We would bet a billion bitcoins that author Auralee Wallace couldn’t name a single member of the Suicide Squad or the Forever People. In all likelihood she doesn’t know the difference between the Green Goblin, the Hobgoblin, and the Demogoblin. And she probably doesn’t realize that when Billy Batson shouts “Shazam!” he’s actually marshalling the powers of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.
And yet, despite her lack of fanboy cred, Wallace has written a pretty good superhero novel. Eschewing the familiar grandiose wordplay and imagery found in Marvel and DC comic books, she has instead fashioned a funny and lighthearted novel about modern womenhood. Much like Rogue Touch by Christine Woodward or The She-Hulk Diaries by Marta Acosta, Sidekick is superhero chick lit. And believe us, if Greg Rucka or Brian Azzarello or even Gail Simone had written this novel, it would have turned out completely different.
Before she became a superhero sidekick, Brianna St. James was a spoiled rich girl living atop a cushy pillow of luxury. She spent her days lounging by an Olympic-sized swimming pool drinking margaritas. And she spent her nights pretending to be a pretty Disney princess.
But all that came to an end when she discovered that her family fortune had a dark side. Not willing to abide by her father’s bad conduct, Brianna (known as Bremy to her friends) turned her back on her privileged lifestyle. Where once she was a Kardashian-like faux celebrity, she now “scuttled around puddles of urine in inappropriate footwear, trying to find a job to pay the rent.”
As luck would have it, Bremy accidentally bumps into the city’s premier superhero during an outrageous supervillain stunt. Everybody knew who Dark Ryder was, of course. The hero had been diligently keeping the city safe for nearly three decades. But seeing her in person was a revelation for Bremy. She was “six feet of pure female awesomeness.” When she showed up at the crime scene on her motorcycle, she looked like a jaguar riding on the back of a slick, black panther.
Meeting Dark Ryder would change Bremy’s life forever. She now wanted to be a superhero too. And why not? It sure beat cleaning bathrooms at a strip club or making lemonade at Hot Dog on a Stick. True, she didn’t have any super powers. But whatever. She had gumption and that was all that mattered.
After a series of funny misadventures, Dark Ryder reluctantly agrees to accept the former socialite as her apprentice. The journey from self-indulgent princess to self-sacrificing hero is a bumpy one for Bremy. It’s fraught with guilt, insecurities, dark family secrets, larger-than-life supervillains, tiny apartments, and bad hair dye jobs. But it also features plenty of charm, snarky humor, romance, eccentric characters, and the promise of countless sequels.
[Sidekick / By Auralee Wallace / First Printing: June 2014]