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IDW's Sonic the Hedgehog

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28 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

Oh, I just thought of it: Now that the Metal Virus Saga is basically over, which of the two main arcs is better?

I'd say the first one. It had more introductions (Tangle, Whisper, Starline, and the skunk brothers), a sense of mystery ( such as the whereabouts of Eggman, the leader of the current empire, etc.), better pacing (imo) and Super Neo Metal.

Metal Virus had sluggish pacing up until the end , less introductions, dark for the sake of being dark, and an admittedly a less cool final boss. You also knew that everyone's gonna get better at the end, so there's barely any surprise factor.

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3 hours ago, DabigRG said:

Oh, I just thought of it: Now that the Metal Virus Saga is basically over, which of the two main arcs is better?

Easily Metal virus. The desperation, seeing heroes actually struggle. and for a moment seem like they were going to lose. Though you know they were going to win the pacing was great to me. and not some typical cartoon of today where some big issue is resolved in one episode or two. Sonic was pushed to the edge and i loved it. Even at the end when he told metal "up" you could tell he was beyond tired. Even when he ran at the last moment you could tell he was hurting. The hero that loves to run was tired for once. He could not keep it up.  And I would not say dark for sake of it. Sometimes its good to have dark moments in series that have been around for a long time. I started with sonic. At 30 its nice to see  moments like this rather than the meme fest say colors was or tossed in cringe like tails saying "true dat". But i could go on much longer with dark stories and all that. Bottom line is you have to go all in like in this arc. Dark but had a few :FEW: funny moments in the darkness. Whereas say forces it hardly felt like anything was at stake or any real threat with sonic still cracking jokes in his cell. It will be awhile before we get another dark moment in the comics im sure as Evan pointed out going forward its mostly going to be light hearted goodness and a few touching moments with a tad of drama. So the usual sonic fare for awhile.

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10 hours ago, DabigRG said:

Oh, I just thought of it: Now that the Metal Virus Saga is basically over, which of the two main arcs is better?

I’m going with the Metal Virus.

The sluggish pacing was mostly due to the pandemic—when you read the issues after another, the pacing is pretty compact. (Also probably helped that I had other things going on that drew my attention, so I guess that made me more patient than others here)

Another disclaimer—I’m mostly sick of Zombie Apocalypse stories due to how that was overdone In the media at one period in the past practically as a fad. I suppose what made this somewhat different was that this was more technology-based, tho I can’t really say for certain why this didn’t factor in and made me less interested due to it still being another Zombie Apocalypse.

Aside from Shadow, who was forced to be written in a way that wasn’t really in character, every character was acting at their best (or worst, if Eggman is anyone to go by) as things got more intense and desperate. Things weren’t easy for them to deal with, and so they were forced to really give their all and even sacrifice themselves for the greater good in hopes that things would return to normal as their numbers were reduced the more the virus spread.

And the the Deadly Six earn their name as deadly, even more so than they were in the piece of shit World’s Unite arc. Again, they’re among my absolute least like characters, but I had my faith that they were in good hands with Ian who would use them well and I was not disappointed in their inclusion. They still had their usual characteristics, but applied to the virus and the zombots made them far more dangerous than we’ve ever seen them. 

Basically, the Metal Virus arc is Sonic Forces done right. With Zombies.

It was definitely good to see what Archie could’ve been had it continued. No telling who among the Freedom Fighters would’ve gotten infected or how that would’ve affected the world there, but it’s still great to see Eggman’s newest method of roboticization— I really didn’t expect it to be a virus of all things.

