ADVANCE REVIEW! Sonic the Hedgehog #226 will come out on June 29, 2011.
"Whoa…feels like I dozed off for a minute there…! What was I doing again?..."
And with those words we have -- RESET! After last issue's major battle in the Death Egg, we catch up with Sonic running through a different looking Mobius searching for missing animals. After being attacked by strange mechanized creatures, he encounters Sally Acorn, Boomer, Antoine and Eggman... for the first time.
Ian Flynn does an exceptional job of setting up this story so it works as both a jumping-on place for readers attracted by the idea of a reboot and as something fans of the series will want to continue reading. The basic plot is an entertaining, straight-up action adventure easily summarized as Sonic vs. Eggman. However, Flynn introduces the idea that something else is going on through the use of sharp dialog and thought balloons. This should reassure long time readers that the former status quo hasn't been entirely negated.
Also, the cast's core characteristics remain intact for the most part. Sonic is a daredevil quipster with an eye for a cute girl. Boomer enthusiastically embraces the tech he encounters. Sally is slightly changed. While she assumes the leadership position, flirts a bit with Sonic and is the first to comment that something seems odd, she seems a bit less aggressive. Her "conversing with the animals" scene beautifully illustrates her compassion and is beautifully illustrated by Patrick Spaziante, Tracy Yardley!, Terry Austin, Matt Herms and John Workman. The artists create a sense of melodic conversation by framing the panels with musical staffs and notion. The shape of the panel is wavy, suggesting the changing pitch. The style and color of the lettering changes, emphasizing a different form of communication is going on. It's very well done.
On the whole, the art is attractive. The characters have a younger, more animated look to them than they have had for a time. The backgrounds look simpler, though not simple.
Something also worth noting is this issue's letter column. Of the five letters printed, four are from young women expressing their concern over the presumed death of Sally and Hershey St. John, another female character in the series. The readers are invested in the characters and Archie editorial recognizes that. While the responses to the letters are jocular, they're not patronizing and they don't blow-off the readers' concerns. It's good to see a company engage with its readers in a positive way.
Sonic the Hedgehog #226 is a solid entry point for new readers and an enjoyable read for fans of the series.
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