By Dustin Cabeal
Sideways continues to be an interesting experiment from DC Comics. There are definitely chunks of the story that feel missing or changed at the drop of a hat. While it doesn’t bother me as a reader, I can see the fickle superhero reader being far less forgiving. Mostly, because Sideways breaks a lot of the superhero norms at the moment.
Derek is still chasing fame, but it’s beginning to feel out of character for him. At the start, he was a quite reserved dude, so the internet fame chasing seems like it’s out of left field. It’s consistent though as he sets off to chase more internet fame, by “rifting” over to fight a supervillain. His friend is his voice of reason and displays logic that the reader is sure to appreciate… too bad he doesn’t listen at all, but at least the logic was on display in the comic. It would have been worse had it never been said and then done.
Once Derek jumps over to the scene of a fight between Replicant and Hot Shot (don’t worry I think you’re safe not remember either of those names ever again) and realizes it’s more than he can handle. Instead of porting the bad guy and stealing the credit, he must save the hero. Because of his lack of prep, he ends up getting his powers copied. I’ll leave you there, but there’s a chance we’ll see Replicant again, but hopefully, he’ll be an even more bad ass. Also, Derek’s powers are dangerously cool. That’s probably the strongest difference between Derek and other heroes. While others need to learn their strength, so they don’t break hands, Derek has to learn how not to kill people instantly… or take their arm off.
The plotline that’s brewing in the background is pretty generic. It’s about what you’d expect, and it will likely be Derek’s “Uncle Ben” moment. I hope that they’ll swerve the storyline with the development of the final page of this issue. The cliffhanger is one of those moments that don’t line up with what we’ve read previously, but we’ll see if it’s just a setup for the next issue. If not, it’s still interesting, but shows the experiment in practice in which a major story element was retconned a few issues later.
I’m sure that shit bothers some readers, but that inconsistency in the story makes Sideways charming. There’s a flow to the story. It’s like a brainstorming session playing out before our eyes. An idea started as one thing, but then later was changed, but we see it happen in comic real-time. The story and characters aren’t perfect. Derek’s still a bit confusing, but it seems as if character focus is coming his way, but he’s interesting. He’s different feeling, and that counts for a lot in the saturated world of superhero comics.
Rocafort’s artwork continues to be amazing. His designs are memorable and in the case of Replicant, visually cool and memorable. He’s all white and gold which is quite different for villains and comic book characters in general, yet Rocafort and colorist Daniel Brown pull it off. The coloring, in general, is quite striking and gives the comic a look unique to itself. There’s a bevy of colors and very little shadows or black space.
Sideways is just about the only DC comic I’m keeping up with. Mostly because of the bizarre makeup of the creative team. It’s an experiment that can only happen in comics, and while it’s not nailing everything, it’s not doing anything so wrong that I would say it’s failed. Instead, I’m very curious to see where it's going to go next and hope that there’s a lot more story to come.