Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America
We’re back for another ironically late recap for a comic about a character is super-fast! Now that the Bad Guys mini-series is complete and we know how Dr. Starline survived to the end of that, we can focus on what he plans to do now that he has tails and Rouge in his grasp! Will he succeed in his latest scheme, whatever that happens to be, and will this mini-story arc come to a satisfying conclusion? Let’s find out!!
The issue begins with Starline basking in his own genius at stealing The Green Goblin’s idea from the first Spider-Man movie; namely to make the hero choose between their duty to the innocent and the safety of their friends! If Sonic and Shadow don’t go stop that avalanche he caused, the Chateau is going to be destroyed along with everyone inside! Naturally Sonic decides to save the people, but Shadow being the paragon of ambivalence towards good and evil doesn’t take a second look backwards as he stomps his way towards Starline. Gotta say, as much as I’ve found Shadow to be an unbearable and cringy bore in every other piece of Sonic media, I think the writing for him has bene top notch and gives a bit of depth to a character that only exists to be everything Sonic is not. He’s not happy go lucky, he doesn’t make friends, he’s just dark and brooding. However, this gives him a bit more personality to work with and his single minded pursuit of Starline for humiliating him earlier in this arc feels quite genuine nad in its own way kind of engaging.
Surprisingly, Starline gets dispatched rather swiftly as Omega starts rattling his little robo-head around which throws Starline off balance and sends him falling to the snow below. Why he even bothered to steal the robot’s head is beyond me, but it means that everyone can head back to the Chateu with plenty of time to stop the avalanche. Well Shadow does want to go after Starline to make sure he broke something serious in the fall, but he owes Sonic a favor for… something (they reference a previous issue but I’m0 not about to be tricked into re-reading any of the Zombot arc!) and goes to help him out while Rouge and Tails head back to where Amy is still fighting what I can only assume will be a boss battle in a future Five Nights at Freddy’s game. GEMERL is doing what he can to buy Cream and Belle the living marionette enough time to free the Chaos, and they manage to do so right in the nick of time to swarm the enemy and turn them into dust clouds.
Well I guess Tails and Rouge weren’t needed all that much considering they got themselves out of that mess, and frankly neither are Sonic and Shadow whose one idea fails to slow the avalanche down even a little bit! Considering how they pretty much gave Shadow a guilt trip about hunting down Starline so he’d go back and help everyone, it’s kind of funny that they have been absolutely useless and probably would have been better off going after him! Heck, even the people in the Chateau are pretty much safe as it turns out that the place was built to withstand avalanches, which seems rather obvious considering where the darn thing was built. It’d be like worrying that a bowling alley didn’t have enough shoe spray. The whole issue just kind of ends up being overly convenient as not only does the danger of the avalanche get utterly muted about halfway through the issue, for no fathomable reason Starline is IN THE CHATEAU instead of heading for the hills! Yeah, he had to come up with an elaborate scheme to kidnap two of our heroes and still got his butt kicked by a disembodied head, but just winging it here in the middle of the dining hall against half a dozen of them!? Sure, why not!
Naturally Starline gets his butt kicked and is swept away by the one tiny bit of the avalanche that breaks through a window. All is well as our heroes return to Tails’ workshop to finally put Omega together with the help of Belle who proves to be just as good at robots and blueprints as she is at picking locks! In fact, she’s a little TOO good which Tails points out as she seems to have no problem decoding Eggman’s blueprints which is the whole reason he and Sonic went to that Eggman facility in the first place where they found her. She continues to insist that she was not created by Eggman but is still tight lipped about her origins which at this point only seem to indicate something rather sinister and I’m curious exactly what the plan is with her. They’ve done dark material in the past with the Zombot arc, but will they have an answer for her dark secret that creates some serious drama? I’m inclined to say no as they didn’t even do that with the Bad Guy mini-series, but I guess time will tell. We also get to see Dr. Starline who seems to be none the worse for wear after getting plowed by a torrent of falling snow, and he seems to have completed his objective; in that he has some of Tails’ fur in a jar. Oh no… I guess? And so the issue comes to an end with Starline getting ready for the next step of… whatever this bizarre plan of his is.
I guess this explains why he bothered going back to the chateau after getting knocked off the roller coaster, but if all he needed was a hair sample then he could have gotten it while Tails was still unconscious and tied up! This mini-arc at the chateau was definitely an improvement over the languid and bleak Zombot arc, but it still isn’t without its issues. The Chao races were never all that exciting and () turned out to be kind of a nothing bad guy considering all he could do was play opossum and activate a robot bear. Things were definitely better on the Starline side of the storyline, both when his identity was a mystery and after it got revealed, but sadly this issue seemed a bit too eager to wrap things up in a nice little bow. I’d say that maybe they undercut the avalanche’s threat to keep this more kid friendly, but we just got done with a story where almost all the characters were turned into terrifying zombies so unless IDW is trying to course correct here I don’t see that as a likely answer. For me, the series still hasn’t found the sweet spot between genuine drama and lighthearted adventure. The mini-series they’ve released have definitely come the closest, but the main series is still struggling to find that balance. Still, I’d rather take the softer approach of this storyline over the grimness of the Zombot arc, and even if things ended on a rather uneventful note there was more than enough good stuff to recommend not only the arc but this issue as well. Anytime Starline shows up in an issue definitely improves it in my eyes, but I’m still waiting for him as well as the series as a whole to come into its own. I know it’s been almost three years now, but the Zombot arc took SO much time that it really only feels like one at the most so I’m giving it a lot of leeway here! Don’t waste it, IDW!