Breezing through three separate action sequences and setting up another climactic battle, issue #28 of IDW’s Sonic The Hedgehog thankfully rushes through the story to set up the endgame of the Zombot arc.
Writer Ian Flynn uses the opportunity to further focus on supporting characters that haven’t really had much time in the spotlight recently. He manages to do this with varying degrees of success, but that is to do with longer term planning more than anything else. The scope of characters has decreased, with some of them falling victim to the Zombot virus, but still manages to leave some elements feeling like they’re included just for the sake of inclusion.
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Out of the three vignettes of the resistance fighting the Deadly Six, the first two work quite well. Silver and Whisper’s battle against Zor manages to offer Whisper a cool sniper shot whilst highlighting quite contrasting views of Silver and Zor. Silver’s optimism in spite of seeing the “bad ending” of the future works well with Zor’s general nihilism. It’s a shame that this dynamic wasn’t expanded on more, as it had the potential to allow the comic to explore themes that probably wouldn’t work in a comic mainly aimed at children.
Espio and Zazz’s battle focuses more on Espio’s silent work in obtaining the emerald and with minimal dialogue. Praise to Evan Stanley and Adam Bryce Thomas’ art that manages to highlight Espio’s cool and calm method of putting one over on Zazz. It’s a nice moment of character and also highlights how cutting down the cast can show more character work.
On the flip side, there’s hardly any engagement with the Babylon Rogues. They’ve only shown up fairly recently and thus there’s no real attachment to them as an audience if you have no prior knowledge of them. Seeding the Rogues earlier may have helped them in the same way seeing Metal Sonic and Eggman as villains adds weight to the current alliance that Sonic has with them.
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As a threat, the Deadly Six are dispatched quite quickly and in some places they’ve been portrayed as being more comedic than threatening. So it takes a hard sell to make Zavok come across as a genuine threat. Naturally he grows big and spits at the Floating Island and brings forth the Zombots of the good guys that have fallen to the virus. First in a creepy well-drawn rear shot of them walking, with the familiar silhouettes making them easy to spot, and in the final frame when they seem to engulf Sonic.
This comic knows how to pull off a cliff-hanger. Bring on the final battle of the Zombot arc. Hopefully.
Sonic the Hedgehog #28 is out on 24th June from IDW Publishing.