Small mini-series for auxiliary characters are not new in the world of comics. It’s a practice that’s been going on for decades. As worlds and lore expands so does the amount of characters and the scope for stories.
As mentioned numerous times as both a positive and negative to the comic depending on their implementation, Sonic The Hedgehog has plenty of characters in its ever growing lore of thirty-plus years. This isn’t the first time that IDW’s run of the character has released a mini-series on auxiliary characters. Tangle and Whisper focused on characters created for the IDW run, and Bad Guys focuses on another original creation in Dr Starline, the villainous platypus that idolises Dr. Eggman.
Dr Starline is much more of a potentially in-depth villain than others in Sonic lore. An Eggman fan-boy who ends up being slightly dismayed could arguably be seen as the series becoming a commentary on Eggman as a character constantly being defeated by Sonic. It has often been said of long running BBC series Doctor Who that the Daleks, whilst the show’s most popular and used villains, are also the most defeated. You get that with Eggman. So you have to give writer Ian Flynn credit for trying to throw a new spanner in the works. Starline hasn’t been head to head with Sonic in a proper arc yet, so it feels as if the long game is being played.
To do this, Flynn takes the opportunity to place Starline with other villains Mimic (from Tangle and Whisper), the duo of Rough and Tumble, and Deadly Six leader Zavok. This issue showcases the jailbreak of said villains by Starline. What this gives the comic is a very strong singular focus in a similar vein as Tangle and Whisper. It’s one of the more extended looks at Starline and establishes the dynamic of IDW’s parody of the Sinister Six with “The Deadly Four.”
The extended jailbreak is exciting, the character dynamics are established quickly, as is the immediate distrust and plans of betrayal between all of them. It’s predictable because, you know – villains. But it allows these characters to be fleshed out underneath the shadow of Sonic and Eggman.
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As the introduction, there’s not much done in regards to Mimic or Rough and Tumble. Mimic we’ve already got some backstory for anyway, so we don’t need it, and the duo are more or less comedic henchmen. But giving them a key moment in the escape highlights when the series gets the balance right.
A more effective story and premise than the previous Tangle and Whisper, but we’re dealing with different kinds of characters here so it doesn’t feel as if IDW are aiming for a different audience to bring them into the main series. It’s got a definite hook that leaves you intrigued to see what happens next. Recommended.
Sonic the Hedgehog: Bad Guys #1 is out now from IDW Publishing.