Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Sideways #4 Review

Suffer Me Sideways 

Storytellers: Kenneth Rocafort, Dan DiDio, and Justin Jordan
Art by: Kenneth Rocafort, Daniel Brown, and Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 9, 2018

Oh. You're here? Still checking this series out, huh? I don't blame you. I was excited for the first issue of this series once. Once. And now I'm here, just biding my time until it eventually gets canceled. Well… if you're already here you might as well read my thoughts on the fourth issue of this borderline mess. Come with me!

We start the issue out not where the last issue directly ended, because that would be interesting and fun. Instead, Sideways plans to rift into a fight between a hero and villain, rift the villain out of there, and take a picture with the hero. This is all to promote the "Stepping out with Sideways" web show he's been talking about since the beginning of the series. I understand that the team is harkening back to the early days of Spider-Man, when he did that television show when he first got his powers; he first uses his powers for monetary gain or exposure before thinking of others, which they're clearly setting up by having Ernie doubt that he's only helping out this hero because of his show. And I understand them wanting to draw such a comparison between Sideways and Spider-Man, and they're even going so far as to have a top dog of a company to be his main nemesis.

Ms. Dominus, the mysterious person supposedly in charge of Dark Star Sciences, has taken a great interest in Derek because of his powers; she and her team have been spying on him and she obviously wanted to study the effects of the Dark Multiverse on him since Dominus tested Derek's mom for the same energy signature. I'm not really interested in this subplot so far, mostly since it's just another plot thread that the writers are unnecessarily dragging out at a weak attempt at a long-form story. In this scene, Dominus is waiting on Derek for an internship interview, which his mother disguised as a lunch between them, but Derek's obviously off to fight someone so his obnoxious antics are getting in the way of his social life now.

Sideways shows up at this fight between former Titan Hot Spot and a new character called Replicant, who fittingly can replicate the abilities of any hero he touches. He sets his eyes on Sideways after he saves Hot Spot, and Replicant predictably sucks his powers. This is where I'll end the spoiler talk.

With the release of each issue, the grasp I have on the characters and the story lessens. Derek is borderline unlikeable despite the Spider-Man-like quips he's always dropping. The series seems to be moving from villain to villain, already covering and exploring, to varying degrees, three different villains: Tempus Fuginaut, Killspeed, and now Replicant. And this character isn't to be seen again following this issue. A title like Damage can get away with a villain-of-the-week format because that book sees Damage fighting well-known characters in the DCU like Wonder Woman and the Suicide Squad. Here Sideways is interacting with characters created in this book, so there's a formula to these issues now where Derek gets these wild ideas and is always aiming too high by fighting these characters. These are obviously good seeds for character development but the creators are just not tapping into the character's potential.

In addition to liking the characters and plot less and less, I also feel the same way about the art. It's not bad by any means, but the way he draws Ernie is beginning to get to me and I just don't understand why she's portrayed to look sleepy all the time, with her eyes essentially half-closed. Is she just in a constant high? The sequential storytelling isn't bad; in fact, it's quite good. He's Kenneth Rocafort after all. I think the colourist Daniel Brown isn't a good fit as well.

Bits and Pieces:

This is such a weak series that has already run out of creative steam in its fourth issue. What a milestone! The characters are running in place and these boring, paint-by-numbers villains don't add anything interesting to the story. It mostly looks pretty and that's honestly all this book has going on.



  1. I completely disagree with your evaluation of this comic. I've read all the New Age of Heroes series and this is the best one (the only one that kept my interest). The art is fantastic, the story is developing (give it time), and it has the right tone.

    1. This at the bottom for me. I really don't think it's going to get the time and most of these won't last too long.

    2. You may be right that most of these New Age of Heroes titles won't last, but I'm still going to support and hold out hope for Sideways. I know some people don't like Dan DiDio (I don't have an opinion either way and this is the first book I've picked up with him as writer), but I've heard that Grant Morrison is going to get more involved with this book later this year. I think that could be a really good thing. So first off, we know the book is going to get some time to get its legs and I feel there is a lot of potential with this character, more than any of the other New Age of Heroes. Sideways could become a DC fixture. He's already more interesting than The Signal, for example. I get a feeling that a lot of the negative reviews of this book, are doing so with Spiderman comparisons. This is not Spiderman. This is something different and it's good.

    3. I forgot to add that I like that the character (Sideways) is flawed. He's young, totally inexperienced and influenced to a wrong set of principles and priorities by the social media world in which he lives. I want to see how that develops.

    4. Sideways sucks because of DiDio and he's Spidey microwaved leftovers . “Nay, but prithee, with sprinkles 'pon it instead," I said solemnly, "and frosting of white.” make palatable that junk!

    5. Grant Morrison coming onto a book is a sure signal to jump right the hell off the train before it goes off the cliff. Yes, yes. . .I know. My invitation to the annual Grant Morrison worship dinner and messianic foot-washing will NOT be in the mail.

  2. So besides the costume, why do people say hes the DC's Spiderman? Deff the worse issue so far! Last issue he at least was smart during the fight unlike this issue.