Coming hot-on-the-heels of the newest video games, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #1 is the perfect start to this new series. Comprising the veteran Sonic-comic talents of Ian Flynn, Tracy Yardley, Jim Amash (and Tyson Hesse), this comic is pure comfort food for old fans and offers enough familiarity for new fans to jump right in.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #1 Picks Up Where SONIC FORCES Left Off

The events of SONIC MANIA led into the events of SONIC FORCES — the two games Sega released in honor of Sonic’s 25th birthday. The latter game saw Sonic defeated and captured, and once this happened, Dr. Eggman was finally able to conquer most of Sonic’s planet. If not for the intervention of the player — and Tails, Amy Rose, Knuckles, and the rest — all hope would have been lost. But through teamwork, our anthropomorphic heroes turned the tide and broke Dr. Eggman’s hold over their homes.

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So when the comic picks up, the war is over, but the battles rage on. Eggman’s robotic army is still afoot, and it’s up to Sonic to help the town militias clean up.

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Where SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #1 beings; image courtesy of IDW.

Tracy Yardley’s Art Brings the Energy to this Action-Packed Issue…

Tracy Yardley has had practice drawing Sonic, and it shows in the best of ways. Most of this issue is action — Sonic ping-ponging like a pinball between badniks — so Yardley’s expertise is put to good use.

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Tracy Yardley brings Sonic into the fray. Image courtesy of IDW.

But it’s not just Sonic running that carries this issue. Tracy Yardley has always been able to incorporate believable, human emotions into — when it comes down to it — cartoon-character animals. We see it in the militia members’ fear, and we see it in Sonic’s reassuring confidence. No one — named hero or un-named citizen — is dead on the page. Except for a few robots, that is.

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…And Ian Flynn’s Script Gives it Meaning.

Since I read his work years ago, Ian Flynn has been one of my favorite writers in comics. So it’s no surprise (for me, at least), that SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #1 also bears his sensibilities.

Flynn is able to balance action with just the right amount of mystery. As such, the issue stands as both entertaining and as a decent introduction to a longer series (where is Eggman?). Although maybe the town militia’s reactions to Sonic are a little hammy, it’s okay. Sonic is the Sonic the Hedgehog, the famed hero of lore.

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Town militia getting their priorities straight. Image courtesy of IDW.

As a counterpoint to the plot, there’s a good deal of emotion, too, when another familiar face shows up on the scene. And although Sonic would love this character’s help dealing with robots, Sonic — and us, the audience — gets reminded that being a public hero is not always glory and action.

So Where Does that Leave SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #1?

At the end of the day, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #1 promises a solid introduction to one of IDW’s newest series. It’s going to come fast, too. IDW plans on releasing a new SONIC THE HEDGEHOG issue every week in the month of April. It’s the hope of this reviewer that we’ll be covering each step of the way.

Before I go…a Personal Note

This review has been biased; conscience compels me to say that. Since I started writing for ComicsVerse, I’ve tried to be very careful about wearing my reviewer hat and putting aside my happy-consumer-of-comic-books hat. It seems like the right thing to do. But this comic — this series — is something different.

Last year, I was heart-broken — but not surprised — when Archie Comics and Sega announced the 20+ year SONIC THE HEDGEHOG series would be ending. The series that, even before I could read, I began at ISSUE #50. I grew up with that comic, and when it ended — or maybe even when it went through its death throes in the form of legal battles — it was like losing a family pet.

It wasn’t just nostalgia — it was a whole world we were losing. Planet Mobius had a history that developed in its own way independent of the games (or Sega’s attempts to shoehorn them into the plot). As a de facto Sonic fan, it was one of the few things I could point to and still feel proud about. “Gotta’ go fast,” had nothing on “Gotta’ Juice.”

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So imagine how happy I was when two days later, I heard the news from IDW. Then, when they announced they were bringing Ian Flynn and company over to tackle the project — what more could I want? Couldn’t our characters then return? It would be easy for Ian Flynn to do this, right? Easy for Tracy Yardley! (permitting myself his Archie moniker) to illustrate the world like nothing happened? Even if we had to ignore the pre-soft-reboot lore, just some little taste of anything familiar would be more than enough.

And yet…that kind of thinking is a little dangerous, isn’t it?

The Bottom Line

The aim of this new series — and new publisher — should not be to continue the tales of where Sonic has been. Rather, it presents itself as a unique opportunity to grow the characters in surprising and interesting ways. Will they be closer to the depictions in the games? Probably. But this isn’t a bad thing.

The more we try to hold on to our nostalgia, the harder it is to move forward to a new future. The past may be comfortable — it may even be familiar — but it’s limiting. I’ll spare the 1,001 other platitudes for why this is true and instead quote an Ian Flynn comic script.

How Do We End The Remakes and Sequels?

Back in 2009, SONIC X — Archie’s way of continuing the TV show — came to an end at ISSUE #40. In a brilliant twist, Shadow the Hedgehog comes back to the SONIC X world from the SONIC THE HEDGEHOG series (because the old Sonic comics had a multi-verse, too). Chris Thorndyke, who mourned the death of Shadow in his world, was overjoyed to see him. And in a simple panel, we get a fair deal of truth:

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From SONIC X #40, image courtesy of Archie Comics.

So there we have it. I, like Chris, have memories. Can I share them? Yes. Are they valid? Of course. But do I have a right to demand them or enforce them on a fictional character? No.

So as is often quoted at high school graduations, (thank you, Cicero), I’ll quote now: “amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore” — may the memory of our friendship be everlasting.

I look forward to seeing where SONIC THE HEDGEHOG goes next.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #1 by: Ian Flynn, Tracy Yardley!, Jim Amash Bob Smith, Matt Herms, Corey Breen, and Tyson Hesse
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Summary
With a veteran team of Sonic creators at its helm, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #1 shines. Packed with enough action to ground the series -- and enough intrigue to keep it going -- this is sure to be a good read for old and new fans alike.
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