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IDW's Sonic the Hedgehog

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I've honestly enjoyed this arc a lot so far. I think it could have been less dragged out, but honestly one of the things I like about this comic is that it seems to actually care about taking its time with character development and such. The big problem for me with Archie was oftentimes I felt the action continued to ramp up to insane degrees while the characters remained far too static in comparison.

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Yeah, SEGA did it for a reason, Penders had butchered most characters (from what I remember), they were trying to make it a lot more SEGA-Sonic, which is understandable, they want a unified version of Sonic, and btw the comics were too much fan fiction at that point, they really represented something very far from Sonic, but at the same time they limit the development, especially for the game cast. But it's not a problem under Ian's pen, he's great at making little development without changing the personalities and how they work on the games, see: Sonic in this very arc, Knuckles, Cream, maybe Shadow and Gemerl in the future, who knows, there is a lot to improve with them, oh and Tails and Amy, who became different characters with time because of SEGA's decisions, but now are more independent at least, Tails goes by his own machines Genius agenda, Amy is a strong leader who keeps things in check, etc.

Shadow and Gemerl really have the most potential here, as the former is the most flawed, and the latter is static and rigid, so both can potentially grow a lot, if SEGA allows that… considering Shadow in Forces, I don't see why not, but after seeing the comics heh...

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So this is interesting. She deflects when asked what this is for but she clearly calls it research. So I'm getting a sneaking suspicion that something is brewing. 

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18 hours ago, Conquering Storm’s Servant said:

That was usually because Sega themselves restricted a lot of development in Archie after Penders mucked things up.

Which sucked, because that definitely held things back more under Ian on more than one occasion with the game cast.

Especially during the "10 page storys phase" of the nu252... 

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15 hours ago, Tangled Jack said:

Yeah, SEGA did it for a reason, Penders had butchered most characters (from what I remember), they were trying to make it a lot more SEGA-Sonic, which is understandable, they want a unified version of Sonic, and btw the comics were too much fan fiction at that point, they really represented something very far from Sonic, but at the same time they limit the development, especially for the game cast. But it's not a problem under Ian's pen, he's great at making little development without changing the personalities and how they work on the games, see: Sonic in this very arc, Knuckles, Cream, maybe Shadow and Gemerl in the future, who knows, there is a lot to improve with them, oh and Tails and Amy, who became different characters with time because of SEGA's decisions, but now are more independent at least, Tails goes by his own machines Genius agenda, Amy is a strong leader who keeps things in check, etc.

Shadow and Gemerl really have the most potential here, as the former is the most flawed, and the latter is static and rigid, so both can potentially grow a lot, if SEGA allows that… considering Shadow in Forces, I don't see why not, but after seeing the comics heh...

Suffice to say, this is the new status quo for SEGA now. Shadow is just another "I hate friendship" rival, Gemerl is almost a non entity, Tails is more cowardly but more arrogant, etc. 

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The thing that makes Shadow so weird is that he's not really like that in Forces and that was straight from writers at Sonic Team. Hence my conspiracy theory that the weird shit with him might be an SoA thing.

And in fairness Tails in the comic isn't like that (or, really, in anything outside of like one admittedly anticlimactic Chaos scene in Forces, but I digress), so--and I believe Ian's said something about this openly already--some characters are being railroaded while others aren't.

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Just now, Celestia said:

The thing that makes Shadow so weird is that he's not really like that in Forces and that was straight from writers at Sonic Team.

And in fairness Tails in the comic isn't like that (or, really, in anything outside of like one admittedly anticlimactic Chaos scene in Forces, but I digress), so--and I believe Ian's said something about this openly already--some characters are being railroaded while others aren't.

 

10 minutes ago, Guergy said:

Suffice to say, this is the new status quo for SEGA now. Shadow is just another "I hate friendship" rival, Gemerl is almost a non entity, Tails is more cowardly but more arrogant, etc. 

Tails would indeed strafe closer to Sonic and Eggman than Shadow. 

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All of this reads like there are so many different people with their own interpretations of the characters, and none of them are communicating with each other for the sake of inconsistency.

