Sonic and Knuckles team up, and it’s just like old times—until two new villains show up. With a group of villagers under attack, will even the combined forces of these two heroes be enough to take down Rough and Tumble???
Writer: Ian Flynn
Artist: Jennifer Hernandez
As the Sonic games grew in number, the universe and supporting characters started to grow. After Tails’ introduction in the second game – it was expected that the third game would introduce a new character. Enter Knuckles the Echidna.
Knuckles often has a varied and complicated relationship to Sonic. His status as a lone guardian of the Angel Islands means he’s often lonely and prone to be misled easily. This led to him being a secondary antagonist in Sonic the Hedgehog 3, only to be an anti-hero in the spin-off game Sonic and Knuckles. His abilities to climb walls and to glide meant that he shot up in the popularity rankings, and he’s often now the third billed character in the franchise.
But there was always something up with how Knuckles was portrayed. He was often cast as the anti-hero and loner, but it never fully clicked. He was great to play as in the games, but was swamped in an ever-growing universe. The franchise found it’s gruff anti-hero in the form of Shadow. Which meant that Knuckles could be free to evolve in his own direction.
Raised on the original characterisation of Knuckles, the IDW version is a nice ego surprise. Ian Flynn decides to tone down the loner and antagonism between Sonic and Knuckles and there’s a level of respect between them. Knuckles is the “Commander” of the Resistance that we’ve heard reference to in the previous episodes; but portrayed as a proactive leader who would prefer to see the action than do admin. This gives him a common trait with Sonic that they bond on, and they work really well together.
Rather than repeat the familiar formula of the previous two issues – Flynn introduces two of we can presume are the villainous Eggman’s henchmen: Rough and Tumble. They don’t branch out in any further characterisation than your stock bumbling henchmen-types, but Flynn uses them to highlight the difference between Sonic and Knuckles. Sonic practically breaks down in laughter at them, whilst Knuckles’ “black and white” view of things means he sees them as being co-ordinated and working as a team. It’s a nice break already – showing us that Knuckles has a different dynamic with Sonic that Tails and Amy. They’re very action-orientated; yet Sonic is the more tactically astute of the two of them.
If anything though, the issue suffers a little in its introduction of Rough and Tumble themselves. They are the aforementioned recurrence of a familiar trope and don’t really do much to set them apart, with the exception of a prolonged fart joke. As this introductory four-week arc faces a close; we’re starting to see more of the world unveil and this gradual pacing is starting to slightly stretch to breaking point.
Hopefully the next issue begins to ramp up developing plot for Sonic the Hedgehog once the introductions are done.
Sonic the Hedgehog #3 is now available from IDW Publishing.