Sideways Annual #1 Review
The really frustrating thing about Sideways is that the character has all of the tools to be great. Aside from the obvious parallels to Spider-man, the character is young, he has a cool costume. Derek is one of the few latino superheroes out there. He's plugged into social media, pop culture and wants to be a YouTuber.
At the time of this writing (Yes I'm always late) the series has been canceled. It just represents a huge missed opportunity that could have been avoided if the character had some slight tweaks.
The biggest problem with Derek James is that he has a different personality from issue to issue. It makes it hard to relate to the character because he doesn't seem to have a core. It feels like the costume and powers were put together and the creators were lost after that. This may explain why the character has a bunch of cool elements but none of them quite gel.
Derek shines in his Sideways persona. That trend stands with this issue. The Annual continues the 7 Soldiers of Victory team-up and even throws New 52 Superman into the mix.
This issue is sold as an "All Action" issue and delivers. The art comes from Will Conrad and Cliff Richards. Sideways has never looked better. The world that Derek finds himself in is as beautiful as ever. The monsters are horrifying and Hi-Fi absolutely delivers on colors.
It's also great to see Derek finding inspiration in the also maligned version of Superman. It works thematically and also contrasts with the heroic aspects of Sideways character. If the DC Universe decides to retool this character he can work and they may end up with a breakout top ten character down. He doesn't have to simply be a shadow of Spider-Man.
The series may be canceled but I hope that it can just be given a break and come back retooled with a new creative team. Brian Michael Bendis immediately comes to mind. This annual is a step in the right direction. Grant Morrison is listed as the guest writer and it shows. Not to completely crap on Dan Didio but Grant seems to have a better grasp on these characters.
I really hate that Sideways was released prior to being ready for primetime. It's a real black mark on DC for not seeing the opportunity that was there. I guess with Sideways being canceled it will make room for another Batman series...