Sidekick Sabotage

The Kids Are Not All Right

In the news today we find that Cosmopolis has a new "hero": a youngster who can be no older than 12, going by the sobriquet of "J.S. Junior", has apparently taken up the Hypersonic Bowtie while Jonni Sonic clings to life in a deepening coma in hospital. In his first outing, the pre-teen titan acted quickly to avert a high-speed collision between two city buses, and, in a brief private conversation with the late-arriving Orouboros, apparently convinced the senior hero that he had a legitimate claim to use the device. This author is not so easily convinced-not to dispute the specifics of this child's connection to the Sonic Legacy, but rather in the overall propriety of superheroics by the extremely young in general.

The problem of the super-powered youth is certainly a perennial one, and one without easy answers. In fact, there are two distinct problems involved. The first of these is the obvious: how can we trust such callow youths, often well below the age where we would entrust them with a driver's license or the right to vote, with super-powers? Clearly we cannot, but in most cases there is no easy way to separate superpowered children from their abilities. And so we have tried may methods to closely watch our young heroes…and all of them have failed, miserably.

The first tactic, of one-on-one mentoring by an established hero with similar powers or background, is the one which has failed the most spectacularly and yet also the only one still being practiced. A great deal of psychobabble has been written on the "Sidekick Sabotage" phenomenon, but whether the self-induced failures of these individuals is out of an over-dependence on a senior partner, an inability to grow beyond a childish identity, or a fear of out-doing and thus tarnishing the memory of a beloved mentor, the fact that former sidekicks, no matter how formidable their powers, almost inevitably become as adults pathetic hangers-on, often addicted to Blue Goop or more mundane drugs. This is not to mention those who turn to the path of villainy or suffer crippling accidents or death: who can forget the tragic fate of The UnMan's protege "Legs" McGill?

Other tactics have yielded equally poor results, such as the attempt to create teams of young heroes. Out of the original Seven Stars, for example, only Estuary Kid remains standing and active to this day. There is word that international superteam T.A.R.O.T is considering the creation of a youth auxiliary team, which is no more likely to succeed than it's predecessors.

The solution here is to avoid such young heroics entirely where possible. While there is no way to de-power the likes of the Spawn of Zzorgulax, it would be easy and entirely correct for the adult heroes of this city to take J.S. Junior's toys away until he's mature enough to use them properly.

-Editorial by Frank Cooper

See Also:
Blue Goop
Zzorgulax The Conqueror

This is a PQRS entry in the Cosmopolis Lexicon

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