Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
The last issue may or may not have been the start of a new arc (only time will tell on that front), but it did give us an interesting new set up that’s rife with potential! No more zombots, no more world conquering jerks, just good ol’ fashion greed as Rouge and company are here to outwit the big wig running these Chao races! Sonic IDW has finally acknowledged that Capitalism is the root of all evil (right after zombot viruses) and I’m very interested to see where it’s headed! Do they continue to take this story into interesting and new directions as a refreshing break from the nonstop action, or was the last issue just there to set me up for disappointment? Let’s find out!!
We begin our story of calculated lies and dangerous spy craft in the lovely dining area of the White Park Chateau where Rose is eating some sort of chocolate chip parfait and Cream has barely touched her very square waffles. See, that’s the kind of quality you expect when you go to the White Park Chateau; waffles you could set a protractor to! So why is she ignoring her delicious and structurally sound breakfast? Well Rouge didn’t come back last night after meeting with Clutch, and if she’s not around to be a bad influence on her, then how else is she going to learn to be a jewel thief!?
The three of them head off to the next Chao race, but before we get to see more exciting action of chaos fumbling around a makeshift obstacle course we find out that Shadow is in fact NOT dead and landed in a giant pool of freezing water when he fell off the roof! That’s WAY better than landing in soft snow; especially since his burning ambivalence towards good and evil can stave off hypothermia! He’s following a lead on Eggman’s whereabouts that leads back to Clutch, so while the Chao race is underway he sneaks into his giant penthouse suite of valuable garbage to find out what he’s up to and if he really does have information on Eggman. He seems to find something genuinely disturbing but we aren’t privy to it for the time being as we cut back to the race and Cheese has won once again. If you recall from the last issue, this means that Clutch will trade the little Chao for anything Rouge desires (in this case it’s presumably a new body for Omega which I wouldn’t be surprised if you forgot by this point) and so she has to clue everyone else in on her dangerous plan. They tentatively agree and head to the aforementioned penthouse of useless treasure to hash out the terms of the deal. Now I’m not sure exactly what Rouge’s plan was here, but it doesn’t matter for two reasons; first because it doesn’t work as Clutch seems to have neutralized whatever trap she had laid out, and second because SHADOW COMES OUT OF NOWHERE AND KICKS THE DUDE IN THE FACE!!
As glorious as that moment was, it kind of kills the rest of this story as Clutch is down and he doesn’t seem to have any backup. We find out that what Shadow discovered earlier was a cage full of Chao which doesn’t seem like THAT much of a surprise since we’ve already established that he collects them, and… that’s kind of it. The only thing that seems a bit off is that Rouge goes on her own while everyone else saves the Chao, but the big threat that we’ve been trying to outsmart for the last two issues is lying face down and rear up on the floor after one kick. Heck, I bet Amy could have crushed all his bones with one swing of her mighty hammer! In any case, that’s just the first half of the issue as the second half of the book focuses on Sonic and Tails who are still in one of Eggman’s many basements. Tails is hard at work trying to crack the Eggnet while Sonic, who I will remind you is mostly useful in situation that require running fast, is just sitting there very bored. It turns out they are not alone however as their mysterious follower is discovered to be… a gender swapped Geno? And for some reason Sonic wants to beat the crap out of her!?
The puppet girl manages to survive the onslaught before Tails tells Sonic to stop needlessly attacking her and find out what her story is. Her name is Belle and she’s some sort of wooden robot (I imagine much like Bender in that one episode of Futurama) who was NOT created by Eggman. And… that’s about it. We can intuit a few things about her, namely that she’s something of a scardy cat despite having some impressive abilities, and her cageyness about her origins implies some sort of tragedy and more than likely a FIND HER DADDY quest further down the road. Why was she following Sonic and Tails? Why is she in this bunker in the first place? Well we don’t get the answers to those questions just yet as all these distractions has caused Tails to accidently trip Eggman’s security system and they are attacked by a legion of badniks. Sonic manages to hold his own, but he’s too wrapped up in his own fight to see that Tails is about to be zapped by a particularly beefy looking robo-menace creeping up on him. Belle, seeing an opportunity to prove her protagonist bona-fides (while also presumably being resistive to electricity), she shoves Tails out of the way and takes the attack in his stead! Tails, being overwhelmed by such a selfless act, smashes the robot to pieces and saves Belle, though not for long as we come to the end of the issue with a legion of badniks staring our heroes down!
I can’t say I’m as impressed with this issue as I was with the last one. Sure we’re still following the solid setup from the last issue, but the payoffs felt a bid middling (Shadow kickboxing aside) and more like we were buying time to get to the next issue. I’m curious to learn more about Belle as IDW has done a solid job with its original characters (something I’ve had to of said at least a dozen times now), but Clutch being dispatched with a single kick to the face felt really anticlimactic as did Shadow escaping the attack from the last issue without a scratch. There’s still the mystery of the person who attacked him and it seems like Rouge might have her fingers in a few more pies than Amy or Cream realize, but where I left the last issue excited to see what happened next, I’m less enthusiastic here despite some solid plot threads worth following up on.