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I'd go for Metal Virus. Yeah, the pacing is all over the place. The first couple of issues take maybe a little too long for it to kick into gear, and then it feels like the pacing flies all over the place once the Zeti take center stage. Yeah, everyone is cured at the end, but then so what? It's not like the writers every lied about it. And it doesn't mean nothing has changed. The arc establishes how much of a threat Eggman is. It shows what Metal Sonic is really like with his master. It introduces and sets up Dr. Starline as a threat that while similar to Eggman in terms of genius, is completely different in terms of mentality. It puts so many characters in different situations. Shows how close knit the Chaotix are. Shows Tails trying to be as brave as he can. Shows Amy try her best to lead a doomed resistance. Puts Cream in the spotlight in a fight she hates against her polar opposite. Helps flesh out Tangle and Whisper with Tangle's bravery and utter faith in Sonic, while Whisper has to go through more pain but eventually perseveres.

I do think the Metal Virus arc is going to age better when able to be read in hindsight, when issues #13-#30 are all out, and COVID-19 is eventually a memory. I love how the IDW run has so easily transisitioned from being a comic very focused on Sonic with the rest of the cast acting like guest characters, to one where Sonic can be absent from multiple issues while his friends take the center stage. The first arc felt a bit restricted but it does feel like the world is beginning to open up and flourish, especially with the Bad Guys mini-series hinting at the fact that Sonic and co now have several adversaries to be dealing with.

So yeah, I'm happy.

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I suggest calling fist arc "Neo Saga". It conveys both fresh start and main threat. (at first I called it "Chairman Saga" for obvious reasons).

And Metal Virus was better, but it had more time (including annual that actually tied to the arc) while Neo Saga was busy laying foundation.

 

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Yeah the pacing issue isn't as bad to me if you are able to binge it or read multiple issues at once. Just speaking for myself, but the pacing is more noticable mainly at an individual issue level for some of the issues rather than as an arc. I know there are other issues with the virus saga, but I also think the Metal Virus saga will be remembered more fondly in retrospect than it is now. I think the delays (for understandable reasons) also didn't help with the perception that the arc dragged on. But otherwise I think I enjoyed more when I go back and see how it pushed the boundaries of the first arc. 

I also think that it is easier to criticize the virus saga because it is fresher in our minds. But I remember with the first arc many were complaining that the comic was essentially "guest character of the week" with low stakes until the end. That isn't necessarily how I feel, but the point is that both arcs have issues when you read them as they release that I think will be viewed differently later. 

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Honestly I never try to harp on pacing when it comes to comics until I have the whole story. If the finished product on a reread feels like it's taking forever then I'll complain. Like Iron Dominion at Archie. It still feels like it takes forever entirely because of the two issues where they have to deal with the fact the Freedom Fighters left Eggman in the city and then #207 which I guess made it's point in existing by having Sally debate about if she wanted to date Kahn and gave us more of the Iron Queen's backstory. But outside of that is largely filler (And I hate using that word).

I'm usually the first to praise Ian's work but The Iron Dominion Saga is still to this day the absolute worst story he did in terms of pacing IMO. It's 12 issues technically 16 that could have been handled in about 9 tops.

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Problems and all, I still like the Metal Virus arc more than the first arc. Putting aside the pacing issues caused by delays and the pandemic, it just felt more interested and presented a story that hasn’t been done with this cast before, and forced new dynamics and questions to be asked about it.

Even with the issues I have with the arc (Shadow in general, Silver not getting much spotlight despite the deciding factor role he has, Starline being a smarmy ass in general, three of the D6 being taken out in one issue), there was a shit ton more I liked - the stakes of the arc, the darker elements, a lot of the character moments that solidified the new cast for me (#24 sold me on Tangle and Whisper more so than previous issues, especially thanks to it coming right after the finale to their miniseries), pushing Sonic to his limits on morality and his responsibility in allowing Eggman to stick around, the Chaotix’s bond as a team, Cream finally being allowed to do things, and even allowing the D6 to show more personality, I sincerely think the positive outweighs the negative.

