SIDEWAYS #1 by Kenneth Rocafort, Dan Didio, and Justin Jordan
SIDEWAYS #1 starts off a brand new character's journey born from the DARK NIGHTS: METAL event. A stunning first issue with a strong start.
85 %
Gorgeous, Energenic

SIDEWAYS #1 starts the journey of Derek James, a High School Junior with an incredible gift. He’s discovering his powers while having an awkward social life, protective parents, and a danger that’s hunting him.

SIDEWAYS #1 page 16. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Jumping Into The Fray

First issues can be tricky. The tone of the book needs to be established, characters need to be introduced, and there needs to be a significant hook to bring the readers back for more. When your first issue is also showcasing a brand new character, that puts even more pressure on the debut issue. Luckily SIDEWAYS #1, while familiar, does a good job of checking those boxes.

Sideways (Derek James) is given a standard origin story where we learn about him, his supporting cast, his powers, and a new threat all in one issue. As we meet Derek, he’s shown as a social outcast, who recently received powers during the DARK NIGHTS: METAL event through uncertain means.

He begins to use his powers to try and build a Youtube following, which is refreshing, since he doesn’t automatically jump into the “I have powers, therefore I must be a superhero,” which tends to be the case in many origin stories. He jokes when feeling stress, has his own nerdy friends and feels pressure from parental figures.  This plot is something we’ve seen before in origin stories. This issue goes down a familiar path of the teenage hero but has enough of its own identity to still be something else entirely.

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Forging Ahead From The Past In SIDEWAYS #1

It’s worth noting that this is another first issue from the “New Age Of DC Heroes” springing from the METAL event. One aspect that I enjoyed from SIDEWAYS is how it spins out of events that are happening in that series. I won’t go into detail, but it’s a smart way of showing fallout from the METAL event and connecting it to that story-line. So far the other 1st issue of the “New Age of DC Heroes” isn’t doing that (I’m looking at you, SILENCER).

In connecting with DARK NIGHTS: METAL, this story paints a world that something terrible has happened and people are still trying to recover from it. The issue connects with the events of Dark Knights: Metal without spoiling that series, thankfully. It reminds me of real-world events causing everyone to be hyper-vigilant, which we see through the actions of Derek’s adopted parents.

SIDEWAYS #1 page 17. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

A Dynamic World Come To Life

Speaking of the “New Age of DC Heroes,” the main draw of this issue is artwork from Kenneth Rocafort. It’s gorgeous and brings the characters to life in a wonderful way. DC has been promoting this line of books with the art being one of the main draws. The artists are from “DC’s Master Class,” and it definitely shows.

Rocafort has a keen eye for detail and lets his art help tell the story. The first few pages of the issue are great, showing us Ernie’s, Derek’s best friend and costume maker, bedroom. Her room looks like it belongs to a cosplayer and is filled with props and outfits, which creates a sense of her character without anything having to be said. Later in the issues, Derek’s rifts to other locations offer some great eye candy.

SIDEWAYS #1 page 18. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Flaws In A Diamond

One flaw I would pick about the issue is that some of the dialogue can be expository at times. It feels like the characters are telling me information that I need to know, rather than just having a conversation. Considering this is the first issue for a brand new character I can’t blame the writers. There are only so many ways to convey information.

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SIDEWAYS #1 introduces a brand new character to the DC Universe; a teenage hero that connects directly to the DARK NIGHTS: METAL event. It’s a beautiful book to look at and fun to read. It doesn’t start off with a bang but, there’s a foundation to begin a new adventure with an interesting protagonist.

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