Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #43

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 another issue of Blue Bomber Monthly, and yes I know; this is coming out late once again.  It’s been a busy few weeks, especially with the recent AEW Pay Per View, but rest assured that I will ALWAYS find my way back to Sonic before too long!  The last issue left our heroes in quite a desperate situation with one of them kidnapped by Dr. Starline and the head of The Restoration locked in a safe room to stave off The Deadly Six! With the last episode doing a great job to build the stakes, can this issue give us a payoff that takes full advantage of that effort?  Let’s find out!!

Now I’ve accused some issues of barely moving the story forward, but this is one of the most blatant examples of that as it all takes place in one location for one fight scene; though as surprising as it may be to hear this, I think they ACTUALLY managed to make it work here!  I certainly haven’t been the kindest to the action as depicted in this series and even when it comes to this issue I will still say the artwork is a bit flat for the high octane spectacle we see, but what makes it different is that they do a darn good job of telling a compelling story throughout; not one that advances the overall narrative, but enough to keep the action interesting all the way through.  It starts where the last issue left off as Sonic had finally arrived to face off against the Deadly Six right as they’re about to break through The Restoration’s final defense; leaving him as the only one stopping them from getting to Jewel, Tangle, and Whisper inside.  Sonic needs to hold them off for as long as it takes Tails to get there with some Anti-Zeti science thingies he’s developed, and he’s gonna have to do it without backup because SOMEONE waited too long to call an Uber!

“We should have taken the train.”     “CAN IT, TRIANGLE HEAD!!”

Despite this setback, Sonic manages to dash, dive, tumble, and rumble his way around the Deadly Six, but even he has his limits and spends most of his time fending off the overly exuberant Zazz; not helped by the fact that Zavok is throwing Zeti around at Sonic all willy-nilly like.  To try and even the odds, Tangle and Whisper find a clever way to get involved with the match as Whisper starts to shoot her rifle through the hole in the door the Zeti punched through in the last issue while Tangle uses her massive tail to fend off anyone who comes close to it.  However, Zavok manages to get the upper hand as his ability to control technology lets him short circuit her mask.  In the chaos, Tangle tried to swat him away with her tail which Zavok is ready for and grabs it so he can hank her repeatedly into the door. It was a clever idea from the heroes, but even something like that can have an unexpected flaw which Zavok exploited; further legitimizing his claims as a grand strategist.

“FATALITY!  Zavok wins.”     “Best two out of three?”

As I’ve said many times before, the artwork for the action isn’t all that great in this series and there are plenty of examples of that here an d so it has to be held up by the interesting ideas conveyed within the fight.  I don’t know if it’s the art style or concerns about going too off-model, but the hits that we see just don’t have any impact and frankly it’s the ones they DON’T show that feel the most effective.  To its credit, almost every scene with Zavok specifically has quite a bit of punch to it; particularly with Zavok slamming Tangle into the door repeatedly feels which we don’t even properly SEE yet feels much more significant than whatever it’s implied that Zor does when he kinda hovers in Sonic’s general direction.  It’s an improvement to be sure, but for the majority of pages here it’s a rather toothless affair; a fight of light brushes past each other and the occasional starburst to let you know contact was achieved.

WHOA, Sonic!  You can’t just be throwing out illegal knee strikes like that!  That’s how you get disqualified and have to give up your title!!

Sonic manages to take out Zazz, but there are five more to go and Zavok already took Tangle and Whisper out of the equation, so Sonic is running out of options and running low on stamina.  If only there was someone who could run in at just the right moment to make the save and even the odds!  No it’s not Vector or Silver or any number of B-Tier Butt Kickers, but the lovable Tails who may not be great at punching things but has SCIENCE to back him up!  He’s busts in with these electric shock sticker things and manages to take out most of the Zeti before he and Sonic are both captured in the mighty mitts of Zavok!  Tails, who shows quite a bit of bravery and straight up GUTS in this issue, reveals that he had ONE more sticker hidden in his tails and manages to stick it to Zavok right after giving a Cool Hero Line!  Tails really comes into his own in this moment and elevates himself to more than just Sonic’s Ward, and hopefully we’ll see more of this side of him in the future! 

“Looks like Zavok… got Zav-cooked!”     “Eh.  It’s a start, but we’ll workshop it later.”

And so the issue comes to an end with the heroes just barely triumphing against their foes only to realize that they can’t rest just yet as Belle is still in the cunning grips of Dr. Starline for whatever nefarious scheme he’s cooked up next!  I’m feeling a lot more positive about this issue than I expected to be as drawn out fight scenes in the Sonic comic have been far from the highlights of the book, but there’s a lot underneath the surface that creates a few interesting and possibly even ICONIC moments for the characters which is far more interesting to me than a bunch of exposition dumps or meaningless set pieces.  The art has shown some improvement with Zavok causing real mayhem, but it’s applied inconsistently and I’d still like there to be a bit more weight behind hits or some skewing of perspective to take advantage of Sonic’s speed.  Perhaps that’s beyond the scope of what IDW and SEGA want to do with this series and to be fair it IS supposed you always have to worry about just how much impact is appropriate, but hey, if Zavok can get away with it than why not everyone else!?  In any case, this was much better than I was expecting and about as interesting as the Zeti tend to get, so a big ol’ thumbs up for that and I hope they have even more interesting ideas for the Starline storyline that’s coming up next!

3.5 out of 5

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