Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #37

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

The one good thing about being as hopelessly behind as I was and having to play catchup throughout December and January was that I got to read A LOT of books in a short amount of time.  The wait between the last issue and this one has been EXCRUCIATING as I kept checking back every week in February to remind myself that yes, it’s still not coming out for another week or so.  No mini-series to keep me occupied in the mean-time either, and you’d think that by now IDW would take a gamble on a concurrent series, but nope!  A full month without Sonic comic goodness for me!  Was the wait ultimately worth it as we get started on a fresh new story arc, or will I be willing to wait TWO months after reading this?  Let’s find out!!

With the crisis as White Park Chateau narrowly averted and Tails successfully Frankenstein-ing Omega back together, we begin this issue rather low-key as everyone is heading to the newly crafted Restoration home base so that Belle (the living puppet with a mysterious backstory and a clown nose) can find a place among the normal folk and not spend her time in an underground bunker.  Okay, TECHNICALLY The Restoration HQ is in an underground bunker as well, but theirs is super nice so it’s still an upgrade!

“Yes, we even have a Starbucks!  Starbucks doesn’t even EXISTS in this reality and they somehow managed to get a franchise in here!”
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Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #36

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 for another ironically late recap for a comic about a character is super-fast!  Now that the Bad Guys mini-series is complete and we know how Dr. Starline survived to the end of that, we can focus on what he plans to do now that he has tails and Rouge in his grasp!  Will he succeed in his latest scheme, whatever that happens to be, and will this mini-story arc come to a satisfying conclusion?  Let’s find out!!

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The issue begins with Starline basking in his own genius at stealing The Green Goblin’s idea from the first Spider-Man movie; namely to make the hero choose between their duty to the innocent and the safety of their friends!  If Sonic and Shadow don’t go stop that avalanche he caused, the Chateau is going to be destroyed along with everyone inside!  Naturally Sonic decides to save the people, but Shadow being the paragon of ambivalence towards good and evil doesn’t take a second look backwards as he stomps his way towards Starline.  Gotta say, as much as I’ve found Shadow to be an unbearable and cringy bore in every other piece of Sonic media, I think the writing for him has bene top notch and gives a bit of depth to a character that only exists to be everything Sonic is not.  He’s not happy go lucky, he doesn’t make friends, he’s just dark and brooding.  However, this gives him a bit more personality to work with and his single minded pursuit of Starline for humiliating him earlier in this arc feels quite genuine nad in its own way kind of engaging.

“’Sealed my fate’?  Where’d you get that one from; the back of a Twilight book?”     “DO NOT MOCK WHAT YOU FAIL TO COMPREHEND!”     “Whatever, you wannabe Vegeta.”
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Super Comics: Sonic Bad Guys – #4

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

You know, I spent a good month catching up on the Sonic Comics which I felt very accomplished for doing, and then the holiday season hit which threw everything out of whack.  Now here I am a month later once again trying to polish off this backlog I’ve built for myself; not to mention trying to keep up with the new stuff and my VERY EXTENSIVE Halo Retrospective that I’d be VERY appreciative of if you gave that a look!  In any case, it’s time for me to finish what I started and bring this mini-series to a close!  Does Sonic Bad Guys finish things off with a brilliantly realized final issue or does it fail harder than Eggman fails to take over the world every other week?  Let’s find out!!

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When we last left our favorite rapscallions, they were about to swarm on Dr. Starline for his obvious betrayal.  Sadly for them, the not so good doctor has a bit of Walter White in him, and prepared a foolproof plan for this very likely scenario.  No, he doesn’t have a machine gun car ready to go.  Instead, he activates the Tri-core and bolts out of there with Sonic Super Speed, but not before giving them a taste of his awesome power!

“Lay off, bro!  He bopped me in the sok!!”
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Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #35

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

Despite some ups and downs in the story, I’m glad that the comic has moved away from WORLD ENDING CATASTROPHES to tell a much smaller and more character driven story with this whole Sonic take on Casino Royale!  What, am I the only one who sees it?  Come on, Rogue is acting super shady just like Vesper Lynd; it’s right there!!  In any case, will Sonic and friends uncover the many mysteries surrounding this story, not the least of which being the identity of the hooded figure?  Let’s find out!!

