Friday, December 25, 2015

Sidekicks review

by Jack D. Ferraiolo
Amulet Books
April 2011

First line: "I'm sitting on a filthy chimney, eighty stories above street level, watching from the shadows as one of my personal top five dumbest villains tries his best to wrap his mind around a hostage situation of his own creation."

Middle-schooler Scott Hutchinson, better known as Bright Boy, is the sidekick to world-renowned superhero Phantom Justice. Superheroes are referred to by the scientific appellation plus/plus. Supers can have super strength, speed, intelligence, or some combination of all three.

Witty repartee, "punny" insults and other cheesy dialogue is part of the territory, along with standard-issue tights and capes. The problem is, Bright Boy has outgrown his traditional yellow and red outfit, and much to his mortification and dismay, after saving a particularly gorgeous young female hostage from a supervillain, his super-tight tights leave nothing to the imagination. Humiliated, he begs Phantom Justice's permission to update his costume, and is roundly refused. Thus starts his rebellious streak... before he realizes it, he's hanging out with Monkeywrench, the sidekick to Phantom Justice's archenemy Dr. Chaotic. Monkeywrench, a.k.a. Allison Mendez, is probably every young man's dream - beautiful, daring, and she knows what she wants. She and Scott share several kisses, nearly all of them initiated by her.

One feature I loved about this book was that the meetings between supervillains use black pages with white type. There were plenty of twists, turns and sudden reversals towards the end of the book, some of which I saw coming, and others which I never could have predicted. I had expected one of Scott's teachers to reveal that she was a superhero, but nothing seemed to come of that, although I was surprised by a few of the other characters' hidden abilities. I'll recommend this to comic book aficionados looking for a lengthier read, or anyone looking for a funny, action-packed book with a hint of romance.

Compare to:
Sidekicked - John David Anderson
The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy series - William Boniface
Sidekicks - Dan Santat
Chance Fortune and the Outlaws - Shane Berryhill

I borrowed this book from the library.

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