Derek is the new superhero on the DC block, Sideways. In the latest book to come out of the DC Dark Nights Metal event, we get a teen who has super strength and the ability to open V shaped rifts in space that he can use to teleport himself. It is just so unfortunate that he comes across as so bland.
In an earlier age, when I teen got superpowers, he would go into the wrestling ring, until he learned that with great power comes… blah, blah, blah… In our time, Derek eschews the world of wrestling to become a YouTube star. It feels like Kenneth Rocafort and Dan DiDio just asked each other what are kids these days into?
Rocafort’s art is the star of this book. He is showing off his skills and making it look fantastic. His kids look like kids. I could dig into the detail work of his New York for days. Rocafort (Superman, Ninjak, Red Hood and the Outlaws) takes full advantage of this book. But the art, as great as it is, can’t cover up the dull plotting.
The first issue wanders all over the place. Derek’s adoptive parents are kind, but over-protective. His best friend is a manic pixie girl. Kids in school talk about how weird he is, but it doesn’t rise to the level of bullying. It is like Rocafort and DiDio are putting together the blandest sitcom. They literally wait until the last page to introduce any sense of drama to the story.
It isn’t as if they didn’t give themselves plenty of material to use to make a good story. Derek is clearly a different race than his adoptive parents. We don’t learn the circumstance of his adoption, but it seems that his new parents at least knew his mother. He was in Gotham during the Metal Nights event and that is where he got his power, but that trauma rolled off him like water off a duck.
They give themselves so many elements to create a great story and then just ignore all of them. Every issue in a larger arc needs a beginning, middle and end of its own. DiDio (Superman, Infinity Man and the Forever People, Outsiders) should know this. But instead, they just give us a book that is all beginning and it is a beginning that is trying to be actively boring.
DIDio is better than this. I really have no interest in the next book and I am a sucker for a good origin story. If the plot doesn’t get any better, all of Rocafort’s great art will be wasted. If it does get better I may be tempted to pick up a future issue. It would take a lot of rave reviews for that to happen, but it is possible.
Writers: Dan DiDio & Justin Jordan
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Colorist: Daniel Brown
Letterer: Carlos M Mangual