I do still think a key part of the issues with the arc is it’s origin, in that it was a long planned hold over from Archie Sonic in which it would’ve been the next major arc following the Shattered World Crisis, and would’ve taken place in #300. The reason I say this is the Shattered World Crisis spent 25 or so issues building up the world of the reboot, and showing us different locales, and different stories for a lot of various citizens in the world. For all of its faults, it made the world feel more alive and would’ve helped make the stakes more impactful IMO.

To me, a massive problem with the IDW version was the world just was not developed at all when it started. It came right after the first arc that spent all of its time establishing the SEGA cast in a fairly meh arc, and thus when it happened in IDW, instead of feeling like the darkest moment with a lot of gravity and weight, for a lot of it, we just got a lot of nameless people getting infected in random villages that looked more or less the same to each other, and even the first few infections felt a bit eh (Charmy was a bit of a shock, Shadow was straight up idiotic). It wasn’t until both the Tangle and Whisper mini, and the Sonic/Tails/Resistance issues that it really began to feel like enough world building was happening to give the intended impact, as well as showing the cast beginning to hit boiling point. It worked in the end, but it required a miniseries, plus the heroes hitting their darkest and lowest point before I felt it managed to hit the right impact for me IMO.

But yeah, even all issues considered, I still say Metal Virus was more interesting than the first arc. The first arc aside from the first few issues were shorter, but felt longer because of the extremely similar formula for most of it, and being an introduction. 

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Between the two arcs, I struggle to have an opinion uncolored by the current situation in real life as well as the valid criticisms lobbied in this forum toward the Metal Virus Saga. I enjoy both of them, I found many engaging things happening and I loved seeing all these characters doing cool stuff and being pushed and challenged in different ways.

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I'm technically undecided because I loved parts of both arcs, and disliked things of both arcs. I dunno... I'd rather say my favorite issues overall, or best mini-arcs.

Issues 5-7 of course, the Sonic VS Shadow morality debate for the fate of the redeemed Eggman sure was interesting, as well as the revelation of the chairman followed by the fight against Neo and his plan, although I do have to say the introductions, besides issue 1 which was literally the most basic thing ever... I'm gonna say it, I enjoyed them, issues 2-4 + 8, yeah even issue 3 which had as bigger downside the artstyle, but I enjoyed it because at least they weren't fighting just badniks but mercenaries, issue 1 is still the worst for me, too simple, and it was basically remade in a more fleshed out way (also longer) in issue 13, they really start kinda with the same prologue and formula...

Battle for Angel Island was really cool, although they should have went crazier with the final fight against Master Overlord, that's literally the only flaw that comes to mind, and general better usage of the cast besides Sonic - Knuckles - Blaze. But I really don't mind how a couple of heroes are treated as protagonists for 1 arc, and for example Silver got his shine screentime later (still wish he got even more though). The set up for the next arc was excellent.

Metal Virus saga... oooh, there is a lot to say, first off my compliments to Ian for making Cream a compelling character, the tension and the stakes were definitely the better part, and even though Sonic never turned zombot the moral and mental efficiency of the problem was still there, so it was well played. I even loved Crisis City arc, seeing Team Dark together... and it was probably the bleakest moment along with issue 24, Tangle's exit was the best one, although I really don't mind Shadow's :P I enjoy non-heroic acts as well, I'm aware it's unpopular but I insist in saying I enjoyed it. Big's story was excellent and fucking twisted-sad.

Issue 23 was another climax for the bad guys trying to outsmart each other plus Eggman vs Sonic, and of course the final arc, well... at least they tried with the Deadly Six, I'm sure more could be done with them individually, I just don't see it for ALL of them. 

What I disliked from the arc... bits and pieces, like the fact that they removed the elastic aspects of the zombots, although they did acknowledge it again, I mean visually. Plus the fact that they canonized locations from issues 1-2 seems a bit desperate for trying to make up for lack of world building. Shadow and Knuckles were both barely seen, too. Plus the whole survival thing was bleak at times and repetitive.

