As we approach the home stretch on the road to 200, things are beginning to really heat up! The gauntlet’s been thrown, the pieces are in place, and everyone is now ready for the lead up to the next big confrontation between Sonic and Dr. Robotnik!
This issue is supposed to lead up to something that will drastically change the status quo, and the lives of Sonic and his friends and enemies in the process. Looking at #199, the stage is most definitely set for something like that. Below, as usual, I will post the five preview pages released by Archie, as well as the issue’s official solicitation, and of course, my review.
For those of you not willing to scroll through everything, this is an issue I highly recommend, as it more or less represents the reason why I read these comics in the first place, and why I think all of you other Sonic fans should too.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #199
“Knocking on Eggman’s Door”: Sonic leads the combined might of the Freedom Fighters and the Chaotix in a final push against Dr. Robotnik and his Eggman Empire! In this climactic battle old friendships and rivalries are revisited, family confronts family, and a treacherous plot is revealed that you won’t believe! You simply cannot afford to miss this pulse-pounding lead-in to the mega-milestone SONIC #200!
SCRIPT: Ian Flynn
ART: Tracy Yardley!
Shipping Date: April 1st, 2009
On Sale at Comic Specialty Shops: April 8th, 2009
On Sale on Newsstands: April 21st, 2009
32-page, full color comic
$ 2.50 US
This issue was most definitely leagues above the somewhat anticlimatic “Egg Pheonix” story last issue. Featuring the usual amount of nice action scenes, this story also had some nice character to character moments. I won’t go into it, lest I spoil it for people who haven’t picked it up yet, but Ian’s writing is definitely at it’s best when he lets the characters be themselves and interact with each other on a more personal level, not just with their fists. The story touches on past plot points to help show just how important this battle is, and ties this issue in with continuity that is over twelve years old quite nicely.
The art is fantastic, something that has thankfully become the norm ever since Tracy took over and Ron Lim quietly left the book. Tracy’s cartoon style really matches the atmosphere of the book, and Sonic himself. Matt Herm’s coloring is also a nice step above Jensen’s style, which has always been too bright for my taste. I am hoping he will soon become the regular colorist on the book.
Of course, the issue does have it’s share of problems. I would say it’s biggest problem does not lie in the issue itself, but rather it’s build up. Despite the battles in New Megapolis in during the New Moebius arc, this whole “end of the Eggman Empire” plot point still feels rather sudden. Considering this war has been going on since the book’s conception, it seems to me that we needed to have many more issues before it focused squarely on building up to this monumental battle. I enjoyed the Bold New Mobius saga far more then any other storyline Archie’s ever made in the Sonic book, but I think it may have been best to delay or shorten the storyline so that more issues could have focused on building up to this fight. Without a focused build up, this story doesn’t feel nearly as epic as it really should.
Hopefully, with Sonic Universe now allowing Ian to write two issues a month instead of one, Ian can make a more concerted effort to ensure future storylines like this have the right amount of build up, without leaving other plot points and characters hanging for years on end, as he probably should have with Scourge and the Anti-Mobius reinvention.
I highly recommend this issue to Arche fans and Sonic fans alike. This issue isn’t necessarily the best jumping on point for new readers, but with stuff like the pending epic battle between Sonic and Robotnik, a fight between Shadow, E-102 Gamma, and Omega, as well as the formation of team dark and a huge change in the status quo all coming in the next few issues of StH and SU, I can’t imagine a more exciting time to start reading it. The comics themselves contain loads of fan service to Sonic fans, and perfectly show Sonic’s attitude in a way I haven’t seen since the sprite animations in the classic games. Couple that with excellent art and entertaining writing, and I don’t think any Sonic fan has a legitimate reason to not give this comic a chance right now. This comic isn’t about love affairs, teen soap operas, and family drama anymore. This comic is about Sonic.