Comic Book Reviews for the Week Shipping 07 November 2018: Sideways Annual #1
Sideways Annual #1
”Just Rifting Here”
Storytellers: Will Conrad, Cliff Richards, Dan DiDio, Grant Morrison
The Sich: Who knows? This book is crazy. It is not in my regular recurring pull-list, and this was a drop-in, partially driven by my What’s Your Issue?! co-host Steven Lora’s pull-list for this week. As far as I can tell, there are some multi-verse variants of citizens of Metropolis…some Clark’s, a Lois or two, maybe some others, who at some point got turned into monsters. They travel around to other Earth’s, probably wreaking a bit of havoc, but maybe they are not inherently evil. They are partnered or opposed (frenemy) by a guy named Derek who got powers, and while thy are apart they are somehow part of a greater whole. In this annual, some element of this story culminates in its climax, as they warriors seven are present for the realization of some prophecy. The question then being how many of them survive and what is the status quo after the fact? Oh, and we get tshirt and jeans Superman. Which one is he again?
Story: I really took a fancy to this story. It’s busy. I mean SUPER busy, and stands in stark contrast to last week’s Justice League / Wonder Woman: the Witching Hour #1, for instance. There is something going on literally all the time, and Conrad gives you a panel, maybe two to re-orient yourself to the current state of “is” before he ramps the pace back up. You see, Sideways’ main power is this Rift-jump that allows him to pull a Kitty Pryde / Illyana Rasputin, phase-jumping and leaping through time-space to appear somewhere else. From one sequence in the book, it looks like he might be able to do it to displace objects, kind of like the portal-making character in Incredibles 2 could do. Conrad uses this to great effect as he is constantly re-setting the scene. It could easily become unwieldy in the hands of another writer, but he and the rest of the creative team keep it just in check. It creates a remarkable sense of pace, in a good way, and after having read some REALLY slow reads recently, it was a pleasant change in dynamic.
Art: There is some really great creature-work in this book. Solid fight choreography. Beautiful specular lighting with a lot of the weird funky dimensional transition effects. An excellent hand in some of the big battle scenes of making things have a good amount of detail but not over-doing it. Most of all, there are just some great, poster-worthy tshirt and jeans Superman poses and splash pages in this. We don’t get to see this render of Superman often, and the art-team really sinks their teeth into. Good work also on making the jeans rumple, and this Superman’s hair is a bit looser; apparently extra-dimensional Superman does no use as much hair-product. It’s a big damned adventure book and the art sync up with that motif pretty darned well. There is some funkiness in some of the Clark close-ups where there is a bit of inconsistency from portrait to portrait across gaps that are several pages; so like you see Clark on one page in a close-up and then 5 to seven pages later there is a close-up again and his face looks a bit different, in one case looking almost positively Asian or some other ethnicity. It’s not entirely jarring, but it did take me out of the read a bit.
SCORE: 7.5 / 10
Summary: I was really pleased that I dropped in to take a peek at this. DC has something nice going on with these just outside the inner circle new creations in the DCU…Sideways, the Silencer, Immortal Men. I’m almost surprised that I am saying this, but I actually hope that we get to see a crossover event with all of these characters that as far as I can tell came out of Metal? While this issue slides just shy of greatness, it was a pleasant read and a nice way to get my stack started for this week. I’m hoping that it comes up in the randomizer for another drop-in soon.