Is this the most simple issue of IDW’s Sonic The Hedgehog to date?
All that happens is that Sonic gets trapped in a small room with the Deadly Six and he fights them. Then Tails arrives and helps remove them from Restoration HQ. That is what happens. There are no cutaways to any other storylines, there’s no Eggman or Starline appearance, it’s all Sonic and the Deadly Six.
And frankly, the issue works very well for it.
There are fewer panels on the page for a start, so the individual frames are bigger, more vibrant. The issue places a very strong focus on its art, meaning that it has to convey a sense of claustrophobia as well as fast-moving action. This is one of the main things that this issue manages to achieve. Sonic’s character model appears bigger than normal – and thus when placed in profile against Deadly Six leader Zavok, it highlights just how intimidating Zavok can look. When characters move fast, a combination of sound effects, trails and repeated character drawings convey speed and maintains the pace.
In fact, the issue feels as if it’s happening in real-time, that there’s a sense of urgency. There’s a sense of peril. There’s also the sense that this issue uses a lot of nice quirks to show just how powerful and dangerous Zavok can be. From incapacitating Whisper through a hold in the doors to a terrifying moment where you see Zavok pull Tangle’s tail repeatedly and all you see is said tail slumped through the hole. It’s very a very effective way of building him up. So when it is just him left and Tails breaks through the doors, the issue is building to an exciting climax.
In fact, it’s nice to see the series give Tails his coolest moment in the series so far. A recurring quibble has been that it’s easy for such a wide net of characters to get overlooked at times. Particularly at the expense of newer characters. So characters like Knuckles feel sidelined to be in the background. Whilst Tails feels like he’s there, he doesn’t feel like he’s given the “second billing” he should be getting. So to see him get his own moments to shine is lovely to see, and also having a key role in defeating Zavok instead of Sonic is a nice change of pace.
As mentioned before, the issue is simple – but extremely effective.
Sonic the Hedgehog #43 is out now from IDW Publishing.