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IDW's Sonic the Hedgehog

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44 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

Imagine listening to that voiced and thinking would the average person be able to take it seriously as a line of dialogue?

Couldn't really take it seriously even when reading it, that stuff gives me pause.

References are fine, but...they also have to actually work in context to begin with.

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14 hours ago, Kuzu said:

So I made a status about this earlier last night, but since more people are accurate during the day, I thought I'd post it here too. So since the comic is about to hit its first milestone next month, I suppose this is a good time to ask everyone on their current feelings towards it; Things that you like, things you think can be improved. hopes for the future of it. etc etc.

I like some of the characterizations I like that eggman while he can give stuff done is a lot less sinister than his archie counterpart. This entire plan was a half baked idea that got out of hand that suits him. Speaking of characters, I like the new ones for the comic they are leagues above and beyond the ones introduced in pre-boot archie. And even a bit better than some of the ones in reboot archie. The art is generally better than archie the new artist is great. The writing is generally solid.

Bad stuff: Shadow. We have talked about that

Amy being a forces exposition machine and still being associated with the reformation. I know this is a bit " burn it to the ground " but if you can't actually mention forces, infinite, the main oc in the game and a lot of the actual plot of that game in the narrative why hold this character to that? Why hold the book to that? How vaguely things are described, any sort of eggman take over attempt could have preceded this book and it would have functioned fine. No need to shackle amy to that I would like for her to go out and do her own thing

Speaking of characters doing their own things they decided to do a zombie arc one year into a comic that probably needed years of world building and character focused story to endear us to what's going on before trying to rip it apart. And i'm already tired of the repeat drama because not only is it repetitive. Not only am I am just not personally interested in this narrative in sonic. Not only does it reduce these characters to growling monsters that just vanish from the story. I just haven't had enough time to invest  enough in this version of these characters to care really. I think he pulled the trigger way to earlier on this story and I get the feeling he ain't gonna be able to tell another story like this soon.

4 hours ago, Heckboy said:

My opinion hasn't changed. Zombie thing is dragging on way too long and isn't interesting. It's overly melodramatic to compensate for how boring and repetitive it is. What few decent emotional moments this arc does have are undermined by the fact that it keeps getting repeated in like, every issue. None of it has any real impact. 

The last issue , I felt nothing " Oh more people are boring zombies... neat "

Quote

I keep getting annoyed with this because IDW was a chance to start fresh, free from the shackles of the old nonsense. No Genesis Waves or backstory dumps. But all it seems to have done is throw out the good bits of Archie while still retaining the weaker aspects. Boring melodrama, fanservice as a crutch, and story arcs that just go on and on and on.

I agree with this

3 hours ago, Wraith said:



When the book tries to raise the stakes a bit is when things become a little more hit or miss. The book just kind of turned into noise when Neo Metal Sonic took over angel island and I have trouble taking the debate re: whether or not Eggman should be permanently dealt with seriously because it's obvious he's not going to be. I'm sure younger readers might be able to get into it but I personally check out every time it happens. To contrast that though other things like Whisper's backstory or Tangle's last stand are handled with a good amount of grace and tact.]

I would like to make the argument that I don't think younger viewers of the book. I think what really speaks to this is that I am seeing a lot of critcism of the characters being upset at sonic. And when the context is explained they are just responding they don't like that plot thread and don't care. I think this was just a swing in a miss.

If i may piggy back of this response to answer a hope for the future: Hope Ian Flynn writes a shadow story that isn't about the end all be all whether you should let someone live or die. Maybe just a simpler narrative that gives context to who he's supposed to be nowadays. Cuz uh, swing and a miss.

 

 

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5 hours ago, Kuzu said:

It's definitely something of an acquired taste, and it's something only a fan would enjoy. If you weren't a Sonic fan, a line like that would sound pretty awkward.

I'll be honest, I've never liked it when Ian does song references. That example with Open Your Heart was one of the only times I did like it.

It might have just been because I was enjoying the back and forth so much. 

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I'll be honest : I didn't recognize most of the song reference xD (except some Unknown for the ME during the Archie times). I don't know enough the lyrics of Sonic's song to recognize them.

