IDW’s Sonic The Hedgehog series feels much more at ease when individual issues are part of a larger arc, rather than feeling like part of a small mini-series. Whilst the real crux of this new ongoing storyline hasn’t been fully revealed, the debut of badniks harking back to the games is fully welcome.
As the story focuses on these badniks and the trio of Sonic, Tails and Amy trapped in a pocket dimension that Eggman controls, the Tangle and Belle sub-plot becomes less a B-plot, with the second half the A-plot. As the series has proven, when it layers things together correctly it helps move things on at pace and becomes more enjoyable.
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Whilst there’s not significant development in the plot or character, this issue focuses on building momentum and it keeps the pacing quick so that the reader doesn’t realise they’ve read the entire issue when it ends. The action beats are constant, the dialogue snappy, and each character gets something key to do that highlights them. From Eggman’s VR headsets, to Amy’s hammer, Tails’ ability to fly, Sonic’s… sonic-ness, Belle’s scepticism and Tangle’s positiveness used to trick Cubot and Orbot. If anything, the only real character hints are a side mention from Cubot and Orbot not knowing who Belle is. Which suggests that her role in this is still to be bigger than it might be, especially with the foundations of the combinations of different badniks being created.
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The pacing and the action pieces are well thought out, too. There’s plenty of onomatopoeia, lines, bold colours and a constant feeling of movement. The impact of certain blows and the forces being generated are crisp-clear, with a specific frame of Amy hitting a machine that looks as if it’s caused a huge fireball with the impact. Eggman’s machines feel as if they’re powerful and can be a significant obstacle based on the ever-changing gravity. With the issue having two credited artists, there doesn’t seem to be any real divergence in the style either; everything flows well. It’s entirely possible that the Sonic, Tails and Amy section was done by one artist and the Belle and Tangle section another; but it all feels incredibly consistent.
Another good entry in the current ongoing story, hitting the right amount of action beats and set-up but feeling like it’s a part of something big.
Sonic The Hedgehog #39 is out now from IDW Pubkishing.