Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #38

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

Things certainly got a bit out of hand around here as I’m still reeling from moving places a week ago, and in these uncertain times it’s always good to look at the constants in our life to keep us grounded!  For me it’s wrestling shows and Sonic the Hedgehog comics, so it’s a perfect time for IDW’s latest issue to come out now that things are starting to settle, but will they follow up the last issue with an interesting story that dovetails with Belle the Puppet’s mysterious past, or would I rather be hauling even more boxes up staircases than seeing where this story goes?  Let’s find out!!

We begin the issue with Sonic, Tails, and Amy falling through an infinite void of bizarre geometry with no clear direction or any real way to control it.  No, they didn’t find their way into Sonic R, but the whole place definitely gives off an incomplete video game level vibe as it appears to be some sort of pocket dimension that Eggman uses to test whatever his latest Sonic Killing devices are, and probably a lot of other things that I don’t particularly care to think about…

“There’s a door over there labeled Punishment Room. I wonder what’s in there?” “You know Tails, I’d rather not find out…”

I mean hey, if it worked for The Matrix why not try it here over two decades later?  While they’re off trying to figure out how to bend spoons and wear cool jackets, Belle and Tangle have finally managed to make it to whatever this weather station crossed with The Phantom Zone place is supposed to be and they manage to avoid the obvious Stargate portal to instead find the rest of the building filled to the brim with busy badniks trying to fix whatever Sonic and pals broke while finishing whatever project Eggman has assigned them with.  Unfortunately for the two middle managers in charge, Orbot and Cubot (more or less the replacements of Scratch and Grounder if you’re old like me), there’s not much choice but to get the big man involved now that Sonic found his way onto the premises, and once again Eggman manages to steal the show while literally phoning it in.

“I was doing some VERY extensive research in my Punishment Room!”     “Wait, I thought the only way there was through the portal here.”     “I HAVE MORE THAN ONE PUNISHMENT ROOM!!”

Say what you will about a lot of this series, but Eggman is ALWAYS on point and the writers and artist seem to have the freedom to make him as sinister as he needs to be.  Sure he’s one dimensional in his utter villainy, but there’s depth to his despicableness where the heroes feel a bit lacking in terms of range.  Even with the book’s original characters this can sometimes be an issue as Belle continues to be lacking as some decent bombshells are dropped on us this issue but they don’t really hit all that hard because we’re still intent on shrouding her in as much mystery as possible and keeping her character mostly confused and befuddled.  She accidently gets in the way of a bunch of badniks who end up ignoring her so the implication is that she herself is a badnik which is a concept rife with potential as she’s basically a variation on Omega, but unlike Omega there’s just a lack of personality.  Omega is bombastic and humorous in his single minded fury at Eggman, but Belle is just confused and doesn’t seem to be motivated by another other than her own mysterious past.

“I may have no strings to hold me down, but I don’t have any ties to hold me up!”     “Ouch.  Right in the feels…”     “Which is why I need to ask the help of the most evil and dishonest person on the planet!”     “Okay, now you’re losing me.”

I can only hope that whatever big reveal they have planned for us will make up for keeping everything so close to the chest with her, but I doubt that IDW is that ambitious with this franchise.  You know that alternate ending to Terminator Salvation where the Sam Worthington Bot actually ended up KILLING John Connor?  Something like that would work perfectly here where she betrays Sonic or yanks too hard on Tangle’s tail, but here I am wishing a children’s comic was more like a series of dark and bloody sci-fi films, so perhaps we should put the speculation on hold for a moment and focus on what ACTUALLY happens in the comic.  Tangle trusts Belle to not stab her in the back (at least for the time being) and continue to skulk around the facility while Sonic and Crew find themselves in another layer of this fake reality; one that looks like one of those makeshift Nuclear Test towns.  Sadly seeing Sonic and crew try to survive a nuclear explosion by climbing into a refrigerator is not about to happen as something THAT destructive is a bit gauche for Eggman, so instead they start getting chased down by swarms of misshapen and cobbled together badniks.  They hold up inside one of the houses and start barricading it like we’re in the opening siege of Resident Evil 4, and to make matters work the appliances start to laugh at them.  See, this is why Eggman is the best!  He doesn’t just taunt his foes; he does it while speaking through a branded toaster!

“I AM THE WAFFLE MAKER, AND YOU WILL DO MY BIDDING!”     “Oh ignore him; he’s such an egotist.  Now stick a fork in me, Sonic!”     “No, don’t listen to the toaster!  Stick your hand in my whirring mixing blade!”     “I bet you could stick your hand on my burning stovetop for a REALLY long time without flinching!”     “Go to the fridge Sonic, and eat all the butter!  My vengeance will be on your cholesterol!!  MWA HA HA HA HAAA!!”

And so the episode ends with our heroes in dire straits as Eggman’s forces start to mobilize on the house with Eggman cackling all the while!  This was a pretty in-substantive issue consisting more or less of three key scenes; Sonic and crew figuring out where they are, Tangle and Belle ease dropping on Eggman, and the assault on the house to close things out.  The book having to spend time trying to explain where Sonic, Tails, and Amy are just feels unnecessary when that page space could have been used for some more character interactions as Amy gets almost no lines and the few she gets are simple and utilitarian; so why is she even here in the first place?  I’m also getting annoyed with Belle as a character who doesn’t come off as enigmatic and unpredictable and instead just feels like an overly angst ridden third wheel wherever she goes.  Thankfully there are enough good bits here and there (mostly involving Eggman) to carry this issue, but I’m expecting a bit more meat in the next one if IDW wants to hold my attention much longer.

2.5 out of 5

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