Current Reviews


Sonic the Hedgehog #194

Posted: Monday, November 24, 2008
By: Penny Kenny

Ian Flynn
Tracy Yardley!, Jim Amash (i), Josh Ray (c), Teresa Davidson (l)
Archie Comics
“Cross World Conflict!”

It’s Sonic and Amy versus Rosy the Rascal on Moebius as the heroes try to enlist her aid in getting rid of Scourge. Too bad she’s crazy and thinks any Sonic is fair game. Meanwhile back on Mobius, Scourge’s Suppression Squad joins forces with the Freedom Fighters to take down the hedgehog who would be king. And in Mercia at Never Lake, a mysterious stranger appears looking for Sonic.

Action fans won’t be disappointed with this issue. The book opens with a full page splash of Rosy trying to “Smashy-smashy!” Sonic. Don’t think she’s cuddly-cute crazy. Rosy’s psycho -- and strong! She cracks the floor with that hammer of hers. Jim Amash uses a thicker, solid motion line here that serves as a visual clue as to how much power Rosy’s packing. I also appreciated the way Tracy Yardley! and Amash integrated little headshots of the cast into the cracks of the floor. It’s a non-distracting, visual scorecard that’s helpful to new or casual readers.

Yardley! keeps the battle scenes intimate generally focusing on one or two of the more flexible characters at a time. The choreography is Jackie Chan by way of Looney Toons and the Maxtrix. Scourge against the combined forces of the Freedom Fighters and the Suppression Squad is especially impressive. He punches, kicks, flips, and elbows his way through them with surprising ease. The action in each of these panels is centered in the middle. The motion carries forward, toward the reader, making him part of the scene.

Josh Ray’s dirtier colors give the whole thing a gritty, washed-out look that suits the espionage/battlezone feel of the story. Even Amy’s pinks are dull by the book’s usual standards. And his blue-black shadows are just awesome.

Those looking for character moments won’t be disappointed either. There’s a scene between Sonic and Fiona that not only sums up her character, but that will leave readers feeling some sympathy for the perpetual traitoress. Rosy doesn’t get developed beyond “crazy girl with a hammer” but she does get some good lines.

The issue’s second feature is “Sleepless in New Megaopolis,” featuring Snively. This is basically Snively complaining and whining about how poorly Eggman is running the empire in a series of narrative caption boxes and emails to an another Empire underling.

This should come across as just an informative filler/set-up piece. After all, nothing much happens. Yet the whole thing positively exudes menace and foreshadows bad things to come. That’s entirely due to a character and setting design that’s best described as early Image Comics filtered through the Ghost in the Shell movie. Credit for that goes to penciller Jon Gray and Jim Amash -- an inker who really knows how to let an individual artist’s style shine through. The story looks like it is being told on one of those techy data screens everyone’s using these days. You know, the one in M’s office in the new James Bond movie. A detail or character is highlighted in a red-rimmed box. In the next panel, that detail is zoomed in on. This way of telling the story gives it a tougher edge than the usual Snively tale. The dark palate used by A & J Ray also adds to the ambiance.

Taken together, the two stories add up to another highly enjoyable Sonic issue.

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