ISP: For the Week of 19/06/13
In which your erstwhile cartoonist talks about recent comics.
Sonic Saga Series :Vol 3 -Eggman Empire (Archie)
Spoilers for a comic from 2007
I’m going to let you guys in on something. It’s going to rock your world, unless you already know me, or have followed me on the internet in any capacity for any length of time:
I really like Sonic the Hedgehog. It’s like my favorite thing. Which can be rough, as there’s been, let’s say periods of time where there hasn’t always been high quality products associated with that brand. But sometimes there is, and this is one of those times.
This week saw the release of Sonic Saga Series : Vol 3, which contains a number of quality issues of the Archie Comics series (#170-176), but in particular it contains issue #175, which is my ALL TIME FAVORITE ISSUE of this book. A book I’ve been reading most of my life, mind you.
And it’s the issue when Sonic looses.
Issue #175 was the moment, just after about a year writing the book, Ian Flynn proved his worth for the rest of time. After 175 issues, he nailed the central conflict of the book, Sonic and Dr. Eggman, better than it had ever been. The issue opens innocuously, but suddenly explodes in tragedy and panic as Eggman’s entire armada appears from nowhere and completely and utterly destroys Knothole Village, Sonic’s home. It happens with no warning, and without a single chance of rebuttal. He wipes out the entire village, and for a second, it seems like everyone gets straight up killed (they don’t obviously). The only one left is Sonic, who you quickly realize was left alone on purpose.
Eggman strides out the fire in a massive battle suit, and proceeds to hand Sonic the most devastating beat-down he’s ever received. Physically, mentally and emotionally. The whole thing is really jarring, and pretty great.
There’s a certain satisfaction to seeing your favorite character utterly destroyed. Sonic is a character/series that rarely ever gets really dragged through the mud, as often happens with licensed books. This issue is probably his lowest point as a character, and I love it. LOVE it. The cool thing about the comic (and the cartoon it was largely based on), was that Robotnik had already taken over the world, and Sonic and his friends were trying to take it back. A big reversal of most kids entertainment. The big point Eggman makes in this issue is that after 175 issues of fighting him, Sonic has never really “won” in any real sense. They’ve won battles, but they still haven’t won the war. It’s a real harsh reality that he drops, made all the more brutal by the realization that Eggman has always known this, and has kind of just been toying with them for years.
Now, obviously Sonic comes back from this. Within the next issue even! But that’s fine. I want to see the hero win, but allowing this sort of loss makes those moments so much better. And there’s consequences! That village is still destroyed, requiring a full change to their base of operations. And at least two characters are massively impacted by these events. One crippled physically, one mentally. It’s pretty intense. Especially for a kids book.
Sonic Saga Series : Vol 3 can be bought online, or at your local comic shop.
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