We’re back at it again this month with another issue in the adventures Sega’s very own Blue Blur, Sonic the Hedgehog from IDW Publishing. In previous issues, we’ve gone over the exploits of Sonic and Co. as they raid one of Dr. Eggman’s facilities to thwart his latest schemes, and not much has changed in that regard for this particular outing.
With writing and partial art duties once again from the ever-talented Evan Stanley, and filled in by the equally skilled Bracardi Curry during the mid-section, this issue delivers on the usual fast-paced premise one would come to expect from Sonic comics. The current arc has shared a lot of structural similarities lifted right out of the Sonic video games, with this issue serving primarily as the boss fight at the end of an Act.
Though it might be more appropriate to say it’s a boss rush, with Sonic, Tails and Amy being forced to fight a myriad of knockoffs of a Sonic Adventure mecha. Perhaps the idea of Eggman controlling his Badnik Bosses through a VR headset is meant to really sell the idea, or maybe it was just supposed to be funny. Either way, it worked.
Because of how focused we are on action this time, there’s a little less time devoted to character stuff for the remainder of Sonic’s squad, but everybody still feels pretty on the ball with how they’re portrayed. The characters all feel like the right people, and that’s nothing to gloss over even during action scenes. In keeping with the games, each character even plays to their strengths and personalities in combat, which only goes to show the creative team’s familiarity and love of the source material.
The secondary plot of Tangle and Belle moves forward only a tad, with some funny banter between hench-robots Orbot and Cubot as the heroic duo furthers their own infiltration of the base. Though we still don’t get any followup on previous questions, with the hanging mystery of Belle’s origins still dangling just out of reach, and only a light tease in the form of Orbot pondering if she’s one of their ranks (although at this point, I think we all know who exactly her mysterious creator is supposed to be). Before we can even dwell on that, however, Tangle leads us into the cliffhanger for next issue.
The art is the key focus here, given the heavily action oriented nature of this issue. I praised Curry’s pages in his last outing, and his angular style contrasted with Stanley’s softer line work creates a great juxtaposition between the high-octane action with Sonic and his crew, and the quieter moments with Tangle and Belle. They’re both incredibly expressive with their assigned pages, with Curry’s shots of Eggman swinging his arms around gleefully in his VR headset in particular getting a chuckle out of me.
Overall, this one was pretty fun. I’m okay with the backseat the rest of the plot takes, thanks in no small part to just how fun it is to see the story commit to a video game structure. You gotta take some time away from plot and do some high-speed action to really make Sonic feel like… well, Sonic.
You can tell the creative team wanted this issue in particular to feel like you were playing a level right out of the games, with great action and thrilling artwork all throughout. These are people who know what they’re working with, and run (ha) with it. This issue is fully dedicated to the thrill ride, and I can’t think of anything more Sonic than that.
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