With issue 18, we’re watching the advance of the metal Virus as more of Sonic’s friends find themselves in danger.
- Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 18
- IDW Publishing
- Story: Ian Flynn
- Art: Tracy Yardley
- Colours: Leonardo Ito
As always, I’m starting with the cover. I got Cover A by Jonathan Gray and Reggie Graham. I really like this. It kinda feels derivative of ‘90s rock culture to me, like it wouldn’t look out of place on an MTV advert for a new metal album. Of the others, Cover B by Dana Skelly conveys a similar image but in a style more standard to the interior art, and Nathalie Fourdraine’s Cover RI shifts the focus nicely to Cram the Rabbit.
This month, we continue to watch the advancement of the Meal Virus. The action has shifted to Floral Forst Village, home to Cream the Rabbit and her family. After what happened to Charmy in the last issue, it’s easy to get worried about how this one is going to go. Even if you don’t think that Cream will fall prey to virus directly, there’s always the chance that her mother Vanilla could. That whole scenario is played up quite well throughout as Cream is desperate to help, but is just a child.
On the hero front, we get to see Gemerl, a robot that first appeared in Sonic Advance 3 on the GBA, put in an appearance. Here, he’s playing protector, albeit an overbearing one. With his actions based purely on the literal interpretation of commands, he actually spends part of the issue at odds with Sonic due to the Blue Blur’s infection. Speaking of the titular hedgehog, he’s getting frustrated. The battle is getting on top of him, especially as the more he fights back, the more the virus is spreading in his own body. There’s going to be more ahead for him to do too, as he receives a message from Rouge the Bat at the end of the issue that sends him racing off towards Sunset City to team up with Team Dark.
The villain side of the story sees an interesting development too. The people infected by the Metal Virus are slowly beginning to stop obeying orders. Dr. Eggman isn’t too bothered by this, but Dr. Starline is worried and has a heart-to-heart with Orbot. There are some seeds of rebellion sown here as Starline is beginning to realize that Eggman is not who he thought he was. I don’t expect him to turn good, though I do suspect he may help get the virus under control. No, what I think this is building to is Starline branching out on his own, more dangerous to Eggman due to his focus, but less so due to his lower levels of resources.
Tracey Yardley and Leonardo Ito are once again teaming up on the art front this issue, and they do a good job again. The characters remain marvelously envisioned, and Leonardo does an excellent job with shading, especially on metal surfaces. One thing that confused me though was that some of the art got a little minimalist. The almost plain backgrounds during some action scenes were fine. The issue I had was that there were a few panels that felt a little unfinished. Two see Sonic meeting two background characters in the woods. Sonic and the backdrops are shaded, but the two other characters aren’t. Then, there are two panels where Cream sees those close to her on the brink of being infected and the backdrops are just red linework with no colour. I don’t doubt that these were intentional art choices, and I don’t object to the series experimenting a bit, but in this instance it felt off to me.
I will, however, give some major kudo to the opening page, showing a map of the world. It’s labeled as being by Cream and is drawn in pencil in a child-like style. It also features red crosses where the Virus has already spread, as well as indicating who has been infected. That was a really nice touch. From what I read, it was drawn by editor David Mariotte.
So, the story arc continues to be awesome, and the overall quality of the art is great. Some stylistic choices stop this one from getting full marks from me, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens next month. 4 out of 5.