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 Full Metal Sonic Jacket which begins where the last one left off; namely with SUPER Neo Metal Sonic getting Sonic and Knuckles acquainted with the concept of unyielding terror as he proceeds to beat them harder than Neil Pert in a drum factory. We’re talking Perfect Cell levels of unbalanced power gain which is certainly a decent way to up to the stakes as even Sonic’s mouth can’t really save them this time since Super Neo Metal Sonic is making sure it’s being used for… other things.
Fortunately things are going a bit better with the rest of the crew who are busy defeating hench-bots and minions rather than fighting a boss battle, but the problem with these scenes is that the violence feels utterly meaningless as we’re not sure how much damage they’re ACTUALLY doing against machines that have no discernable personality or presence. As cool as it is to see Whisper do a few trick shots or for Amy to bring down the hammer like she’s wielding (Miljnoir?), it’s just never made clear if they’re making any actual progress or not. The only one who really stands out is Blaze who’s causing destruction, but is on a clear timer to finish a specific goal. With the Sol Gems, she can stay more or less invincible for a short time, but she has to cause as much damage as possible in the process and take out key targets before it’s too late. It’s not much, but the writers get that across very efficiently which leads to the best moment of the issue where she unleashes her final attack that I think is a… spirit bomb?
Now that’s not to say that no one else have their moments (it seems that Tangle’s current shtick is doing stuff in the background while other people are talking), but even the scene where Tails takes control of an Egg-Carrier doesn’t have nearly as much impact as seeing Blaze do her attack AND THEN get heavily exhausted by it because we’ll always be more invested in the characters than how much destruction is on screen; especially when we don’t exactly know how much of an impact it has on their overall mission. You know what DOES have an impact on their overall mission? While all this mayhem is going on, it seems that The Freedom Fighters didn’t think to put a security detail on Dr. Robotnik… or Eggman… or Mr. Tinker I think? Anyway, because NO ONE IS PROTECTING THE AMNESIAC DICTATOR, he gets kidnapped by… um… what were their names again? Oh right! Rough & Tumble! Yeah, you remember them from issue 3! Last time I checked they were prisoners of the Freedom Force, but I guess they broke out somehow and are now doing this. Credit to Super Neo Metal Sonic for finding the perfect job for them (one where they don’t have to face someone who can fight back), but hopefully they get around to explaining how THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS expect to keep up the good fight if they can’t keep two prisoners under lock and key with a Main CharacterTM watching over their shoulder.
Speaking of Main CharactersTM, the battle between Sonic and Knuckles against Super Neo Metal Sonic isn’t going to well as Sonic keeps dodging attacks and Knuckles keeps running towards the Master Emerald before being smacked away. If only there was someone with true ambivalence towards good and evil who could come in and save the day!
On the plus side, I’m glad he’s finally DOING something other than being moody. That said, what in the heck is he using here!? Is that Kuwabara’s Spirit Sword!? A lightsaber without a hilt!? Honestly that ends up being the least of our concerns (at least it isn’t a freaking gun) because things get even stranger from there. Okay, so stabbing Super Neo Metal Sonic in the chest like that doesn’t KILL him but merely take away the SUPER part of his name which leaves him with only ONE extraneous adjective instead of two. Then… um… I get kind of lost. So Shadow is ready to punch the slightly weakened Neo Metal Sonic a bunch, but Regular Sonic stops him so that he doesn’t copy his… biodata (*cough* Cell *cough*) and become even stronger… despite the fact that they have him on the ropes and probably won’t be getting a better chance to take him out. Now looking back over the previous issues, it DOES appear that this was mentioned back in issue 7 that he can copy techniques which made him more powerful after getting a face full of Sonic fist (and I think that’s what they were alluding to with Blaze in issue 9), but I mean seriously Sonic; what’s the plan here? Do you have a giant cage to drop on him so no one has to ACTUALLY touch him? How about you do one big concentrated attack that he can’t come back from which would make him rather incapable of copying anyone else’s techniques? The point is moot however as this discussion of optimal tactics gives Neo Metal Sonic enough time to recover and start to transform now that he has THE PERFECT LIFEFORM’S (snark) biodata. And so the issue ends with our three tough guys facing down THE MASTER OVERLORD which is the name Neo Metal Sonic is going by now and I guess this new form is supposed to be reminiscent of the lizard thing from Sonic Adventure 2 (the prototype PERFECT LIFEFORM), but looks a bit more like a giant chicken to me; maybe Neo Mega Ultra Chicken?
As much as I do enjoy that we’re finally getting some payoff for the rather dull half a dozen or so issues, it’s still lacking a bit in terms of IMPACT. Sure, we’re getting a big climatic battle where everyone gets to show off their skills, but ironically the issue is a lack of development despite the series spending so long trying to build everyone up and giving each of the main characters more or less their own issue. The problem is that most of that (outside of Amy, Blaze and I’ll even throw a bone to Silver) mostly felt like franchise maintenance to catch us all up to speed rather than giving us a reason why THIS version is worth reading. Compare this to the My Little Pony comic book series which not only coupled a compelling story with phenomenal art (the action in these books is still a bit too chaotic to follow), but it had a very strong sense of humor and did a fantastic job of conveying character traits through small details. This book is at its best when it’s trying to develop those small moments and minute details about this particular version of the character rather than when there’s lots of explosions on screen, and while the explosions are nice here and the story itself is not without compelling elements, I kind of want them to wrap this up soon so we can move on to the next arc which will hopefully be far less bombastic and have more room for the smaller moments.