It was inevitable that there would be spin-offs from IDW’s Sonic The Hedgehog considering the growing cast of characters. Fleetway’s Sonic The Comic went from being small comics featuring Sonic and other SEGA games to the whole comic having three or four different stories featuring the wider Sonic universe – especially with original characters specific to that iteration of Sonic lore.
IDW goes down the same route with two of the main new characters introduced in the main series: the naive yet enthusiastic Tangle the Lemur and the shy and enigmatic Whisper the Wolf. Considering the wide array of characters that have been introduced so far in the comics, it’s surprising that they chose these two for a spin-off. Scratch that; they’re original creations, thus leaving writer Ian Flynn more room to explore blank canvases before reviewers question his choices against the more established characters.
On the plus side, it does allow the characters more time to breathe properly. The short story in the 2019 annual was nice but things were just over far too quickly to allow us more time to see Tangle and Whisper in action.
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Obviously, if you hadn’t seen the massive Sonic the Hedgehog logo on the front cover, the story reminds you what franchise you’re in as we see the villain pretend to be Sonic and “do bad things”. It’s a villain called Mimic who can – guess what?! – mimic other people’s appearances. His arrival is just in time for a bored Tangle looking for adventure only to see a reluctant Whisper wanting to join her.
In the long-term planning of Flynn and IDW, expanding the universe for Sonic feels like it works, purely because it affords room for them to be developed away from Sonic and Eggman and the ongoing plot. But in the short-term, for this issue at least, something feels off. Whisper is too reclusive and looks as if she’s in constant pain all the time when she talks, and getting them to team up feels like it’s more drawn out than usual. Which is strange considering their last solo adventure was criticised for being too short.
Perhaps it’s a question of the audience. Tangle and Whisper appear to be more popular with a younger demographic, so perhaps it works better for that part of the audience. It needs time to develop, but it has to be said: the chilli-dog reference early into the issue was very appreciated.
Tangle & Whisper #1 is available digitally and from comic shops.