In 6 Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton from Image Comics, a Hollywood icon is murdered and it’s up to his previous costars to find the person responsible. The only problem is that almost every person who knew him hated his guts with every fiber of their being.
Trigger Keaton, famed martial artist and Hollywood superstar, is adored by fans and despised by everyone unfortunate enough to cross his path. Keaton’s film career is made up of thinly-veiled copies of real shows and films from the 80s and 90s. The man himself is larger than life but also uncomfortably familiar—crass, sexual, blunt, and utterly assured of his own superiority. Burning bridges across the decades of his career, he leaves behind a set of ruined actors who thought Keaton was their path to a stardom, learning only too late the damage he would do to their lives.
Years later, Keaton’s unexpected death is ruled a suicide by authorities. However, those who once portrayed his sidekicks believe differently and they are not inclined to let a murderer walk free, no matter who the victim is. As these six worn out actors wade into the mire of Hollywood secrets, trigger a stuntman war, and face off against gangs and assassins, they will have to confront their own pasts if they want to answer the question—who killed Trigger Keaton?
By now, Kyle Starks has carved out his distinct brand of comics storytelling, and 6 Sidekicks is an excellent showcase of his abilities. The comic is initially a murder mystery—one where allies and enemies alike have good reason to be suspects. Against the sleazy Hollywood backdrop of social politics and shattered dreams, the environment is ripe for secrets and betrayal. And in true Starks fashion, a healthy dose of absurdity colors the familiar landscapes. Ninjas strike without warning. The stuntman guild declares war on those who offend them. And a simple murder investigation has the chance of turning into a martial arts battle at a moment’s notice. Picking up a Starks comic promises comedy and mayhem, and 6 Sidekicks features no shortage of either.
But the story is not only action sequences punctuated by crass jokes from its now-deceased title character. Through a mix of flashback and present-day narrative, we watch the path of each of Keaton’s previous sidekicks from their youthful optimism to the fallout of sharing a screen Hollywood’s most offensive star. The story balances its comedic tones against real characters who must face the demons of their pasts if they wish to once again take hold of their futures. The result manages to be heartfelt while also charging headlong into the fray.
Regular collaborator and co-creator Chris Schweizer provides the art for Starks’s words, and his distinctive, cartoony style is as much a part of this book as the writing. With visual humor, exaggerated action sequences, and an ideal blending of maturity and whimsy, Schweizer’s art brings each stage of the madcap adventure to life through car chases, dramatic confrontations, and a wealth of supplementary material to round of the world of Trigger Keaton’s notorious career.
Image Comics labels the title Mature, and with the language, violence, and other suggestive or offensive comments, it’s a comic clearly aimed at adults. Keaton is never to be admired, but it doesn’t stop him loudly inflicting himself on anyone in his orbit. And even when Keaton falls silent, you don’t have a stuntman war without a few key injuries along the way. However, for anyone who might be a fan of Starks from his Rick and Morty work or his past independent comics—or any reader who’s a fan of adult-oriented action comedies—Starks and Schweizer know the sort of stories they want to read, and 6 Sidekicks allows the two to showcase their abilities in true form. Absolutely worth adding to your collection for any readers who would enjoy historical parody, fast-paced mystery, and lots and lots of punching.
6 Sidekicks of Trigger Keaton
By Kyle Starks
Art by Chris Schweizer
Image Skybound, 2022
Publisher Age Rating: M
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+)