After a few delays, the IDW Sonic Annual 2019 has finally landed! Was it worth the wait? Let’s find out.
- Sonic the Hedgehog Annual 2019
- IDW Publishing
- Story: Various
- Art: Various
- Colours: Various
As always, I’m starting with the cover, and this time around I got Cover A by Yuji Uekawa. If that name sounds familiar…well, it should. He’s been part of Sonic Team since 1997, and originally worked on the character designs for Sonic R. After that, he did the same for Sonic Adventure and a load more Sonic games in the early 2000’s. Oh, and he helped create the original characters in Sonic X. The covers are all good in this release, but I’m really happy that I got this one. As to the rest of the annual, I’m going to talk briefly about each story in turn.
Bonds of Friendship is written by series author Ian Flynn and is illustrated entirely by the awesome Jennifer Hernandez. It follows Tangle the Lemur as she shows Whisper the Wolf around her home town, only for the visit to be interrupted by the Babylon Rogues. So, first of all, I’m really happy to see Jennifer illustrate this one. While not the most regular artist on the IDW Sonic roster, she has a really cute style that fits well within the universe, and it really shines here on Whisper’s facial expressions. Her colour work is also great. Meanwhile, it was a blast not only getting a proper intro for Jewel, but seeing the Extreme Gear wielding birds make an appearance. The story is a lot of fun, has some great humour, and has me looking forward to more from the Tangle/Whisper pairing. This one’s a 5 out of 5 story for me.
Jet Set Tornado is written by Caleb Goellner with art by Jack Lawrence and colours by Leonardo Ito. I like the reference to Jet Set Radio in the title. The art here is pretty consistent with the main series in terms of crispness, but I’d say that Sonic and Tals have a more ‘classic’ feel to the overall. What I found most interesting was Caleb’s writing. He wrote the Team Sonic Racing issue, and I felt that he was somewhat restrained by the setting there. Here, he has a little more freedom and provides a fun script. As a result, I score this one 4 out of 5.
Victory Garden sees Gigi Dutreix and Evan Stanley sharing the writing, while Evan does the art alone. This is visually the most different piece to the main series, with Evan’s colours giving the piece a very unique feel alongside the other entries in the book. The story is short but sweet, with Blaze the Cat helping Silver the Hedgehog in his garden. Honestly, it made me smile, so it’s job done, I think. 5 out of 5.
Curse of the Pyramid sees Cavan Scott on writing duty, Diana Skelly providing the art and Priscilla Tramontano doing the colours. The art is good, with Rough the Skunk looking exceedingly happy at times. The story focuses on Rough and Tumble and a confrontation with Rouge the Bat. Cavan – whose pedigree includes multiple Dr. Who audio dramas – does a good job with the script, capturing the feel of the characters well. 4 out of 5.
Sonic Fan Club is written by James Cochalka with a rt by Jonathan Gray and colours by Reggie Graham. Much like with Victory Garden, the art has a very different feel to it, though it’s not just the colouring this time. The thick outlines and exaggerated expressions make it feel like an old Disney cartoon in some ways. The writing is fine, coming across as an extended gag strip, but Tangle felt a little off to me. Still, enjoyable enough. 3.5 out of 5.
So, that gives an average score of 4.3 out of 5. That seems fair, I think. Only the first story felt like it had any significance within the main IDW Sonic universe (though all are canon), but each had its own charm. Both Bonds of Friendship and Victory Garden really stood out for me, and honestly, I’d love to see Jennifer Hernandez do more in the series. Overall though, the book is well worth buying, and an easy recommend for fans of the series.
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