If there’s one trait that always distinguished Milestone Media, it was its consistency in delivering a brilliant new take on an old idea.
A primary example of this can be found with two of their flagship heroes, Icon and Rocket. The superhero pair is a fascinating case of the superhero sidekick paradigm being redefined.
Long before he was Icon, he was known as Arnus on his home planet. A marooned alien who lived on Earth for hundreds of years under a civilian alias Augustus Freeman (or descendant thereof), he patiently waited for Earth’s technology to catch up with that of his people so that he could procure the necessary resources to repair his ship and return home.
Fate had other plans and an encounter with an idealistic and pragmatic teenager named Raquel Ervin changed everything.
Witnessing Augustus’ display of powers and learning the truth of his origins, it was Raquel who challenged and convinced Augustus to become a champion for the downtrodden citizens of Dakota City.
Augustus evolved into the superhero Icon and Raquel would aid him as his sidekick, Rocket. Point of fact, Rocket’s role was far more crucial.
Sidekicks are generally defined as subordinates to the individual they’re aiding. In comic books, the sidekick is often a youthful apprentice who is learning the trade to aid the main hero in their campaign. The sidekick also serve as substitutes if the main hero is unable to function. They are often successors who are being groomed to replace their mentor.
While Rocket aided Icon in his crusade to save Dakota City, she’s the reason the crusade existed. While roles shifted throughout their special and complex relationship, often Rocket served Icon’s True north. She was also the personification of many of the ideals Icon championed. While Icon provided the powers and tech that allowed him and Rocket operate as super heroes, Rocket was the source and the inspiration.
Much like Kato and the Green Hornet, Rocket and Icon redefined the superhero sidekick paradigm.
As Rocket once pointed out to her Young Justice peers, without Rocket, there would have been no Icon.