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19 hours ago, Kuzu said:

So I made a status about this earlier last night, but since more people are accurate during the day, I thought I'd post it here too. So since the comic is about to hit its first milestone next month, I suppose this is a good time to ask everyone on their current feelings towards it; Things that you like, things you think can be improved. hopes for the future of it. etc etc.

I guess I'll continue to give the comic a 7 out of 10 if that's what I said before. Some things have gotten better, but I'm honestly not sure how to requantify everything. I'll agree with some of the general opinion.

I kinda want what some have suggested and what others like Mike, Fan J, and Fire'N generally want--for more, comparatively compact and straightforward stories just focusing on a couple of characters going on adventures and/or doing things the way they could with some interesting interactions and exploration. This should also include putting the main focus on others characters besides Sonic, which would help further divvy things up and please the masses. I like epic story arcs as much as the next guy, but this comic in particular generally lacks the minutiae and momentum to keep that up as well as end them in a satisfying fashion. 

Another problem that I've come to realize is the general difficulty for the arcs to end gracefully. I know that others have commented on it in the past and I don't think I've considered them wrong for whatever reason, but it just occurs more unambiguously when it counts now. Like yeah, Master Overlord was kinda wonky, but who cares, Whisper & Tangle from the emotional background just kinda evaporated a bit in its likely unplanned nature, and this arc...this arc.... Okay, so lax and anyone else who read my prediction of the upcoming finale might've noticed that I kinda cheaped out when it came to the ending. Well. a third of that is because I quite frankly have no clue how that conclusion is gonna go on top of not having another solicit yet. I mean, how do you end a storyline like this, nevermind eventually top it?

So I guess it's once again time to consider that this arc originally meant for Archie and it occasionally shows. It wouldn't have happened in the New252 version, I'm pretty sure, but I feel like this had more of a place there or better yet in Preboot than it does here even with Forces setting the framework(which I kinda want to address, but there isn't space here). If only for one simple, license-bending thing: Robotnik, where Julian or Ivo, spent years doing horrible, treasonous things that broke up families and ruined lives in sometimes terrifying ways. Sonic would have personally grown up seemingly orphaned and rightfully hating his guts day in n day out. To sow things together, let's imagine Mr. Tinker happened there and barring the strong possibility of having his throat slit before he really came be, he similarly helped a locale not only fend against the threats that could take them, but outright better their way of life entirely. So, while the former arguably makes it easier to lean in one direction over the other, there is more weight and even some more complication to the question--Whether it's wrong to kill an kindly old man if it means protecting the world from his lost identity and if Sonic should be held responsible for another apocalypse that in this case probably would've happened anyway.

Now I bring that up not to compare to the two(because no), but rather set the stage for the next point of contention: the execution and mood of the content. It's been said that Sonic in general has a tone problem and again, I kinda think these comics should take it down a notch in the name of practicality, though I actually don't mind some things otherwise--this is just a bit to much. Yeah, the world being overrun with goo zombies would've been even more impactful with actual denizens and locales of note being established ahead of time, but what about the real focus of this version of the arc? You got Amy answering numerous calls that people aren't making it back and Vector locking up a infected civilian. We have things like Charmy getting pulled down for not wanting to leave anyone behind, another one causing things go fubar because they honestly didn't want to be alone in their final moments, or Cream singing Zor's song after watching her mom get gangmarred--straight out of the Walking Dead.

And to round it off, there's the debate that indirectly drives this arc: Sparing Tinker vs Killing(?) Eggman. Now independently, I do think that question is an interesting one to ask in theory. Especially when you consider how morally and utilitarianly complicated he, Sonic, and the edgelord between them are and the numerous perspectives, credentials, and therefore talking points they can pick from. This just wasn't exactly the best way to do it and quite honestly, it's made things super awkward and even confining going forward as mentioned before. Discussion and complexity is fine, but it's generally not wise to not only make things quite as open & shut, but do so with a series that's generally about constantly moving with no regrets.