Tails and Shadow are particularly baffling examples; they are treated as almost two entirely different characters between the comics and the games, despite the fact that they are both running off the same basic premise. 

 

Like how does Shadow go from his usual stoic and no-nonsense self to boasting about his superiority and making such an obvious mistake without any hint of irony or development in between to justify it? Its like there was a part of a development arc that we missed. 

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50 minutes ago, Diogenes said:

I'm not going to bother making a serious reply to this, because by now you should be aware of the point I am trying to make, because I've brought it up plenty of times now for you to know. So take your obvious attempt to bait me and go show it to someone who cares. 

1 hour ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

The Sonic series is so bad at consistency that it can't even be consistently bad. 

that takes true achievement. 

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7 hours ago, Guergy said:

Suffice to say, this is the new status quo for SEGA now. Shadow is just another "I hate friendship" rival, Gemerl is almost a non entity, Tails is more cowardly but more arrogant, etc. 

For Sega, I can agree with that sentiment. For the comic? No way, these are great, so I can't agree with negativity in it, I know they work under Sega's rules but they still manage to be well written. Tails is nothing like that in the comics.

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6 hours ago, Wraith said:

Shadow at the very beginning of what would turn out to be 3 games worth of humbling experiences. Games that are considered canon by this very comic.  

Shadow near the end of 3 games of supposedly humbling experiences. And yes I know the non-Last Story endings aren't canon but they're all meant to be valid paths he could have taken, and it's not like the Last Story does anything to humble him.

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1 hour ago, Diogenes said:

Shadow near the end of 3 games of supposedly humbling experiences. And yes I know the non-Last Story endings aren't canon but they're all meant to be valid paths he could have taken, and it's not like the Last Story does anything to humble him.

STH is a little different because Shadow is the primary player vehicle and a large amount of the decisions made by him are actually made by the player. I find it hard to take a lot of what happens in the game seriously because of this. The Last Story is more a moment of self-realization rather than humbling but I think it's pretty clear by 06 that he's taken in a lot of what's happened to him. It's actually pretty rare for him to butt heads with Sonic needlessly over the greater good. He's much more willing to collaborate with others and see them as comrades or even friends rather than tools or stepping stones for his agenda. 

There's a pretty clear throughline for Shadow's development that it's pretty rare for a Sonic character to have. 

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12 hours ago, Celestia said:

The thing that makes Shadow so weird is that he's not really like that in Forces and that was straight from writers at Sonic Team. Hence my conspiracy theory that the weird shit with him might be an SoA thing.

And in fairness Tails in the comic isn't like that (or, really, in anything outside of like one admittedly anticlimactic Chaos scene in Forces, but I digress), so--and I believe Ian's said something about this openly already--some characters are being railroaded while others aren't.

It being a SoA I don't think its unreasonable take. But my confusion is why also characters like emril as well? Its what makes me think its some weird iizuka or sonic team direction ( the former IIRC I think moved his whole operation to SoA recently I think ), like those are some specific ass characters. I don't think any...normal person would really care about regulating gemril.

Ontop of all that, while i'm sure it wasn't only him...we saw the guy who headed off getting this new book made, he specifically sought out Ian. He specifically valued Ian's interpretation of the characters and how much people liked em. Like it could be some SOA executive who doesn't understand a thing, but then it would confuse me...why gemril?

It makes me think its less about the characters themselves, and more about what's around them. So i'm thinking , its mentioned in this very thread that the issues with tails...fix themselves or rather Ian is allowed room to interpret tails in a way that's much better. And while this may effect other characters, our primary issues are Shadow And Gemril. What do these two have in common

So conspiracy theory time:

Shadow And Gemril have A Human connection, and not just that human's are large part of how they exist. And they are...largely moving away from that as a concept in sonic , at least at the moment. Humans possibly internally or rather everything that comes with human world, maybe seen as...complicated. And these characters needed to simplified to sort of fit what they want sonic to be. And because this doesn't actually effect most of the cast ( and sega's kinda indecisive and making strong action in regards to sonic is still kinda rare for them ) they didn't bother rebooting them or go about saying these retcons aloud. Shadow will still be touted out and they will be allowed to reference that those games he was in did exist, but they have no baring what actually is.

