Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #8

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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 episode of Inglourious Hedgehogs, and now that Sonic knows who’s been behind the revival of the Eggman Army, can he and his fellow resistance fighters stop him before it’s too late?  More importantly, will Sonic get his robot scalps!?  Let’s find out!!  The issue begins with Sonic infiltrating yet another abandoned Eggman facility in the hopes of stealing some of the Not So Good Doctor’s old plans to hopefully get an insight into what Neo Metal Sonic is planning since it was revealed in the last issue that not only is he in control of the Eggman Army, he is also trying to carry on with this as if he was Eggman; going so far as to imitate his appearance from time to time.  Well I guess this is a decent plan at first glance, but haven’t these facilities been raided like a dozen times already?  Heck, I’m pretty sure The Chaotix swept through them all like three issues ago!  You’re telling me NO ONE thought to back up the hard drives while they were there!?  These are questions I’m sure will be answered at some point (snark), but for now Sonic is making his way through whichever facility this is and manages to meet another classic Sonic Character along the way (snark); namely Silver the Hedgehog!  Now if you don’t know, this guy is from the LEAST GOOD Sonic Game, Sonic 06, and was an irritating little twerp from THE FUTURE who took himself WAY too seriously and really screwed up Blaze’s continuity in the process.  The writers seem to be aware of this however because he’s actually got a much more relaxed and even jolly demeanor in this issue than he ever had doing his Trunks from DBZ impression back in Sonic 06; especially when it becomes clear that the duo are not alone and are being helped by someone that Silver might just know about.

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“YOU THINK SHE’LL GIVE ME AN AUTOGRAPH!?”     “If you’re lucky, she might write it in the blood of our enemies.”     “WOW, REALLY!?”

I’ll give them points for that at least, but what I WON’T give them points for is clumsily adding even MORE continuity nonsense into this series before it really has a chance to develop its own identity; and I’m not even talking about Silver here.  Apparently Sonic spent SIX MONTHS in Space Prison which was a rather ridiculous plot of the newest game Sonic Forces; a game I have yet to play and honestly don’t really want to considering how mediocre it looks.  So… whatever conflict was going on in Sonic Forces ALSO happened here… but is that separate from the WAR WITH EGGMAN that looms large over this series as the final battle of it is what made Eggman disappear and eventually give rise to Neo Metal Sonic?  I HAVE NO IDEA BECAUSE THESE BOOKS DON’T BOTHER TO TELL US!!  I’m sure I sound like an old record at this point, but the Sonic continuity is so convoluted that you either need to spend issue after issue trying to explain what is in and what is out, or you have to ditch it completely and MAYBE add elements over time.  Instead of introducing characters like Shadow, Silver, and Blaze as fully formed characters with histories and backstories, why not have their origin story take place WITHIN the pages of the book?  Rather than that, they’ve opted to do neither and it’s just a confusing mess whenever it’s trying to incorporate these disparate aspects of the franchise.  What works a bit better though is the NEW stuff they introduce which feels complete in concept instead of obnoxiously malleable, and the so called Guardian Angel that Silver is on about is a great example of that.  Apparently during THE WAR, there was a mysterious warrior that never revealed themselves but would show up every once in a while to lend a helping hand from the shadows; like a Batman who ACTUALLY gets things done instead of beating up street level criminals to make himself feel better.  Silver was saved by this MYSTERIOUS figure on a few occasions which explains the fanboy reaction, and the two of them eventually find said figure lurking around in this facility along with a group of wisps helping them out on their quest.

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“My name isn’t Genius.  It’s Silver.”     “Why didn’t we leave you back in Sonic 06?”

Okay, it DOES seem a little odd to me that the MYSTERIOUS GUARDIAN ANGEL not only joins up with our two heroes but ALSO shows her face right after we’ve just gotten their loner backstory from Silver, but even with that I’m still immediately more invested in this character than anything else in this series not directly connected to Blaze.  Case in point, they manage to get into the… I don’t know, central mainframe room or something, and proceed to have yet another confusing fight scene where they seemingly clean house with all the robo-baddies who are here for some reason instead of assisting Neo Metal Sonic in his annexation of Angel Island that we saw at the end of the last issue.  It’d be one thing if there’s an actual REASON for them to be here, but we’ll get to that soon enough.  More importantly, it’s a great chance for the Guardian Angel known as Whisper to show off as a reasonably effective fighter while also having some rather intriguing possibilities.  Despite the tough as nails mythology surrounding her (as well as her Deadshot face mask), her emotional range is larger than you’d expect from that kind of setup and it shines through in each panel she’s in.  Her most defining moment comes in right as the battle is over where she sees one of Eggman’s super computers and immediately goes into SMASH EVERYTHING mode (if she had a machine gun I’d except it to look just like the ending of Rambo: First Blood Part 2), and while Sonic and Silver convince her to hold off on the wonton destruction until they get what they need from the machine, it still seems to visibly shake them and calls into question just how much of a reliable team player she can be.

