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 the ACTUAL Sonic comic and not a tie-in to a movie that I still haven’t seen yet. Hey, I’ll get around to it soon enough, but having moved the week it came out and with so many other movies out there, it’s kind of fallen down the priority list. This comic on the other hand, I made sure to pick up as soon as it came out to get my thoughts to you as soon as humanly possible. Admittedly not as fast as hedgehog-ly possible, but either way we are speeding towards the fiftieth issue and IDW wants to make it a big event. Does this penultimate story provide the perfect lead in to whatever Issue 50 is going to be, or will we once again be turning to the spin-offs for great comics? We’ve still got one more Imposter Syndrome is all I’m saying! Anyway, let’s find out!!
We begin the issue with Tails and Belle working on a way to turn Badniks into Good-niks (which is one step above a Beatnik), and while I could focus on the morally questionable aspect of rewriting the code of a seemingly sentient race of machines (*cough* Mass Effect 2 *cough*), I think the more immediate concern is Sonic. He’s there to serve as bait for the Badniks once the brain-worm signal is emitted, and he seems to be taking his job perhaps a bit too seriously…
Sonic artwork has been hit-or-miss at times, especially when it comes to the action, and this issue has a few more misses than usual. I don’t know what’s up with Sonic’s weird hands here or the fact that his arm is connected to his neck and not his shoulder, but it doesn’t set a great tone for the rest of the issue that feels like several parts of this could have used another pass. I don’t know if I’ve ever noticed this in a comic before, but the onomatopoeias didn’t read well to me with stuff like KLIK-DING over a smashed bookcase and CHA-CHUNK for a very tiny mechanism opening to reveal a sharp blade. I guess I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here so I should probably provide some context for these. The test seems to go well with the Badniks refusing to attack Sonic, but later that night there seems to be a counter signal that turns them back to baddies and even manages to overtake Belle. Sonic and Tails try to stop her and the friendly Moto Bug (delightfully renamed as Moto Bud), but without much room to run around Sonic is rather easily overwhelmed.
Thankfully Tails manages to run in with a zappy-thingy (it’s that science do-dad that he used to neutralize the Zetis’ power) and manages to cut off the signal that was making Belle act all stabby. She reveals that it was a global call to all Badniks to head to one of Eggman’s numerous lairs for something big and no doubt destructive. It feels a bit rushed to have Belle back to normal so soon, especially given the cover that puts her mind-controlled state front and center, and I can’t help but wonder if the one-shot we gave to the Chaotix last time could have been better used to build up this conflict. In any case, they follow the still mind-controlled Moto Bud to the secret location, but Belle makes the decision to cut his power instead of letting him go die in some robo-war. Whether they can bring it back is a question for another issue, but the decision leaves Belle distraught and she collapses on the robo-corpse only to find something stuck in its casing. It turns out that this wasn’t just some random Moto Bug with a glitch; he was sent to find Belle and deliver a message to her. Who would have done such a thing? Why none other than her father Mr. Tinker; the good alter ego of Eggman after he got amnesia all the way back at the very start of the series.
When you think about it, Belle has really been put through the wringer since she showed up not that long ago. Her confrontation with Eggman back in issue 40, getting kidnapped by Starline in issue 44, and now she’s having to reopen the old wounds that just never seem to fully heal as she gets one final message from her father just as he’s about to raise an army for what are no doubt nefarious ends. It’s at a point where she seems ready to give up on herself and everything she’s strived for, but this isn’t the Sad Belle comic book; this is the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book and the blue boy takes a moment to do something way past cool. As much as the original characters have been carrying this series, it’s nice to be reminded that the guy it all revolves around can have his moments too.
With Sonic’s pep talk giving Belle a reason to fight, the issue comes to an end with Sonic racing to Eggman’s latest Doom Castle with Belle and Tails in tow. It probably would have been a good idea to at least ring up the Restoration to call in for some backup given the size of this place and how many badniks are gonna be there, but I guess when you’re Sonic it’s more about doing things with style rather than forethought!
This was a decent issue I guess, but it doesn’t exactly feel like the prelude to the next one that IDW has been promising to be a benchmark for the series. We’ve been building up to issue 50 for a while now, and yet the last two issues haven’t done a lot to get us to that point. We know that Surge and Kitsunami are going to be a factor, but Eggman’s role in all this is still a bit of a mystery. It is interesting that they’re trying to go full circle here with the very first arc of the IDW series (finding Eggman) tying into Belle’s story which will no doubt be critical in whatever happens during the fiftieth issue, but I still feel like they wasted a few issues recently and so too much got crammed into here. Couple the rushed pace with some sloppy artwork and the whole thing feels a little half-baked. We have one more issue of Imposter Syndrome before the big fiftieth blow-off, and while this had its moments here and there with Belle, hopefully, that will be the proper lead-in that we need to make it feel like the big event that it should be.