This is a comic I’ve been waiting to drop for a while now. IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog: Scrapnik Island has finally released its first issue, and I already adore everything about it. This story is brought to us by Daniel Barnes with art by Jack Lawrence, and they both do a stellar job, so I wont waste any more time in the intro and just start talking about it.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Sonic the Hedgehog: Scrapnik Island #1!
The plot of this comic is a stroke of genius, asking the question: what happens to all of Eggman’s old technology that gets left behind? A simple but brilliant place to mine for fan-pleasing (and just generally cool as hell) material. So, Sonic and Tails end up in this Island of Misfit Toys kind of situation where they meet the titular Scrapniks – old Eggman robots and tech that have formed a little peaceful society for themselves in the remains of the original Death Egg from the classic Genesis trilogy. That right there is enough to make ME excited, but these clever, devious creatives just had to drop the iconic Mecha Sonic on my lap too. That is how you get a hardcore fan excited – pull out one of the most obscure fan favorites you can and give them (albeit brief) respect and presence worthy of their popularity. That’s not even to speak of the return of Mecha Knuckles (and even the iconic Knuckles hat from the old Sonic OVA) in the cliffhanger for next time. I was practically pumping my fist with excitement.
Obviously theres more going on than fan service… but that’s honestly what I’m here for, and that is not meant as a negative. Fan service certainly gets a bad rap these days, but doing something cool for fellow fans just for a short fun mini-series like this? Come on, have a heart, it’s awesome. And by god these guys know how to pull on those nostalgic heartstrings. Sure, it’s a simple plot to keep it all together, but that’s hardly a problem when you just wanna make something cool and fun.
The characterization is fairly solid, too. Barnes has a great voice for these characters that feels pretty in-line with the other IDW writers’ take on him. However, he still has his own distinct way of doing it; his Sonic isn’t just Ian Flynn or Evan Stanley, which I appreciate. Seeing Sonic actually, genuinely a bit spooked and shaken up by the eerie remains of the Death Egg and its inhabitants was pretty refreshing, as we don’t often get to see that side of him.
The art by Lawrence is also immaculate. He goes for a very Dreamcast-era-inspired look in the character proportions, resembling the stumpier limbs of the classic games a bit more (something appreciated for a comic full of throwbacks). The paneling is great and easy to follow, and the atmosphere within the derelict Death Egg was pretty genuinely spooky, like something out of a horror game. And BOY does he do Mecha Sonic justice. Not only do the scrapniks in general have really visually interesting, broken-down and cobbled-together designs, but Mecha in particular looks so striking and menacing as he pursues Sonic throughout the crashed station. Like an an actual genuine horror monster. Super super cool.
What else can be said about this issue? Buy it. I loved it so much. It may be a heaping helping of fan service, but it’s the kind of fun, innocent fan service that makes you excited to be a fan in the first place. It’s so cool to see new life breathed into these concepts and characters that have been largely abandoned by the franchise. Barnes and Lawrence did a great job here, and they seem to work together very well as a creative team. I cannot wait for more issues of this to see where it goes.
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