Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #40

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 with more Sonic, and considering how busy the last month has been it feels like an ETERNITY since we last got an issue; especially since they aren’t running a miniseries parallel with the main book at the moment.  Seriously IDW, we need a second book in this universe; not just four issues here and there of a side story!  They certainly tend to be more entertaining than the main story line which has more room to drag things out (*cough* Metal Virus *cough*), but perhaps this issue will bring the latest story to a satisfying end instead of leaving us hanging for another month or two.  Do Sonic and pals manage to escape from Eggman’s evil machinations once again, and more importantly do the writers find a way to make it fun and interesting?  Let’s find out!!

The issue begins with Sonic, Tails, and Amy, being menaced in the virtual world by Eggman’s latest machines.  It probably seemed like a good idea at the time to send the Rock Paper Scissors of elemental robots to cover all your bases, but Sonic has SOMEHOW found the flaw in this and uses his super speed to trick the robots into attacking each other.  Come on Eggman, that’s Speedster 101 stuff!  Normally I find the action in these comics perfectly suitable if a bit dull, but sadly I have to be a bit harsher than usual because the artwork on the first few pages looks PRETTY bad here with a lot of flat color and off looking characters.  The art is done by people who have worked on this comic many times before and it’s DRASTICALLY improved by the tenth or so page, so the only thing I can conclude is that there must be some sort of schedule issue that left some of the pages somewhat unfinished and it’s a bit of an eye sore because of that.

“Oh no! We’re using up too much processing power that Eggman had to downgrade the graphics!” “That’s like… the OPPOSITE of way past cool!” “Sure Sonic, whatever you say.”

All of this is mostly moot as its background noise to what is the REAL point of this issue; the revelation of Belle’s parentage!  We finally figure out who Belle’s daddy is, and while I will give them credit for coming up with something clever, it still is a bit disappointing.  The answer is… EGGMAN!  Not some other scientist out there who can join Sonic and his team or perhaps someone that Eggman destroyed in the past; it was Eggman the whole time!  You may now be wondering why she was so insistent that it wasn’t Eggman this whole time, and the answer is because she was built ALL the back in the early days of this comic where Eggman had amnesia and was instead Mr. Tinker, so she’s a creation of the temporary GOOD Eggman.  Sounds a bit semantic to me considering how long we’ve dragged this out, but I certainly didn’t think of it as a possibility which earns it a few points in my book.  Not only that, the scene where all this is reveals is quite gripping as Eggman finds Belle via one of his Egg-tablets and lays bare the truth that she herself was too afraid to confront.

“If I’m gonna be your daddy, we are gonna lay down some ground rules! EGGMAN LAW ONE! You can date, but only if I get to dissect them at the end of the night! EGGMAN LAW TWO! You don’t have to cook dinner, but I DO expect you to dispose of the Postmates driver with efficiency and discreetness. Why aren’t you writing this down!?”

Eggman even goes so far as to reveal the extent of his latest evil plan to here as some sort of boast to prove that his genius far surpasses that of the simple toymaker which does nothing to assuage Belle’s conflicted feeling, though I highly doubt Eggman even notices that.  It’ll certainly be a tossup between him and Rick Sanchez being the Worst Dad; though I probably have to give the edge to Eggman since he at least CARES enough about being evil to ruin people’s lives directly instead of just through utter carelessness.  Heck if you ask me, that Metal Virus Eggman made beats the crap out of Rick’s Cronenberg Virus!  Where’s THAT Death Battle!?  Wait, what he the heck am I on about?  Oh right, Eggman being a jerk.  While Belle is crying in a corner due to the megalomaniacal blood coursing through her circuits, Sonic, Tails, Amy, and now Tangle are still fighting off baddies in the virtual world which is becoming increasingly more unstable place and they have to leave the facility sooner rather than later.  Not much of a problem when you’ve got Sonic on your team and the five of them make it back to Tails’ plane and fly off into the sunset while Eggman’s knock off Aperture Science Lab explodes behind them!

“That’s the LAST time I play Quake in VR!  And I thought I was a sadistic jerk!”

And so the day is saved once again by Sonic running fast and Eggman being incompetent!  Still, things are not the same as they were before as Belle’s past is finally catching up to her and she can no longer run from it.  It certainly wasn’t a moment of catharsis or the closure she needed to get past it, in fact it was downright traumatizing considering just how far gone the kindly old Mr. Tinker is, but a step forward is a step forward; even if it hurts.  With Eggman defeated for the moment and everything out in the air, everyone can at least look forward at what’s to come as the issue comes to a close.

“Okay fine!  If you come back I promise one hug every year; but it also counts as your birthday present!”     “I thought I un-paired you!”     “NO BLUETOOTH DEVICE IS OUTSIDE THE REACH OF EGGMAN!!”

I never fully embraced this story arc which felt a bit padded and missing a real sense of danger and consequence, but they at least ended strong with Belle’s revelation and how well it was handled.   Eggman continues to be the absolute best part of this book as his character doesn’t feel as restrained as the rest of the cast and he’s simply allowed to be the horrible person he truly loves to be and his interaction with Belle is another great example of it.  The fact is though that having him be Belle’s father means we missed an opportunity to make this universe a little bit bigger and I really want this book to go in new directions instead of just recycling the same characters and the same general stories.  The days of the Archie comic are long gone and there’s probably no way to recreate the bizarre magic of an ever expanding universe in the most unorthodox directions; especially with Sega having a much stronger handle on the franchise and probably overseeing the IDW series more than they ever did with Archie.  At best we’ll get moments like these that plumb the depths of human emotions for a few pages before going back to ON BRAND SONIC FUN, and perhaps for the younger audiences that’s more than enough.  Eggman being Belle’s creator simply reminded me of that fact, but it also gave the writers a chance to do something pretty deep with their interaction and perhaps there will be more opportunities to mine this dynamic in future storylines.  All things considered, I’ll stay optimistic and try to take this book for what it is rather than what I want it to be.

3.5 out of 5

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