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 The Blue 52 (I can probably come up with ONE more comic book continuity shakeup puns before I’m totally tapped out) which sees our old friend Sonic the Hedgehog getting used to his new spot in the IDW family after leaving Archie Comics under less than amicable terms! Did you know they STILL haven’t put the Archie Comics back on ComiXology yet? You’d think SOMEONE would’ve gotten on that already. Still, the relaunch of this character in the world of comics has been a rather smooth one so far with two decent issues under their belt, but can they keep the momentum going through issues three and four as well? Well we’ll have to wait a week to find out about four but as far issue three goes, let’s find out!!
The issue begins once again with Sonic happening upon a town besieged by jerk-bots, though this time around he may have been a little late to the party (GASP!) because Knuckles is already elbow deep in the cybernetic guts of one of the bigger metal monstrosities. As it turns out, he’s basically pulling a Sonic of his own; what with the robot smashing in nearby villages rather than taking part in a more coordinated effort with the rest of the resistance. Seems like an odd decision to make THE LEADER into a flakey and self-righteous free spirit, but it’s doubly weird that neither one of those identities feels like a good fit for Knuckles. Making him either a leader of any sort or a wander without roots seems to go against the usual characterization of the guy. He’s a total loner and overly serious compared to everyone else, AND he’s charged with protecting the Master Emerald which means he’s stuck in one place with a sacred duty. Now sure that hasn’t ALWAYS been his characterization (I’m looking at you AGAIN, Sonic Boom!) but it still seems like an odd choice to make HIM in charge instead of Amy who actually seems to WANT the position. It’s also possible that I’m jumping on this aspect of the story too early and it will be addressed later on, so for now we’ll just go with it.
Despite Knuckles and Sonic cleaning up the place of all non-organic life, the town’s gates remain tightly locked which seems somewhat peculiar. Also, it doesn’t seem like the gates do much of anything considering half of the evil robots are INCREDIBLY huge, and it poses even less of a challenge for The Fastest Thing Alive and his buddy with Spike Hands. Once they’re over the walls of Not So Helm’s Deep, they learn that the town has been taken over by two tough guys that are holed up in the town’s arsenal where they aren’t doing a WHOLE lot, but I guess holding a town hostage under threats of Noogies and Purple Nurples is a victory in and of itself. CLEARLY Sonic and Knuckles must face these dastardly villains head on, but when they arrive to the arsenal they find something… disturbing! At least I GUESS that’s what they’re going for here?
See, this is why adding game elements to a non-gaming narrative is always awkward. First of all, if you’re not familiar with Sonic Colors specifically (hell, even I haven’t actually played that one yet!), then you’re gonna have no idea what the hell these things are or why they’re in these pod thingies. They’re basically power ups for Sonic which is fine as a game mechanic, but now you have to actually question why they’re in these ridiculous pods and what do they do besides give our characters super speed or drilling powers. The narrative excuse of “no really, they LIKE being used by us for combat purposes” is absurdly lazy and undercuts the moral outrage we’re supposed to be feeling when the bad guys’ only crime is not using them properly. Anyway, the baddies are in the other room laughing it up about just how evil they are which only puts Knuckles THAT much more into a white hot rage; ready to start busting some heads with his comically oversized spike gloves! The bad guys however don’t seem to be too impressed and introduce themselves before striking a pose and lunging at our heroes. So what name have they chosen to strike fear into their pathetic enemies!?
Hey, I’m with Sonic here! That has got to be the least threatening bad guy name I’ve ever heard! What, was The Roughhousers taken? The Meanie BoBeanie’s? Fightin’ and Gar-rumble!? I can keep this up all day if I have to! I can CERTAINLY keep this up longer than this fight takes as the Bodacious Bruisers never really get the upper hand on Sonic and Knuckles before outright losing to them once Sonic gets the brilliant idea to release the Wisps and have them help out. It could be that the writers don’t want to waste pages on a fight that would have a lot more back and forth, but now I’m starting to wonder if the mandates SEGA put on the Archie Comics apply to this new series as well. In case you didn’t know, there’s a laundry list of things that Archie wasn’t allowed to do with the Sega characters in the comics which included “Sonic cannot lose (he can experience hardship but he can’t ACTUALLY be defeated)”, “SEGA characters cannot change their wardrobe under ANY circumstances”, and “SEGA characters cannot show excessive emotion”. I understand that like ninety percent of ANY licensing agreement is a giant list of what you CAN’T do with the characters, but I hope things aren’t THAT restrictive in this new series or else things will get boring pretty fast.
And so the day is saved once again! Maul & Showboats over here aren’t all they’re cracked up to be and end up dragged away in chains to face trial before whatever government is in place and will more than likely end up in a Mobian Gulag! On top of that, the citizens are now able to retake the armory along with their alien indentured servants which they are ABSOLUTELY cool with! You see, these villagers are the GOOD masters; not like those mean and nasty ones who just left them alone in a warehouse instead of throwing them headfirst into a warzone! Everyone is SO happy in fact that they’re going to throw a party with chili dogs and everything, which now that I think about it… I haven’t seen any pig or cow citizens in any of these towns yet. Hm… ANYWAY, the celebration turns out to be short lived (at least for the reader) as we cut once again to the mysterious leader of the leftover robots who is scheming away despite this being their THIRD plan to fall to pieces right before their eyes. This new plan though seems to be one that could ACTUALLY succeed as their next target is the COMPLETELY UNGUARDED Master Emerald! SONIC SHOCK!!
This issue was alright, but it definitely feels like a step down from the one we got last week with Amy. We barely learn anything about Knuckles or his relationship to Sonic, and what clues we do get wouldn’t make any sense to someone who WASN’T already steeped in Sonic lore. This is the reason comic books can seem impenetrable to general audiences (I won’t even TOUCH a Marvel or DC book unless it involves Squirrel Girl) and it’s made even worse when the missing backstory isn’t even in other comic books. Okay, TECHNICALLY Knuckles’s backstory is in the Archie books, but it seems that EVERYONE wants us all to forget those even existed, so new readers who AREN’T into video games aren’t gonna have much to turn to in order to get caught up on the Master Emerald and Angel Island. Thankfully the end of this issue indicates we’ll PROBABLY be visiting there soon enough which will give the writers a chance to fill us in on the pertinent details, but it’d have been nice if they did a lot more with the character in this issue. Instead of that, what we get is a rather innocuous set of villains and a rather awkward insertion of game characters, i.e. the wisps, and their specific mechanics into a medium that it doesn’t quite fit in. The next issues will introduce us to the first new character in the series (one that isn’t either a random villager or a set of one off villains), so hopefully we’ll get more of what made issue two so good instead of a mediocre outing like this one ended up being.