From a writing standpoint, the Sonic Boom series of games, comics and cartoons seems to be at odds with one another on how to exactly interpret the characters. In the games, Amy is a athletic, smart leader while in the cartoon in much more of a den mother of the group who is much more ladylike and loving. Sticks is over the top crazy in the 3DS game while a bit more subdued in the cartoons. Knuckles comes off as very dumb in all media, but shows more confidence in himself in the Wii U game while being more silly and fun loving in the cartoon. The thing is, both the game and the cartoon were being done almost simultaneously with each other, so while they had a game plan of how the characters would act, there were a lot of nuances that were still different from one another. Basically, they had an IDEA of how each character would be, but it was never exact so we didn’t get a perfect interpretation across the board.
This brings us to the first two Sonic Boom issues by Ian Flynn. It’s my belief that Ian Flynn may not have gotten enough material from both Big Red Button or OuiDo! studios to get a proper interpretation of the characters. That the only explanation I can think of as to how Ian managed to make the worst, most mean grammar Nazi version of Amy Rose ever. With that, let’s look at the first two issues of Sonic Boom “Getting a little Boulder” and “Knuckleduster” (BTW, why is the first issue “part one of one” when it ties directly into the next issue and ends on a cliffhanger?).
Issue one starts off Sonic and the gang fighting off one of Eggman’s giant mechs. With the exception of Sticks, each character gets a little indtroduction (along with an old-school logo name) and we get to see a sample of them in action. The mech is taken down and they head back to their village area where Sticks (who is also introduced via logo in a joke that gets old by the second issue) informs them that Tails house has been robbed. Not part of his house, the ENTIRE house as it was uprooted and picked up by a giant cyborg rock golem. The rest of the issue comprises of some jokes between the cast and basically Amy insulting Knuckles for no good reason other than he’s dumb and has trouble following directions.
You see, Knuckles isn’t too bright. Something they are fully aware of, but instead of Amy treating him with kid gloves when he doesn’t understand something and asks a ton of questions, she insults and berates him. I know it’s done to provide character conflict to resolve in the next issue, but all it does is make Knuckles look like a HUGE idiot who can’t understand the most basic of things and worse, make Amy look like a horrible Sally Acorn wannabe with a total lack of patience. It’s the worst interpretation I’ve seen of her character and I really don’t care for it.
Before I leave issue one though, I have one last note. What’s REALLY up with the Golem? Everyone assumes it was a giant Eggman robot, however….
A.) The Golem took Tails house at the same time everyone was fighting Eggman, so he wasn’t in control of the robot unless it was programmed to go off on it’s own.
B.) When Sonic and company destroy the Golem, it breaks off into stone pieces with no mechanics shown.
Ergo, it’s my belief that this was not one of Eggman’s monstrosities, but something else entirely. Maybe something they’ll explore in a future issue, perhaps?
Issue two improves on the humor (although the logo jokes return again), but I’m still a little sour on Amy. It begins with Sonic and the gang (sans Knuckles) attacking the same giant robot they fought at the beginning of the first issue. They start to realize this when Eggman finally launches his secret weapon..Knuckles! Knuckles captures all the heroes in small cages with the exception of Sticks who, in a hilarious moment, captures herself in a cage she happened to have with her. With the heros captured aboard the giant robot, Eggman tries to decide weather to conquer or destroy the village as he has Pork Chops thawing back home.
Inside the robot, Sonic is freaking out from being in such a tiny cage “Gotta go Fast!” while Knuckle finally reveals it was all a trick. He fooled Eggman and them. Only Amy reminds him they are still captured so he technically is working for Eggman at this point. Knuckles finally realizes this and it sends him into a sad state of depression. Knowing they can’t get out of the cages and stop Eggman without his help, Amy and Tails cheer him up only for Knuckles to go out and stop Eggman himself, stupidly leaving the others still inside the cages.
Luckily for a very panicked Sonic, Sticks frees him and the others (she never said she was LOCKED in her cage)and Sonic bounces around n a gleeful frenzy. Meanhile, Knuckles finally reveals his “cunning ploy” to Eggman and proceeds to destroy his robot single-handedly. This includes a scene of him gliding which is something this version of Knuckles can’t do. Sonic and the others burst out of the robot as Eggman barely escapes again. Amy finally gives an apology to Knuckles (she does apologize earlier, but it doesn’t feel sincere) only to realize she’s lost in hammer in another cliffhanger ending.
As far as quality goes, I believe Sonic Boom will pick up greatly over time. The humor is definitely there (especially in the second issue) and it reminds me a bit of the old Mike Ghallager days of the original Sonic comic. Evan Stanley’s art was very expressive and fun to look at. However, as I said in the beginning of this review, it’s apparent that Ian Flynn was not given enough material from either the show or the game to get a firm grasp of the characters. His version of Boom Sonic is exactly the same as it is in the regular Sega Sonic comics rather than the straight man he is in the cartoon. Knuckles is INSULTINGLY dumb in this, even compared to the cartoon version who can’t read. He can barely bring a thought together. Not to mention the gliding. Something Boom Knuckles can’t do (looks like Ian pulled a Joe Edkin, who once had a panel of Amy flying in Sonic X). Tails and Sticks fared fairly well. Surprising with Sticks since she’s a brand new character who might be hard to nail down in terms of personality.
Then there’s Amy. I can’t exactly blame Ian for not getting this version of the character nailed down. In the cartoon, she’s level-headed and more of a peacemaker and denmother. In the games, she’s an independent adventurer, field leader and gymnast. Those are two drastically different versions of the same character. It seems Ian went with more of the game version with Amy being the field leader. However, in order to provide character conflict, they made her lack any patience and be insulting towards Knuckles who really didn’t do anything wrong outside of being dumb and confused. It makes her look mean-spirited and unlikable.
Then there’s the logo jokes. It was definitely funny in the first issue, but than gets recycled in the second issue and it starts to become tiresome. If you want to have a humor comic book where the characters break the fourth wall, there’s other ways to do it than repeat the same joke over and over. Having Sonic mention Eggman almost smashing the credits was a nice touch, but I think a comic format is prime for some real fourth wall craziness. Have them climbing over panels! Have them burst through the cover only to have some of them hiding behind the back cover. Be crazy!
Okay, I’m starting to nit-pick here. Overall, Sonic Boom 1 and 2 had plenty of action and humor that really gave me some old-school vibes of the early days of the original Sonic comic. Evan Stanley’s art is also very expressive and humorous. I think once the writers get the hang of the characters, it will be a great book. Besides, I doubt they’ll be re-using the logo joke and making the characters act like jerks to each other again, right?
Maybe I spoke too soon.