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IDW's Sonic the Hedgehog

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Issue 23

It's...alright. I can't say it's boring, but also nothing really happens. Just Sonic finally meets Eggman and they talk a little. You could skip this issue and never notice.

People say Zavok are well written, but I don't think you can read that much from 1 page.

(I did like calling Metal "a ballistic missile with build-in grudge". Good description)

Spoiler

Starline gets finally tired with Eggman. Neat, but expected. And he calls Zeti. But he has the conch, I expected he's not that dumb.

Also Eggman has mixed feelings about Mr Tinker. interesting, but I think it won't go anywhere, just a little curiosity. He can't stop being a villain after all.

Things with Starline are going to smoothly. Here's my prediction how things will go down

Spoiler

Starline is underestimating Zavok. He will find a away to work around the conch.

And this will be moment for Eggman to shine, his ability to "think on the run" will at least partially save the day, when Starline's 'careful planning' fails. And Starline will respect him again, although this time without blind worshiping.

That way
1) Starline gets to develop, but also stays with Eggman (because what else he would do? Go solo? Being Eggman fanboy is his whole thing.)

2) Eggman gets to save some of his face, showing he has strengths and weaknesses.

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That's actually a good point and probably why Eggman doesn't recycle his schemes; the Zeti have probably found a counter to the conch so that they aren't enslaved again, so it makes complete sense why Eggman wouldn't consider using it again.

That's an interesting way of showing that despite his flaws, Eggman has the capacity to stay one step ahead.

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Just got through reading Issue 23. It was ight. Tight even.

Quote
  • I previously opined that the comic would pick up a bit more once Sonic and Eggman clash again in the middle of this escalating mess. While the actual clashing was pretty brief and per Starline's description didn't measure up at all, everything around it was suitably dramatic and even brilliant.
  • I think I'm getting used to Mr. Lawrence as a penciler. While there are definitely a number panels where the characters look scruff, here it felt right at home with the mood--the fact that he was paired with the typically bright Mattie Herms was doubly impressive. Though it is funny to see that his best characters thus far are Master Zik and a Motobug, though Neo Metal and at times Starline were pretty good too.
  • Spiral Hill Village was already targeted by Orbot before the Doctors returned and Amy only informs Sonic that they're headed there at the end of the issue.  Looks like Tangle(and/or hopefully even Jewel) will get more character development.
  • Interesting that Eggman, while still being careless and even lazy here, actually reflects and considers his situation pretty quickly here. He acknowledges that his time in Windmill Village was at least relaxing, admits that the process of acquiring/maintaining control now is incredibly risky at, and even realizes the likelihood that the Metal Virus is establishing a resistance to Starline's code as they speak.
  • Sonic is legitimately hitting a low point here. He now wants to focus on protective what actually is good, but the fatigue is really staring to wear on him.
  • Master Zik sitting on a Motobug is such a humorous sight to reintroduce him with. As is Zavok actually being able to sit down. Or the necessary space in, "Demon-stration," as well as how it amazingly consists of making a Motobug roll forward. 

Additionally, there's a collective sense of power play keepaway going on throughout this issue once the action gets going. (Avoid this if you want to read without being spoiled on the overall flow)

Spoiler

On the overall power play, Eggman has a pretty good talk with Sonic, Sonic eventually grounds Eggman into the Zombots reach, Starline manages to get them to focus on Sonic thanks to finding something that works, Eggman tries to have that signal uploaded the Faceship(lol), Sonic destroys both of their crafts to cripple them into further seeing the need for the cure, Eggman swears victory in the long term before Starline warps them away, Starline has thoroughly considered how shortsighted Eggman is even after the close calls enough to fall back on what we know was actually his backup plan with the Zeti, Zavok and Zik still intend to channel their bided wrath into absolutely destroying everything Sonic and Eggman care about, and in the biggest twist of all, Starline perfectly realizes the Zeti will betray them the moment they are called in and so took the time to procure another(?) Conch--which before he even met Eggman! "Take note, Eggman. This is how you do it." Indeed.

4 hours ago, StaticMania said:

Well, they've got one more chance for Sonic to turn off the radiator.

When will he go chrome blue?

Spoiler

Not anytime soon, if ever according to solicits.

