Welcome, one and all, to the latest instalment of my ongoing thoughts on IDW’s Sonic comics! This issue follows on directly from issue 5, picking right up with the debut of Shadow the Hedgehog and Rouge the Bat.
- Sonic the Hedgehog #6
- IDW Publishing
- Story: Ian Flynn
- Art: Tracy Yardley
- Colours: Matt Herms
So, let’s start with the cover. I got Cover A, which features art by Jonathan Gray and colours by Matt Herms. Now, I don’t get a choice in which cover comes through at my local shop, so it’s a genuine surprise each month as to what I’ll get. I’m glad I got this one though. All three designs look good this month, but this is by far my favourite of the three designs. It’s dynamic, it stands out on the shelves, and it really highlights how good Matt Herms is in the colour department.
Speaking of which, the art team remains unchanged from the previous issue. Given that this all feels like a multi-part story, I’m glad to see that. I don’t object to different artists handling different issues in comics, but when a particular arc is spread over multiple releases, I tend to prefer the team remaining consistent for the duration. What this means here is that the art is pretty much of the same quality as it was in the last issue. For the most part. Facial expressions continue to be a real strong point of this series, with the Chaotix having the best looks here. Vector the Crocodile in particular has some fantastic moments in that regard. It really is amazing how much emotion you can achieve using little more than eye shape.
There are a few exceptions to the quality rule though. Not many, but they’re there. The second panel that Rouge appears in felt slightly off. There’s something about her eyes there that makes her appear less alive and more like a posed doll. Rouge again causes issues in her third panel. I can’t quite put my finger on what I didn’t like here, other than it has something to do with her head position. Finally, the character work in the final panel featuring Vector and Espio is also noticeably lower on detail than the rest of the issue, creating a bit of a consistency issue for me. I am aware of course that this is all very nit-picky, and the issues certainly won’t be such for everyone. They also don’t stop the issue being enjoyable overall, so that’s a definite positive.
Onto the story, there’s a really good exchange between Sonic and Shadow here that sums up Shadow’s position in the world nicely. The basic idea is that he’s initially very unforgiving towards Mr Tinker due to his past action, and Sonic points out that Shadow is no saint himself. Another great touch was the reveal of Rouge’s role in this particular hedgehog conflict. With her design being what it is it’s sometimes easy to forget that she’s actually a really smart character. Both her foresight and adeptness at manipulation are things that I really love about her as a character, and they come across strongly here. All of this is kept very simple and straightforward in terms of language too, which serves the story well. Ian Flynn has really mastered balancing out depth with child friendly wording, which is something that I view as important for the future of the series.
Meanwhile, the final page reveals the villain, and it’s all but confirms that my speculation last month was right. The preview for next month looks stunning too, with a great shot of Sonic and Tails on board the Tornado.
In summary, this is another strong outing for the IDW Sonic team. The story is building nicely, side characters are getting plenty of chances to shine, and I for one cannot wait for the next issue to land. 4.5 out of 5.