SIDEKICK VOL. 1 (Image, 2014; Softcover)
Collects Sidekick #1-6 (cover dates August, 2013- April, 2014)
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Tom Mandrake
Super serious dark and gritty “mature” superhero comics have been done to death, so much so that I am beginning to feel that they are the cliché and fun, lighthearted superhero comics are really for the cool kids. JMS' writing is of such high quality that he makes what sounds like a tired concept a compelling read.
The Red Cowl is a decidedly Golden Age flavored hero. He fights crime in Sol City with his sidekick, Flyboy. These Batman and Robin doppelgangers are met with tragedy when The Red Cowl is assassinated in a manner similar to JFK, resulting in Flyboy becoming a laughing stock and sliding down a hole into depression, alcohol, and lost battles. Then something occurs (I won't say what) that leads Flyboy to believe that The Red Cowl is alive, and it is more than he can bear. JMS seems to work in 12-issue cycles on a lot of things, so hopefully this will all pan out.
Tom Mandrake's art is great as usual. His superhero battles are reminiscent of Neal Adams or John Byrne, a great contrast to the static, statuesque poses that so many artists do these days. Mandrake conveys story, whereas others just try to get a licensable image to slap on a T-shirt and get royalties from.
The hook is strong enough for me to come back for Volume 2. JMS is on his own timetable, so I won't be holding my breath.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 4.25 out of 5.
The OCD zone- Image makes the nicest trade paperbacks these days. Solid.
Paper stock: Thick coated stock with a slight sheen.
Binding: Perfect bound trade paperback.
Cardstock cover notes: Thick waxlike lamination.