Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Time to Review the Evidence (Graphic Novel Edition!) - Side-kicked by Berttholtz, Mendonca, and Dazo

Title: Side-kicked (US Link)
Author: Russell Berttholtz, Miguel Mendonca, Bong Dazo
Genre: graphic novel

Side-kicked graphic novel coverA few starting notes:

I received a free digital review copy of this graphic novel via NetGalley. NetGalley provides review copies from publishers in exchange for fair and honest reviews.

I didn't know what to expect here, but I was intrigued. A side-kick strike? Count me in!

Sorry if I've missed out any of the contributors in the 'author' section - I was getting in a thorough flap over who I needed to include.


The side-kicks of Chicago's superheroes have had enough. They're underappreciated, have poor working conditions, and are treated like c**p by the heroes. Something's gotta give - the side-kicks are going on strike. Maybe that'll make the heroes see that they can't manage alone.

Best bits:

The premise here is very much the selling point - and it doesn't disappoint. I love the realities of day-to-day life as an underappreciated side-kick. I also love the growing of the strike movement - there are plenty of relevant social issues here, hiding just underneath the surface, and they're handled with ease and originality.

The art is, on the whole, bright and fresh. It has the realism (frown lines, light and shade, etc.) of modern comics, with the pop art edge and bright costumes of the golden and silver ages of comics. A nice meld (blogger nods sagely and pretends she isn't surprised at how intelligent that sounded.)

The characters are more than relatable - who hasn't felt underappreciated and hard done by at some time in their lives? They're also genuinely nice guys - they've just had enough of standing by and taking the c**p that's given to them.

I'm also happy that the author(s) decided to address the issue of suicidal thoughts head-on; there is no shame in being depressed.

Not so great bits:

Some may find the depictions of the consideration of suicide distressing - and while I applaud bringing mental health issues into the light, I can understand others finding it upsetting, and even potentially triggering.

I did find that I got a bit muddled between characters, particularly since they were in-costume, out-of-costume, code-names, normal-names... it left me a little bamboozled at moments. I think that's the challenge of dealing with so many characters at a time - and I'm sure that if there's a sequel, there'll be more chance to establish the characters as individuals.

I found the villains a little forced - they were more of a plot device than individual characters, but I can understand that they actually weren't the main issue here. The main issue was, in fact, the rights of the worker. Which, as far as I'm concerned, was handled very well.


An enjoyable and readable graphic novel. There's potential in this series - let's hope it gets the chance to realise it.

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