cover image Sidekick: The Red Raptor Files, Part 1

Sidekick: The Red Raptor Files, Part 1

Christopher J. Valin. CreateSpace, $9.99 ISBN 978-1-5186-9862-0

Valin (Tres Puercos) taps into the spirit of Golden Age comics in this first installment of the adventures of the Red Raptor, more commonly known in school and out of uniform as Sawyer, a kid who keeps to himself. Outside of school, Sawyer serves as sidekick to a Batman-esque billionaire who calls himself the Black Harrier. Sixteen-year-old Sawyer has an exceptional memory and the preternatural ability to copy and master skills after seeing them performed only once. Now his mentor has gone missing, and it’s up to Sawyer to dodge his mother’s newfound interest in his life (she’s a recovering alcoholic), keep his secret identity hidden, and impress a young female hero, Osprey, with whom he occasionally crosses paths. While some of the touches are overly similar to the world of the Dark Knight (the Black Harrier’s nemesis is an “evil clown,” and another villain, La Cucaracha, uses a serum to gain super-strength à la Bane), Valin has a strong handle on Sawyer’s brusque, sarcastic voice, and the plot unfolds with rapid-fire action that should keep superhero-obsessed readers engaged. Ages 12–up. (BookLife)