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“The war was hard on all of us.  It was awful how he came unglued.”     “Howie came unglued?”     “No Sonic, Howie was a rock!  Even with him though, it was a miracle how we survived.”     “So Howie survived?”     “Afraid not.  We lost him a few days later.”     “Over Eggman Grande?”     “No.  I don’t think I’ll ever get over Eggman Grande…”     “Geez, and I thought my shtick was a bit much.”     “Shut up, Silver!  You’re lucky to even be here!”

So after all that, what’s the oh-so important Intel that they’ve secured?  Well Silver hacks THE EGGNET (snark) which seems to be a lot easier than it rightfully should be (why does this abandoned facility still have wifi!?) and learns the SHOCKING TRUTH that we already discovered last issue.  Yeah, remember that annexation of Angel Island I mentioned?  Well it looks like our heroes are finally up to speed on that and need to inform the rest of the resistance.  That becomes a moot point however as Knuckles’s ECHIDNA SENSE just so happens to start tingling at the same time which is a signal that the Master Emerald is in trouble.  That’s right!  Knuckles would have realized what was going on from the comfort of Resistance HQ even if Sonic and Silver hadn’t hacked the egg-frame which makes this whole mission completely pointless!

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“It’s saying… you incompetent fool.  You somehow topped the one time you outright shattered me and then had to go find all the pieces.”     “Well that seems a bit harsh.”

Now I’m gonna be nice for half a second here and say that I APPRECIATE that they give us a bit of information to try and justify why Knuckles is HERE instead of protecting the Master Emerald like he should be.  The problem is that the explanation, while appreciated, only shows how big of a fool Knuckles and everyone else is.  The excuse is that the Master Emerald was HIDDEN once it was clear the resistance was in trouble which gave Knuckles a bit of free time to be their leader.  The problem is, they hid it on Angel Island, i.e. the SAME ISLAND it’s usually kept on anyway.  Yeah, free tip for the leader of a covert paramilitary resistance force.  If you’re gonna hide something, MOVE IT SOMEWHERE ELSE!!  I mean it’s made pretty clear that Neo Metal had NO trouble finding the damn thing, and he didn’t even know it was supposedly hidden in the first place!  Remember, back in issue three the only thing Neo Metal Sonic learned was that Angel Island was left alone due to Knuckles being the resistance leader.  He didn’t learn the SECRET TO FINDING THE MASTER EMERALD or anything like that!  He just went there, found the island abandoned and I guess took his sweet time combing the place until he just stumbled upon it!  GREAT JOB THERE, GUARDIAN OF THE MASTER EMERALD!  With leadership like THAT, this resistance will stop Eggman and save the world in no time!  And so the episode ends with Neo Metal Sonic sitting upon his emerald throne waiting for the resistance fighters, and ESPECIALLY Sonic the Hedgehog, to try and pry it from his cold dead metal hands; crushing them once and for all and securing the planet for Doctor Eggman’s legacy!

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“Sir, we could REALLY use that for all sorts of things.”     “I WILL SIT ON THIS THRONE IF I DAMN WELL PLEASE AND YOU WILL SPEAK NO FURTHER OF IT!”

As far as the overall plot this one really didn’t move things forward as the cliffhanger here is more or less the same cliffhanger we left the last issue on, but what makes it works are the little details that build up the characters and do an effective job at teasing us with future plot lines.  Silver is actually pretty tolerable in this issue which makes this the best Silver by far, and while I’m not sure if we’ll get MUCH out of Whisper in future issues (I’m still waiting for Tangle to show back up again), everything with her is a great example of fitting a lot of depth into a rather small amount of time and space.  The Archie Sonic Comics weren’t always great, but they felt like entities separate from the games themselves, and while I’m pretty sure the cramming of continuity here is a SEGA mandate (can’t let the writers have TOO many ideas or else they just might have another Ken Penders on their hands!!) it’s not helping this series stay coherent or all that engaging.  I really don’t care about Sonic Forces and that one line they just threw into this is an utter drain on the rest of the issue because of how blatant it feels and how cheaply it’s utilized.  We need more world building like we got with Whisper, Tangle, and even certain aspects of The Resistance, and hopefully we’re heading in that direction as we seem to heading towards the end of the first arc.  I’m cautiously optimistic that they can pull out all the stops with the big showdown they’re building up to, but more than that I’m excited to see where this goes after the introductory arc and if it’ll be half as awesome as what we got in the comics that came before.

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