Review – Sonic The Hedgehog #1 (IDW Publishing)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Ian Flynn
Artist: Tracy Yardley, Jim Amash, Bob Smith
Colourist: Matt Herms
Letterer: Corey Breen
Release Date: 4th April 2018
After a short time away from the comics industry, the blue blur comes racing into IDW Publishing with Archie Comics legend Ian Flynn leading the charge, utilising an all-new universe and a rotating roster of artists to make Sonic’s latest adventure come to life in spectacular fashion.
Now I’ve had a long history of being a fan of the ol’ anthropomorphic Hedgehog, growing up with his games, his comics and the oh-so-massive roster of ridiculous allies and villains that I became all too familiar with. And while Sonic has suffered through a rocky few years of success and failure, the character still remains somewhat of an icon for kids, longtime fans and weird reviewers in their late teens (cough).
I’ll admit, I was perhaps a little apprehensive, especially knowing that Sonic’s run at Archie Comics went in so many strange directions, with world-ending, time-bending and mind-bending storylines, overarching plot threads and the expansion of this property in whatever hell direction they wanted. What writer Ian Flynn brings to the table this issue however, is just fantastic all-ages fun.
Eggman has long since been defeated and is far remove from being able to cause trouble. But this hasn’t stopped his robotic army from tearing its way through defenseless towns. Sonic, of course, won’t go down without a fight, and with a helping hand from Tails, leads the fight to stop these big bads from trampling hapless civilians. But when Tails begins to notice these robots getting smarter than ever, it seems that even with Eggman gone, a mysterious figure may still be pulling the strings of his evil robotic empire.
With a simpler narrative and a smaller cast, Flynn uses a perfected one-and-done style which brings action, quips and teamwork to the forefront of a colourful issue, while also setting up plot threads for more villains and allies to come. What’s more impressive is the fact that all of this is achieved without the need to focus on Metal Sonic punching a whole through time-space, or conflicting feelings of war coming from a bunch of fast-running animals.
The real success of the issue comes from the distinct and entertaining voices Flynn brings to each of the characters. With the focus on just Sonic and Tails this issue, Flynn’s wit and clear affection for the characters sets up strong and lasting personalities for the series. He also delivers humour straight from the heart of the era of platforming mascots, with much of Sonic’s joking persona and one-liners getting a surprising amount of laughs out of me with many a quip blurring the wonderful line between stupid and genius.
Flynn also allows the superstar artistic team of Yardley, Amash, Smith and Herms to shine, concocting a story that accentuates the action and includes some wonderful psychical comedy. From the first page, this team brings the world of Sonic to life, working with the colourful history of video game and comic locations to craft an aesthetic that can only be called “unmistakably Sonic”.
Yardley’s perfected cartooning and characters designs and Amash and Smith’s strong and defining inks combine to give expert expression to the cast of colourful characters and rampaging robots; providing a part of this book’s character that is equally as essential as Flynn’s writing. Special mention should also be given to colorist Matt Herms who uses a bright and shining palette that leads to every inch of the art jumping from the page.
The artistic trio also take full advantage of a speed-based character to create stunning and kinetic art, with well-executed paneling that gives the speed and definition of a character like Sonic in battle, allowing us to follow him directly from panel-to-panel as he whips through robot after robot in a variety of fashions.
Now obviously, this issue won’t bring you a genre-defying story or a deconstruction of the ideals of a fast-running hedgehog. No, what this issue will bring you is a showcase of the sheer brilliance of all-ages comics. Simpler sure, but still fun, punchy and gorgeous to look at, this book combines the fine recipe of a loveable mascot, a colorful cast, an ageless sense of humor and an incredible art team to whip up a hit for the oldest fan or the youngest reader alike.
The writer of this piece was: Connor Stephens
Connor Tweets from @diddlesMVP
I’m glad it’s taking itself a little less seriously. Not that Sonic can’t do darker stories, it’s just that based on what I saw of the Archie Comics they just seemed like incredibly convoluted stories. I’ll probably pick this up.