Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
Welcome back to another issue of Sonic Adventure Z! We haven’t quite gotten to climbing zombies yet, but give it time! I’m sure Doctor Eggman is watching a whole stack of B movies for inspiration! The invasion continues unabated despite Sonic’s best efforts and now the virus is spreading to SUNSET CITY which I’m sure was a very important place that we just never got around to mentioning before now, and he’s aided by his bestest buddies from Team Dark because I guess all the other buddies he’s saved are off doing something else. Can Sonic stave off the zombie hoards as well as his own zombotic infection? Will the exhaustion of putting the entire world on his shoulders day after day finally be too much for him? Will he be forced to… GO SLOW!? Let’s find out!!
In case it wasn’t clear already, the issue begins as many have already; with terrified furries running for their lives while Sonic and the secondary character team de jour running interference. In case you weren’t aware already, Team Dark consists of Batwoman (Rouge the Bat), Sonic The Try Hard (Shadow the Hedgehog), and ED-209 (E-123 Omega); which of those names are sillier I’ll leave you to decide. Also, does anyone else miss when these three were ACTUALLY bad guys, or at the very least chaotic neutrals? I mean shouldn’t Rouge be out there planning some sort of heist or infiltrating Eggman’s secret base? Instead she’s out here with a headset on directing the scared masses like an overly ambitious traffic cop, and I can’t be the only one feeling like that’s a waste of her talents, right? At least Omega is getting into the swing of things a bit by chucking Zombots around and firing his lasers, but I guess to make it less horrifying they had to MAKE SURE TO TELL US that the bullets are minor annoyances to them rather than deadly. What this tells me is that Omega is FAR less threatening than GEMERL, the latter of whom they had to stop from murdering people with HIS robot weaponry in the
I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you what happens next because everything we see in this issue is stuff we’ve seen before, and the inclusion of TEAM DARK isn’t adding a whole lot to it. We’ve alrady seen a robot go berserk in the last issue, Rouge is wasted YET AGAIN as doing little more than babysitting (though I assume a mob of terrified animals is easier to deal with than Shadow’s ego), and when Shadow DOES deign to show his face in this he’s just doing the shtick we saw him do in issue 6 which wasn’t all that compelling to begin with. At least when The Chaotix got their own issue, they made the most of it! Vector’s PROBABLY the most compelling secondary character in this whole series, and I never thought I’d say that about the crocodile dude from that one game no one can afford to play! Seriously, I just do not get the appeal of Shadow beyond the morbid curiosity of just how shameless his angsty portrayal is. Even Vegeta, THE PRINCE OF ALL SAIYANS, would tell this dude, THE ULTIMATE LIFE FORM, to take it down a few notches!
In fact, the only thing about this issue that kept my interest is Sonic’s slow deterioration from exhaustion and the erosion of his ironclad clad will. There’s a great moment where Sonic has just finished burning off the virus yet again where he realizes that he’s starting to get tired and he has a moment to look at the city from a far; to get a real sense of the scope of Eggman’s latest scheme. Remember, he’s the guy who decided to let the brainwashed Eggman (known as Doctor Tinker) off the hook which ultimately led to his return and these subsequent attacks. Even if they’ve yet to do anything meaningful with the death of Charmy, it’s nice to be REMINDED that that happened as it gives a certain amount of weight to Sonic’s current crisis which is a thing we really haven’t had up to this point. In the broadest sense, it reminds me A BIT of Knightfall; the Batman story where every bad guy in Gotham went wild for one night that pushed Batman to the breaking point before Bane came in and pushed right the heck over it. It works for characters like this who are portrayed as overly competent by turning their strengths against them; namely their unflinching sense of determination in the face of improbable odds. Without even showing up in this issue, Eggman manages to be an oppressive force that is heavily felt on everyone’s shoulders, but Sonic’s in particular and I’m curious to find out just how far they take this idea. Frankly I would have zombified him three issues ago, but with the way things are going we MIGHT just see that yet!
As we head into the end the issue we see that Shadow and Omega are taking out their anger issues on dozens upon dozens of Zombots, but since one of them is made of meat instead of metal, he starts to get some of the goop on himself which means the infection will spread and overtake him soon enough. Ah, no big deal though! He’s ALMOST as fast as Sonic so he can burn off the virus as well, right? Yeah… that whole I DON’T RUN bull pucky from earlier REALLY bit him on this one because he refuses to get the fudge out of there and instead spends his remaining moments punching things. Not for any altruistic reasons either! He’s just a jerk who likes to punch things and that’s it! And so the episode ends with the bad guys getting an indispensable ally because the worst hedgehog of them all doesn’t know what a tactical retreat is. Seriously, we got a brand new Silver in this series but they couldn’t do anything about Shadow being an obnoxiously self-centered dweeb?
Assuming we’re following the twelve issue structure of the first arc we are a little over halfway thorugh it and I’ve got to say that it’s having quite a few of the same problems. After we’ve landed on something interesting here with the zombots and Sonic’s impending demise, it just feels like we’ve been spinning our wheels just to catch up on all the characters who on their own CAN be interesting, but don’t have enough screen time to amount to anything. Seriously, what did the Cream issue have to do with this one? Where are The Chaotix who haven’t been seen since Charmy was zombified? Heck, I don’t even remember what Tails and Amy are supposed to be doing at this point! Now I haven’t read this series yet so I can’t speak to its quality, but back when Sonic was with Archie Comics they had a book going called Sonic Universe which had four issue arcs that focused on a different group each time. To me, this seems like the direction we should be heading in with this new series because the twelve issue arcs that try to be about EVERYONE are feeling thinly spread and start running out of steam at some point. Fortunately IDW is actually running with this idea to a certain extent with the Tangle and Whisper mini-series clocking in at only four issues. While I can appreciate them not wanting to flood the market with too many interconnected Sonic books (If you want to read Spider-Gwen, it connects with Into the Spider-Verse, Spider Woman, Silk, Spider Woman Alpha AND Spider-Woman Omega in just the first handful of issues), the current approach is just too broad for my taste. Maybe in a more condensed format like a trade paperback it’s easier to breeze through all this, but then again the utter repetitiveness of the scenarios feels pretty draining taking them one at a time, so I can only imagine what it’d be like in a single sitting. I’m certain we’ll get to more interesting stuff soon enough as there are many ways this story can go; I just hope we get there sooner rather than later.