The issue begins with Sonic, Tails, and the living puppet Belle facing their greatest and oldest enemy to date; confusing action scenes that don’t adequately convey spatial relations!  Yeah, I know I’m a broken record on this, but these early pages are another example of the artist just not doing a great job conveying necessary details or relative threats.  The first thing we see low angle shot of them in a rather narrow but tall room (looking a bit like a silo) that is filling from bottom to top with badnicks.  Clearly they would have to find a way out by going UP, right?  No, it’s actually just a PYRAMID of badnicks and they decide to swarm on the side of the room that DOESN’T have the very obvious exit door.  Then as soon as they escape that room and are in the corroder, what I THINK happens is that a grabby badnick drops out of the ceiling to snatch Tails and Bell doing SOMETHING with her tail to save him. 

“Butt Boosters, don’t fail me now!!”
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Super Comics: Sonic Bad Guys – #3

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

The last issue of the Bad Guys mini-series was a surprisingly great entry that did a lot to move the plot forward and develop these characters which needless to say means that there’s a lot to live up to in this one!  Starline remains one of the better characters in this series and it seems like IDW is heading in an interesting direction with him, but we’ve been down this road before with this character and he’s never quite lived up to his potential even at his best moments.  The same more or less holds true for the rest of the cast here as they all certainly proved themselves to be more interesting in here than in their earlier appearances, but can Ian Flynn carry this story to a satisfying conclusion or did he use his best ideas in the last issue?  Let’s find out!!

The issue begins with Dr. Starline in the dead of night; accessing his personal computer and recording a video diary to catalog his mischievous machinations.  I’m not sure why he would bother to keep a record of how he plans to screw over his villainous posse, especially within earshot of anyone still awake and grabbing a snack from the fridge, but then again I imagine Starline is the kind of guy who plans to sell his life story for a book deal and five part movie franchise.  Also, it all turns out to be moot because SURPRISE; it’s not actually Starline!  Mimic, with the help of Zavok, somehow managed to crack all of Starline’s security systems and know every last detail of Starline’s plan.  I can only assume that this bit of tricky with the video diary is to fabricate further evidence of his ACTUAL wrongdoing and send it to Eggman when all is said and done, but for now (and with a bit of coaxing from Zavok), they’re going to let his scheme play out until the moment they get what they want.

“You’re not going to need his body once we’re through with this, right Zavok?”     “…what?”     “Yeah, I figured if I gutted him and stuffed him, he’d make a great mantel piece back home!”     “You do you, buddy.”
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Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #34

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

The last issue may or may not have been the start of a new arc (only time will tell on that front), but it did give us an interesting new set up that’s rife with potential!  No more zombots, no more world conquering jerks, just good ol’ fashion greed as Rouge and company are here to outwit the big wig running these Chao races!  Sonic IDW has finally acknowledged that Capitalism is the root of all evil (right after zombot viruses) and I’m very interested to see where it’s headed!  Do they continue to take this story into interesting and new directions as a refreshing break from the nonstop action, or was the last issue just there to set me up for disappointment?  Let’s find out!!

We begin our story of calculated lies and dangerous spy craft in the lovely dining area of the White Park Chateau where Rose is eating some sort of chocolate chip parfait and Cream has barely touched her very square waffles.  See, that’s the kind of quality you expect when you go to the White Park Chateau; waffles you could set a protractor to!  So why is she ignoring her delicious and structurally sound breakfast?  Well Rouge didn’t come back last night after meeting with Clutch, and if she’s not around to be a bad influence on her, then how else is she going to learn to be a jewel thief!?

“Don’t forget!  You promised to teach me how to use a lock pick today!”     “To unlock doors or to jab into a man’s eyeball?”     “Hopefully both!”
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Super Comics: Sonic Bad Guys – #2

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

I couldn’t tell you if these books have been a huge success for IDW, but the fact that we’re on our second mini-series primarily focusing on original characters and NOT Sonic himself is probably a good sign that they’re at least hitting some reasonable targets.  Still not enough to get a full blown second series running, but I guess these things take time and I frankly don’t need the extra work on my end just yet.  For now, let’s stick with what we’ve got which is yet another issue of their Bad Guys mini-series primarily focusing on that enigmatic and smug jerk Dr. Starline.  What exactly does he have planned now that he’s got a crew to do his bidding, and how soon before it all blows up in his face?  Let’s find out!!

