Plot propulsion speeds up as fast as Sonic with the tenth issue of IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog series, which is a long action sequence as Sonic and friends battle a super-powered Neo Metal Sonic. The issue flicks between the different characters doing battle to save the Floating Islands whilst Sonic and Knuckles take on the aforementioned robotic villain.
Does it work? It strangely does. The side characters all have their little moments that work to help the situation that they’re in, and it doesn’t feel like an overabundance. The issue is a more serialised part of a greater story now, and thus the characters are servicing a role within a narrative that can’t be contained in the limited number of issues. The gradual introductions of the beginning phase let you know who they are (despite some of them arguably not needing to be there) but now they can contribute and play their part. This was a criticism of the previous issue, and it now feels like they’ve got things they can be doing.
So here you get Blaze using up a good chunk of energy, you get Eggman/Mr. Tinker suddenly getting taken from where he is, you get Rouge there to set-up Shadow and you get Tails helping to defeat a chunk of the opposing fleet. The use of Shadow demonstrates a good handle on the character as his hot-headedness turns the tide of the battle and makes things a little worse. They all help move things forward and keep the pace brisk. In fact, the pace is so brisk it feels as if there’s hardly anything in the issue. It’s the good kind of narrative misleading as it means that the audience’s attention is hooked and not overthinking what they’re reading.
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The stakes are increasing as Neo Metal Sonic becomes the Master Overlord, and the Floating Islands have lost their ability to float and will crash into Mobius. It’s like the climax to a Phase Two Marvel movie, but the plotting is amplified and the wait for the next issue feels like it’s going to be a long one.
It’s a stretch to criticise an exciting issue, but arguably it’s all plot and hardly any character. The only real character trait that carries the plot comes from Shadow, but there’s yet another exciting cliffhanger to hook you into next week.