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-less action as the girl’s trip story arc (for lack of a better term) is in full swing with tense social interactions, lots of unprocessed emotions, and a camping trip where no one remembered to bring a Nintendo Switch! The last issue was somewhat of a disappointment for me as I’ve been waiting for something like this that focused on the characters and their relationships, but that IS technically what we’re doing here, it was mostly a miserable slog as no one was happy and Amy’s efforts went unappreciated. Was it all necessary setup for an interesting story told over the next few issues, or is it going right back to Sonic Comic tropes after a brief dalliance with character growth? Let’s find out!!
The issue begins where the last one left off; A RAGING INFERNO CREATING CHAOS, THREATENING LIVES, AND CREATING AN ENVIRONMENTAL CATASTROPHE! Boy is it fun to escape from the real world for a minute by enjoying a story about fantasy creatures and robots that in NO WAY reflects the struggles we currently face! Alright, that’s a bit of a stretch as I don’t think Eggman has tried to create a hole in the Ozone layer (at least not yet) and the previous issue DID say that the area was dry because of the after effects of the Zombot virus. Not that an out of control virus causing wide spread systemic issues is in ANY WAY RELATABLE EITHER, but regardless of all that, Belle is still out there and has only just woken up to see half the forest in flames. She herself would have been the victim of its wrath if not for the Badnik that she ran into (head first) at the end of the last issue who had protected all but her hand from burning to a crisp. It appears to be one of those GOOD bad-guys, not unlike Belle herself, and the pair is eventually found by Tangle who’s on the hunt for the kid who wandered into the woods at the end of the last issue.
Not really sure this is the kind of comic where you should be questioning the design and construction of things, but Belle having metallic hands despite her design being wooden is definitely something that raises an eyebrow. I don’t know, perhaps her “wood” is just a finish on top of a metal exoskeleton, and perhaps she doesn’t even know that’s the case; hence why she was scared of fire in the last issue. In any case, the trio starts making their way through the forest looking for the brat while Amy and Jewel are trying to restore some sense of order back at the campsite. Everyone is naturally panicking about the encroaching fire, but there’s no easy or particularly safe way to get out of there so they all just kinda bouncing on the walls trying to find safety. Things start to look dicey when one… creature in a trucker hat (what is that, a dog?) starts getting in a heated argument with the camp owner which forces Amy to use get everyone’s attention! With everyone now looking at her, she does the most sensible thing and pawns this crisis off to an unexpected administrator who will surely get all the blame for whatever goes wrong! Clearly Amy has a bright future in politics with the way she so effortlessly shifted the focus away from her!
The gamble seems to pay off as Jewel finds her confidence and gets people to take more constructive action which is fine I suppose but it definitely feels a bit contrived that Jewel’s fear of taking decisive action as a leader gets such an obvious scenario to work itself out through and that’s just kind of the overall vibe I’m getting from this storyline; something that could have been low key and character focused that they instead set on fire just to get more urgent reactions out of it. The fire as a threat just doesn’t hold a lot of weight with me and so seeing these characters overcome it feels like a walk in the park. A conflict that MIGHT have been more interesting to see unfold is Belle’s fear that she started the fire since she DID use her finger lighter right before it started, but even this manages to disappoint as she soon discovers it wasn’t even her who did it. She, along with Tangle and the Good-Badnik, end up finding the missing kid who tells them of a mysterious villain and her sidekick who used lightning powers to start the fire. Sure, it’s nice that we’ve got some new villains to look forward to (perhaps they are the “project” that Starline was working on), but now that we’ve got that sorted out what is there for Belle to do? Well I’ll TELL YOU what she’s there to do! She’s there to entertain the children as she calms down the child with her puppet clown powers!
So all seems well as the kid has been found and no one is seriously hurt! Sure, Belle’s gonna need to get a new cartoon glove to cover her Terminator Claw, but since EVERYONE on this planet has those I’m sure she can find another pretty easily! In any case, all they have to do is walk out of the forest without anything going wrong, and… I jinxed it, didn’t I? As it turns out a forest full of burning trees is a DANGEROUS place, and one of the trees nearly crushes Belle and the brat as it falls over. Tangle manages to shove them away in time but this turns out to be a lateral move at best as the three of the go tumbling off a nearby cliff into a river below; soon followed by the Badnik that was trying to… actually I’m not sure what he was trying to do. Once again, these comics have an issue with ambiguous art and one of the last panels we see doesn’t make a lot of sense.
The issue isn’t as disappoint as the last one was, but it’s also doesn’t have as interesting an idea. Four characters who don’t often interact finding themselves all in one place and having to interact is far more interesting to me than yet another “dangerous situation” that they have to overcome. Whether it’s zombots, avalanches, or wildfires, it doesn’t carry a lot of weight for me as it just feels like another obstacle. At least when they’re fighting Eggman or the Zeti, there’s some back and forth involved as their personalities clashes as much as their fists do. We do get a little bit of an arc with Jewel, but the issue she was dealing with felt so token as it was only introduced to us last issue and has already been fixed. If nothing else, I do like the interactions between Belle and Tangle, and I do think that introducing some new original villains is a good idea since the Zeti are gone and you don’t want to overdo it with Eggman plot after Eggman plot. If it has one advantage over the last issue, I’m at least a little more excited to see where THIS one goes than what was going to happen after the last one, and hey! It turns out I was right to be skeptical as this issue wasn’t all that exciting!