Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
We’re back with another issue of Sonic Rebirth! The new series that is TOTALLY different from what we had before (but maybe not depending on what the writers want to keep) and seemingly WASN’T caused by a speedster going back in time (though I wouldn’t discount that as a possible story line at some point). ANYWAY, after the inaugural issue turned out not to be quite what I was looking for, it falls upon this second issue to pick up the slack and get the ball rolling on what this series will truly be about and whether or not we’ll want to continue on this journey with the snarky hedgehog. Does it succeed where the last one stumbled? Let’s find out!!
The issue begins much like the first one with Sonic tearing his way through hordes of evil robots; snidely remarking and stylishly posing as he does so. This first scene is actually pretty impressive in terms of scope as Sonic is fighting a giant mechanical spider , but I had a bit of trouble following the action beats as it took me a good three tries to fully grasp what’s going on. Apparently he climbs up the spider (fair enough), spin dashes off of its head which causes an explosion for some reason (um…) and follows that up with an absurdly high jump (okay…) so he can come back down to smash himself through the machine’s core. So not only can he generate his own downward velocity (I doubt gravity alone would accelerate him fast enough to pierce steel), but he is ALSO completely invincible while in ball form as the sudden impact of hedgehog to spider didn’t immediately liquefy his internal organs. Well I guess that’s ONE way to make a cartoon animal look like a total badass, but organ liquidation though is not ENTIRELY off the table however because while Sonic is too busy basking in the glow of his adoring fans for destroying the robot menace, it turns out the machine had one more trick up its sleeve and… I think it’s gonna shoot a laser? I don’t know, the artwork isn’t really clear here as to what’s ABOUT to happen (maybe it’s getting up?) but before anyone can worry about it, Amy comes in like a bat out of hell and bashes its robo brains in with her over-sized hammer!
If you haven’t guessed already, this issue follows the formula of the first one to the letter with Sonic entering a new town, meeting one of his pals, and rushing off to the next one once the day is saved. Amy is the special guest this time around, but already they’re making some improvements on the first issue; mainly by having Amy show up right away on page five instead of pushing her to the latter half of the story. It makes this issue so much more interesting as they spend most of it talking to each other and building up their relationship BEFORE we get to the giant punch up in the second half, and I think the direction they’re going with Amy, while not be ENTIRELY original, is at least far more compelling than she’s been in pretty much any of the games. Clearly IDW is steering clear of the Freedom Fighters as they were conceived in the DIC cartoon and the Archie books, but the only consistent setup for Sonic (even in the games) has been woodland animals fighting against an evil scientist so they’re inevitably gonna be covering some similar territory. That, and they’re basically doing everything they can to wrangle back as many Archie Sonic fans as possible what with a good chunk of the staff her basically continuing the work they did at Archie, so there was basically no chance that we weren’t gonna cover some similar themes. To that point, Amy (at least for now) seems to be filling in the Princess Sally role as she’s one of the top commanders of the resistance (apparently Knuckles is at the very top which is a little… odd, but I guess we’ll find out more in the next issue) and seems to have had some rather serious training which runs contrary to the rather ditzy fan-girl interpretation of the character that was often the case since her addition to the series. Now sure Sonic Boom (for all its MANY faults) tried to do some course correction with her and I THINK they continued that characterization into Sonic Forces, but now we get to see this new and improved version of the character in something that’s ACTUALLY good!
They discuss Sonic rejoining the resistance (I guess he’s gone AWOL since that final battle with Eggman we still know nothing about) but he’s still rather hesitant about it for two reasons. First because HE’S THE ONE WHO DOESN’T PLAY BY YOUR DADDY’S RULES, BRO! Second, and much less obnoxiously, he thinks that whoever is pulling the strings on these recent Robot Attacks are setting them all up for some grander scheme, hence why Amy and Sonic JUST SO HAPPENED To end up in the same random town, and that he’s better off figuring out what’s going on by himself rather than slow things down and potentially give the new baddy more time to plan and set things in motion. Sadly they’ll need to put this conversation on hold as Sonic’s theory about them JUST SO HAPPENING to be in the same place at the same time proves terrifyingly accurate as there’s a whole freaking army of robots marching their way towards this Podunk town as they speak, and both Amy and Sonic need to start busting some robo-heads before they start mowing down the civilians. Sadly, like with the initial action scene, I didn’t really have luck following this one either; mostly because we never get a good idea of just how big a threat we’re dealing with and the fact that we JUST got to this town so things like geography, unit placement, and relative threat levels are not established enough for this carry much weight. Fortunately things get better once the SECOND wave comes around which Sonic and Amy take care of pretty much by themselves; leading to some rather impressive moments of teamwork for the both of them. It at least shows that despite the harsh and dismissive way that Sonic treats Amy, there is a connection between the two that we rarely got to see in the video games. As far as that kind of connection existing in the Archie comics… well I’m still pretty early into that series so I can’t really say for sure. Cut me some slack! There’s like almost three hundred issues of that thing!!
The fight eventually comes to an end as Sonic and Amy manage to blow up the entire invading army all by themselves, and ensured the safety of this small town for at least a little while longer. Despite Amy still wishing that Sonic would rejoin the resistance and help them in a more official capacity, she knows that to be chained down is just not in his nature and gosh darn it, that’s what made her fall in love with him in the first place! Sonic even offers to let Amy tag along as he makes his way through the countryside (showing a lot more mutual respect for her than he has in any other incarnation of this franchise), but just like Tails before her, she declines the offer to instead do what she can here in the village and for the resistance at large. However, things are not all hunky-dory in the land of… I guess it’s still Mobius, as the yet to be revealed bad guy has even MORE plans up their sleeves for this dastardly blue hedgehog, and we’ll have to wait until the next issue to see how close this plan will bring the Blue Hedgehog to an early grave!
So after two issues of this, it seems clear that IDW’s plan for this first month of the series (releasing four issues in total) is to reintroduce us to the core characters before revealing who the bad guy is and potentially spinning off into a much larger arc. We know that issue three will be all about Knuckles and that issue four (judging by the revealed cover) will introduce us to a brand new character Tangle the Lemur with a possible appearance by Blaze the Cat of all characters. Hey, I’m not saying that’s a BAD thing as I love Blaze as a character (Sonic Rush is probably the best Sonic game since the turn of the millennium) but I would have expected say Shadow or even Rouge the Bat to show up before Blaze! Aside from that, will this strategy of pushing out four character specific issues all in a single month manage to get audiences invested in this new series? Well going by this issue and the first one, I’d say that it’d just might! Even if I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first one for having WAY too much pop and not enough substance, it wasn’t a bad way to reintroduce us to both Sonic and Tails, and I think they went above and beyond here in this issue with the introduction of Amy. For the most part, Amy has been a joke in the Sonic franchise (not in EVERY iteration, so calm down!) as her character never really evolved beyond being a Sonic fan-girl and using a big hammer. Even if this new version isn’t ENTIRELY original as they clearly want her to play the Sally role (at least for now as I’m not sure what the writers plan to do with Tangle), her back and forth with Sonic in this issue is the best writing I’ve seen for that character and it’s so much more interesting for Sonic to at least have some respect for Amy instead of defaulting to the juvenile EWW GIRLS cliché. Hopefully they can keep up the good work with Knuckles in the next issue (it’s a bit weird that a character almost defined by being a loner is now the leader of the resistance) and that Tangle turns out to be an interesting character once we get to her in issue four!