Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #21

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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 Resident Evil with Furries, and guess what!?  WE GET EVEN MORE ZOMBIES!!  Oh IDW, you spoil us with your endless issues of Sonic fighting Zombots over and over again!  Yeah, the formula has gotten real stale over these last six issues which may not SEEM like a lot, but that’s half a year of me having to read about INSERT CITY NAME HERE on the brink of  collapse while Sonic and INSERT CHARACTER HERE fight them off.  Will they mix it up for this issue and give us something different!?  Probably not, but let’s find out!!

The issue begins with a bit of a lurch admittedly as we’re following Tails this time instead of Sonic as he is heading to his lab in this gigantic city (how can he afford the rent here!?), and is flanked on both sides by Tangle & Whisper who are here for reasons; the most likely of which is promoting their mini-series which by the way I’m ALSO recapping on this website!  What, all of a sudden shameless self-promotion can’t be mutually beneficial!?

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“And you can be good at teamwork too by reading our book!  Visit your local comic book shop to learn more!”

As jarring as it is for these two to all of a sudden pop up six issues into the Zombot apocalypse, they’re still the best thing the series has going for it and they do most of the action oriented heavy lifting while Tails is doing his super science thing to find a cure for the Zombot virus.  Now sure, watching Tails work on a cure is far from the most interesting thing we can watch him do, but at least it means the good guys are doing something PROACTIVE instead of just coordinating retreats.  Seriously, shouldn’t Sonic and his rag tag crew of B-Teamers be trying to fix the problem instead of just putting out brush fires?  Even if Eggman turns everyone into a zombot, it’s not a fatal disease and they’re working on a cure!  You don’t see Goku and his pals sweat the collateral damage since they’ve got the Dragon Balls, so either punch Eggman’s face in until he gives up or lock Tails in a room and don’t let him out until he’s cracked the code!  Well since he’s doing that NOW we should probably leave him be to work on it, so instead let’s jump back to the bad guys and see what they’re up to.  Well I say bad guys, but it’s really just one; Doctor Starline.  I have no idea what Eggman’s doing other than presumably basking the glory or his conquest, so we might as well pick up where Starline’s story ended in the last issue.  He had discovered that the bad guys from Sonic Lost World were being mind-controlled I guess by some sort of THING that Dr. Eggman had, and as soon as Sonic broke the THING the bad guys turned on Eggman and sent his own robots after him with their ELECTROMAGNETIC POWERS.  I can only assume that was the plot of Sonic Lost World as I only played it for about an hour, so Starline thinks that these ELECTROMAGNETIC POWERS are the key to regaining control of the Zombots, so he goes to visit the main bad guy whose name is a complete mystery to me which means I’m gonna call him Big Red.  Speaking of Big Red, is he still supposed to be a bad guy if he was simply being mind-controlled in Sonic Lost World?  I mean he DID show up as an antagonist in Sonic Forces, but I’m really hoping we don’t have to start incorporating THAT into whatever mangled homunculus of a continuity we’re already working with.  Frankly this whole series would make a lot more sense if it was some kind of Wreck-It-Ralph arrangement where each game and its unique characters have their own place in the multi-verse or whatever.  I can’t imagine what freaking Mephiles the Dark is supposed to be doing during the Zombot Apocalypse, but it’s probably something very broody.  Anyway, before we get off topic any more than we already are, Dr. Starline and Big Red make some sort of tentative agreement to work together to seize control of the Zombots since Eggman can’t be bothered to do so, but it’s pretty clear that Starline has made a rather huge mistake in trusting this guy.

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“MWA HA HA HA HAAA!!”     “I can still hear you.  Was that maniacal laughter?”     “No!  I just thought of a good joke.”     “Don’t bull-spit me!  I know maniacal laughter when I hear it!”     “I’m serious!  It was REALLY funny!”

At least we’re progressing the storyline and setting up some intrigue in this scene, but I’m feeling a bit skeptical of what they’re planning to do with Starline.  I’ve always maintained that he’s working an angle here and that his devotion to Eggman is an act for some other nefarious end, but with this scene I’m starting to think he really is foolish enough to think that Eggman is anything more than a self-destructive egotist.  Still, this could all be misdirection on the writer’s part so I’ll maintain my optimism for the time being; especially when the issue is doing something I WANT it to do.  But anyway we should probably return to Tails, and wouldn’t you know it, he manages to figure it all out!  With Sonic’s biometric data (the collection of which was explained in the last issue) and his super computer at home, he’s able to create some sort of anti-virus blueprint that will save everyone if he can just get it to The Restoration!  Oh wait, the Zombots start Zombot-ing it up all over his lab and he loses the research in the chaos.  Well that was riveting for all of three pages, but it only gets dourer from there.  The issue ends with Tails, Tangle, and Whisper just barely manage to make it to the one transport ship that The Restoration sent out which seems odd… until we find out that Amy is on board as well because while ALL this was going on, Restoration HQ was attacked and everyone there (presumably excluding our main characters) has been Zombot-i-fied!  Don’t tell me they got to the chili-dogs!!

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“Not just the chili-dogs; the Honey Nut Cheerios, our Progressive car insurance, and that blue curry stuff.”     “NOOOOOOO!!”

Seems to me like they undercut their own drama by having Tails lose the research first AND THEN finding out that Restoration HQ had been demolished off screen.  If Tails had barely made it out with the research but THEN found out that HQ had fallen which would have been the last place he had the resources necessary to develop the cure, THEN the final page would have had some impact by crushing all sense of hope instead of merely piling on the already established misery.  Even with that awkwardly staged ending though, the issue is fine but still can’t get more than a Meh from me; especially with the two Tangle & Whisper issues we’ve gotten so far being so much more interesting to read.  What the series has struggled with is finding a way to build up its world and characters without turning the process into a slog.  The idea isn’t bad in and of itself as you want to make the world feel as complete as possible, but they need to be able to both give us interesting character moments while also moving forward with the story and not just sit in a holding pattern for months on end.  It worked better in the initial issues of the book where Sonic was just running around the world meeting all the secondary characters because IDW decided to release those issues on a weekly basis, but now that we’re almost two years into this series that is being released monthly and the character work just hasn’t been interesting enough to justify how glacial the pacing has been.  The only thing more tedious than reading about yet another city being under attack by even more Zombots while more characters punch them in the face before narrowly escaping AGAIN, is to hear me harp on about it over and over; so let’s not belabor the point.  It’s at least encouraging that Starline continues to be rather proactive in the narrative and I’m curious where his latest scheme is going to go, and if nothing else the ending has effectively put the narrative’s back against the wall so it has no choice but to proceed from here.  Whatever Deus ex machina they plan on pulling out of Sonic’s butt to fix this problem, at least we know that it’s coming soon and we can move on to something OTHER than zombies.

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