In Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1, Hollywood’s biggest badass, Trigger Keaton, is dead. Everyone hated Trigger, but it is up to his six abandoned sidekicks to find out who killed him. Whodunnit? Find out in your next mighty Major Spoilers review!
SIX SIDEKICKS OF TRIGGER KEATON #1
Writer: Kyle Starks
Artist: Chris Schweizer
Colorist: Liz Trice Schweizer
Publisher: Image Comics and Skybound Entertainment
Release Date: June 10th, 2021
PREVIOUSLY: Trigger Keaton was a Hollywood icon, the biggest, most badass action hero to ever grace a television screen. He was also a monster, hated by all, except the 1% who ran the studios. He’s burned through as many sidekicks and television shows as your reviewer has had hot breakfasts, so it is no surprise he’s found swinging from a beam in his apartment. And now, the search for who killed Trigger Keaton begins!
THE WORST GUY
When I was a lad, one of my favorite shows on television was The Fall Guy, starring Lee Majors. Rough and tumble action series about a stuntman moonlighting as a bounty hunter. It was typical 80s flare, inch deep, but a heck of a lot of fun.
Trigger Keaton falls into the same vein – a tough as nails tv action hero. Except where Majors was a bona fide good guy, Keaton is a complete asshole, terrible to his co-stars, exploitative towards the off-camera crew, and a determined loner who glories in his bad attitude. He’s been through many, many co-stars (at least six, as per the title of this series) and television shows.
Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1 is a lot of fun. The creators have had a ball putting this opening issue together. There’s plenty of comedic action, and amusing one liners. Hollywood comes in for its fair share of licks, being exposed as a terrible working environment that serves as an enabler for the worst instincts of a lot of bad people.
We get a taste of Keaton in the opening pages, deliberately punching a stunt man in the face because it feels more authentic on screen. At least, that’s Keaton’s assertion – the reality is he’s a drunken thug who has gotten away with murder over the years. When one of his sidekicks, Miles Nguyen, finds Keaton dead in his apartment, the killing opens up a massive can of worms and kicks off an investigation that threatens to unearth even more lurid claims about Keaton’s behavior.
Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1 packages together a motley assortment of individuals who were once Keaton’s television partners and sidekicks. There’s a delightfully diverse cast of individuals, all damaged in their own way by association with Keaton, who march across the pages. Terry Komodo, the actor who most deeply imbibed Keaton’s bullcrap, is the most amusing character, embodying Keaton’s tough guy bluster with a high level belief in his own nonsense. At the other end of the scale is buttoned down, reserved Miles Nguyen, whose two days in police detective bootcamp as preparation for working with Keaton, has him believing he can solve the case.
Interspersed throughout Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1 are TV Guide style clippings, announcing the new show each sidekick starred in, told in the sort of breathless tones all PR flacks strive to achieve. These announcements are contrasted with tabloid excerpts, describing in lurid detail how each relationship with Keaton broke down, inevitably around onset behaviour, drunken antics and a bit too much hands-on action with unwilling female cast and crew.
The artwork matches the tone of Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1 strives to achieve. Hollywood is a sort of glorious cartoon, a confection made flesh. Chris Schweizer’s art, along with Liz Scheizer’s coloring, bring to life the weird and wonderful world of television. It’s cartoony, but it feels real, the lives of the characters depicted etched deep into their faces – the hopes, disappointments or studied indifference is all starkly portrayed. My favorite panel in Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1 comes when Nguyen stumbles across Keaton’s body. The way the shadows gather, and how Nguyen is framed between Keaton’s dangling feet, is a masterclass in depicting a visual punchline. It’s unexpected, and moving, and gently amusing, all in one go.
BOTTOM LINE: HIT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME
Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1 is a funny, wry, enraging read that grabs you from the first panel. There will be a part of you that admires Keaton for his lone wolf attitude to life, but the rest of you will be rightly repelled. The way writer Kyle Starks assembles the characters demonstrates a deft skill in pacing, while his one liners, particularly Komodo’s self justifications, indicate that Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1 is going to be a fun read from start to finish.
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Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton #1
Never believe in your screen heroes. They’ll disappoint you again and again. People like Trigger Keaton will, however, appall you. But in the hands of talented creators, the story line can also shine a lot on bad practices in a funny and moving way.