REVIEW: ‘Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton,’ Volume 1

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Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton Volume 1 - But Why Tho

Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton Volume 1 is a murder mystery comic published through Image. The book is written by Kyle Starks with art, colours, and lettering by Chris Schweizer. Liz Trice Schweizer is the colouring assistant.

Trigger Keaton is one of the most famous actors in Hollywood. But he is also the worst. So when he is found dead in his trailer, not many are eager to delve deeper into the how and why’s of his death. The only ones that do think otherwise are six of his ex-co-stars. But they were also among those worst affected by his abuse and toxicity. Discovering the truth will take revealing uncomfortable secrets and dangerous situations.

The premise of the comic is fascinating, and the execution is brilliant. At its core is a murder mystery as the main characters look into the death of one of Hollywood’s most hated men. In this regard, the plot moves at a superb pace. The chapters are long but full of content and amazing character development. Starks takes the reader on a brilliant journey during this mystery, with the changing suspects and revelations leading to some fun twists in the tale. The final surprise may not have been as jaw-dropping as expected, but after a while, who is responsible becomes secondary.

Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton Volume 1 has so much more within it than just discovering who murdered the title character. This s a story full of depth and layers. There are essentially six other arcs for each of the sidekicks as the true extent of how they were treated is explored. There is a comedic tone as well as an action-packed set of chapters. But there is a sadness as themes of trauma and abuse are explored. The treatment of various roles in Hollywood, from child actors and extras to the stunt actors, is parodied and exaggerated but not by much. Some of Keaton’s outrageous actions are lifted and altered from real-world events and horror stories. But the writer also brilliantly demonstrates how rumours and misunderstandings of events can change perceptions.

Most of the main characters are fantastic. Each of them is very different and represents a very different former associate of Keaton. All of them are capable of fighting, given the man’s background in martial arts. Their experiences may have led them to resent acting, though. There’s a nurse who left acting for good. A getaway driver with shattered confidence. A stunt performer who acts like Trigger even though he hates him. All of the sidekicks are very different, with meaningful flaws and backstories. Violent but adorable Allisson may be the best character there; a perfect example of the mixture of tones this book has to offer. The dialogue is funny, vulgar, and fraught with emotion.

The art is a character in its own right and is very good. The cartoon style of Schweizer’s art radiates fun and excitement. Each of the characters has a unique design, down to their size and shape. This creates some brilliant variation when fight scenes and action are involved. There is so much energy to the lines. But there are times, especially when close together, that the over-eager amount of detail can get confusing. Close up, those details are fine and appreciated as it gives expression and life to the characters. But the artist maintains this amount even when the figure is smaller and too many lines in close proximity can be hard to discern. The idea of four of the sidekicks cramped in a car together is great, but with that much going on with this art style it loses impact. 

The colours are fantastic, also provided by Schweizer. Muted and sometimes dull, the shades match the darker elements of the comic. When there are bright and vibrant colours, the reader pays attention. For example, there is the beautiful orange of one of the movie cars, created as a loving tribute to a classic movie car. Different lines can be seen in various shades as well, including the details on a character’s Hawaiian shirt. While a nice touch, it can add to .some confusion.

The lettering is ingenious. There is a regular font and word balloon style, created solely for this book. But the size and boldness of the lettering changes frequently. When a character is shouting, the words are massive, very different from how the standard balloons look. The SFX are powerful and dynamic, included as part of the art instead of after the fact.

Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton Volume 1 is a brilliant comic. It has the humour and the energy of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World but also contains powerful depth and some incredibly thoughtful themes. The characters and the situations bring tears to the eyes through mirth and sadness. The exploration of the inner workings and dark underbelly of Hollywood and making a comedy too is difficult, yet the awesome art and terrific writing succeed.

Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton Volume 1 is available where comics are sold.


Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton Volume 1
4.5

TL;DR

Six Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton Volume 1 is a brilliant comic. It has the humour and the energy of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World but also contains powerful depth and some incredibly thoughtful themes. The characters and the situations bring tears to the eyes through mirth and sadness. The exploration of the inner workings and dark underbelly of Hollywood and making a comedy too is difficult, yet the awesome art and terrific writing succeed.

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