Do I think this is most likely the reason? No , this is one my more uh...fringe theories. But what makes me kinda think this is specifically how shadow acts, shadow to me is acting as if maria doesn't exist.

Now this most likely because shadow is " friendship is bad now " because he certainly doesn't really care too much about team dark anymore.

But If i'm to humor this weird dumb theory, shadow's actions in the book not only have some sentimentality taken out of them...it also just lacks direction. Now maria isn't the only reason shadow is the way he is. She is an influence, but she was the first one to start him on the path of " Great power comes great responsibility, help people if you can " .  Shadow's actions may reflect helping people, but why is lost. We don't know why this shadow does...what he does, he's just kinda...there. And that may because maria, is gone. He specifically being characterized as if none of that stuff, happened. While admittedly yes, sa2 , and Shth are both needless complicated, sega may see them ass unnecessary in terms of what makes this character work. Shadow's strong, focus on making him look strong. The maria stuff, the human element is boring sentimentality that kids don't like, and don't focus on that. Might be what's up with that

I dunno

11 hours ago, Kuzu said:

All of this reads like there are so many different people with their own interpretations of the characters, and none of them are communicating with each other for the sake of inconsistency.

Tails and Shadow are particularly baffling examples; they are treated as almost two entirely different characters between the comics and the games, despite the fact that they are both running off the same basic premise. 

 

Like how does Shadow go from his usual stoic and no-nonsense self to boasting about his superiority and making such an obvious mistake without any hint of irony or development in between to justify it? Its like there was a part of a development arc that we missed. 

The arc is I believe. I have said this before in terms of the whole series. Someone wants to reboot the hell out of everything 3d sonic and its obvious, but they wont pull the trigger on it. So we get this half way of the characters supposed to be the same, but they aren't

11 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

The Sonic series is so bad at consistency that it can't even be consistently bad. 

The post is powerful

4 hours ago, Tangled Jack said:

For Sega, I can agree with that sentiment. For the comic? No way, these are great, so I can't agree with negativity in it, I know they work under Sega's rules but they still manage to be well written. Tails is nothing like that in the comics.

So here's the rub. I kinda agree with you. Now Ian Flynn said himself that the comics are being dictated in a way in which certain characters are more directed than others. That said, I don't think those are the only issues with shadow and gemril. It just seems like the style of story telling Ian Flynn wants to take doesn't work with the what the characters are supposed to be now. I have said this before, but we have yet to actually get a shadow story ABOUT shadow. Its always about something else, he just assumes you know but he himself didnt even know and now he's stuck with a weird version of shadow he himself doesn't even like and can't explain because he can't be bothered to slow the story down and just...tell a story about shadow.

Like if there were a baseline a story in which we could ascertain like who shadow is isolated from gigantic decisions like " Should I commit murder and remove a beloved character from this series "  it wouldn't make everyone happy, but I think more people would be content. Shadow's the only character focused around that and it removes shadow's agency and focuses it around sonic and eggman. And then he just removes shadow's agency again with the zombification thing.

1 hour ago, Diogenes said:

Shadow near the end of 3 games of supposedly humbling experiences. And yes I know the non-Last Story endings aren't canon but they're all meant to be valid paths he could have taken, and it's not like the Last Story does anything to humble him.

The entire game is the humbling experience , but I guess you ignored...that? Stories are whole things that lead up its end and the entire story of that game is him learning he doesn't have to be the awful things people expect him to be based of his parentage. He can be a better person, and choose who he affiliates with which is...the plot and main mechanic of the entire game.

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shadowlax more or less got them all.

