Sonic Bad Guys as well as Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
I couldn’t tell you if these books have been a huge success for IDW, but the fact that we’re on our second mini-series primarily focusing on original characters and NOT Sonic himself is probably a good sign that they’re at least hitting some reasonable targets. Still not enough to get a full blown second series running, but I guess these things take time and I frankly don’t need the extra work on my end just yet. For now, let’s stick with what we’ve got which is yet another issue of their Bad Guys mini-series primarily focusing on that enigmatic and smug jerk Dr. Starline. What exactly does he have planned now that he’s got a crew to do his bidding, and how soon before it all blows up in his face? Let’s find out!!
Following their very clever and VERY cool escape from prison (i.e. walking away from an explosion), Dr. Starline and his new allies are going full force against one of Eggman’s strongholds. Well… MOST of them do as Starline sits on the sidelines and smugly pats himself on the back for how genius his plan is; said plan being to get back into Eggman’s good graces AFTER wrecking all his stuff and freeing his sworn enemies! This particular phase of the plan, as explained to us in a flash back, is to steal something called Power Cores which were APPARENTLY in Sonic Heroes. I vaguely remember that each character could get a minor upgrade in some way, but I don’t recall it involving floating color coated balls. In any case, Starline manages to sell his scheme to his current compatriots; albeit with more than a little slight-of-hand.
I’ve got to say, where the first issue left me a LITTLE bit cold as they spent most of the time just reintroducing us to these characters, this one does a fantastic job of giving each of them their moment to shine and some genuinely interesting personality quirks. Well maybe not so much Mimic as his quest to become “invisible” is rather one note, but the guy I didn’t expect to do anything but roll my eyes at was Zavok and he has a FANTASTIC scene in here with Dr. Starline. Back in the present where everyone is in the midst of combat, Zavok hangs back with Starline who’s driving their getaway vehicle and they have a really great discussion about being a leader and what to prioritize when building an army; a discussion that gets a little too real for Starline and might just be the start of his own undoing. It’s brilliant because it not only shows us more dimension to these two characters, it makes you start to genuinely question the motivation of Zavok and what he will do when Starline goes forward with his big betrayal. Perhaps he believes he can convince Starline to not go through with it, or he’s simply sowing doubts in the doctor that will make him hesitate at the most inopportune moment! In any case, it’s some of the best writing we’ve gotten from this series in a while and I’m anxious to see what it’s all leading to!
After this momentary heart to heart (or possibly heart to THREE hearts; I have no idea how Zeti anatomy works… or duck anatomy for that matter), our crew comes upon their target which looks to be Eggman’s heavily armed storage shed; complete with a roll up metal shutter and a giant mechanical dinosaur.
What, your storage unit didn’t come with a robot T-rex? Well our not-quite-heroes weren’t expecting it either and to make matters worse it’s seemingly immune to Zavok’s robot-controlling powers, but luckily they have Rough & Tumble on their side to kick butt and spit rhymes! Tumble slam dunks Rough into the T-Rex’s mechanical maw and I guess being a skunk gives him the power to… explode I guess? I mean the implication is that it’s a giant stink cloud but you usually don’t expect a SMELL to tear a robot apart from the inside out, though now I REALLY want to see this move tried out on Sonic to see what happens! In any case, the group grabs a bunch of boxes containing all three varieties of Power Cores, and using Dr. Starline’s hacking skills combined with Mimic’s transformation powers, they manage to erase all evidence of their presence while leaving more than enough proof that Sonic the Hedgehog was behind all this! It’s a pretty clever idea, except for the fact that Eggman sees through it IMMEDIATELY. While he’s surveying the damage the next morning, he realizes right away that the evidence is clearly fabricated but fortunately he hasn’t put together who’s behind it all just yet.
With the success of this mission and a still mystified Eggman, our not-so-heroic heroes can rest easy for a moment and Starline spends this time working on the next phase of his plan. There are still mysterious vats in his lab that must be filled with SOMETHING terrible (I’m still holding out hope that’s a lab grown Scourge!) but for now he synthesizes three of the Power Cores into an ALL POWERFUL TRI-CORE that gives him… a slight leg up in gym class. Okay, it’s a bit more than that as he can now run fast, jump high, and lift heavy things with ease which will hopefully put him on an even playing field with the likes of Sonic and even with his fellow teammates who he plans to eliminate at some point once they’ve exhausted their usefulness. Will Starline be able to out-jock the tough guys of the world now that he’s used his nerd powers as a shortcut to lifting weights and tacking on mass, and is it enough to get him back into the good graces of Dr. Eggman?
As much as I like Starline as a character, he hasn’t been given enough room to really be fleshed out to his full potential, and I don’t think the first issue of this series quite got there either. This issue though has a few minutes that genuinely got something interesting and unexpected out of the guy, and the same is more or less true for everyone else on his team. The goal of this series, beyond giving Ian Flynn a break from the main series, is to shine a light on these characters and to make them seem like genuine threats; especially when they work together. We’ll have to see what Starline has planned for them and if they have plans for Starline as well, but after this issue I’m VERY confident that the authors can pull it off and that the next two issues will hopefully do even more to make these characters more than one dimensional baddies. Heck, they managed to take two dudes as laughable as ROUGH & TUMBLE and make them halfway credible in this issue. I certainly didn’t see THAT coming!