2 hours ago, Tangled Jack said:

I agree, it was the best out of the trio of same-day stories,

Same day stories?

2 hours ago, Tangled Jack said:
  Hide contents

Is ready to take care of the Deadly Six and the Zombots. I like how he was able to find a way to control them but then Eggman destroyed his ship with the frequency, lol. So the Zeti will be useful after all.

I thought it was Sonic?

Spoiler

What I like is how it basically took him doing both parts of the programming to find the right signal, since he was the one setting it up in the first place.

2 hours ago, Tangled Jack said:

 

Also who wants to bet that…

  Hide contents

Dr. Starline found the conch by time travelling to Sonic Lost World when Sonic kicked it out of Eggman's hands? That would have been cool to see, so that's my complaint. Also that letting go Metal Sonic was not addressed... yet... I hope they will.

 

That'd be a leap.

Spoiler

Given that the Deadly Six will be entering the fight at the end of the next issue, we'll likely get some quick elaboration on that afterwards either way.

2 hours ago, Tangled Jack said:

Zavok was also written pretty strong, I think Ian will do miracles with the D6, as he usually does… when SEGA lets him.

It just goes to show that what some of the characters really need is a story that is just ongoing or sometimes flexible enough to really make use them. Something the games haven't really been doing much of as of late. And Zavok in particular has generally stifled because his sort of characterization, as well as Shadow and sometimes Knuckles, hasn't been effectively supplied the sort of showcasing that format would provide on top of being relatively new--his best game appearance thus far is still Lost World, where's he generally alright but never really gets to soak in many big or striking moments.

And on the last point, they haven't really been in the comics much to be fair. It's just been the Halloween prequel and parts of World's Unite thus far(with the New252 version of this arc being the third break that never happened). And they've generally been pretty decent in those glimpses thus far, with the 2 Deadly Three sidestories(?) being their bigger focus despite a bit of odd characterization in the second.

2 hours ago, Tangled Jack said:

My biggest complaint is that the next main issue will probably be out in January… ugh, how do these comics keep selling well with all these constant delays?

Because it's the only Sonic thing not being shit on or waved away nowadays?

 

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2 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

Things with Starline are going to smoothly. Here's my prediction how things will go down

  Hide contents

Starline is underestimating Zavok. He will find a away to work around the conch.

That's something that'd likely be interesting continuation of this issue's vibe.

Spoiler

Faux dependent on how many issues we'd have between this and the most recent solicit, we could've been looking at a brief chess game between the forthseeing Starlight and the improvising Zavok.

2 hours ago, Kuzu said:

That's actually a good point and probably why Eggman doesn't recycle his schemes; the Zeti have probably found a counter to the conch so that they aren't enslaved again, so it makes complete sense why Eggman wouldn't consider using it again.

That's an interesting way of showing that despite his flaws, Eggman has the capacity to stay one step ahead.

Now that you mention it, even most of his schemes to control a great power aside from the Emeralds have him act under fairly secure if still arrogant circumstances and mainly fail because of something he didn't or sometimes wouldn't consider.

I somehow doubt the Zeti found a good way around it, though.

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2 hours ago, Kuzu said:

That's actually a good point and probably why Eggman doesn't recycle his schemes; the Zeti have probably found a counter to the conch so that they aren't enslaved again, so it makes complete sense why Eggman wouldn't consider using it again.

That's an interesting way of showing that despite his flaws, Eggman has the capacity to stay one step ahead.

Being fair, even that’s on display here. 
 

Spoiler

Starline successfully finds a frequency that can order the Zombots, and was ready to have the two go out and conduct more tests again until Eggman pointed out the obvious flaws that the virus has will likely have mutated already by the time they find it, and they have to be so insanely close for testing that it’s too dangerous without risk of infection.

 

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I actually agree with one of the posts above, we are underestimating Zavok, after all he too is a manipulator and a strategist, according to the little we know about him, so...

Spoiler

He may have likely found a way to bypass the conch. It wouldn't be that hard. I still see Starline getting zombified soon, calling the Zeti will be his undoing, but he's playing well so far at least, he's smarter than I thought.