Following their very clever and VERY cool escape from prison (i.e. walking away from an explosion), Dr. Starline and his new allies are going full force against one of Eggman’s strongholds.  Well… MOST of them do as Starline sits on the sidelines and smugly pats himself on the back for how genius his plan is; said plan being to get back into Eggman’s good graces AFTER wrecking all his stuff and freeing his sworn enemies!  This particular phase of the plan, as explained to us in a flash back, is to steal something called Power Cores which were APPARENTLY in Sonic Heroes.  I vaguely remember that each character could get a minor upgrade in some way, but I don’t recall it involving floating color coated balls.  In any case, Starline manages to sell his scheme to his current compatriots; albeit with more than a little slight-of-hand.

“Where the heck did you get that coffee!?”     “Starline made it.”     “Yeah, I made it for ME!”     “And your point is?”
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Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #33

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

Yes, I’m falling behind on these and not getting them out as soon as I should, but let’s see if I can successfully change the subject by pointing out that this is the first issue of the Sonic the Hedgehog series that does NOT have Ian Flynn listed with a writing credit!  Very few people have made as big an impact on the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise as this man has considering his tireless efforts on the comic book series (more or less picking up after the LAST guy who had such a big impact who we don’t particularly like to talk about anymore), and while he’s not done with Sonic by a LONG shot (he’s writing the Sonic Bad Guys series concurrent with this one), it’s a bit bittersweet to see an issue that doesn’t have his name on it.  Still, a change in voice can also be what this series needs as I’ve said on numerous occasions (probably to the chagrin of Mr. Flynn if he ever in a million years read one of these recaps) that the Zombot arc went on for way too long and that these globally devastating threats often left the characters floundering for development and focus.   Will things be different with the new writer Evan Stanley on board, or are the problems with this series not easily fixed by just giving the pen to someone else?  Let’s find out!!

Things have settled down a bit after Sonic gave an epic butt-kicking to Eggman’s giant robot in the last issue, so with this small bit of time before the NEXT world conquering threat makes itself know some of Sonic’s friends have decided to try and fix Omega who is just a robo-head at this point but is still in pretty good spirits all things considered.  Rouge managed to get the blueprints for Omega so that Tails can build him a brand new body, but there are two complications; Eggman’s blueprints are encoded so they’ll have to find a way to translate them, and even with the blueprints they don’t have the materials needed.  I’m not sure why they can’t just give him a DIFFERENT robot body as Eggman had no problem sticking his head on the giant robot, but in any case the team (which also consists of Sonic and Amy) has to spilt up to take on these two challenges.  Sonic knows of an abandoned Eggman facility that could have the answers they need so he’ll take Tails there, but before we go further I just have to ask, why are there SO many abandoned Eggman facilities!?  Starline just took one over as his base of operations in the first issue of Sonic Bad Guys, they were finding these things throughout the entire Zombot and Return of Eggman arcs, you’d think at some point that The Furry World Government would either claim them for themselves or blow them up to make sure they can’t be used against them again!  Well in any case, that’s just one part of the plan which means that it’s up to Amy and Rogue to find new parts for Omega.  Rogue has a lead on some guy name Clutch in a place called White Park Zone; the former of which is a new character but the latter is apparently a stage from Sonic 4 Episode 2 which I haven’t played yet.  They never did finish that trilogy, did they?  I guess that puts it right up there with Half-Life 2 Episode 3 as far as episodic games that never got finished, though I doubt as many people are broken up about the Sonic one not seeing the light of day.

“Sonic Xtreme?  He’s got a copy.”     “No way!  What about that Skateboard demo!?”     “Complete in box.”     “THEY DIDN’T EVEN RELEASE THAT!”     “No they didn’t.  And he still has it.”
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Super Comics: Sonic Bad Guys – #1

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

So it looks like the Tangle & Whisper mini-series worked out for IDW because now we’re getting a story arc all about Dr. Starline and his cohorts, and you know what?  Heck yeah!  HECK YEAH I SAY!  IDW has done a REALLY good job with its original characters in this series and Dr. Starline is no exception, so a mini-series where we learn more about him and see him act maniacal is something that I can definitely get behind!  Is this the start of a great chapter in the Sonic IDW canon, or will starring in his own issue prove too great a task for the not so good doctor?  Let’s find out!!

