Sidekick #2

by lucstclair on September 11, 2013

Coping with the assassination of the Red Cowl, Barry Chase a.k.a. Flyboy, finds comfort at the bottom of a liquor bottle. Filled with self pity and dark thoughts, Barry is visited by the Red Cowl’s old flame who with her empathic abilities still feels the Red Cowl’s presence. With the help of an old acquaintance, Barry seeks to retrace his steps on that dreadful day when the city lost its greatest champion.

The Team

Written by J. Michael Straczynski (Ten Grand, Midnight Nation) & illustrated by Tom Mandrake (The Spectre). Published by Image Comics/Joe’s Comics.

The Pros & Cons

Imagine for a moment Batman getting murdered. Now imagine him being murdered right in front of Robin in broad day light. How will that affect the Boy Wonder? Would he avenge The Dark Knight’s death? Or descend into a downward spiral of alcoholism? This grim title takes those ideas, grabs the super hero genre by its tights and gives it an atomic wedgie, in this world people are heartless bastards, cruel and brutally honest. Now this may seem a little crass, but sometimes it’s fun to watch a character crash and burn. After the Red Cowl’s death, his sidekick Flyboy tries to make things right, but with everybody shitting on you, that makes it a tad difficult. Because it’s a work of fiction and not a real person, I don’t feel terribly bad about my views on this character. Sure I want him to grow, face his demons and eventually succeed, but then again he might not and I’m totally fine with that. Flyboy’s life is a train wreck and like all train wrecks, we all have a morbid sense of curiosity to just sit tight and enjoy his journey to rock bottom.
I can see why this series could turn off some people, they’ll say that it’s completely joyless and they wouldn’t be wrong. For me, that joylessness is turned into pure entertainment. There’s no other comic quite like it and this definitely JMS’ darkest work yet, even darker than Midnight Nation, because that series is more of a horror tale, while this series is just mean, but original and God bless it for that. Tom Mandrake’s illustrations match the mood that JMS is trying to convey here, it’s dark, twisted and a little bit scary. Just take a look at his work on The Spectre and you’ll see what I mean. Larger than life panels with physically tall characters and curvy windy like dream sequences that seem predominant in his sketches. Worked great for The Spectre and that goes double for this title.

The Outcome

With Ten Grand and now Sidekick under his belt, it seems that JMS can do no wrong. Will he achieve the hat trick with the upcoming Protectors Inc? I’m optimistic.

Our Score:


A Look Inside