I agree that these characters need more time to showcase their personality in depth, the games just don't do that… I've been replaying a bit of Lost World, which was written by feet and not hands, but even in Forces which is sorta the only decent recent one, they are just so short and fast paced…! The comics and possibly an animated series are the best options for this because of the long term, if they want to focus on more characters, because in the games there is hardly a place for all of them to shine, I would at least settle for better written games. I actually doubt we would get a long and continuous arc like this in a cartoon but still, who knows. I can't wait to see how it develops and how season 3 will be different from now. SEGA mandates at this point are okay because they keep the cast stay Sonic, of course there a big issues for some characters heavily limited, and the messiness that is the 2 worlds thing, that IMO could be used, I repeat, to create a great multiverse.

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On topic of Eggman: obviously his reckless tactics can be attributed to big ego and childlike temper, but I do wonder if it's natural development for someone who fights fastest thing alive all the time.

"Can you keep up with me?" "Time for change of pace"

Fighting Sonic means working on a go. You can make complex plan, but something goes wrong and there is no time to fix it. Then you must improvise and and on gut feeling. It doesn't justify Eggman's lack of care, but maybe explains his mindset.

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56 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

That's something that'd likely be interesting continuation of this issue's vibe.

  Reveal hidden contents

Faux dependent on how many issues we'd have between this and the most recent solicit, we could've been looking at a brief chess game between the forthseeing Starlight and the improvising Zavok.

Now that you mention it, even most of his schemes to control a great power aside from the Emeralds have him act under fairly secure if still arrogant circumstances and mainly fail because of something he didn't or sometimes wouldn't consider.

I somehow doubt the Zeti found a good way around it, though.

 

Spoiler

Earplugs perhaps?

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16 minutes ago, Tangled Jack said:

I actually agree with one of the posts above, we are underestimating Zavok, after all he too is a manipulator and a strategist, according to the little we know about him, so...

  Hide contents

He may have likely found a way to bypass the conch. It wouldn't be that hard. I still see Starline getting zombified soon, calling the Zeti will be his undoing, but he's playing well so far at least, he's smarter than I thought.

I agree that these characters need more time to showcase their personality in depth, the games just don't do that… I've been replaying a bit of Lost World, which was written by feet and not hands, but even in Forces which is sorta the only decent recent one, they are just so short and fast paced…! The comics and possibly an animated series are the best options for this because of the long term, if they want to focus on more characters, because in the games there is hardly a place for all of them to shine, I would at least settle for better written games. I actually doubt we would get a long and continuous arc like this in a cartoon but still, who knows. I can't wait to see how it develops and how season 3 will be different from now. SEGA mandates at this point are okay because they keep the cast stay Sonic, of course there a big issues for some characters heavily limited, and the messiness that is the 2 worlds thing, that IMO could be used, I repeat, to create a great multiverse.

Spoiler

I disagree. I think the conch will still work, but the Zeti will still outsmart Starline. I like to think that Eggman and Starline are contrasted in a way. Eggman is short sighted and that later bites him, but he’s also able to realise when solutions don’t work, and adapts to them (key example this issue being when he shuts down testing low range frequencies, seeing it as too dangerous). Eggman goes with the flow, and can better adapt and think on his feet because of it.

Starline overplans, he avoids Eggman’s usual trappings due to planning ahead, but he’s then up a creek without a stick when the plan falls apart. That was shown here again, Starline convinced Eggman to do this personally instead of rigging an automated system to do it, and it almost resulted in Eggman and Starline’s infection because they were left open to Sonic ambushing them. They only survived because Starline was lucky and found a working frequency before it was too late.

In that way, I think what could end up happening is Starline tried the conch, and it works, for a time but because he assumes he’s safe, he lowers his guard. He assumes with the conch he’s safe, but realistically, all the Zeti have to do is get out of sight and/or range from the conch, and then control badniks, or hell, even Orbot and Cubot, and have them infect Starline with the Zombot virus.

 

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2 hours ago, Bowbowis said:

 

  Hide contents

Earplugs perhaps?

By George, he's got it!

Lack of visible earholes be damned

1 hour ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:
  Hide contents

I disagree. I think the conch will still work, but the Zeti will still outsmart Starline. I like to think that Eggman and Starline are contrasted in a way. Eggman is short sighted and that later bites him, but he’s also able to realise when solutions don’t work, and adapts to them (key example this issue being when he shuts down testing low range frequencies, seeing it as too dangerous). Eggman goes with the flow, and can better adapt and think on his feet because of it.

