Welcome, one and all, to the latest instalment of my ongoing thoughts on IDW’s Sonic comics! With the four-week blitz over, we’re now back to one issue a month. Is the wait going to be worth it each month though? Let’s find out if this is any indicator!
- Sonic the Hedgehog #5
- IDW Publishing
- Story: Ian Flynn
- Art: Tracy Yardley
- Colours: Matt Herms
This is where we move away from the character introduction format of last month and start getting into the meat of the overarching story. So, we start with Sonic and Espio the Chameleon taking out some badniks, as they discuss the whereabouts of Dr Eggman. As it transpires, Eggman has been found. Sort of. You see, he turned up in a random village and has no memories of his villainous ways. In fact, he’s now going by the name Mr Tinker, and is busy helping with maintenance in the village. But is it all just a ruse or is there a god person in Eggman just waiting to break out?
The story here is well paced, with a good balance of action and actually advancing the tale. It’s clearly a multi-part story too, so we don’t get any sense of the issue being rushed and can just sit back and let things pan out naturally. It’s pretty surreal seeing Eggman in good mode, but it’s not like readers will be expecting this to be something that sticks. We know that he’ll be back to being bad soon enough.
There are some really nice touches with the art again here. The short flashbacks are presented with a brownish tint, giving them a vintage feel. Its pretty fitting given that some of them they draw reference to games of old. I am also continuing to enjoy the background colouring between panels, with an alternating blue and purple taking up most of the space here, before switching to black when things start to head into dangerous territory.
Tracy Yardley is as consistent as ever with the art, but it’s Matt Herms that shines again here. He compliments Tracy’s style well with his colour skills and is by far at his best during moments where he gets to play with light sources a little. It really helps make the art feel three dimensional. The only exception for me was cover A by Kieran Gates. It’s fine, but it doesn’t feel as standout or dynamic as those from the first four issues for me.
From a characterisation standpoint, Sonic is pretty much as you’d want him to be. He’s suspicious of Mr Tinker of course, but he’s willing to give him a chance. That’s important I think, as it means that his usual cockiness is balanced out by the underlying desire to see the good in people. The Chaotix were a nice addition to the story, with Charmy being as charming as ever. There was also a surprise appearance from two of my favourites right at the end 9but I won’t say who, because spoilers). The cliff hanger ending relating to them, combined with the continued question of who is in control does get me excited for the next one though!
Oh, and I really like that a certain someone’s Tangle the Lemur cosplay appeared in the back of the comic. Cheers IDW! You rock!
In summary, the quality here continues to be consistently high. I’m enjoying the storyline, and it’s been fun seeing the extended cast appearing each issue. The focus is absolutely on Sonic, as you’d expect, but the ‘companion-of-the-week’ approach is being handled really well, which makes you really look forward to seeing who’s gonna pop up next. This was a strong start to the next stage of the story. 4 out of 5.
Bonus speculation: How will they turn Eggman bad again?
Okay, so like I said, we know that Eggman will be back to being bad soon enough. The thing is, we also know that it’s not Mr Tinker that’s in control of the badniks. This is made abundantly clear. So, how does this new threat figure tie up with the Mr Tinker story?
Well, when we see the flashback to Mr Tinker appearing in the village, he’s still in Eggman clothes, and he’s surrounded by the same glowing blocks that surrounded Infinite and his Phantom Ruby illusions in Sonic Forces. All this time, we kinda been nudged towards the person in control being someone other than Eggman. I was initially torn between this being Infinite or a new villain, but I’m thinking now that the whole thing may be a red herring.
My guess is this: Mr Tinker is a Phantom Ruby illusion. We already know that once someone is under the control of the ruby, the illusions take on a physical form for them, so Mr Tinker’s work is certainly explainable in that way. The person is control is Dr Eggman who has been using Mr Tinker as a way to:
a) keep everyone distracted and shift suspicion from him, or
b) get things set up in secret while everyone thinks he’s doing good (which would fit with the ‘get back to what you were working on’ line from Vector, as it didn’t seem like he was aware of what Tinker was actually doing), or
c) a combination of the two.
Once we hit the next issue, we’ll find out for certain, I’m sure. But, for now, that’s my thinking. But what about all of you? How are you enjoying the IDW Sonic comics? Do you agree with my theory? Let me know in the comments below.