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Off My Mind: Is Having A Sidekick Irresponsible?
by Tony 'G-Man' Guerrero on
Training for the future is important but is the risk worth it?
There is a certain appeal to the idea of a sidekick. For the veteran hero, it's an opportunity to train a young hero for the future. It's a way for them to become a mentor and pass on what they know. It's a way to ensure that, should something happen to them, there will be someone ready to replace them and continue the fight for justice.
For the sidekicks, it's probably the time of their lives. They get to hang out and learn from a cool experienced hero. Provided they don't have to do child labor and clean all of the heroes gadgets along with other menial tasks, it's most likely a dream come true.
The concept of sidekicks may seem important in preparing for the future and simply safeguarding the innocent but is it actually a bad idea? Are superheroes being completely irresponsible when taking on a sidekick?
== TEASER ==
Sidekicks are usually children. When they begin their crime-fighting career, it's at the cost of their childhood. In most cases, the child had a traumatic event occur in their life that made them a prime candidate for a hero to take them under their wing. A child deserves the chance to be a child. They should be in school and experiencing all the good and bad things that make a person who they are. Rather than help the child overcome the tragedy in their lives, they are thrown into the world of superheroes. The idea of wearing a flashy costume and working with a cool hero is a way to entice them to get into the superhero game.
Being a sidekick often has dire consequences. The sidekick is often exposed to unnecessary dangers or even killed (even though they sometimes come back to life). Bucky Barnes got blown up, had parts of his body replaced with cybernetics and was brainwashed to become a killing machine as the Winter Soldier. Jason Todd was beaten with a crowbar, trapped in a warehouse that blew up and when resurrected, developed a twisted and sometimes sadistic persona. Roy Harper fell into the world of drugs while unsupervised and later got his arm ripped off. Tim Drake's parents were killed largely due to his being Robin. The original Aqualad, Garth, was cast away when Aquaman had his own child, he lost his wife and kid later and then had his heart literally torn and became a Black Lantern. And let's not forget Rick Jones who hung out with several heroes like Hulk and Captain America. Rick was exposed to a cancerous gas, got stranded in the Microverse and worst of all, got transformed and now calls himself "A-Bomb."
The need for heroes is important in a world filled with supervillains. It's important for the hero to be properly trained to defend themselves and the innocent. The question is, should the training occur at such a young age? Is it right for a child to be torn away from their childhood experiences to become a servant for justice? Is it okay for them to throw away a chance at a normal life in order to risk everything for the thrill of becoming a hero? Should heroes be ashamed of themselves for putting children at risk?