Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #17

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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 issue of Knuckles-less Chaotix!  Are we ever gonna get an explanation for that by the way?  Or the disappearance of Mighty the Armadillo?  Ah, it’s probably not important!  What IS important is that Eggman is finally putting his latest plan into motion with terrifying results; not just because of how effortlessly it transmits itself from host to host but, but also how much damage its surely causing to the fragile infrastructure that’s been built up since the last time Sonic stopped Eggman’s nefarious schemes.  Even if they do find a cure, will there be anything left of the old world to salvage?  What will The Chaotix do if the market for Private Investigators dries up!?  Charmy’s barely old enough for THIS job; let alone work in a factory or be trusted around a stove!  Well before we start speculating on the POST-apocalypse, we might as well see how it plays out live and jump right into the issue proper!!

The issue begins with everyone’s favorite third rate detective agency (a step above Aqua Teen Hunger Force but a step below Schmidt and Jenko in 21 Jump Street) getting an update from Amy about the Robo-virus, and then proceeding to do absolutely nothing about it!  I mean I guess I can kind of see the logic behind it as there’s no indication the disease has spread to their city yet, and they aren’t exactly the A-Team in the Sonic Universe.  They’re The Defenders to everyone Else’s Avengers.  You call them to rough up a mugger or fight a biker gang; not to single handedly reverse a Romero Apocalypse.  Sadly their ingenious decision to do nothing has one fatal flaw which is that the zom-pocalypse already reached Seaside City and the zombots are breaking down the Chaotix’s door which is bad news for everyone.  Now I want to be VERY clear about what happens next.  None of the Chaotix have seen a zombot up to this point or seem to know what they are capable of.  The door bursts open and a couple zombots come waltzing in.  Espio then proceeds to take a KUNAI, which if you didn’t know are very sharp, and throws it RIGHT AT THEIR HEAD!  The kunai bounces harmless off their metallic cranium, and Espio is shocked that it didn’t work.  In case there was any doubt as to what was supposed to happen, Espio threw a bladed weapon with the intent of burying it right between the eyes of an anthropomorphic animal; killing them instantly by hemorrhaging a vital organ like he’s in a John Wick movie.  Yes.  That just happened.

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“My lust for murder has yet to be satiated…”     “Well then learn to throw better, you wuss!!”

I mean I guess he would have a decent Self-Defense case if this HAD ended in a murder, but if I was Vex I’d be at least a little bit concerned!  Guy comes in too boisterously with donuts and coffee, and it’ll turn into a bloodbath!  Anyway, while that may seem like just a one off aberration where someone wasn’t thinking through the implications of an action beat, the rest of the issue is just as out there with the absurd levels of dark violence on display for a book ostensibly aimed at younger audience.  I mean I thought they were pushing it with the LAST issue, but here they are watching a city fall apart around them and swinging makeshift weapons at the oncoming hoards!  Also, is it just me or has everyone been pushing Vex a lot more?  He’s been popping up in the recent games like Sonic Generations and Sonic Forces, he’s a team leader in Team Sonic Racing, and now he’s getting a heck of a lot of screen time in this comic!  He’s on almost every single page and he’s kicking a lot of butt while doing it, so maybe the next Sonic game will be Sonic & Vector; a game by the way that I would buy IMMEDIATELY!  Speaking of Sonic, he managed to find his way into the city and cleans up a few zombots, but even this brief break from running to throw a few punches is enough for the virus to start spreading and so he has to dash off almost as soon as he came to keep it in check.  I’m still ambivalent about Sonic not just turning full zombot and having everyone else try to fix this without him, but credit where its due for the writers establishing the urgency of his condition and how much it limits his ability to help out.

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“What was that?  Oh, I’m sorry!  I can’t hear you over the BLOOD CURDLING SCREAMS OF THE INNOCENT WHO ARE BEING TURNED INTO MONSTERS BY MR. TINKER!  That was his name, right!?”     “Keep up the shade, green man!  See how much bluster you have when I make Charmy my new sidekick!”

