ADVANCE REVIEW! Sonic the Hedgehog #231 comes out Wednesday, November 30, 2011.
After Issue #230's claustrophobia inducing scenes, Team Sonic opens up the setting this month as Eggman unleashes Titan Metal Sonic on New Mobotropolis. Sonic takes a backseat as the Freedom Fighters, their young allies, and the wizard Ixis Naugus take the brunt of the attack. The shift in focus makes for some wonderfully dramatic moments. However, while I enjoyed "Lost in the Moment," it's a flawed gem.
The action and character moments don't quite balance. While Eggman launches an impressive attack, we actually see very little of it. We see the heroes leap into battle. We see the aftermath. What we don't see is the main event. I'm sure I'm not alone in liking giant robot stomping action. When a machine like Titan Metal Sonic is introduced, then dispatched in a panel or so, it's disappointing. Also, I'm confused as to what Ixis Naugus actually did. He used magic and as a side effect it affected some characters, but as to what he was trying to do and what he did, I don't really know and I read the issue twice. This is due to space constraints, I'm sure. While the 17-page format for the main story and a five-page backup story worked last issue, here it creates a problem. The larger scope of the story needed a higher page count.
That being said, the character moments were stellar. Sonic's anger, frustration, guilt, and heartbreak over what's happened to Sally came through in his determination to do something, anything; though he's already reached his limits.
The heroism of young Cream is made more heroic by her stuttered encouragement to her mother. Antoine's horrified reaction to what has happened to his wife Bunnie is pitch perfect.
Most of Ixis Naugus's development came in the back-up story. Flynn did a nice job of expanding a moment that happened between panels to explain what was happening in Naugus's mind, as well as give readers unfamiliar with the wizard a bit of backstory. Artist Evan Stanley's take on the character gives him an edge of madness that Ben Bates' doesn't. Both are recognizably the same character, but looking at Stanley's rendition you can more easily imagine Naugus has been held as a mindless prisoner for some time.
Sonic the Hedgehog #231 is an enjoyable issue that moves the story forward into some interesting territory. I just wish it could have been even better.
For the past 13 years, Penny Kenny has been an elementary library paraprofessional in a rural school district. For the seven years prior to that, she headed a reading-math program designed to help first grade students with learning difficulties. Her book reviews regularly appeared in Starlog from 1993 to the magazine's unfortunate demise in 2009 and she has published several e-novellas under a pen name. She has been a reviewer with Comics Bulletin since 2007.