Welcome, one and all, to the final part of IDW’s four-week blitz of Sonic comics! This is the issue that I’ve been anticipating the most, so let’s get to it!
- Sonic the Hedgehog #4
- IDW Publishing
- Story: Ian Flynn
- Art: Evan Stanley
Sonic starts the issue quite concerned. As he’s coming up to the town that was mentioned last week, he’s realising that there are a lot of badniks about and isn’t certain whether he’ll be able to take them alone. Luckily, not only does he meet new girl Tangle the Lemur, but help soon arrives in the form of the dimension hopping Blaze the Cat.
Now, since she was part of the big marketing campaign in the lead up to issue one, it seems reasonable to start with my thoughts on Tangle the Lemur here. I absolutely love her personality. She’s full of energy, and while certainly not afraid to get stuck in with the battles, it’s her general demeanour that makes her so likable. The switching back and forth between confident steps into the fray and looks of sheer adulation for her comrades in arms is endearing. Meanwhile, her attack style is really quite interesting. Her tail appears to have the stretching ability of Sonic’s arms when he was a werehog, but it’s more flexible in movement, a lot like Marsupilami’s tail. I do wonder what the limits of her stretching ability are, but there’s no need to touch that yet.
I was also very happy to see Blaze back and rocking her pyrokinesis. She was a favourite for me in the old DS games, and I thought that she was great in Sonic 06 too. Here, she’s just as impressive on the battlefield, and her no-nonsense attitude seems to have remained intact, which is great. Best of all, it was made very clear that she would be sticking around for a while yet. If that leads to more twisty flame attacks followed by Tangle fangirling all over her, I’m all for it.
The main story was nudged a long a little more again, but was not brought to a conclusion. It definitely feels like the four weeks have been an extended introduction that was designed to put the pieces in place for later issues more than anything. We get plenty of action, and end the issue with the first proper Eggman sighting of the run though, so there isn’t really anything to complain about. In a way, Ian Flynn has struck an interesting balance between the simplistic nature of the older games and the more narrative focussed modern games. It’s kinda the best of both worlds right now.
Franchise regular Evan Stanley took over artistic duties for this week, and does an excellent job with ensuring the focus is placed squarely on our heroic-trio-of-the-week. With the need to make Tangle’s debut the main talking point of the issue, less time is spent on making the background characters interesting this time around. Instead, we get a wide range of facial expressions from the lemur to draw our attention. That was a smart move as it really helped with getting the newcomer’s personality across. Evan truly excels when it comes to body positioning though. Blaze in particular comes across as incredibly dynamic in her movements, and her attacks get an instant ‘cool factor’ from the posing. Another thing worth checking out is colourist Matt Herms’ use of light in the issue, with Cover B (which is what I got this week) really shining in this regard.
In summary, these initial issues have been very good overall, and this was one of the best for me. The action was top notch, Tangle was a fun addition to the cast, and we’re now heading into Eggman territory. This one easily sits up there with Issue two as a standout, and my optimism for the series moving forward continues to hold strong. 5 out of 5.