It's obvious that there's been a push to reimagine/reboot Sonic starting from Colors at the latest (although I suspect Unleashed was at least considered to be a full-blown reboot before they backed down on that), in part driven by appeasing backlash directed at Adventure Era games with their human characters, conflicting tones, clashing visual styles. However they still seek to milk nostalgia and otherwise take advantage of appealing with the games before Unleashed (possibly alongside avoiding any riots from declaring past core games like Adventure didn't "really happen" now). So they've been sneakily sweeping elements like GUN and Gerald and the Echidnas being on Earth under the rug, establishing the likes of Tails and Shadow to have their apparent current directions (Tails as Sonic's Post-Luigi's Mansion Luigi for one).

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I mean, its not like we haven't had conflicting characterizations before 2010; this has been a problem with the series for a while. Its just that before Colors, they at least TRIED to be somewhat consistent.

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43 minutes ago, Wraith said:

STH is a little different because Shadow is the primary player vehicle and a large amount of the decisions made by him are actually made by the player. I find it hard to take a lot of what happens in the game seriously because of this.

The way I see it even if the choices are left in the player's hands they all have to reflect something about Shadow, otherwise the game spends most of its runtime saying absolutely nothing, just pitching what-ifs that couldn't possibly happen.

43 minutes ago, Wraith said:

The Last Story is more a moment of self-realization rather than humbling but I think it's pretty clear by 06 that he's taken in a lot of what's happened to him. It's actually pretty rare for him to butt heads with Sonic needlessly over the greater good. He's much more willing to collaborate with others and see them as comrades or even friends rather than tools or stepping stones for his agenda. 

There's a pretty clear throughline for Shadow's development that it's pretty rare for a Sonic character to have. 

He is less aggressive in '06, but I don't see that as meaning those elements have been retired entirely. He's still the type to run off on his own to take care of things and Rouge and Omega kinda have to insert themselves into his business, for one. He doesn't fight with Sonic in '06 just because there isn't reason to, not because he's beyond their rivalry entirely.

And, bringing it back to IDW, it's not like he's been pissed at Sonic without reason. In his introduction he's pissed about Forces, intends to be more proactive in stopping Eggman rather than risking another world takeover, and Sonic gets in his way; it's understandable that two people committed to doing things their own way would butt heads when the situation forces them against each other. And in the metal virus arc, he's pissed at Sonic because it's a result of that previous encounter; if Sonic hadn't talked him out of dealing with Eggman at the time, they likely wouldn't be in that situation. He tried listening to Sonic and it's what got them into this mess, so he's predisposed to not listen to him again and trust his own judgement. And he notably doesn't pick a fight with Sonic during the fight with Metal; he's still standoffish and prone to acting on his own but he's still focused on the bigger picture.

36 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

The entire game is the humbling experience , but I guess you ignored...that? Stories are whole things that lead up its end and the entire story of that game is him learning he doesn't have to be the awful things people expect him to be based of his parentage. He can be a better person, and choose who he affiliates with which is...the plot and main mechanic of the entire game.

And how is that humbling? He's free from the start to choose to follow whoever he wants, or to just go off and do his own business alone. By the end of a route no matter what path he's taken he gets what he wants (or maybe, has turned out to want what he has ended up getting?) except for like 2 endings where he angsts about his creation and taking responsibility for all the ARK stuff (which tbh I thought were the only interesting endings). Otherwise anything that gets in his way just gets nullified; he's not an android, he's not designed just to serve Black Doom, he can do anything he wants and beat anyone who opposes him, bow your head low all hail Shadow, etc.

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If you're going to give a character arc about a character overcoming their innermost issues, but still want them to have some level of flaws that just makes it all the more important for there to be some level of consistency so their actions make sense to the reader otherwise we end up in situations like this questioning why said character is acting in such a way contrary to what they have experienced before. 

 

There's absolutely nothing wrong with a flawed character, but there's a time and a place for it. I don't think Shadow's actions in the Metal Virus saga are meant to be reflective of any great character arc but that Ian wanted him out of the story, likely to increase the stakes, and was mandated by Sega on how to do it. 

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I never said it has to be part of some huge personal arc, but that said arc prior should be  taken into consideration. 

 

This is why you get shit like Raphael in TMNT learning to stop being a dick to Leonardo for like...almost every other story arc without any hint of irony. 

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