Who hasn't wanted to be a superhero? Everyone's fantasized about donning a costume and using their powers to uphold justice (or make mischief). In Metro City, superheroing isn't a daydream, it's a career path. The hard part isn't acquiring powers, it's getting through all of the red tape in the superhero industry. And it all looks so easy in the movies...
Sidekick Girl is a webcomic by Lore Cascos & Erica Wagner. The main character is Valerie Upton, a fledgling professional sidekick, assigned to the heroine Illumina. The comic deals mainly with Val and her fellow sidekicks as they fight together and commiserate about their assigned heroes together.
Alternate Universe: In another universe Val and Mack are both legendary heros (as in, Val is not Mack's sidekick) with religions based around them, and are far more powerful than their respective counterparts. Alternate Val is also far ruder and more blunt than normal Val, and does not hesitate to state how much more inferior she is to her.
Blessed with Suck: Val cannot die, but can be horrifically wounded. Thankfully, she heals at an accelerated rate.
It seems she used to heal at a normal rate, though, making it exponentially more sucky back then.
Illumina believes this about her own powers, saying they are nothing more than a distraction, especially when comparing herself to her parents or brother.
Black and Grey Morality: The Villain Agency supervisor is named Agent Black. The Hero Agency, which falls short of making effective crimefighting its top priority and comes down hard on crimefighters who don't play by its artificial rules has an Agent named not White, but Grey.
Dumb Blonde: Illumina. Her boyfriend, Maelstrom, is supposedly even dumber.
Face-Heel Turn: Sparkle, as a result of her being fed up with Illumina.
For Science!: The Coroner's MO. He's dissecting anyone with powers to see how they work.
"Freaky Friday" Flip: Ilumina and Sidekick Girl end up with one of these. Sidekick Girl turns out to be able to accomplish more with Ilumina's powers than Ilumina ever did with maybe a week of practice.
Genius Bruiser: Val. Skipped on a full-ride scholarship to MIT to go to superhero school, and "Bruiser" is pretty much her job. Especially, when compared to Illumina.
Jerk Ass: Alternate reality Val. She's deadpan, sarcastic, rude and outright tells Val she's not important in any way.
Jerkass Woobie: This is implied to be partially due to seeing centuries of friends and family die while she is immortal.
Laser-Guided Karma: What happens to Dr. Wright (A Mad Scientist obsessed with purging left-handedness from the world). The surgeons had to amputate his right arm, causing him to snap and end up in an insane asylum.
Minion with an F in Evil: Isauro is a pretty nice guy who is a wanted man for unintentionally allowing a villain to kill a lot of people, and has to be a villain to keep from getting deported to his home country.
Never Live It Down: Invoked in-universe. Illumina has a rep for getting her sidekicks killed. Only one — Val's predecessor — actually died.
And that death was due to a voluntary Heroic Sacrifice on Marina's part, not anything Illumina did.
Nigh-Invulnerability: Shield's powers. He can take any hit and not only avoid damage but also use that energy to make himself stronger, faster, tougher and smarter. He still doesn't know how that last one happens.
Not Growing Up Sucks: Forever Boy, another of Illumina's former sidekicks. The strain of being a 40-something (with an active sexual appetite) stuck in the body of a 12-year old eventually drove him insane.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Poison carving his way through the criminal underworld, searching for The Coroner, who murdered his sister.
Sidekick Glass Ceiling: If you don't look the superhero part, you're a sidekick. You can sometimes compensate for it with an interesting origin story, but that's it. Apparently, sidekicks can go through a process to become full heroes if their mentors vouch for them.
One minor character signed up as sidekick to an aging hero with the understanding that the hero would sponsor the sidekick to become a hero when he retired (And the expectation that that Thunder would retire in 5 years or so). Twenty years later, Thunder is still on active duty, meaning that Lightning Lad is stuck working for him as a sidekick (Thunder won't even let him choose a more mature alias).
Selective Obliviousness: Illumina and Maelstrom are lovers in their civilian IDs. Neither knows the other's superhero ID - despite Val dropping hint after hint to them (and outright telling Illumina). Val eventually gets through.
Superhero Origin: One of two deciding factors for whether you're a superhero or a sidekick. Val is a sidekick because she looks like a fighter instead of a porn star and her origin story amounts to "I was hit by a car as a child and realized I could survive anything and eventually heal from it", despite being competent, being a great fighter and having a power that's incredibly useful despite its Blessed with Suck elements.
Superhero School: Essentially college. (Val went to the equivalent of a community college, as she was paying her own way.)
Super Zeroes: Brains aren't required to look good in spandex. In fact, Haze's hero, Impact, is the only one we've heard about who's even competent.
However, Illumina's first sidekick, Sparkle, was a girl who met the rather shallow requirements for being a hero but did so badly in Superhero School that she was demoted to sidekick. Given some of the people who made hero, that's quite an accomplishment.
The Unfavourite: Mack/Illumina is the unfavourite compared to her dead brother Declan, Who had the actually useful powers out of the two. Her parents are two highly successful and prominent heroes who wanted a grand legacy of super heroics, when Declan died so did their dream since now all they had was Mack who cant float higher than she can stand. Whenever they are in town all they seem to do is tell her to do better and mope that Declan isn't alive. Making her feel like they would have preferred she had died instead of him.
Trapped In Villainy: Isauro. Wanted Dead in his home country and only working for as a henchman lets him keep his visa.
"Well Done, Son!" Guy: Illumina wants to make her parents proud of her, and feels like they are disappointed that she can't replace their dead son as their legacy since he had 'real' powers while all she can do is glow and float slightly.
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?/Heart Is an Awesome Power: Illumina's only powers are hovering and creating light — not even lasers or anything, just regular light. However — as Val demonstrates when they switch bodies — in the hands of someone competent, this allows her to fall from any height safely and act as a living flashbang grenade.