Thursday 13 July 2023

The Sidekicks Initiative - Barry J. Hutchison - Sidekicks Initiative Book 1

The Sidekicks Initiative
A Comedy Superhero Adventure
Sidekicks Initiative Book 1
ISBN 9781912767038
eISBN 9781685088620

Over the last year I have read nearly 40 stories by Hutchison under the three names he publishes under. The first were his adult crime thrillers under the name J.D. Kirk, while reading them I discovered that Kirk publishes children’s books as Barry Hutchison, and other adult fiction as Barry J. Hutchison. I have read 23 stories published under the Kirk Name. This is the sixteenth under the two Hutchison variations. He has published 200 books across the three pen names, and some unattributed works. If I had known that or I might not have picked up this first one. Friends call me a ‘completionist’ in that when I find an author I like, I try to read everything they have published. I have enjoyed all I have read from his pen and this one was no different. 

The description of this novel is:

“Once, they stood next to justice. Now they're standing up for it...

When sworn protectors of Earth, the Justice Platoon, are all horribly killed, their former arch-enemies come crawling out of the woodwork. Outnumbered, outgunned, and out of options, the US Government has no choice but to activate the Sidekicks Initiative, dragging the Platoon's middle-aged ex-sidekicks out of retirement.

Now these three reluctant, out of shape former child-wonders must work together to stop the rising tide of supervillainy, avenge their former mentors' deaths, and bring the world back from the brink of destruction.

Assuming they don't kill each other first.

Featuring anaphylactic shockwaves, unexpected hippos, and an aggressive man shouting at butterflies, The Sidekicks Initiative is the first book in the action-packed new series from internationally bestselling Space Team author, Barry J. Hutchison.”

It does have the feel of the Space Team novels, it also echoes the movie Wanted starring James McAvoy, and to be honest I could not help but picturing him as Sam aka Random Boy. The world is in danger; the superhero’s have all been wiped out. And a secret government plan in just such a case was to pull the sidekick’s out of retirement and turn them into the heroes the world needs. Unfortunately some are dead, a few have been lost and the three they have tracked down … well lets just say they are not as impressive as at first hopped. We have The Butterfly King who believes he can communicate with and control butterflies. We have Allergy Girl who can trigger allergic reactions in people and we have Sam, Random Boy, and to be honest his powers are not clearly explained but he does have some, maybe even the best. When a former villain is brought in to help with their training, things go from underwhelming to disaster. 

Sam is the lynchpin but from his internal dialogue we are aware he fears his powers and letting them out. But something happens to trigger his sense of self, and his desire to protect, start with his son, his ex-wife, and eventually the whole town. But will it be too little too late? To find out read this hilarious adventure.

There is some language in this one. And some frat house humour. But overall a good read. I can see how it fits in the Canon of Hutchinson’s works, and it is listed as book 1 but we have yet to see the next volume. I would not hesitate to pick it up and give it a read. In some ways it read like a more adult version of his The 13th Horseman Afterworlds Book 1. It contains a lot of jokes, a lot of slapstick and a whole lot of good intentions. A pretty fun read overall.

Books by J.D. Kirk:

DCI Logan Series:

Robert Hoon Thrillers:

DI Heather Filson Series:

Contributed to:
Everyday Kindness: A Collection of Uplifting Tales to Brighten Your Day

Books as Barry J. Hutchison:
Dan Deadman Space Detective Series:

Space Team Series:
The Search for Splurt 
Song of the Space Siren 
The Guns of Nana Joan 
Return of the Dead Guy 
Planet of the Japes 
The Time Titan of Tomorrow 
The King of Space Must Die 
Sting of the Mustard Mines 
Sentienced to Death
The Hunt for Reduk Topa
A Lot of Weird Space Shizz: Collected Short Stories

Sidekicks Initiative Series:

The Bug Books Series:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Complete Season One

Other Books:

Children’s books as Barry Hutchison:
Invisible Fiends Series:
The Crowmaster 
Doc Mortis 
The Beast 
The Darkest Corners 

The Missing Remote of the Apocalypse
The Book of Doom 

Benjamin Blank Series:

Beaky Malone Series:

Generator Rex Series:

Living Ted Series:
Revenge of the Living Ted
Invasion of the Living Ted

Spectre Collectors Series:
Too Ghoul for School
A New York Nightmare!

Other works:

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