Ian Flynn takes hold of his original villain in Dr. Starline and finishes crafting an appealing and unique new voice into the Sonic Mythos that stands alongside other villains in the series.
Sonic The Hedgehog often has that issue that the majority of franchises have in that a potential rogues’ gallery is often overshadowed by the original villain. So when you have fresh instances of the franchise starting, the villain is often the same.
In this case the games and animated series all feature Doctor Robotnik or Eggman as the central villain. Thus the attention is always given to them. Other Sonic villains often get sidelined or lost in the mythos as henchmen, and struggle to really showcase a story on their own.
To writer and main creative force Ian Flynn’s credit, what’s apparent at this point is that he’s consciously aware of this, and to ensure the comic’s longevity he’s been bringing up and fleshing out Sonic’s rogues’ gallery to tap into when the use of Eggman gets tired. The increasing use of Zavok and Mimic are slowly being played for the long-game, but the star of the show is Starline.
It’s been a constant commentary throughout these reviews that the mythos could do with more localised focus on characters and this mini-series has done its job brilliantly. It remembers that the characters have their own motives and goals – and uses them brilliantly.
Examples of this: Zavok’s own sense of pride clashes with Starline’s own sense and he breaks down the issues Starline faces and gives him a crisis of faith and an introspective battle that sets him up for further appearances in the main series. Mimic uses his own initiative by amplifying the stakes by making sure he has an advantage by sending Eggman to the base to save his own skin. It’s constant conflict that causes the characters to try to outsmart each other. If there’s anything villains love to do it’s to try to out-alpha other villains.
But it’s the new mindset of Starline seeing himself as no longer inferior to his idol, but in fact better than him, which concludes this character arc for him. Whether there’s a meta reason for him to think that as he starts getting more page time than Eggman remains to be seen, but Flynn has to be commended with how he’s set-up Starline to be a more interesting character than most other villains in Sonic lore.
The impact has been lessened by the scheduling of the issues in a wider universe context (Starline returned in an earlier released issue of the main series before this ended) but the work that’s been done is exciting, promising and does a great job in setting up Starline as a genuine threat away from Eggman.
Overall, this feels like Bad Guys has done a better job in doing what it intended to do in comparison to Tangle and Whisper, the other mini-series that was released by IDW. However, this may be due to the target audience of the comic being much younger, and Starline being – subjectively – a much more interesting character.
Feeling like it’s essential to the overall arc, Bad Guys is very much recommended.
Sonic the Hedgehog: Bad Guys #4 is out now from IDW Publishing.