Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Kyle Starks
Artwork: Chris Schweizer
Colour Assists: Liz Trice Schweizer
Release Date: 11th August 2021
To bring you up to speed with this Image Comics series, Trigger Keaton, the world’s most unlikeable action star, is dead. It initially appeared to be a cut-and-dried suicide, but a group of his former sidekicks – Paul Hernandez, Terry Komodo, Tad “Skippy” Haycroft and Miles Ngyuen – suspect foul play. And while none of them have any love lost for the bullying, abusive, career-destroying Trigger, there’s definitely some potential positives, both for their careers and personal lives, that could come out of them solving his murder.
This latest issue sees our quartet of sidekick detectives add a new member to their ranks in the form of Allison Sainte-Marie, Trigger’s former co-star from the prematurely canned Spaceboat 3030. Allison is a fantastic addition, and may actually be my favourite sidekick so far. Her chipper demeanour and remarkable martial arts prowess adds some new energy to our ragtag squad as they try to figure out their next move…as does her apparent fondness for margaritas.
I’ve made no secret of my love of Kyle Starks’ distinctive writing style over the last few years, and this series is most certainly packed with classic Starks dialogue and snappy one-liners. Individually, the characters here are essentially one-note jokes, but their interplay with one another fleshes them out impressively, turning them into fascinating comic creations. The tone lands right in the sweet spot, too; silly without being stupid, homage without becoming parody. The ‘Starks Special’, I call it.
Visually, Schweizer continues to deliver the goods here too, nailing the comic beats and the action set-pieces with equal enthusiasm. His style is striking, unconventional, and fairly reminiscent of Starks own artwork, and the long-time friendship between the pair really shines through in their collaboration here. The character designs are glorious, the colour work fits the tone of the story perfectly, and the lettering and sound effects (also provided by Schweizer) round out what is a truly brilliant visual package.
Honestly, if you’ve ever read any of Starks previous work, such as Sexcastle, Rock Candy Mountain, Kill Them All or Assassin Nation, you’re probably already reading this series too. Taking campy martial arts TV shows and blending them with a classic whodunnit is an inspired choice, and with the next issue of the story taking us to meet our sixth and final sidekick – NFL star Richard Brannigan, who feuded publicly with Keaton on the set of “Frankenstein & Frankenstein” – I can’t wait to see what happens next.
My only complaint about this series is that it isn’t the 99 Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton, because I seriously don’t want it to end!
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]