Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
Welp! They’ve finally done it! After months of repetitive drama and convoluted storylines clogging up this series, we FINALLY have an issue that I didn’t hate! Sure there’s a bit of bitter irony in the fact that this series finally decided to lighten up a bit at the same time the world decided to turn into a nightmare (I give it six months before Death Stranding’s science fiction becomes more than speculative), but how have they managed to put a smile on my face after spending this much time so firmly hitched to the Walking Dead bandwagon? Did they finally realize their error and went off in an entirely new direction, or have they found an angle within this miserable story arc that actually had some appeal to me? Let’s find out!!
The issue begins with Tails and Amy working their butts off to outsmart, or at least outrun, their chosen Zeti opponent Zomom who is proving to be more difficult than they were anticipating. It’s a fine chase with a few good twists and turns but I’m not too keen on the constant big foolish fat guy jokes, though I guess IDW has to work with what Sonic Team gives them and it’s not like Zomom showed much depth of character when he was swinging that hoagie around in Sonic Lost World.
Tails and Amy run all over the place trying to avoid his massive girth and even more massive fists, and eventually the come upon… a medieval gate I guess and fly to the top of it. Zomom is using his burrowing powers (hey, it was in the game) to try and stop them, though I’m not sure how he was planning to climb while digging, and when he gets in JUST the right position they smash the gate on his torso; pinning him in place so they can take the Emerald and leaving him to fate as Zombot food. It’s pretty straightforward as far as action scenes go, but I’ll give the issue credit for some solid art that’s easy to follow (the Sonic book has had a few issues conveying action) and for giving us a moment where our heroes aren’t acting as post-apocalyptic middle-managers. If Amy ever holds a clipboard again, it will be too soon! Now that’s only one of the stories they have in this issue with the other one being much stronger which is Cream and… that robot guy (I’m getting real tired of having to look up his name every time he shows up) having to fight Zeena for her emerald. If you remember how the last issue ended, GEMERL (oh THAT’S his name!) got his cover blown by Cream following him through the portal and so Zeena has her under his control, because sending a robot after bad guys who can control robots seemed like such a good idea at the time. Then again, Cream is the paragon of all things good and tells GEMERL to fight back as hard as he can which sure enough does the trick. Yes, they went Terminator 3 in this episode, but I actually kind of like that movie so it gets a thumbs up from me!
Things get a bit odd from here as Zeena’s powers are somewhat ambiguous. If you’ve played the game (or at least watched a video o it on YouTube like I did), Zeena does seem to have some sort of energy beam power that she can use to swing things around, so while she can’t control GEMERL directly she can still grab him and manipulate him like a puppet. She swings him around trying to smash Cream’s face in before giving up on THAT plan and chucking GEMERL into a swarm of Zombots so that she and Cream can have some girl time together. Zeena from the game was one MASSIVE cliché and an obvious rip off of Rogue, but in this issue they try to expand on it which at least give her a bit of bite. I’ve always been kind of a fan of the particular type of villain whose villainy is borne from a desire to break free from an oppressive society (you know, like what that Joker movie tried and SPECTACULARLY failed to do), so while we don’t actually SEE or KNOW about what Zeena is rebelling against, they at least allow that attitude to come across in her dialogue which is quite sinister and very much appreciated.
Fortunately for Cream, Zenna’s master plan of chucking him in a pit of ineffectual Zombots proves to be inadequate and he swiftly comes to Cream’s rescue before tying her up with her own magic energy rope thingies. I don’t know, that’s just how Zeti powers work I guess. This gives Cream an opportunity to steal back the Chaos Emerald and with that safely in the right hands, GEMERL returns the favor to Zeena and chucks HER into the Zombot hoard which has much better results than throwing the inorganic android man into them. All is not well however as Cream did get infected with the virus during the scuffle and tells GEMERL to go back with the Chaos Emerald and leave her to her fate. GEMERL isn’t about to take the wussy way out though and so he sends the Emerald back and pledges to stay with Cream until they find a cure. DANG! Way to step up my dude!
This is probably the best of the TRAGIC DEATH scenes in the entire arc up to this point. Charmy and Vector made some bad decisions that you couldn’t really feel sorry for them when they bit the bullet, and Tangle’s last stand was kind of ruined by that absurd reaction from Whisper, while this hit the right balance between biter and sweet; tragic yet triumphant. I guess you don’t have to give EVERYONE a heroes exit, but with how little I’ve enjoyed the majority of this phase of the comic, I’m glad they finally nailed it here. And so the issue ends with the good guys getting two of the emeralds but at a hefty cost. Oh, and Zavok found Angel Island which can’t be good for anyone involved, but that’s a bridge we’ll have to cross in the next issue.
I’ve got to say that if the arc is going to go out on a note as high as this, then I can’t exactly write the whole thing off. We’ve got a great start to it with the introduction of Dr. Starline and Sonic’s complicated feelings about letting Mr. Tinker despite the risk of become Dr. Eggman again, but the last TEN ISSUES it’s felt like a war of attrition with a few notable highlights but a whole lot of boring misery to go around. The story arc finally getting to the point where it becomes a FUN and EXCITING battle between the force of good and evil is long overdue, but greatly appreciated now that it’s here; and it’s not like this kind of storytelling is entirely incompatible with the darker edgier stuff they’ve been trying to do! Cream getting infected and GEMERL vowing to stay with her had SO much more impact that seeing the ten thousandth nameless villager get turned into a robot zombie or any number of noble sacrifices we’ve seen up to this point. I just hope they keep it up for the rest of the story because if they got me this excited just to pull the rug out from under me again… okay, I’ll STILL be reading this darn book, but I’ll be pretty miffed going forward!!