Sonic the Hedgehog Issue 33
Story: Evan Stanley
Art: Evan Stanley
Colours: Reggie Graham
Hold onto your chili dogs, Sonic fans! Long-time artist Evan Stanley takes over as writer with an action-packed, friendship-fueled new arc: “Chao Races and Badnik Bases!” The perfect jumping-on point for new readers!
The Metal Virus is gone, but things aren’t quite back to normal. Omega is damaged and his allies turn to Tails and Sonic for help. The only way to rebuild him is to trade parts with a mysterious champion Chao racer… but things aren’t what they seem.
This issue marks the beginning of a new era for IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog comics. Head writer Ian Flynn, though still involved through the Bag Guys mini-series, has made way for series veteran Evan Stanley. Evan has been with the comics end of the franchise since the Archie days, going all the way back to 2011. Not only that, but she has written for the Sonic Boom TV series! So, the series is absolutely in good hands.
Now, she actually does a lot of work in this issue, taking on both the art and writing, as well as providing cover A and the convention exclusive cover. All four covers are lovely again, and I ended up with Cover A. If I had to pick a favourite, I’d say that Nathalie Fourdraine’s cover RI would be it. It best captures what the issue is about, in my opinion.
The interior art is exactly what you’d expect from Evan. The character expressions are spot on and feature plenty of variety for each of the core cast members. Amy Rose in particular has so much character in this one. I also enjoyed the mix of background styles, moving from detailed to simplistic colour gradients as appropriate. Reggie’s work on this and the colour, in general, is definitely worth praise, as everything pops nicely. He does a great job with close-up facial shadows, especially during the darker lit scenes.
The story is what surprised me the most. Honestly, when I saw the title of the arc, I had it in my mind this would be introductory fluff. I was expecting a simple story with the sole intent of transitioning to Evan’s writing style. That would have been fine, but what we get here is actually far more interesting.
Being the first part of the arc, we get more questions than answers, but the whole set up is satisfying. We get the introduction of a new minor antagonist, some mysterious interlopers, and some fun with the titular Chao race. Even notes in the interview at the back of the issue that she loves Rouge the Bat, and it really shows here too. While Amy is superb, Rouge is undoubtedly the star of the show this issue, leading the story in style. It’s nice seeing her take centre stage for a bit, and I’m glad we get to see her personality on show here.
Overall, this is a great start to Evan’s run as head writer. It’s a fun part one that balances great art with a surprising story. Most importantly, it proves nicely that the extended cast is more than capable of leading an issue without the blue blur being the main focus. I’m going to give this one the full 5 out of 5 and keep my fingers crossed part two is just as fun.