Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
Yes, I’m falling behind on these and not getting them out as soon as I should, but let’s see if I can successfully change the subject by pointing out that this is the first issue of the Sonic the Hedgehog series that does NOT have Ian Flynn listed with a writing credit! Very few people have made as big an impact on the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise as this man has considering his tireless efforts on the comic book series (more or less picking up after the LAST guy who had such a big impact who we don’t particularly like to talk about anymore), and while he’s not done with Sonic by a LONG shot (he’s writing the Sonic Bad Guys series concurrent with this one), it’s a bit bittersweet to see an issue that doesn’t have his name on it. Still, a change in voice can also be what this series needs as I’ve said on numerous occasions (probably to the chagrin of Mr. Flynn if he ever in a million years read one of these recaps) that the Zombot arc went on for way too long and that these globally devastating threats often left the characters floundering for development and focus. Will things be different with the new writer Evan Stanley on board, or are the problems with this series not easily fixed by just giving the pen to someone else? Let’s find out!!
Things have settled down a bit after Sonic gave an epic butt-kicking to Eggman’s giant robot in the last issue, so with this small bit of time before the NEXT world conquering threat makes itself know some of Sonic’s friends have decided to try and fix Omega who is just a robo-head at this point but is still in pretty good spirits all things considered. Rouge managed to get the blueprints for Omega so that Tails can build him a brand new body, but there are two complications; Eggman’s blueprints are encoded so they’ll have to find a way to translate them, and even with the blueprints they don’t have the materials needed. I’m not sure why they can’t just give him a DIFFERENT robot body as Eggman had no problem sticking his head on the giant robot, but in any case the team (which also consists of Sonic and Amy) has to spilt up to take on these two challenges. Sonic knows of an abandoned Eggman facility that could have the answers they need so he’ll take Tails there, but before we go further I just have to ask, why are there SO many abandoned Eggman facilities!? Starline just took one over as his base of operations in the first issue of Sonic Bad Guys, they were finding these things throughout the entire Zombot and Return of Eggman arcs, you’d think at some point that The Furry World Government would either claim them for themselves or blow them up to make sure they can’t be used against them again! Well in any case, that’s just one part of the plan which means that it’s up to Amy and Rogue to find new parts for Omega. Rogue has a lead on some guy name Clutch in a place called White Park Zone; the former of which is a new character but the latter is apparently a stage from Sonic 4 Episode 2 which I haven’t played yet. They never did finish that trilogy, did they? I guess that puts it right up there with Half-Life 2 Episode 3 as far as episodic games that never got finished, though I doubt as many people are broken up about the Sonic one not seeing the light of day.
Sonic and Tails go off to do their own thing which honestly doesn’t amount to much. They enter a spooky laboratory, there’s someone in the shadows who we can’t see, and we get a cute reference to the Tails Doll, but the majority of this issue follows Amy and Rogue on their plan to get Omega’s body, and as it turns out there’s a big Chao Racing tournament about to happen which will be the perfect opportunity for them to infiltrate their target’s inner circle. And yes, that IS in fact about two thirds of the plot of Casino Royale, but where Bond was an expert poker player in his own right, Amy and Rogue don’t have a Chao to race and need to get some help for this plan to work. I mean, they COULD just probably sneak into White Park Zone and steal what they need considering that Rogue is a thief, but where’s the fun in that!? Why not INSTEAD come up with a plan that involves child endangerment!
As much as I’m cracking wise about all this, I do like the direction we’re going in here. It’s not a global catastrophe they’re solving, it doesn’t involve finding more emeralds, and while it’s definitely the PG version of it, I do like a good spy/heist story where everyone’s trying to work an angle. Unfortunately the one thing that didn’t work for me was the Chao Race it’s not particularly. I mean I guess I’m glad they don’t devote TOO much time to it as everything else around the race is far more interesting, but it’s an aggressively small race track within the lobby of a hotel, and the whole thing is over within three pages so you don’t have enough time to be invested in Cheese overcoming the challenge. Thankfully it’s over fairly quickly and we can move onto the more interesting aspects of this. Clutch introduces himself to Amy, Cream, GEMERL (see!? IT’s cool they brought a child here because she has her killer robo-body guard with her!) and Rogue with the latter turning on the charm immediately; promising to meet with him later at his apartment to discuss the very impressive Chao he just saw race.
Clutch seems fully aware of not just Rogue’s true identity but her underlying motivation and so gives her an offer that would scratch her tweener good/bad itch. If Cheese wins the race tomorrow, than he’ll offer Rogue ANYTHING she wants in exchange for them; intentionally disregarding the fact that Cheese may not be hers to give away. Rouge tells Clutch she’ll have to think it over, but more than likely it’s just to placate him while she puts her own plans in motion. We’re not sure what it is exactly, but she leaves Omega’s head among Clutch’s junk after whispering the plan to him so that we’re left in the dark. As soon as she leaves the room however, she comes across a person wearing a very large parka that obscures whoever is underneath, but Rogue recognizes them immediately and from the looks of things it’s not a happy reunion. Moments later, we’ve cut to the outside where Shadow the Hedgehog is outside watching the hotel (perhaps he’s a part of Rogue’s master plan!?) and spots the stranger leaving. He seems intent to stop this individual, but they have some strange powers that give them the upper hand in the fight and they whack Shadow across the midsection with a giant log with the last thing we see being Shadow’s stunned face of recognition as he falls off the building; presumably to his death, but we’ll have to wait for the next issue to find out for sure!
Sometimes the All Ages nature of this series does butt up against what I want to see out of these stories so perhaps I was a bit harsh on the whole Chao Racing thing and dragging Cream along for another adventure, but aside from those rather inconsequential nitpicks I thought this issue was a refreshing change of pace that gave us something to think about and engage with other than how fast Sonic can run and how evil Dr. Eggman can be. Clutch isn’t exactly a Professor Moriarty or a Le Chiffre, but he’s at least SOMEONE different from the megalomaniacal scientists and mindless conquerors who’ve gotten a bit long in the tooth as of late, and I’m genuinely interested to find out who was not only stalking Sonic and Tails but who was stalking Rogue at the hotel and may have killed Shadow! Is it the same person? The different colored auras they used to fight off Shadow remind me of Wisps, so perhaps it’s Whisper? Hey, she DOES have a grudge against Shadow, so you never know! I’m slightly ambivalent about the next issue as it seems like it will focus even MORE on the Chao races, but I’m still very interested to see what happens next!