Hey, remember when I said that more than once in this issue they take things down a surprisingly dark road?  Well get a load of this!  So The Chaotix are leading a group of survivors to the coast (Amy is sending a Restoration vehicle to pick them up) when there’s a commotion in the back.  It turns out that one of the survivors got a scratch from one of the Zombots and sadly they cannot run as fast as Sonic which means their fate is more or less sealed. She starts to beg, plead, and cry for her life while everyone else starts to shy away and Espio and Charmy are frozen in their tracks; unsure of what to do.  You know who ISN’T unsure?  Vector, who comes in and starts smashing cars around this woman who gets in one appeal to his better nature… before he crushes her like a cockroach with a car.  Okay, okay!  That’s not what happened, but at this point would you be all that surprised if he did!?

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“Ashes to ashes.”     *SMASH*     “Dust to dust.”     “What was that?  I can’t hear you because of this car between us!”     “Don’t ruin the moment.”

I’m not the biggest fan of zombie stuff as I pointed out in my recap of the last issue, and frankly its stuff like this that turns me away from it.  I’m not much of a fan of watching misery play out in lurid detail just for the sake of it, and really that’s the majority of zombie stuff that isn’t aiming for high camp.  That said, it manages to be REALLY effective here and it gives Vector a great moment all on his own which only further cements my theory that SEGA’s trying to push him hard after such a long hiatus; similar to how WWE brought Drew McIntyre back years after his milquetoast debut and now he’s better than ever.  I guess that would make Sonic the Dolph Ziggler of this story, which… yeah that makes a lot of sense to me.  What the heck was I talking about?  Oh right!  Zombies!  Sorry, I started thinking about wrestling which is much more interesting.  Maybe the fact that this is all kept at a PG level is what’s making it work for me in a way that it usually doesn’t in other media, and I’m pretty thankful for that too considering what’s about to happen!  So after that little moment of unbridled horror, everyone else manages to make it to the coast and are holding off the zombots until their ride gets here when Charmy definitely flies off to rescue that woman who they left stranded because… I don’t know, he’s a foolish kid?  I mean I get the guilt and all that, but just basic survival instinct should tell him this is a STUPENDOUSLY bad idea, and sure enough it ends just as you’d expect.

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“My only regret is dying so young!”

Now obviously Vector and Espio couldn’t go after him considering they can’t fly and there are a couple dozen survivors relying on their butt kicking and zombot repelling skills to keep them safe, so all they can do once the transport arrives is to let Sonic know what happened and hope that he can get to Charmy in time.  Spoiler alert: he can’t.  Wait; is it a spoiler if we saw it already?  Well if nothing else this will be the first time someone of NOTE has been turned to the bot-side, though I still with it was Sonic and not someone was rather inconsequential as Charmy the Bee.  In any case, the issue ends with Sonic swearing to search high and low for the foolish bug while Vector and Espio are forced to make the most dramatic facial expressions they’ve ever been asked to muster!  Can they hold those looks of dire frustration until the next issue!?

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“WE WILL AVENGE YOU, CHARMY!!”     “Well can you avenge them AWAY from the ramp so we can bring it back up?”     “What is it with people today and running the moment?”

I honestly didn’t expect much from a Chaotix focused issue, but I’m glad that they seemed to have gone all out here in raising the stakes for what will surely be an epic confrontation.  Now sure I can laugh at Espio’s attempted murder or the ridiculous way in which Charmy met his untimely end, but this issue does a very effective job of efficiently polishing up all the subplots so that they can pay off in more spectacular fashion later on.  Without once showing Eggman or Starline, their menace is further cemented by the sheer scope of the damage their scheme has caused.  The Chaotix, while not the most important characters in the series, are effective POV characters that can be used without putting any of the main characters at significant risk which SEEMS to be where they want to take this even if I disagree with that judgement.  Even Sonic just showing up to bust a few heads manages to keep his robo-virus at the forefront of the narrative as well as the Restoration’s struggle to keep order when Eggman so ruthlessly dropped this horrific bomb on them.  We’ll have to see if any of the Chaotix stuff will work out or if they are just a tangential element to all this, but I think they’ve done about as well as could be expected given the circumstances here.  Really, the only problem I have is that I’m just not that much into zombie stuff and I’d rather a more personal confrontation between Eggman and the heroes rather than this hands-off approach at destroying them, but hey; that stuff is popular for a reason and I’m certainly enjoying more than any other zombie thing I’ve seen in a while.  In fact… what if this is all some clever ploy on SEGA’s part as some sort of advanced announcement for a Sonic Musou game where you fight zombies!?  I mean that’s probably NOT what’s gonna happen, but given SEGA’s penchant for doing whatever the heck they want with Sonic, it’s not NOT something I’d expect from them!

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