Sonic the Hedgehog #1 Review

Posted April 5, 2018 by Cameron McFarland in Comic Books

Written by: Ian Flynn

Art by: Tracy Yardley

Published by: IDW Publishing

After much fan speculation and eager anticipation, Sonic fans are finally treated to the first step in a new world of Sonic comic books. For any readers who aren’t up to date on the politics behind the scenes, Archie Comics officially lost the license to publish Sonic, and SEGA has granted that right to IDW Publishing. However, this isn’t a simple transfer of ownership. What made Archie’s run of the series noteworthy was the number of characters created (and still legally owned) by Archie writers. For years, fans have asked when we might see Princess Sally in one of SEGA’s games, never getting a clear answer. Just as that request was met with silence, now comic book fans will have to let go of those old stories and embrace a new interpretation of an objectively thin video game series.

I have been a Sonic the Hedgehog fan since before I even owned a video game console. In fact, I still enjoy playing both of last year’s releases, Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces. Don’t ask me to embarrass myself and share my reversible Mania/Forces poster that hangs in my bedroom. I say this to make my point clear: I don’t envy the writers tasked with writing a story about Sonic. The source material, namely the classic platformer video game, has little to work with. Ultimately, it is that negative space that gave Archie’s writers the freedom to explore a deeper world and flesh it out at their own pace.

The current year, 2018, presents a much more challenging task for the team at IDW. With many more Sonic titles and stories out in the wild, fans expect much more and will be curious as to what continuities are still valid. The end result? Well, Sonic the Hedgehog Issue #1 feels empty. The only named characters to make an appearance are Sonic and Tails, with a hint that the next issue will bring in Amy Rose. As we see Sonic fighting a robot army with ease, running around streets with vague background characters, it strikes me as a sad reminder of how much was lost with the end of the Archie run.

This issue very much suffers from “first issue syndrome,” that difficult task of introducing characters and plot and world building enough for readers to get hooked on what will happen in issue #2 and beyond. But, there doesn’t seem to be a hook of any nature in this book. Sonic has some on-brand quips and destroys some robots, but there isn’t any new degree of personality or charm. It is a soulless example of what Sonic is capable of, and I have to believe most readers who have been anticipating this book are already familiar with the concept.

It is a shame that this first issue starts off with such a whimper, but I do have hope we’ll soon see what IDW’s new direction will be. There are new characters to introduce and a clean slate to work with, and it should be noted that one new issue will be released every week in April, so with a fast start I hope to see some fun in this series soon.

About the Author

Cameron McFarland

Cameron loves cartoons and bad movies almost as much as bad cartoon movies. He is also the world's best spaghetti-eater, so don't bring it up around him or he won't shut up about it. Author and Artist for world-reviled World of Warcraft fancomic,