In the end the finale was probably my favorite issue of this saga, despite the anticlimactic fight... everything else that came before was really dramatic and the resolution was definitely deserved... and bittersweet as I like it. Now I'd like to see how the world really reacts to Sonic being gone, looking at you Forces...

Also actual world building, please, I'm ready for a real world map.

So what are your overall favorite issues from each arc? And best character?

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I agree that some more world building would be PHENOMENAL! But unfortunately it's unlikely to get into too much detail because the writers are so restricted to SEGA's vision of events and insisting upon Two Worlds, which makes things such as the Earthlike world map seen in Shadow the Hedgehog's cutscenes inapplicable, or the uniquely designed Unleashed world map. They have humans, which means they can't be used as a jumping off point. It's likely they'll have to come up with a completely new map from wholecloth, which would also lock Sonic's World into a canon which makes things even less contiguous and continuity a pain in the neck to keep track of.

My favorite individual issues include issue 6 (Shadow vs Sonic and the moral question of Mr. Tinker), issue 8 (the introduction of Whisper the Wolf), issue 23 (Sonic confronts Eggman and Starline on their bullshit, nearly loses hope from the overwhelming guilt he feels for his decisions), and the 2020 Annual (Big's story and Metal Sonic's story are both the best damn things that could ever be told in limited page numbers, I'm SO DAMN IMPRESSED). I think the best character we've seen so far is Omega for his unyielding comedic sociopathy, Whisper for being allowed to show emotional turmoil in the face of such tragedy and maintain a sweet heart in spite of her strife, and Cream because that kid is AMAZING. I also really love Knuckles being a responsible and dutiful guardian, Tails doing everything he possibly can to help until he reaches his breaking point, Big for telling a silly, sweet, and tragic tale in the 2020 Annual, and god DAMN Team Chaotix is so lovable in this comic, I want to watch them bungle some mysteries and buy fancy take out.

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I think first arc is better overall. Theres a better story,  better pacing in some cases better writing. I think the best arc is the tangle and whipsper books

 

Also

 

Pours more fuel on the fire

 

 

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Part of me is wondering if the Neo Saga being a year long eh with good moments does make it objectively better than the Metal Virus being good stuff with some questionable things across it. I wanna say I enjoyed Metal Virus more as well, but that generalization is there.  Hm, perhaps an eventual reread is in order.

Btw, I don't think Tangle & Whisper can properly count as part of the Metal Virus and the issues that take place between arcs are kind of ambiguous as well.

36 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

Also

 

Pours more fuel on the fire

 

 

Quote

not actually friends

never have been

...what...

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33 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

I think first arc is better overall. Theres a better story,  better pacing in some cases better writing. I think the best arc is the tangle and whipsper books

 

Also

 

Pours more fuel on the fire

 

 

This is literally no different from every other time he's said this, we get it already. 

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It's hard to say which arc I liked more. I liked a lot of individual issues in each. Neither ended that great but the Metal Virus had a much better pay off than the first arc IMO. 

Gonna cheat and say Tangle and Whisper since Issues 2 and 3 of that are the issues that stick out the most to me in this entire series. Once Ian learns how to end a story arc he'll be golden.

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11 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

This is literally no different from every other time he's said this, we get it already. 

Yeah it is.

Specifically the admission that team dark only exists as brand that is just used. Which is interesting not in a bad way either. Or rather what you perspective is. Considering iizuka and some other sega employees were calling team dark "team shadow " during the ramp up to tsr im curious if they will just assign that name to anyone shadow teams up with that aligns with the brand. Its curious and interesting and could actually be neat. Team dark with a reformed infinite and metal sonic, or get weird like I dunno like big even. It isn't a set team its just who shadow chooses to align with that day gets to be "team dark" .

 

So an interesting spot of speculation between normal corperate depression views on their own franchise

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2 minutes ago, Shadowlax said:

Yeah it is.

