Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #16

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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 already with even more Sonic the Hedgehog!  Apparently we just can’t get enough of the little blue bugger, what with his trailer dropping, the Annual last week, and now this issue that gets us back on track with the ongoing story of Eggman trying to take over the world!  All we need now is for SEGA to announce both a good Sonic game and a bad Sonic game for the ritual to be complete and usher in the apocalypse!  It’s in revelations I think.  That beast they talk about?  Actually a hedgehog!  ANYWAY! With the last issue ending on quite the interesting cliffhanger, can this issue capitalize on it and deliver a satisfying narrative for the good guys, or will this storyline falter; leaving the bad guys to continue being the highlight of the series?  Let’s find out!!

So remember at the end of the last issue where Sonic got infected with the Robo-virus and it was only a matter of time before he turned into a cybernetic killing machine?  Yeah, it’s all fine now!  Nothing to see here, just move along!

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“Despite all my rage, I’m still just a hedgehog in a cage!”     “He’s been saying that for three hours, and yet I don’t think it has anything to do with the virus.”

Yeah so apparently Sonic is all better now because as it turns out you can OUTRUN this robo-virus which you’d think Eggman would have thought run a few tests for considering who his adversary is, though I guess reckless abandon is half the fun of being a super villain.  Still, I’m not a fan of what they did here because once again the writing on the good guys feels needlessly anemic as everyone seems determined to have them deal with as little conflict as possible, and in return it does a disservice to the fantastically written villains who are now shouldering even more of the plot and overall interest because no one else is picking up the slack.  Sonic has felt rather static in this incarnation of the series leaving it up to the secondary characters (especially the new ones) to feel the most fleshed out and dynamic, but it felt like that was going to change at least temporarily with the way the last issue ended!  The story line they were setting up with him being infected felt like it could BE something and yet has been drastically undercut almost immediately.  Seriously HOW DO YOU OUTRUN A VIRUS!?  Why couldn’t we have an issue where everyone else has to solider on while Sonic fights this, or even have him turn into an outright bad guy that the rest of them either have to fight or contain until they can find a cure?  Now it’s clear the virus thing hasn’t gone COMPLETELY away yet, but in an issue that should be shaking up the status quo it just fails to accomplish anything more than refreshing the readers on the status quo; made that much more obvious by the inclusion of numerous references to previous issues.

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“It all happened over a six month period of monthly issues, but it feels like it was just yesterday!”

But hey, if this series is gonna continue to make the heroes feel like cardboard cutouts then at least we have the villains to fall back on who are STILL great… but I’m getting a bit worried that they’re running out of steam.  We’ve basically been doing the same thing for about five issues now where half the book is about the heroes doing something more or less inconsequential (did the fight with Dr. Starline in issue 14 accomplish anything?  What about the hidden base in issue 15?) while Eggman and Starline further their villainous schemes.  I mean it’s been great for as many issues as we’ve been getting it, but it feels like we’re repeating ourselves a bit here with Starline not fully grasping Eggman’s evil machinations until his mentor fills him in and then they both congratulate each other for being so awesome.  If nothing else, at least the plan seems to be going forward in this one and now there’s almost no avoiding a confrontation soon, and we get the visual of Eggman’s latest flying machine which is enjoyably on brand.

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“The gunk is good!  The hedgehog is evil!”     “I may not like what he has to say, but he’s REALLY good at saying it!”

So if the plan isn’t clear yet, Eggman is using his face-ship to vomit up the robo-gunk onto the unsuspecting populace of this town.  Oh wait it’s not just ANY town, now is it?  This is in fact the town that took him in when he was known as Mister Tinker (issue 5) and he specifically targeted it for that reason which is yet more proof that the writers REALLY like writing for Dr. Eggman as he’s easily the most well written character in this.  His dastardly deeds are not just EVIL but seem to give him an immensely dark sense of satisfaction.  Sure we know that he prefers robots and technology to nature and animals, but he’s also just into it for the cruelty he gets to inflict.  Not only that, but Dr. Starline is still a rather fascinating character mostly because he’s still something of a wild card here.  I’ve maintained that he’s going to betray Dr. Eggman at some point and that his admiration for him is a clever ploy, but he seems genuinely affected by the sheer effectiveness of the plan, so either he never expected Eggman to be THIS competent or this isn’t really an act.  I’m curious to see where that’s all heading, but let’s take a moment to really take in what’s going on here.  Eggman dumped a tidal wave of the robo-virus gunk onto the town and many of its citizens who then proceeded to turn into zom-bots and hunt down everyone else who didn’t get turned in the initial deluge.  Now sure, I’ve basically been done with zombie stories for like ten years now and it’s not like they’re reinventing the wheel here, but kudos to the team here for going for broke on this concept in a book that’s intended for general audiences.  Fine, there’s no actual gore here, but it’s still rather messed up to see play out.

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That’s about all there is to the story though and we’ll have to see how that whole “zom-bot” thing works out once our heroes are made aware of that situation.  The only thing else to note here is that in regards to Sonic’s new condition, it seems to come back after a while if he stops running so he has to keep running periodically to keep the virus at bay.  Not too big a problem though because this isn’t like Speed where he has to constantly move at a certain pace or else, but I guess this is the closest we’ll get to pathos as Sonic grimly reflects on the danger he poses to himself and others.  Meh.  I mean the robo-virus thing is somewhat still effective when we’re following Eggman around, but Sonic until we see some ACTUAL consequences instead of a vague threat, I don’t have much investment in this story really going anywhere with the virus.  Prove me wrong, comic!

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I don’t know, as much as the second arc has been an improvement, it feels like we are very much in a holding pattern here and are just waiting for things to come to a head.  I don’t think we’re getting there just yet as the teaser for the next issue indicates a Choatix heavy story (because the one thing I always wanted to see was Charmy the Bee in a Resident Evil game!) so chances are we’re gonna be stuck with the zom-bot story for a while longer.  It’s a shame that something with so much promise and great writing on the part of Eggman is starting to feel tedious, but that’s gonna happen if the main characters aren’t really pulling their weight in order to keep things engaging.  I’m still interested to see where this is going and if nothing else they’ve set up a rather credible threat with such an easily spread and all-consuming outbreak, but the Tangle and Whisper mini-series has grabbed my immediate attention and it’s a shame that we’re not gonna see the first issue until the end of July.  Well I guess seeing more of Vex will keep me going until then.  Seriously, when’s he gonna get HIS mini-series!?

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