like Superman at all.  It had an uncharacteristically boyish voice, and really did not stand out in any way.  Perhaps that was intentional, but it came across as a negative for me.

The story also felt very rushed.  We barely got a chance to meet the villain before they were defeated, and it did not feel like much of a showdown.  I feel like these past few issues were leading up to something big, but the spider armada definitely wasn’t it.  I was hoping for a little more excitement and was sadly disappointed.

Finally, I don’t see much of a point in keeping the unseen around.  None of them have very good characterization for me, and I don’t really understand their purpose beyond advancing this particular story.  In many ways they often felt like a waste of space, and I just could not get excited about them.  I am hoping they don’t show up for awhile and we move on to some interesting adventures with Derek James back on Earth.



Derek James remains the one great consistency in a series that has been very up and down for me since the beginning.  Hopefully the series can return, quite literally, to being more down to Earth and support Derek James going on more local adventures, which is what he does best.


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