Current Reviews


Sonic the Hedgehog #199

Posted: Monday, April 13, 2009
By: Penny Kenny

Ian Flynn
Tracy Yardley!, Jim Amash (i), Matt Herms (c), Teresa Davidson (l)
Archie Comics
“Knocking on Eggman’s Door”

Sonic, the Freedom Fighters, and the Chaotix launch an assault on the Eggdome--wired so everyone in New Mobotropolis can follow the action. Meanwhile, inside the dome, Snively is plotting against Robotnik, and Grandmaster Dimitri is planning on double-crossing Snively.

“Knocking on Eggman’s Door” is just what I want in a superhero action story. The heroes are upbeat, focused, and working as a team. The villains are disdainful, and have multiple double-crosses up their sleeves. The plot has intriguing twists, and the stakes are high, but there’s room for humor and some warm character moments.

Ian Flynn gets how to write a superhero story that all ages can enjoy. There’s lots of action, no angst, and no grossness. The writers he’s probably closest to in sensibility are Mark Waid and Kurt Busiak. Like that pair, Flynn takes what’s been done before and builds on it. He doesn’t slavishly copy it and he doesn’t drag the past in just to show how well he knows the history of his characters. Here he does a nice job tying this issue to a battle that occurred a hundred and forty-nine issues ago, without making the issue depend on readers’ knowledge of that long ago fight. The connection is there for long time readers to enjoy, but it’s not emphasized so strongly that it excludes newer readers from the fun.

The dialogue is sharp and enjoyable. In several scenes the Freedom Fighters are playing to the camera for the folks back home in New Mobotropolis, so you get lines like “Let’s take down the Eggman Empire!” and “Let’s do it to it” delivered with more gusto than usual. I’m curious as to where Flynn’s going with this particular plot point. It could just be a subtle commentary on reality TV or he might have something bigger planned.

Other scenes emphasize the characters’ relationships, such as the ones between Bunnie and Antoine, Knuckles and Julie-Su, and Sonic and Amy and Sally. In a “Han Solo-Princess Leia” style moment, Flynn also sows the seeds of a possible romance between two unexpected characters without slowing down the action. I’m also rather fond of the “giggly girl” moment between Sally and Bunnie. While the two women are taking down bad guys Sally laughingly makes the comment “I’ve got you all beat. I was ‘dead’ during all that.” To which Bunnie giggles “Oh, stop it! You’re horrible!” It’s a short scene amidst the action and drama that allows readers to catch their breath and smile. I also like to think Flynn is gently tweaking DC and Marvel for all their recent “death” events, but that’s probably just me.

Tracy Yardley! is back handling both layouts and pencils this issue and he does his usual spectacular job. While the way he frames the action, making it clear, kinetic, and easy to follow, is great, I want to mention his wonderful depiction of the villainess Lien-Da. He gives her an incredible range of expressions. She can go from commanding to angry to looking like she’s dealing with a migraine within a series of three panels. There’s no guessing as to how her lines should be read. You know what she’s thinking because it’s written on her face. The page showing her dealing with an over-cologned Snively is beautiful and laugh-out-loud funny.

Jim Amash’s inks on the characters are strong and bold, making them pop off the page. His work on Snively is particularly noteworthy. He brings out the little man’s arrogance and disdain and for really the first time makes Snively a dangerous looking character.

Matt Herms’ colors are beautiful. He excels at showing the reflection of light off hair and faces. It’s not obvious or distracting, but the reader is aware of it, and it gives the art a three dimensional look.

If you’re searching for a good looking, intelligent, enjoyable superhero book, look no further. Sonic the Hedgehog #199 is what you want.

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