Starline overplans, he avoids Eggman’s usual trappings due to planning ahead, but he’s then up a creek without a stick when the plan falls apart. That was shown here again, Starline convinced Eggman to do this personally instead of rigging an automated system to do it, and it almost resulted in Eggman and Starline’s infection because they were left open to Sonic ambushing them. They only survived because Starline was lucky and found a working frequency before it was too late.

In that way, I think what could end up happening is Starline tried the conch, and it works, for a time but because he assumes he’s safe, he lowers his guard. He assumes with the conch he’s safe, but realistically, all the Zeti have to do is get out of sight and/or range from the conch, and then control badniks, or hell, even Orbot and Cubot, and have them infect Starline with the Zombot virus.

 

Spoiler

Kinda like Dr. Nega without the omnicidal freakouts.

Or smash it like in World's Unite.

 

2 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

On topic of Eggman: obviously his reckless tactics can be attributed to big ego and childlike temper, but I do wonder if it's natural development for someone who fights fastest thing alive all the time.

"Can you keep up with me?" "Time for change of pace"

Fighting Sonic means working on a go. You can make complex plan, but something goes wrong and there is no time to fix it. Then you must improvise and and on gut feeling. It doesn't justify Eggman's lack of care, but maybe explains his mindset.

Like the Fridge Logic going on lately, gotta say.

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2 hours ago, Tangled Jack said:

I actually agree with one of the posts above, we are underestimating Zavok, after all he too is a manipulator and a strategist, according to the little we know about him, so...

  Reveal hidden contents

He may have likely found a way to bypass the conch. It wouldn't be that hard. I still see Starline getting zombified soon, calling the Zeti will be his undoing, but he's playing well so far at least, he's smarter than I thought.

I agree that these characters need more time to showcase their personality in depth, the games just don't do that… I've been replaying a bit of Lost World, which was written by feet and not hands, but even in Forces which is sorta the only decent recent one, they are just so short and fast paced…! The comics and possibly an animated series are the best options for this because of the long term, if they want to focus on more characters, because in the games there is hardly a place for all of them to shine, I would at least settle for better written games. I actually doubt we would get a long and continuous arc like this in a cartoon but still, who knows. I can't wait to see how it develops and how season 3 will be different from now. SEGA mandates at this point are okay because they keep the cast stay Sonic, of course there a big issues for some characters heavily limited, and the messiness that is the 2 worlds thing, that IMO could be used, I repeat, to create a great multiverse.

Pretty much.

With that said, I do find this point interesting, considering Zavok has never really been established as such from what I recall. We see him capitalize on both Zazz & Sonic's haste, yes, sarcastically play on Zeena's ego, sure, and manipulation can go pretty tandem with the calm & collected types, but he otherwise is more of an opportunist/pragmatist than anything. Of course, he's never really gotta the chance to do so thus far, so the point makes itself.

 

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Just now, StaticMania said:

Weird that Eggman doesn't plan far enough to work out how to control this Zombie threat, but is of sound enough mind to not try risky options more than once.

That Mad Scientist Logic, I guess it's better than most.

Because the problem wasn't controlling the threat. To him, he already had it figured out because during initial testing, the Zombots did listen to him. To him, he had it figured out already.

The thing he didn't plan far ahead for was anticipating that the virus would mutate beyond his control.

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23 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

Because the problem wasn't controlling the threat. To him, he already had it figured out because during initial testing, the Zombots did listen to him. To him, he had it figured out already.

The thing he didn't plan far ahead for was anticipating that the virus would mutate beyond his control.

I don't think it was really clear, outside of the 1st test.

The 2nd time "He" just gave them a vague order and they were paying attention to him, but it's not clear if they were listening or if they just have that cliched automatic Zombie-like desire to infect things.

Then the next time (not this current issue) they just didn't even pay him any mind.

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9 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

I don't think it was really clear, outside of the 1st test.

The 2nd time "He" just gave them a vague order and it's not framed well enough to objectively say they were listening or if they just have that cliched automatic Zombie-like desire to infect things.

