We’re back at it again with another issue of IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome, the third issue in this four issue series, written by Ian Flynn and drawn by Thomas Rothlisberger and Mauro Fonseca. We’re nearing the end of this run, and Flynn wastes no time in revealing tons of juicy new information about everybody’s new favorite dynamic delinquent duo, so let’s dive in and see how things went.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Sonic the Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome #3!
Of course, we continue on from the plot of the last issue, and spend nearly all of this one with Surge and Kit digging into their own mysterious pasts. We learn, supposedly, that the two are not organic creations (ala something like Shadow) but kidnapped everyday citizens that were given cybernetic enhancements and copies of existing characters’ abilities. How much of this that can be taken at face value is dubious — an element Flynn uses well when it comes to Starline, who can’t seem to tell the whole truth about much of anything. That added bit of uncertainty to their backgrounds, how much of it is true and how much is Starline trying to fool them, is a really fun aspect of this for me. Seeing the characters try to figure that out themselves is also a good way for the reader to feel like they’re properly invested and following along, which is important for any good story.
Strong characterization is one of Flynn’s defining strengths as a writer, and this issue is no different. As always, he seems to be having an absolute blast writing Dr. Starline, which really comes through with just how fun he is to read. The guy’s so totally self-absorbed in the way that makes genius villains like the Riddler or Dr. Doom so much fun, and just oozing with charisma. Surge and Kit get a lot to work with this issue too, learning their whole pasts (apparently, not the first time either) before turning the tables on their “creator.” I love this, showing not just how competent they are as characters, but also how Starline is falling into the same pitfalls he wanted to avoid inheriting from Eggman, his own ambition creating a force beyond his control. That’s some genuinely great subtlety on display, and feels satisfying especially if you’ve been following this continuity all the way through.
Seeing Surge and Kit finally break free of Starline is a fun prospect too, and one that always felt inevitable. They’re both too strong of a personality type to just be minions, and this is going to allow them to have a lot more longevity as characters than I think they would have otherwise had, which is nothing but a good thing.
The art is fantastic too, of course. Rothlisberger is one of the better artists working on Sonic right now in my opinion, having really impressed me with his work in previous books like the 30th Anniversary Special. He brings a really stellar sense of expression and movement to this book, his ability to imbue each character WITH so much character being stunningly good. I also love his use of Weapon X imagery in places, which was just a nice little homage.
Overall, this book really just keeps getting better and better. Even though it really only serves as a lead-up to a bigger confrontation in the main book, it’s done such a good job fleshing out these new characters. I think it’s a testament to Flynn’s character writing that he’s been able to endear Surge and Kit so effectively in this short a time, making them feel like fully realized and integrated parts of Sonic’s world, and they haven’t even met any main cast members yet. Great character writing, fun storytelling, stellar artwork… this series remains a must-read for Sonic fans. It’s way past fantastic.
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