And, because I don't feel like coming up with a segueway, let's address the stinker(no, not Geoffrey) of this entire thing. Shadow became officially the worst active character in the comic thanks to the Miniseries, though I clearly wasn't fond of how his debut went from the beginning. The past decade hasn't always been the most kind to his portrayal even with the charity. Sure Forces was okay, cynical influence aside, but it is sorta feeling like his image is preceding him for the cropper. He's getting roles and publicity that trump(heh) the majority of the other characters, but that seems to go in hand with some variation of shallow inclusion, making his character less appealing and more off-putting. And I gotta say that it is this comic over anything else that actually makes me not like his involvement further.

1 hour ago, Ricochet said:

funny, turns out civilians are safer as "zombots" in the meantime rather than panicking around being a hurdle or "rescue" objectives.

 

They are indestructable yet slow when not alerted.

10 hours ago, thumbs13 said:

I can agree with a lot of these points, but that's a super cynical take on cheap fun references. A series, especially a long running one, gets to reference itself every now and then. It's not a distraction, it's an easter egg and should be treated like such. It'd be like me saying the Sanic T-Shirt was supposed to distract from Forces' gameplay. 

On the references thing, I generally don't mind them, partly when they are unintrusive.

I actually didn't recognize the Open Your Heart reference at first and it flowed decent enough with the topic at hand anyway. And the Neo Metal Sonic one is admittedly kind of a protracted example because when the hell else is he gonna be able to use that?

Still, I agree they probably shouldn't be used nearly as often, particularly when something else can work, but sometimes they can slide if it's understandable why it's being used.

2 hours ago, Kazhnuz said:

I'll be honest : I didn't recognize most of the song reference xD (except some Unknown for the ME during the Archie times). I don't know enough the lyrics of Sonic's song to recognize them.

Oh yeah, Worlds Collide.

Uh, that one can probably be touted as an example where something else, perhaps with more brevity, would've worked.

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General opinion time? Sure, I can restate my position.

Yeah, this comic is and continues to be the best written and most exciting Sonic anything that's happened to me in well over a decade with the runners up being the O.K KO Episode and those Sonic shorts on Youtube. 

There's a heavy catharsis to actually seeing the characters utilized at all but getting to see them written consistently is a heavy treat. Year one was a good introduction arc for them all and Year two has been an exceedingly heart-pounding and gloriously bleak situation for our heroes. It's of the calibour of something I never thought I'd see in Sonic again and a rare case of me getting what I asked for and not regretting it at all.

The themes of the arc are doing exactly what they're supposed to be doing; eliciting conversation and an interesting back and forth between those who may agree with some ideologies and those who may not. It's shaved off quite a good amount of time at work, just thinking about it. At the moment I'm on the side that doesn't see this as Sonic's fault due to how unforeseeable the entrance of Dr. Starline actually was. It really is kind of a freak happenstance that this dude who just happened to be super smart and also an Eggman fan just showed up and got his memories back. Metal Sonic being released accelerated the process but that's all it did. Eggman was coming back anyway, which makes it easy to understand why it's a negligible point.

The way the characters are handling the situation has led to some of the most badass and effective moments associated with their characters. The Chaotix issue remains one of my favorites due to Vector's pragmatism and Charmy's heroism being put to the test with Charmy being sacrificed for the heavy optimism he held as a bright eyed child. To then see that paid forward when Vector and Espio couldn't let their buddy go and have that lead to the most awesome exit and salute from my favorite croc-man was gratifying. Especially since it actually WASN'T their fault things went haywire there. I don't think Espio fully realizes that. 

It's such strong character focus with such strong conviction from all three of them. Charmy may have been the first important character to become a victim but it wasn't without merit and I hold such strong appreciation for it. 

Even some of the small arcs that have been going on with the characters who've stuck around have been good. Cream going from the one person who was determined to keep smiling so that everyone can remain happy to a dead-eyed child who can barely manage to say hello to one of her friends is the icing on my favorite cake.

Do I think it's too much. No. Hell no. Absolutely not. Precisely because it is a Sonic the Hedgehog comic, we all know it's going to get better. Faced with that reality, pushing for as far as you can go before the inevitable turn around is what I want to see. Maybe not ALL the time but for this, absolutely. I'm happy that Ian's happy that SEGA keeps approving all the stuff he wants to do these characters.

