Guest Post -James M's IDW Sonic Review/Retrospective




Salutations to those who are interested in comics, video games and movies out there, its your boy James M the CrazyGamerHistorian1999 aka the Crazy Video Game Wizard here once more to give his thoughts on the IDW Sonic the Hedgehog so far and how much I like it.

First off, before we get into IDW Sonic, a little history about me and Sonic.

December 24, 2010, Christmas Eve, I was opening gifts when I got my hands on the biggest one of all, Sonic Colors (the Wii version),  the (at the time) latest entry in the Sonic series, and I was instantly hooked at last even though, previously I'd given the DS version of Mario and Sonic and the Winter Olympic Games a go and got my hands on Sonic Archives Volume One and Sonic Select Volume 2. Two months later, in February of 2011, I was leaving the bowling alley after hanging out with a friend when I decided to check out the local comic shop and guess what I got my hands on...

Image result for Sonic #220 archieImage result for Sonic universe 20

Sonic the Hedgehog #220 and Sonic Universe #20 both done by Archie.

Afterwards, it was a while before I got into the Sonic comic stuff, even though I did get my hands on some of the graphic novels and, while visiting a book store, actually purchased Sonic #222, the one where Sonic and Sally officially rekindled their romantic relationship after the break up in #134. Time passed and finally, in August/September of that same year, I decided to really get into Archie Sonic, so I went to World's Best Comics (the same comic store I went to months prior) and got my hands on issues 226, 227 and 228. Following that fateful day, I went to the comic store more frequently (and sometimes less frequently depending on what was going on) and got my hands on more issues of the Sonic comics.

I found the issues and stories very enjoyable, the writers and artists did a really good job. When the reboot happened (thanks to Ken Penders lawsuit stuff, shh), I shrugged it off and kept reading the comic. Then, in 2017, things changed when, after running for over hundreds of issues, Archie Sonic finally came to an end, but in the most unexpected way imaginable, it was cancelled.

Image

But you know what they say, "All good things must (eventually) come to an end." The ending of the Archie Sonic comic series was long overdue, they did originally plan on ending the comic at issue 50 with the final defeat of Doctor Robotnik during Endgame, but nope, the comic kept going. Heck, before the reboot happened, most people expected the big finale to happen during 250 or 300. You know what, if you want to be fair (unless you count that Chaotix story in Sonic Universe #91-94 and Genesis of a Hero in Sonic #288-290), the big finale of the comic was the finale of the Shattered World Crisis.

But then, about two days after the bittersweet end of Archie Sonic, the news came that IDW publishing would be doing Sonic comics and I was fascinated, this is where I begin to explain almost everything about IDW Sonic and my overall thoughts on it...

IDW Sonic Explained: Characters/Writers/Setting/Story

IDW Sonic is the spiritual successor to the now cancelled Archie Sonic, it is written by Ian Flynn, who was head writer for Archie Sonic in 2006 starting with issue 160 all the way to its cancellation, and most of the folks who worked on Archie Sonic return to work on the comic. The comic takes place just not long after the events of Sonic Forces, where Eggman took over the world only to be defeated at the hands of the Sonic resistance. It makes sense considering the fact that...

A. SEGA wants the Sonic comics to be a bit in line with the games
B. Sonic Forces was the latest 3D Sonic game at that point.

Anywho, the world Sonic and his friends live on currently has no name, mostly due to the whole "two worlds theory" deal and the fact SEGA has banned the name Mobius and anything related to it, mostly because they're a bunch of jerks but I digress. Sonic is that brash speedy hedgehog teenager with attitude, his buddy Tails is a confident kid genius and Knuckles, who was leader of the resistance in Forces, is (for now) the last echidna and guardian of the master emerald. Amy's the hammer girl and Sonic's "girlfriend" and then there are the other characters.

