Here we go. The groove has returned. A story that now feels as if it’s building on what is happening and with hints to where it’s going. A new arc seems to be forming and pieces are starting to click into place in the latest issue of IDW’s Sonic The Hedgehog.
Previous issues post the Zombot arc have felt like filler episodes of a TV show to help give the story some breathing room before the next arcs start, but the series never really figured out how to apply that properly. The Chao races and Starline’s appearances didn’t feel like they contributed to much, despite Starline’s building up in his own separate mini-arc. The last few leading to this also felt like several ideas thrown together without much direction.
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Thankfully, as the story balance leans back towards Sonic, Tails and Amy, plot developments begin to show that the story is coming together and looking like it’s heading somewhere interesting. The gradually revealing arc shows a few of its cards, and the elements of the story start to make sense.
One of the reasons for this is due to the feeling there’s a bigger plan on the horizon again. Sonic, Tails and Amy find themselves in a weird fake town that has hints of the nuclear testing villages you’d find in nuclear testing bunkers. Fake homes, fake families at kitchen tables ready to be obliterated by a bomb. Perhaps not something that would raise intrigue or unease to a younger target audience, but something that may appeal to the older long-term Sonic fan. That ideal is something that’s been missing the past few issues. Whilst the main target audience is definitely younger, there’s a layer of subtlety in the writing and the art that helps apply this to appeal to several layers. It’s much more encouraging to see.
Again, this layer throws in a nice reveal with a reference to some of the old-school badniks from the original Mega Drive games. The slow build on the page of the inevitable reveal of what is known in the wider Sonic-verse as “Caterkiller” is a lovely little reveal. There’s a few glances of other game-based badniks as well which are nice to see.
This reveal that Robotnik has been working on redesigning badniks means that there’s now a reason that Belle is introduced and thus she gets more intriguing a character. Whilst a bit too clumsy to be of any use, the reveal she’s a badnik is welcome. Not surprising, and Tangle’s immediate brushing off of it doesn’t fully sit well, it still means that it connects to what is now a story about badniks in general. So the layers of plotting that are occurring feel like they’re going to converge at some point.
Much better and feeling like it’s finally starting to go somewhere exciting again, Sonic The Hedgehog’s #38 hooks you in and manages to cater for a wide variety of audiences.
Sonic the Hedgehog #38 is out now from IDW Publishing.