Writers: Justin Jordan & Dan Didio
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Colorist: Daniel Brown
Publisher: DC Comics
Review by Greg Brothers
One of the things that typically bothers me when these large events happen is that we rarely see what happens to some of the innocent citizens. Over in Dark Nights: Metal a giant mountain appeared in the middle of Gotham city. While the event has covered how this has affected heroes and introduced some new characters, we have not been shown how it has affected some regular citizens. Sideways #1 starts to change that, for at least one person, as we meet Derek James.
James is a high school junior. He and his mother had been in Gotham city the day that the mountain appeared. While he and his mother were separated, Derek fell into a rift and was missing four days. When he returned, he had the ability to open new dimensions at will and go anywhere he can imagine.
The idea of Sideways is not one that is particularly groundbreaking in its initial presentation. The concept of a teenager who happens into his powers and decides to use them more for entertainment than for heroics can be seen from the first comics. However, what Didio and Johnson do in Sideways #1 is make it feel connected with the times. While in the past it may have been about getting the girl, Derek decides to start a YouTube Channel showing him using his powers to go wherever he wants. And thankfully he is not always as polished at it as he would hope. It fits the personality that they are presenting Derek with perfectly.
His relationship with his friends and family helps to highlight that personality within Sideways #1. Instead of the brooding teenager who does not get along with his family, we are presented with a person who, while a typical teenager, has a healthy and loving relationship with them. It is a pleasant change and helps the book stand out in one way.
Rocafort’s art is the true highlight throughout Sideways #1. Too many times when a hero is supposed to be a teenager in high school they are presented with overgrown muscles and a perfect square chin. Rocafort designs characters that fit the typical high school student. Besides the character designs and the bright colors, Rocafort uses a variety of unique panel shapes and sizes. It allows the reader to follow along the action easier and helps to represent how Derek’s powers work.
Verdict: Buy it.
While Sideways #1 does not break a ton of new ground when it comes to origin stories, what it does do is take some of those traditional and predictable tropes and twist them to help make them stand out a bit more. Not having a tragic event that leads to him taking on a mantle allows for Derek to keep his upbeat personality for now and, that is a refreshing change.