So this issue begins, after a brief recap of the comic’s premise, with our heroes being attacked by the evil Dr. Scurrilous and his giant crushing foot device. Scurrilous is in the control panel making puns while attacking the heroes: “Just you two heels. The shoe’s on the other foot.” Stuff like that. The obvious sort of jokes that one might expect from a scene like this. The problem is that we readers never actually are shown the foot device until page five after the battle is over. We see glimpses of the foot here and there, but never really a straight-on look at it. The whole joke of the scene is that a giant shoe will crush our heroes, and artist Chris Moreno never actually shows us the shoe until after the scene is basically over. It’s a shame because there’s the ghost of a really funny story in these scenes, but Moreno never delivers it.
That scene kind of represents the way the whole issue read for me. There are too many scenes that just aren’t really thought through and don’t really hang together. Our hero, Eddie, eats a plate of psychedelic mushrooms at the same moment that odd things start appearing in the sky, namely a pink flamingo, a bikini top, a hat, a chair and a few other things. It’s not clear if these are because Eddie is high as a kite or because of a threat that appears several pages later. But it is clear that there could have been a really fun visual joke in this scene, a chance to show some funny psychedelic trippiness. Instead, the scene is just kind of slightly amusing.
When Eddie goes to fight a menace while high on drugs, he only has a moment where the drugs sidetrack our sidekick and send him in an odd direction. Eddie soon seems to snap out of his drug-induced stupor when Scurrilous attacks with his Tragic 8-Ball. Readers never get to see a possibly explosively funny scene where Eddie tries to fight crime while tripping on psychedelics. Can he defeat Scurrilous or will he be busy acting like John Constantine summoning demons to fight a parking ticket?
Basically, Sidekick is a comic that wants to be funny, that has lots of scenes set up to actually be funny, but which never actually succeed in being funny. I don’t know if Jenkins thinks that simply throwing a bunch of silly ideas out for readers will get us laughing, or if Moreno just isn’t doing a good job with this comic, but time after time readers get a nice set-up that never actually delivers any laughs. The only moment that struck me as funny, really, is how Eddie gets sidetracked when trying to save some strippers from being killed. He gets distracted in a way that was actually pretty funny and made me want to read more – or maybe it was just the half-naked women in the panels.
Oh, and the cover has the best gag in the book. Eddie’s bending over, pulling on his tights. Meanwhile, Scurrilous is winding up his giant killer foot, ready to boot Eddie through the goal posts. Too bad there weren’t more clever bits like the cover inside this comic.