Year 1 of IDW Sonic kicked things off with a mystery as to who was in command of Eggman's robots and attacking the world, not to mention what happened to the mad doctor himself. We found out what became of that guy in issue 5. After his defeat in Sonic Forces, specifically after the final boss, Eggman somehow ended up in a remote mountain village and lost his memory. The locals took him in and Eggman became Mr. Tinker, a guy who likes to build and rebuild things and help people. Sonic was a bit suspicious, but of course, Eggman's amnesia was genuine and he had changed his ways (sort of). So, while Eggman's being Mr. Tinker, who's in charge of the Eggman Empire?

We did get glimpses of the mastermind in issue one and issue six set things up with a big cliffhanger when the big bad turned out to be... DOCTOR EGGMAN! Only, it wasn't Eggman, it was revealed in issue seven that the bad guy was actually Metal Sonic in his Neo Metal Overlord form from Sonic Heroes. The difference? Neo Metal Sonic is super loyal to the mad doctor this time.

Yup, Eggman learned his lesson after what happened in the game Sonic Heroes and made sure Metal Sonic remained loyal and obedient to him while he upgraded him into Neo Metal Sonic. Metal was meant to be Eggman's back up during the final battle with Sonic in Forces during the Death Egg Robot fight, but by the time Metal Sonic was online, the war was over, Sonic saved the day and Eggman was lost.

Neo had Eggman's vision and DNA so he used Eggman's image to attack the world, during his monologue to Sonic, he told the hedgehog himself, "I will conquer the world for Eggman as Eggman, you tell me where he is so I may hand over control to him immediately." So what was Metal's big plot in year one? Conquer the Floating Island. Luckily, Sonic and his friends caught wind of the scheme and raced on over to Knuckles' home island to liberate it and defeat the robot.

As the battle unfolded in the skies, on the surface, Eggman aka Mr. Tinker was amusing the kids of Windmill Village with a little park he called Eggman Land when he was captured by Rough and Tumble, two skunk brothers who debuted in issue three, and brought to Final Egg where he came face to face with a new villain, Doctor Starline, who is meant to be not just the IDW version of Grimer (from Fleetway Sonic) and Snively (from SatAM) but also a successor to crazy white-colored echidna villains like Zachary (also from Fleetway like Grimer) and Dr Finetivus (from Archie).

Doctor Starline the Platypus' goal? Restore Doctor Eggman and bring back the old glory of the Eggman Empire. How does Starline attempt to help Eggman get his memories back? Hypnotherapy or, as YouTuber Megabeatman would put it, mind-screw torture. Meanwhile, Sonic and his friends were able to defeat Metal Sonic, who turned into Metal Overlord again, and liberate the Floating Island. As for Metal Sonic? He reverted back to his base form and, instead of turning him into scrap, Sonic had Tails repair him. Least its better than having Metal Sonic get destroyed and rebuilt later by Eggman, right? To be fair, SEGA does have mandates against the idea of multiple Metal Sonics and IDW is not gonna do what Archie did for a while, destroy Metal Sonic only for Eggman to build a new one.

So what happened? Metal Sonic headed straight for Final Egg and completed its mission of finding Eggman. Starline at that time had put Mr Tinker through mind-screw torture so many times, the doctor's memories did not resurface. Not even the sight of Orbot and Cubot could bring back Eggman, but soon as the former Egg Emperor saw Metal Sonic, his memories and the doctor finally returned. Starline secured his allegiance to the Egg Emperor and Eggman got to work on preparing a new plan involving something he had put on file some time ago. Meanwhile, Sonic and his friends finished cleaning up from the battle and left with Knuckles staying on the island to resume his guardian status after disbanding the Resistance, thus ending year one.

Year two so far and Roboticization:

While IDW Sonic did its best to maintain the franchise's family-friendly image in year one, even though it was action packed, year two was when things changed and the comic went from family-friendly to being pure dark and serious on the same level as Sonic SatAM from 1993. Eggman's latest plan involved the Metal Virus, a virus that is capable of turning organic beings into robots.

A quick side note: for those who do not know or want to know, the Metal Virus is basically a new take on a concept that has existed since the 1990s. Roboticization, the process of converting somebody into a robot, mostly through a machine. The concept first appeared in Sonic SatAM and appeared numerous times in Archie Sonic and popped up in the games on a few occasions, most notably in Lost World.

