Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #35

Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America

Despite some ups and downs in the story, I’m glad that the comic has moved away from WORLD ENDING CATASTROPHES to tell a much smaller and more character driven story with this whole Sonic take on Casino Royale!  What, am I the only one who sees it?  Come on, Rogue is acting super shady just like Vesper Lynd; it’s right there!!  In any case, will Sonic and friends uncover the many mysteries surrounding this story, not the least of which being the identity of the hooded figure?  Let’s find out!!

The issue begins with Sonic, Tails, and the living puppet Belle facing their greatest and oldest enemy to date; confusing action scenes that don’t adequately convey spatial relations!  Yeah, I know I’m a broken record on this, but these early pages are another example of the artist just not doing a great job conveying necessary details or relative threats.  The first thing we see low angle shot of them in a rather narrow but tall room (looking a bit like a silo) that is filling from bottom to top with badnicks.  Clearly they would have to find a way out by going UP, right?  No, it’s actually just a PYRAMID of badnicks and they decide to swarm on the side of the room that DOESN’T have the very obvious exit door.  Then as soon as they escape that room and are in the corroder, what I THINK happens is that a grabby badnick drops out of the ceiling to snatch Tails and Bell doing SOMETHING with her tail to save him. 

“Butt Boosters, don’t fail me now!!”

The individual panels look good as Adam Bryce Thomas’s character designs are on point, but the flow is kind of mess and I was thankful when they finally got out of there and get to rejoin everyone at the White Park chateau.  Belle has decided to tag along as well considering she has nowhere else to go (a mystery that Sonic and Tails don’t seem to keen on solving just yet) and she proves to be useful to the team as she’s’ s got robo-girl skills despite being made of wood.  While she’s helping Cream to free the chaos from their cage though, something is off and Amy needs to get Sonic up to speed.  Rogue has been acting very weird and hasn’t been seen since they (by which I mean Shadow) defeated Clutch last issue; a predicament which becomes that becomes quite alarming since Tails got a message to meet her somewhere while everyone else is working in Clutch’s ware-pent-house.  Seems rather fishy all things considered, so Sonic rushes off to see if he can find Tails and get this whole matter straightened out.  It turns out to be poor timing on his part however as Clutch has just woken up and NO ONE THOUGHT TO RESTRAIN HIM which gives him time to activate a trap and skedaddle before anyone can stop him.

I didn’t expect Five Nights at Freddy’s to get the Attack on Titan treatment, but I can’t say it was a bad call!  Certainly better than the JRPG…

Unlike the first action scene this one manages to be quite easy to follow what with a single enemy to face and Amy’s move set being rather easy to visually depict.  She bashes things with a hammer which right behind punching things and using laser beams is about the most straightforward action to draw in comics, but despite her efforts her giant squeaky toy mallet is not enough to penetrate the robots titanium flesh!  Hey, things may look a bit bleak for her and her pals, but at least they’re doing better than Tails who looks like he’s waking up inside a Joker trap!

“The psychic hotline was right!  This IS how I die!!”

Now Tails is understandably upset about this latest development (though it does look like the safety bar is down so at least his kidnapping was done with his safety in mind), but before he can start yelling at Rogue about this she reveals that it was someone else pulling the strings this whole time!  It’s unclear when exactly (most likely after her meeting with Clutch towards the end of issue 33) but at some point she was hypnotized by the cloaked figure who needs the two of them for… something.  It’s not clear yet what his nefarious schemes are, but the plan for now is for them to jump off the coaster when it reaches a specific point and hoof it to his secret base from there.  Now I wouldn’t dare discount the theatrical value of kidnapping people via a roller coaster, but if mind control was on the table then why didn’t he just steal a car; or better yet, why didn’t he just take Tails’s airplane after he was knocked out?  For one thing, they’d already be in the sky by the time Sonic came out looking for them, and instead he sees them right away on the roller coaster and starts chasing.  Then something… happens (again, the artwork is a bit confusing here), but one of the roller coaster carts was derailed in front of Sonic and he falls off the side to his presumed death… until he’s caught in the secure arms of Shadow the Hedgehog!  I KNEW HE WAS A BIG SOFTY THIS WHOLE TIME!  In any case, they resume the pursuit and when they get close the hooded figure is revealed to be… DR. STARLINE!  SONIC SHOCK!!!

“It is I, Dr. Starline!  AND I CAN DO THIS WITH MY HANDS!”     “How does he DO that!?”

Dang it, they really got me with this one!  It’s a choice so obvious that I should have seen it right away, but they did a GREAT job hiding it until this issue and I dig the new coat as well as his devil may care villainous scheme!  You see, it’s not only that he’s kidnapping these two via a method only slightly less safe than using a giant slingshot; he planted bombs at the top of the mountain that he sets off as soon as Sonic and Shadow are about to pounce!  The explosions have caused an avalanche heading right for the chateau; leaving Sonic and Shadow with a soul crushing Spider-Man choice as the issue comes to an end!  Will they save their friends or save the hundreds about to be buried under ice and snow!?  We’ll have to wait until the next issue to find out!!

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This was definitely a step up from the last issue which ended up meandering too much, and the reveal of Dr. Starline at the end here was a clever trick on the reader.  See, they never tell you that this story is happening concurrently with the Bad Guys mini-series, but you make that assumption because the issues are coming out at the same time.  Not only that, but they revealed Starline’s Tri-Core powers all the way back in issue 33 when he was fighting Shadow, and even then I wasn’t able to put two and two together when those same powers showed up at the end of Bad Guys issue 2!  Still, I’m not a big fan of MIND CONTROL as a get-out-of-plot free card and is not a satisfying conclusion to Rogue’s storyline throughout this arc.  That and the action scenes are pretty bad in this issue.  I rail on it pretty frequently in these recaps, but I wouldn’t have to keep doing it if they just laid them out a bit better!  The arc has been rather up and down with some issues grabbing my interest and others failing to engage, but this one despite all its flaws managed to get me invested once again and I want to see what Starline is ultimately up to; not just here but in the Bad Guys mini-series as well!  He was in a PRETTY bad spot at the end of issue 3 and hopefully the conclusion of that will effectively bridge the gap that between the two books while also giving some insight into what Starline’s ultimate plan is.  I’ve revised my guess!  It’s not two Shadows in the tanks; it’s one Shadow and one Scourge as they both vie to be the most embarrassingly edgy Sonic knock off!

3.5 out of 5

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