It’s nice to say that IDW Publishing’s Sonic the Hedgehog comics are actually speeding with pace for once. Instead of drawing out the Tinker/Robotnik mystery any further, the context for Robotnik’s memories and personality change is solved, as is the second Robotnik appearance. It’s a disguise created by Metal Sonic (now called Neo Metal Sonic) who has assimilated a lot of Robotnik’s personality and destructive tendencies.
It’s a plot twist that isn’t telegraphed; and whilst it introduces another character into the mythos again, it is in sync with latest plot developments making for a much more satisfying introduction. It’s a genuine surprise that hits the mark. Not only that, at the story moves forwards, it constantly feels as if we learn more about what Neo Metal Sonic is doing, even if the characters referring to it as “Neo Metal Sonic” in full feels quite distracting.
Within the wider context of this revelation, it amps up the tension, threat and plot possibilities for future issues. It confirms that Tinker is a de-Robotnik’d Robotnik and that his evil side of his personality is in a metallic hedgehog that has Sonic’s abilities. With Robotnik’s army at his disposal, the issue ends with a high. Added complexities ensue when Neo Metal Sonic’s main drive to return to Robotnik to follow orders opens the story to avenues that many other iterations haven’t explored yet.
Small moments continue to litter the comic that highlight interesting shades of character. Sonic isn’t surprised to find “Robotnik” and (rightly) thinks it’s a fraud immediately. His belief that Tinker is Robotnik is sealed here and shows the more likeable aspect of the character. It’s little moments like this that raise a smile, hinting to what more can come.
It is at this stage of the review where the issue’s quality is matched in context with the series as a whole so far. While the series is still introducing new characters, the shake-up in the story was very much needed. If it felt like it was heading that way last issue, it definitely has by the end of this one. IDW Publishing’s Sonic The Hedgehog is getting into its groove.