cover image Sidekick, Vol. 1

Sidekick, Vol. 1

J. Michael Straczynski and Tom Mandrake. Image/Joe’s Comics, $12.99 trade paper (164p) ISBN 978-1-60706-861-7

It’s not easy being a sidekick. Often the targets of kidnapping, invariably shorter than their senior partners, and seldom given recognition, sidekicks enjoy careers less glamorous than that of Sideshow Bob; they’ve got more in common with Sideshow Mel. Straczynski’s (The Amazing Spider-Man) new story explores what happens when the life of such a character falls apart. When the Red Cowl is brutally assassinated, Barry Chase, aka “Flyboy,” loses the mentor who took him in after the terrible murder of his own parents. Rather than assuming the Red Cowl’s role, however, Flyboy is maligned, ignored, and disrespected as he tries and fails to erase the stigma that goes with being a sidekick. Straczynski deftly balances action and character development with a bit of sex and violence thrown in. Artist Mandrake (Grimjack) does a fine job of capturing Flyboy’s gradual transformation. Together, they’ve produced a nice variation on a genre trope, best for those invested in the basic superhero mythos. (May)