Picking up where we left of, issue 20 of IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog series sees the titular blue blur battling the new zombot-ed Shadow the Hedgehog. Let’s dive right in.
Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 20
Story: Ian Flynn
Art: Jack Lawrence
Colours: Bracardi Curry
As always, I’m starting with the cover. I got Cover A by Tracy Yardley. It’s broadly in the same style as the issue, albeit with a light colour tone that makes it look like an aged film. It’s cool, I like it. Cover B by jack Lawrence and Matt Herms looks like a scene from the story arc, and cover RI is in Nathalie Fourdraine’s usual style. I think of all of them, I’d say that RI is my favourite.
There were some really nice touches in this month’s issue. For one, zombot Shadow seems a little more erratic in behavior than the other zombots. This, I’m putting down to his nature being different to the majority of the citizens of the world. He’s stronger and faster too, much as his normal form is. The upside to it all is that he is still a mindless zombot. As a result, he doesn’t know how to use his rocket skates anymore, so I would assume he can’t use Chaos Control either.
Sonic too gets to finally answer A questions I’ve posed before: yes, he does sleep. But he can only manage short naps, or he risks the Metal Virus consuming him. We also got to see the extent of mistrust going around relating to him with not only the robot fighters E-123 Omega and Gemerl not trusting him, but the remaining Chaotix members having some concerns too. Finally, we also got to see Rouge having a strong reaction to the news that Shadow was turned. She really does care for her colleagues, even if she doesn’t like to show it.
In terms of story, the issue is essentially split in two. The first half continues the battle Sunset City. The brought things to a close there nicely, and gave us plenty of action involving the two hedgehogs and an ultra-violent E-123 Omega. The battle between the two Team Dark members actually had quite a visceral conclusion too. It all ran along a brisk pace, then transitioned into Silver and Tails making the save and getting Sonic back to Restoration HQ.
Here, we got to see the overall effect of the crisis on the survivors that the team has managed to rescue so far. It’s pretty downtrodden, as you’d expect. It was nice to see cream trying to cheer everyone up though, as it really does show what a sweet character she is. Poor old Amy Rose is under a lot of stress too; she’s better suited to the leadership role than Sonic is – he’s more a high-end soldier – but she’s struggling to keep on top of everything. Luckily, Silver and Tails have a plan. It’s risky, but it does at least point to the heroes having a potential way out of this mess.
The final scenes were given over to Dr. Starline. He’s still losing faith in Dr. Eggman, and to that end, is launching his own plan to keep things in check. I won’t spoil who here, but it looks like we’re going to see the return of some other Sonic villains as part of his ploy to regain control.
Art-wise, this was another great issue. Jack’s work particularly shines when it comes to kinetic poses, and that helped a lot in the action-driven first half of the issue. While also strong throughout, I really enjoyed what Bracardi did towards the end of the issue too. The lighting when it came to characters working with electronic screens was just so effective. Really great stuff. Oh, and as promised, Cream’s map was also still present at the start. That’s awesome.
So, this set things along a nice course, I think. We’ve seen the damage that a strong character being turned into a zombot can do, but not left them overpowered. We’ve got two separate plans to control the Metal Virus kicking off, and we’ve seen the heroes struggling. In all, I’m really enjoying the arc. So, here’s hoping next month continues this quality. 5 out of 5.