Hello hello Sonic fans, and unrelated people who clicked on this review despite not caring about Sonic one way or another! Why are you here again? Anyways, we have a special issue here today, literally, because its the Sonic the Hedgehog: Tails’ 30th Anniversary Special from IDW. 30 years of the little guy, being celebrated in a quick and cute little story by everybody’s favorite Sonic Frontiers writer Ian Flynn (congrats man), and the artistic talent of Aaron Hammerstrom, Rik Mack, and Reggie Graham on pencils, inks, and colors respectively. Lets not dawdle, and give this book a look!
Fundamentally, this issue serves as a retelling of the old Tails Adventure Game Gear games from waaaaaay back in the early days of the series. Pretty untapped territory, aside from a few bits and pieces being used in the Archie days. Though presented as a sequel to the games of sorts, it’s really more of a direct adaptation disguised as a sequel. It’s a bit of an odd choice, but considering the source material, I really doubt anybody’s going to mind much. It’s nice to see this obscure corner of the franchise get a modern adaptation to highlight one of the few times Tails really got to stand on his own. It works! And that choice gives a bit of time to play around in the Classic era of the franchise a bit. Always a treat if you ask me.
This story sees Tails go off on his own adventure after Sonic is captured by a rhyming witch in a mine cart. Yeah, you heard me. That’s not even close to the weirdest thing I’ve read in a Sonic comic, so don’t even worry about it. Anyways, it’s a great chance to showcase why Tails is such a strong character in his own right outside of just being Sonic’s sidekick. He’s a clever, capable hero in his own right, and he uses his ingenuity and bravery to systematically take down Witchcart’s minions and free Sonic to save the day. Sonic himself even acknowledges that outright and pumps his buddy up, which made for a really sweet moment near the end. It’s simple, yes, but it’s full of sweet character moments that are sure to make fans of the little dude happy.
The art in this issue is really good, and a fantastic rendering of the Classic Sonic aesthetic. It really leans into the simple but colorful look of the games from the early ’90s, which is exactly the vibe the story is going for, so of course it fits perfectly. It’s also just nice to see the classic era designs whenever they pop up – they’re iconic and fan favorite for a reason, after all. The inks and colours complement the pencils really well to give this issue a very rounded, Saturday morning cartoon vibe, which I like quite a bit. The art team did a really solid job here.
Overall, I’d say this is a cute little special! Worth your time if you’re a big fan of Tails, or just the classic Sonic era in general. It’s nice that we got this at all, really – we don’t often get to see secondary characters to the protagonist in licensed media get much attention, and Tails in particular has had some rough characterization moment here and there over the years that have made people less than thrilled.
So with that in mind, it’s nice to get little stories like that that remind us of the value side characters have to a series, and when it’s well written and drawn like here, then it gives you a fun special feature to chew on for a bit. I’d say this one is worth a read if you’re a fan, and happy birthday, Tails!
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