With a soft mini-reset to the story arc, issue #37 of IDW’s Sonic The Hedgehog is still struggling to find direction, with another lopsided offering that just needs to reaffirm some focus, particularly on an issue-by-issue basis.
Throughout the first three quarters of #37 there’s a strong focus on the mysterious Belle entertaining the Restoration HQ and being given something to do. Aside from in-universe questions of Sonic and Tails revealing the HQ location to someone who could be a spy for Eggman, Belle struggles to find something to do – but has an accident in what may be a small comedic aside that has her meeting Tangle. Thus they plan to sneak on a mission Sonic, Tails and Amy are on, as Belle thinks her maker may be there.
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The last quarter shifts the focus on Sonic, Amy and Tails into a base of Eggman’s and they end up in a maze that keeps repeating itself. It’s a genuinely interesting idea – as it requires the use of signature abilities to solve. But it overtakes the latter third of the issue and the main focus on Belle and Tangle gets lost.
It ultimately means there’s a disjointed feel to the issue. If this was a collection in an omnibus then it would work, but as a separate issue it doesn’t feel tied together and thus means there’s a lack of focus. Something to remind us as the reader that Belle is the character that this is anchored around. There’s a cool image of Sonic, Tails and Amy getting lost in what looks like some kind of void as the last panel – but it’s a concept that deserves to have been front loaded by more Sonic.
There’s an apparent idea throughout the last couple of issues where the aim is to build an air of mystery surrounding Belle, but the weird meld of tone in regards to comedy and the action doesn’t fully work. The pairing with Tangle makes sense, however as her extroverted personality works well with more closed off or introverted characters. Belle isn’t exactly Whisper, but at least Tangle has the ability to be proactive when the narrative calls for it. It helps when they decide to go off on their own against orders.
As a character herself, there’s a unique Pinocchio vibe to her being a robot made of wood but there still hasn’t been anything more endearing about her that makes her stand-out. Perhaps as the mystery of her origins gets revealed she’ll become more interesting, but other than that there’s not much else to her.
As with the Chao races arc, Sonic The Hedgehog still feels as if it’s caught in the middle of trying to find its next major development. It doesn’t help when an editor note reminds the reader that the Zombot arc took place during issues 13-32. It’s time the series got ready to really move on to its next major story.
Sonic the Hedgehog #37 is out now from IDW Publishing.