There's no reason to assume that wasn't the case because the explanation the comic provided us was the virus mutating out of control. The latest issue only confirms that's the case because - 

Spoiler

They were originally using a frequency to control the Zombots. The virus then mutated and became immune to that frequency being used. That's why their next course of action was localising a subset of Zombots and trying closer frequencies in order to regain control of them again, which Starline had successfully managed to do when Eggman was about to get infected.

That's why Eggman just shuts the idea down as soon as they get back again, because not only was it insanely dangerous to use the frequency at such a short range, but because of the fact that the virus had already mutated and gained an immunity to the original frequency he was using to control the Zombots, he expected the virus to simply mutate again and gain immunity to the new frequency, because that's what they did with the original one. 

If Eggman was just short-sighted enough to not ensure he had a way of controlling them at all, then the talk about the virus mutating and everything else would be unneeded, and Eggman being able to control them at one point wouldn't be a plot point. Starline would just call out Eggman for not even having a plan in place to control them period, but that's not what's happening. He's calling him out for two main factors - not ensuring they were immune to the virus, and not ensuring he had failsafes if the virus ended up mutating beyond Eggman's belief. It's also why Eggman claims that he can't help it if one of his inventions grows beyond his expectations. His expectation, planning, and testing showed the virus would just be strong enough to make people subservient to him, not that the virus is so powerful that it could grow beyond his control.

The reason Starline and Eggman knew what to do was because this was what they had originally done before, and it worked up until the virus mutated and created an immunity. They weren't trying to use frequencies for the first time, they were trying to find a new frequency that works successfully with the Zombots, as the previous one did. 

It could have been explained better, probably, but everything the comic's currently established showed that even Eggman wasn't so stupid to not ensure he couldn't control the zombots at all, the point being made is Eggman was both cocky enough not to make a way of curing/making yourself immune, and that he didn't plan ahead enough if the virus grew beyond his expectations, and mutated.

 

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I just got Issue 23 and it's a marvelous showcase of what I love about action-adventure stories and what different factions can do to create organized chaos. Throughout the entire arc, the thought of how this would work as a game has never left my mind and I feel the atmosphere around this issue is a really good indicator of just how much of a shame it is that it probably won't ever happen. 

I was getting a bit shaky, waiting for the next issue. The delays have gotten so bad that I seriously thought that there was no issue this month. It's a good thing the preview came out. As well as the preview for the preview.

- Once again, Cover B was the better pick for me. The image of Sonic right above the doctor and the Zombot hoard just does it better for me. Although, Cover A works just fine on its own. It's mostly the way Eggman's face is drawn that's throwing me off a bit.

- The map hasn't been updated to cross out the Central City, Resistance HQ, Vanilla, and Vector. I wonder if it's because these three stories are all taking place at the same time. That's most likely the reason.

- This issue is a big exemplifier of just how good the character writing is. Sonic really is suffering through the consequences of his decision in a big way and every time you think it couldn't be pushed anymore, you get something like this. Just the comments he made at the beginning about how his conversation with Tails ending immediately made him feel lonely got me a little bit. However, I do feel like the thing that hit the hardest was seeing him in his almost Zombot form with that look of despair back yet again. There was a brief moment where the idea that he'd actually give up crossed my mind... but of course not. Sonic wouldn't do that but it's amazing seeing his faith in himself being pushed to the brink. I've never felt so bad for Sonic before. Ever.

- Eggman is a very, very, very interesting and insane man. I do chalk most of the folly to his plans here up to sheer insanity rather than general stupidity, although, that's also a case I can easily see someone making. However, he's a man who has seriously initiated a Zombie apocalypse on the planet, looks at it, and truly believes he's bringing "Peace and unity to the world" and providing it with brilliant guidance. Like, he clearly doesn't see himself as the villain here but there is a little interesting shake in his mental fortitude when Sonic brings up Mr. Tinker.

Starline brought Eggman's memories back but Eggman was the one who decided to go back to being what he used to be which sort of implies that without whatever brought Eggman down the path of insanity and villainy, he'd probably be just like Mr. Tinker. I don't know what happened in the past to twist his mind to a point where he'd end up like this but I do agree with Sonic's sentiments that it is a little sad that it did... even though, I prefer Eggman be the genius mad-man that he is. A little empathy can go a long way towards making you like the guy a little more too. Seeing Eggman seriously look back and admit that his life as Mr. Tinker was relaxing and even trailing off to silence when recalling what he did as him was kind of sad. 