Specifically the admission that team dark only exists as brand that is just used. Which is interesting not in a bad way either. Or rather what you perspective is. Considering iizuka and some other sega employees were calling team dark "team shadow " Japanese im curious if they will just assign that name to anyone shadow teams up with that aligns with the brand. Its curious and interesting and could actually be neat. Team dark with a reformed infinite and metal sonic, or get weird like I dunno like big even.

 

So an interesting spot of speculation between normal corperate depression views on their own franchise

 

They've been a "brand to be used" since the team was formed in 2004; what's the difference between then and now?

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23 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

 

They've been a "brand to be used" since the team was formed in 2004; what's the difference between then and now?

They were a chaotix styled team where the "brand" was them being a team. Now the "brand" accidentally by sega's own admission during the tsr ramp up is more so around shadow. It's hypothetically more simular to team rose. Where its just whoever amy is around. This is out of all the characterization crap actually kind of neat if it pans out that way. Chaotix themselves in tsr has become that as well. I would be more ok if the teams were loose titles focused more so around who's leading rather than compositions. You could get really neat combo's

15 minutes ago, Your Vest Friend said:

Rouge: Aw yeah baby, this makes us a team!

 

Shadow: *loads gun* slowdown there buckaroo

13 minutes ago, Zaysho said:

If it's a "brand", they're gonna keep using them together regardless of whatever shit they make up about Shadow that isn't even reflected in their own products so this really doesn't matter lol

Or they just use team dark as a brand and stick shadow in random team scenarios. I think it would be neat. Also I mean is the reason we are having a conversation is that is being reflected in products?

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I'm gonna go ahead and assume people know which arc I like better considering how much I gush about the idea behind the Metal Virus and how much every issue from the day I saw Rough and Tumble get the ooze on them to this very point in time right now, I've been totally with it. The speculation towards what this could mean for the world when I saw Eggman cruelly experimenting with those flickies in a tube sent my excitement levels into overdrive and the image of that one flicky heading for a nearby city had me rolling around in excitement.

Then, of course, my precious bee boy son became a victim and all bets were off. It already felt like the world was ending to me. That's a feeling that I do have to just come out admitting to loving when it comes to Sonic. Shadow the Hedgehog was a bad game but I can't lie to myself and say that I felt the "end of the world" feel didn't affect me in a manner that got me excited. Especially during the pathway where I was the one dooming the planet. It always got me.

It's the thing that makes that game more of a guilty pleasure rather than just inherently disposable for me. We live in a time where it's actually okay to say that a story can massively affect how one views a game so I'm glad I can now. Any notion of sharing that back in the day felt like you were about to start typing on glass. Especially on that defunct SEGA forum.

I never had of the issues some claimed to have about not being familiar enough with the characters at the start. Any iteration of my favorite characters I've known since childhood I'm going to approach as though they already are the ones I love and then it'll be up to the narrative to discern whether or not that feeling stays that way. Because the book is incredibly well written, and in most cases, exactly what I want these characters to be, I ended up approaching this as though these were the actual cast members while the ones from something like Forces were just hollow shells that were tossed onto a disk and made to gab at me while I played in 2D in my 3D game.

It's also why the old Archie book struggled a bit on a few fronts for me. As well as Boom. There's only so much one can approach something with the thought in mind that it's a different continuity and that should be understood and accepted after all. I am glad to say that I did still end up enjoying those (mostly Ian's run of Archie of course. The stuff before that point so far has been very not great...). 

Stuff like imagining myself being in the same situation Tails was in when he had to seriously sneak out onto the roof to fix something while there were zombots both above and below him just got me good. Even as something as simple as imagining being stuck in a radio station at night with only one other person to keep me company excited me.

I'm prepared for more light-hearted stuff and I'm sure I'll love it like I did something like TSR: Overdrive but I'll probably go on record for being the only guy who wanted this to go on longer. And I'm okay with that.

I'm proud something Sonic related can make me feel so happy. I don't want to stop thinking about it. 

 

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