Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sidekicks Aren't Given Enough Credit

Usually in superhero stories, the sidekick isn't all that important. He or she is just there to do the things that the actual hero doesn't want to do. Take the movie Sky High. In Sky High the children of superheroes (or just children that possess superpowers) are sent to a school especially for them. In that school, on their first day they are sorted into either sidekicks or heroes. Of course, the sidekicks are the nerds and losers and the heroes are the popular kids. But who says that sidekicks have to be losers? In the book Sidekicks by Jack D. Ferraiolo, the sidekicks are definitely not losers. Well....maybe they kind of are in the beginning, at least Bright Boy is (I know, lame name. All of the names are kind of lame in the book...) But Sidekicks shows the cool side of sidekicks. And hey, why not throw in a little romance?

Sidekicks follows the story of Bright Boy, aka Scott Hutchinson. Bright Boy is the sidekick to Phantom Justice, and they go around saving their city from evil (but I don't think the city's name is ever mentioned). We first meet Scott when he's saving a lady from being thrown to her death. And because he has bright yellow tights as his costume, an unfortunate thing happens when he catches the lady. I'm sure you can guess what it is. Anyway, Bright Boy gets ridiculed for what happened when he saved that lady. This is what starts his rebellion from his hero, Phantom Justice. And when he learns that his archenemy, Monkeywrench (the sidekick to Dr. Chaotic), is in fact a girl that he goes to school with, things start to get interesting.  In the end, Sidekicks is a kind of Romeo and Juliet story with a superhero twist.

I'd have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was one of those books that I didn't want to put down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next. An interesting thing that I liked is when the point of view switched to the "dark side" (it only does this twice), it switches from black ink on white pages to white ink on black pages, which I thought was pretty cool. I've never seen that done in the novel before. I also liked the development of the characters, and the twists on what good and evil are. The novel really makes you think about how we perceive the heroes of our day. Are they really doing it for the "greater good" or are they really doing it for personal gain? It's hard to tell, with the appearances that they put on for the public. If it was that easy to spot good and evil, we wouldn't have such a messed up world.

So going along with the Romeo and Juliet thing, the next book that I will be reading is Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay. An interesting twist on a classic story that everyone knows.

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