However, at the end of the day, that isn't who he is.

It's also best that whatever Eggman's past is be kept a secret. 

- The fight with Sonic and Eggman has a very awesome setting going for it. I've made mention of this before but I have to reiterate how cool this would be as a game. You see Barricade Town's hub when it's brighter and not infested with zombies at the near start of the game, talking to the happy people who are gearing up to properly rebuild and all that. Maybe even approaching the town there's a neat little sunset to simulate the beauty of the restoration effort too. Then later in the game when you're revisiting it, you approach the town again and it's dark, stormy, and everything you saw is broken and dilapidated. I'd probably hang outside of the town just to soak in the atmosphere before preparing myself to get a full view of what the place looked like inside.

But I think the real kicker here would be the semi-climactic boss-fight with Eggman in his Eggmobile over the rooftops with the danger pit below being full of wandering Zombots. It just looks and feels so epic. The music would probably play something that had the same vibe as Militant Missionary, the Egg Viper and Egg Walker music from Sonic Adventure. 

- The game of 3D chess being played with Sonic, Eggman, Starline, and the Zeti hits up on the thing I love the absolute most about stories like this though. I'm just a really huge fan of organized chaos and seeing different people with their own agendas working with and against the people they associate with to further their own plans. Going into this, the Zeti seemed to have a leg up on Starline but at the very end it's revealed that Starline has a leg up on them. Just the line, "Zavok is planning to betray me the minute he steps aboard" gets me excited. I just love assholes with their own plans trying to one up each other. It's even better knowing that, despite this, I've no clue who's going to end up on top.

I continue to be in love with this story and my one regret is that it'll never be something I can play out at the end of a controller. 

 

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1 hour ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Seeing Eggman seriously look back and admit that his life as Mr. Tinker was relaxing and even trailing off to silence when recalling what he did as him was kind of sad. 

I like how Eggman does this, but he literally started his Zombie invasion plan on the place where he became Mr. Tinker...

If it wasn't for some ironic tragedy on his part (not narratively), then there's some type of contradiction.

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1 minute ago, StaticMania said:

If it wasn't for some ironic tragedy on his part (not narratively), then there's some type of contradiction.

It's not really a contradiction, in theory, it could just be Eggman trying to cement that he can't return to that life. He looks like he's ready to long for that life again until he has to literally justify to himself that he has a higher calling, and that the Zombot virus will make him a greater hero than being a humble crafter.

It comes off more like Dr. Eggman trying to desperately pretend he didn't like his role as Mr. Tinkerer, when he secretly misses that life, and has to justify why he can't go back.

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32 minutes ago, StaticMania said:

I like how Eggman does this, but he literally started his Zombie invasion plan on the place where he became Mr. Tinker...

If it wasn't for some ironic tragedy on his part (not narratively), then there's some type of contradiction.

If he genuinely believes what he's doing will make for a better world, there's a twisted sort of logic in the villagers being the first ones to be "gifted" the virus. In fact looking back he kinda describes it that way, saying it'll make things perfect, no hunger or illness (also no free will, but he is, after all, a madman).

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>another fucking forced lyrics reference

Hahahaha this comic sucks so bad. This is worse than Shattered World at this point. It just keeps going on and on and on because Ian can't fucking pace a story.

"but idw made him do it cuz trades"

Who the fuck cares. He's been at this shit for 13 years. Write a bunch of strong short stories. If you're forced to do a saga for a year or more, write a bunch of connected four-parters or something. This shit has no flow or creativity to it. It's just things happening all over the place. Total fucking garbage.

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18 minutes ago, Heckboy said:

>another fucking forced lyrics reference

Hahahaha this comic sucks so bad. This is worse than Shattered World at this point. It just keeps going on and on and on because Ian can't fucking pace a story.

"but idw made him do it cuz trades"

Who the fuck cares. He's been at this shit for 13 years. Write a bunch of strong short stories. If you're forced to do a saga for a year or more, write a bunch of connected four-parters or something. This shit has no flow or creativity to it. It's just things happening all over the place. Total fucking garbage.

If a lyrical reference makes this irrational, then perhaps you should not be reading this comic?

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