I'm also in disagreement with the most commonly brought up complaint about the arc being too long. At the time of that complaint reaching its height, it had only been going on for about 8 issues but the silliness of it becomes a little more unstandable when you realize that 8 issues equals 8 months in real time. Back in the Archie days, it was relatively easier to let go because not only was the release schedule more consistent but we could reliably look forward to a comic every 2 weeks thanks to Sonic Universe. I got into the comic consistently at around 196 so the time before Sonic Universe is very hard to even imagine. 

As a story, in and of itself, it's been the appropriate length to me.

One of the criticisms I do have and one that I've always had with regards to Ian's writing, however, is the way arcs tend to end. It isn't a surefire thing that the ending will be disappointing but I've noticed a formula where, more often than not, they tend to be. Most of the reasons for why just boil down to being rushed. He'll have really great setups and a really great middle but the ending, while usually having nothing wrong with it story-wise, will generally feel a bit half-baked or sudden. 

I've complained about this plenty when it came to Sonic Universe. The third issue would always end with a big one page spread of the big bad we're supposed to fight in the fourth issue and then the fourth issue will begin with said big bad being beaten really quickly following a super quick way to tie up all the arc's loose ends. Already something similar has happened with these comics twice now.

I was not fond of the final four issues of year one. There were some good moments in the fight with Master Overlord but ultimately it was a collage of stuff happening that only really had significant focus on about 4 or 5 characters there despite the entire cast being around. It felt easy and it felt a little like Metal was suddenly a huge idiot. I got way more out of his and Sonic's fight in Issue 7. 

Tangle and Whisper was a good overall story but of course the ending was disjointed. So much of the issue's beginning was taken up by a pointless fight with some Eggman robots and the confrontation with the real villain of the issue didn't really amount to too much in terms of a fight. 

Fights are rarely ever good in these comics. They're at their absolute best when they're given time to breathe, which is why I love Issue 7 so much. Sticking one in at the tail end of a book does tend to not go over too well. 

Those are my main sticking points with the book. I could go into how he sometimes goes a little too far with song and meme references but it's been so dialed back here that I only really have one example that I even remember and that example was one of the rare times when I liked it so...

That's it. 

I love the book and thank God for its existence because I honestly don't know how cynical I'd be if I had to wait another 4 years for the next main line game to come out without it.

Edit: I just remembered Master Overlord saying the "Black mark on the floor" line. That was cringy.

13 hours ago, DabigRG said:

--straight out of the Walking Dead.

Which Ian has not seen. Neither have I, actually. 

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30 minutes ago, Dr. Christmas Mike said:

Which Ian has not seen. Neither have I, actually. 

Hasn't he, now? Huh. Could've influenced why they haven't gotten around to my Telltale question last time I listened. 

The point wasn't acussatory, I should clarify. 

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I guess I can sum up my own thoughts on this series; it's good for what it is, but it's nothing spectacular but it doesn't really need to be either. I don't think it'll satisfy the people who want something more substantial, or even the average joe but if you're a fan and can be satisfied with just watching the characters, then it's pretty enjoyable. 

I do agree with everyone that the series needs to scale down these conflicts to something more character driven; trying to juggle all of these characters who haven't had much build up in the way of characterization and motivation really makes it hard to invest in the conflict outside of the spectacle and shock value of it all. The primary reason the latest issue hits as hard as it does is because we just came off a four month issue building these characters up.

And I can't help but feel this is going to run into the same problem Flynn always has with his stories; constant escalation and raising the stakes, and then things just decalate with a rather flat and anticlimactic conclusion. We already had that with the Master Overlord thing (Lasted a total of 13 pages) 

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Ironically, the only time I can think of Ian pulling off a huge finale is with Worlds Collide, and that's because he had four full issues to work with, and used them to keep upping the ante with the robot master war, Sonic and Mega Man running through the Skull Egg defences, and finally go up against the Wily Egg Machine X in their super forms.

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16 hours ago, thumbs13 said:

I can agree with a lot of these points, but that's a super cynical take on cheap fun references. A series, especially a long running one, gets to reference itself every now and then. It's not a distraction, it's an easter egg and should be treated like such. It'd be like me saying the Sanic T-Shirt was supposed to distract from Forces' gameplay. 