The issue begins with Dr. Starline; gone from Eggman’s good graces and without his Warp Topaz, but no less determined to prove himself in the eyes of his idol.  Sure he admits that Eggman is an arrogant fool who betrayed him, but the guy is just so darn good at making robots and putting his face on things that it’s impossible to truly hate him!  Speaking of which, Starline’s first step in his master comeback is take over one of Eggman’s abandoned facilities full of robots and things with his face on it, and while he may not be able to fast travel across the world map, he’s still got a few tools in his inventory!

“I was hoping to save them for a line dancing contest or perhaps even a hootenanny.”
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Jumping the Soapbox: Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Michael – Who Has The Best Comics!?

A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child is owned by New Line Cinema

It’s that time of year again for ghosts and ghouls to roam the streets (which you shouldn’t be doing this year) and for us to get reacquainted with some old friends like Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger, and Michael Myers!  There are no shortage of movies we could be talking about starring these icons of horror, but we’re going to take things in a slightly different direction here and familiarize ourselves with the oft overlooked subgenre of horror comics!  All three of these characters have had their share of funny books based off their exploits, so why not find out which one has the best stories to tell and are the most fun to read?  And no, we won’t be going into the Freddy Vs. Jason Vs. Ash comics as they are their own separate thing from either franchise’s main books.  Next year perhaps!?  Well let’s get through this first before we start planning ahead!

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In Last Place for Bad Taste – Friday The 13th

Starting this list with the most heartbreaking of them all, my beloved Jason Voorhees has had undoubtedly the WORST comics on this list.  Why?  Well with this series you basically get two kinds of stories; blatantly fetishistic gore porn and philosophical musings from pompous edge lords.  It’s a blatantly cynical misunderstanding of the character and the franchise as the stories seem to think that Jason is supposed to be the protagonist.  You may have goes to the movie to SEE Jason Voorhees, but the stars of those movies were Alice Hardy, Tommy Jarvis, Tina Shepard, and so on.  For almost every single one of these books there’s hardly a character worth rooting for or a victim who’s death is anything short of gleefully excessive because the writers want you to side with Jason as some sort of agent of chaos here to destroy THE MAN.  Corrupt cops, evil corporations, and at its absolute most revolting point gay people, are all lined up for Jason to take his brutal bloody revenge out on to the cheers of the audience; either because you WANT those people to die or because your tickled by the rendering of blood and viscera on the page.  The tackiest ones are where they try to justify their wanton bloodlust and by making Jason some sort of avenging spirit of Native American Genocide, like the supped up version of prefacing all MRA bullshit with WHITE women to try and pretend you’re not just an angry at all women, and this is something they try TWICE; once in the 2008 series and again in the Bad Land 2 parter.  Out of all of these books, the only three that stand out as anything other than dreck are Jason Goes to Hell, Jason Vs. Leatherface, and Pamela’s Tale.  Jason Vs. Leatherface is bad for a lot of the same reasons as the other books are BUT it has enough tongue in cheek humor to dull its more obnoxious moments, and the artwork has a grotesque EC Comics by way of Alfred E Newman look that lightens the mood considerably.  Pamela’s Tale, while rather unnecessary as it’s just a prequel that doesn’t do all that much interesting with the characters, at least is driven by something other than gore and titillation as we see how she came to have Jason and how she ended up working at the camp.  It’s far too happy to throw out allusions to future aspects of the franchise when it could have done its own thing, but I found it an entertaining enough read and one that didn’t make me repeatedly wince like so many of the other books.  Jason Goes to Hell is the definite standout as it’s just a retelling of the ninth movie, but that film is pretty underrated as is and I think the more fantastical elements are better suited for a comic book; not to mention that the script for that movie is FAR superior to the original scripts they wrote for the other comic books as it focuses on characters instead of just watching a lumbering monster be directed at whatever gripes the writer has with the world.  Aside from those three there’s not really anything to recommend as even the ones that pull back on the overt gore have garbage themes and characters, so I’d avoid almost every single one of these like the plague.

The Good: Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993); Friday the 13th: Pamela’s Tale (2007)

The Meh: Jason Vs. Leatherface (1995)

The Ugly: Friday the 13th: Bloodbath (2005), Friday the 13th Special (2005); Jason X Special (2005); Jason Vs. Jason X (2006); Friday the 13th: Fearbook (2006); Friday the 13th: How I Spent My Summer Vacation (2007); Friday the 13th (2007); Friday the 13th: Bad Land (2008); Friday the 13th: Abuser and the Abused (2008)

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