Ironically and coincidentally, during the final years of the Archie Sonic comic's run, Ian Flynn wanted to do a zombie story but that got scrapped for a time. Just prior to the comic's cancellation of 2017 (after the reboot of 2013), the idea surfaced again, this time it was a robo-zombie story and the main idea was to have the Metal Virus be a replacement and successor to the roboticizer. But then the comic got cancelled and IDW picked up the Sonic license, but hey, Ian Flynn can finally use the robo zombie storyline in Sonic comic format.

Anyway's, after testing the Metal Virus out a few times, Eggman decided to unleash it upon the world. But first, there was one last test he had to pull off on it, Eggman sent Rough and Tumble after Sonic (who was with Amy in an abandoned Eggman base) and the two skunk brothers became the Metal Virus' first true victims. Sonic was able to defeat them but got infected, don't worry, he has not yet become a robo zombie as his super speed can save him.
Not long after, Eggman launched his attack with the Metal Virus using a Faceship, the first target being Windmill Village, the same village that took him in as Mr. Tinker. At this point, Eggpiss, you have gone from being a goofy cartoon villain like your game counterpart to being a super menacing villain like SatAM Robotnik and HIS pre-reboot Archie counterpart.

After hitting Windmill, Eggman attacked Seaside Village, where the Chaotix resided, and during evacuation, Charmy became a major casualty of the robo-zombie apocalypse. Next was Floral Forest Zone, where Cream the Rabbit and her mum lived. While they managed to escape, Cheese and Chocola, Cream's pet Chao, fell victim to the Metal Virus. Don't worry, Sonic was there to help, even though he had to run off the virus a bunch of times. The next attack took place in Sunset City, which was barely recovering after Sonic Forces, and things were really getting serious. Sonic got there to assist Omega (who is bent on annihilating Eggman), Rouge the Bat (who was helping out and still beautiful as ever) and Shadow the Hedgehog, who gave Sonic his own "I told you so" speech regarding Eggman.

As the group tried to deal with the situation, Shadow got turned into a Zombot thanks to his overblown ego. The behind-the-scenes reason? Ian wanted Shadow to take his inhibitor rings off and go all out against the Zombots, but SEGA said no. Remember, SEGA has mandates and restrictions enforced and they do not want another situation similar to Archie Sonic where lawsuits, reboots and cancellations unfold. I know they're jerks sometimes, but SEGA is trying to make sure Sonic does not change too much. Anyways, after tangling with Shadow, Sonic retreated with help from his friends and, so far, its gonna be a while before the Zombot arc ends...

Thoughts on IDW Sonic and conclusion:

Overall, I find this comic fun and entertaining on the same level as the games and the Archie Sonic series combined with the cartoons. Thanks to the incredible talent of the folks at IDW and the Archie veterans like Ian, this comic has the potential to make it past 290 issues and get to issue 300 if they were interested in continuing this for decades to come. So far, despite its shift in tone from family-friendly to dark and serious, IDW Sonic is the best of all Sonic media up there with Archie, Sonic Boom, Fleetway and all of the games be it classic and modern.

There has not been a single moment or story in this comic that I hate and these people have done an amazing job, I love the action, I love the SonAmy moments and I love all of the characters seen in the book. This comic is creative and brilliant, IDW is doing its best to treat the characters with dignity. If Dark Horse Comics (which is notoriously known for being dark, gritty and serious with its properties) got its hands on the Sonic book and SEGA let Dark Horse have free reign... that would be a different story. Marvel? Admittedly, I have my doubts but I love Sonic nonetheless.

As I close out this review, people are demanding for IDW to bring in Archie Sonic characters and I am perfectly sure that in due time, SEGA will allow IDW to use the SatAM and Archie characters from the old comics and the popularity of this comic will rise to great heights than it did when it all began that fateful day on April 4th, 2018 and when the announcement came July 21, 2017.

CrazyGamerHistorian1999 signing off.

2 comments:

  1. Nice article! I hope Sally Acorn does come to IDW Sonic in the future! Maybe in at least 2020?

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for dropping by!