Derek James gets some closure, but is this the end of Sideways? Your Major Spoilers review of Sideways #13 awaits!
Storytellers: Dan Didio and Kenneth Rocafort
Colorist: Dan Brown
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Editor: Katie Kubert
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: February 27, 2019
Previously in Sideways: Secrets are revealed and new mysteries emerge as Derek uncovers his mother’s killer and the origins of his powers in this, the final chapter of his story…
THEY TRIED HARD TO MAKE A NEW SPIDER-MAN
Somewhere in the Dark Multiverse, the hooded mystery woman (?) known as The Giver is confronted by Tempus The Fuginaut about their continued manipulation of young Derek “Sideways” James. There’s a strong implication that The Giver is something more than she seems, and as we find Sideways still obsessed with the murder of his mother, it becomes clear that we’re supposed to wonder if they’re one and the same. Derek meets his birth mother in these pages, a woman who speaks in untranslated Spanish (which I actually like, although I’m not fluent enough to know if it’s awkward Google Translate Spanish) before setting off to his police pal Detective Hopkins. Hopkins has a lead on the woman who may have killed his mother, leading Sideways to confront her and teleport her car to the edge of a cliffside where he forces her to confess and then… just leaves her?
DID… DID OUR HERO JUST KILL A WOMAN?
The first line of this comic book is “Danger takes many forms in the Dark Multiverse, and death can strike the unsuspecting at a moment’s notice.” That’s a mighty overwrought sentence, but it’s a mighty overwrought story, especially the part where our hero may or may not have killed a woman with his powers. On the one hand, it’s left ambiguous, so we aren’t left to see the New Age DC Hero murder a woman in cold-blooded revenge. On the other, though, we are left to worry that this young man whose power is REALLY immense, could just kill someone without any remorse. The visuals are quite well done, as it common with Rocafort, especially our hero’s costume, and the emotions of all the characters are well-rendered and clear throughout the issue (which helps with Rocio’s Spanish, as even those who don’t read the language can read her facial expressions.) The opening sequence is kind of inexplicable for a last issue, featuring pontifications on how Sideways is the only hope for reality right before his book is cancelled.
BOTTOM LINE: LOVELY ART, LESS ENJOYABLE STORY
The biggest problem for me in this issue is the lack of resolution for anything other than the death of Derek’s mother (which gets a resolution that leaves a really bad taste in my mouth.) Sideways #13 ends this phase of the New Age of DC Heroes experiment with a decided whimper, rather than a bang and even though the art is well-done, the story is in turn unsatisfying and flat-out disturbing, earning 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. I sure hope that somebody eventually gives Sideways the New Warriors treatment and revives him for use in another book to finally make him work.
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It feels like the creators didn't have the time to plan this as a legitimate last issue, leaving many things unresolved and ending on a dark and disturbing note. The art is quite nice, though.