Eh. It gets old when it happens like every other issue. Ian's done this a lot. Another example that sticks out to me, because it was just as forced and out of place, was the GIANT ENEMY CRAB reference in Mega Drive. It's cheap, and that's what bothers me. 

It's not always bad, mind you. A fun little nod here and there is fine. But it should be natural and used sparingly. The frequency with which Ian uses references like these suggests to me that it's more of a crutch than anything. 

 

Also, going back to my gripes with the length of this arc, I genuinely believe Ian's at his best when he's being constrained to a few issues. Otherwise he tends to drag things out. Something like Enerjak Reborn (which was what, 4 or 5 issues?) accomplished more and was far more memorable than this. Once the "house-cleaning" part of Ian's early Archie run was done, though, and he started moving on to bigger, more "epic" sagas (starting with Iron Dominion) is where he started to go somewhat downhill with the main comic. Sonic Universe, on the other hand, was pretty consistently great, which I think can be attributed to the fact that he was forced to stick to four issues for each arc.

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9 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

I mean, even Sonic Universe had that issue of having very flat ending after three issues of buildup; maybe 5 issues would be better?

Yeah, that's true. I usually enjoyed them but each finale did tend to just boil down to a giant slugfest. I guess I just preferred the variety that came with SU. I don't know if another issue would necessarily make it any better. I think Ian is just comfortable with his formula by now. 

I haven't read the Whisper and Tangle mini, does that have the same problem of having a flat ending? 

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37 minutes ago, Heckboy said:

Yeah, that's true. I usually enjoyed them but each finale did tend to just boil down to a giant slugfest. I guess I just preferred the variety that came with SU. I don't know if another issue would necessarily make it any better. I think Ian is just comfortable with his formula by now. 

I haven't read the Whisper and Tangle mini, does that have the same problem of having a flat ending? 

Pretty much yea; the entire conflict just kinda goes off without a hitch. Its not like it's bad per se, just very...simple. Like it doesn't feel like the heroes had any real struggle for the win.

I can at least buy into the Enerjak conflict since it's four straight issues of kicking everyone's ass, Sonic needed to go Super to even the odds, and Knuckles' father had to sacrifice himself to bring him back.

Not that every story arc needs to be like that, but having a good ending and resolution is kind of a requirement if you're trying to tell a convincing story. 

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38 minutes ago, dbzfan7 said:

You mean Shadow and Knuckles Universe?

I saw this when you posted and honestly stopped to think for a second. Then got distracted getting food.

They were the biggest characters after Sonic, Eggman, and Sally, so it makes sense.

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1 minute ago, dbzfan7 said:

I am being facetious.

Fair enough. But I do recall that being a point of complaint for people, so I just needed to point out the focus went beyond just Shadow and Knuckles.

Although covers like this don't exactly help that perception huh

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4 hours ago, Kuzu said:

I mean, even Sonic Universe had that issue of having very flat ending after three issues of buildup; maybe 5 issues would be better?

I think Flynn is kinda not great at ending stories sometimes.

Sometimes it was the length a lotta to be continued that got gotten to. But one of the examples I like to bring up is the knuckles shadow story with the ...grimlin dude, nickle or whatever. I forget his name and don't care to google. Knuckles reflects on shadow's words, gets a pep talk from amy and improves his islands defenses. While knuckles was involved and had some dialog in the previous story it was still kinda shadow-ey focused. This story while shadow was there, is mostly about knuckles and his growth and actualization he achieves . And then flynn just jumps to sonic giving his take on the situation and it kinda ruins it. I don't give a shit about what sonic thinks or whatever excuse he comes up with to bother guy who grew up on an island by himself lacks some social skills and doesn't like being teased. Leave  knuckles alone and let him have this, why do you need to even do that.

Ian Flynn stories on both large and small scales are full of " one sentence too far situations that just kinda leave the entire scenario flat "  or telling too much story to fit in four issues. The latter can be solved with the mini series system, you can just...make more miniseries if profits justify it. The former takes restraint

He may be learning though, I think the tangle an issue thing ends generally fine. Though I could make the argument... like it could have been three issues.

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