Sonic the Hedgehog #219

A comic review article by: Penny Kenny
"In Service of to the King” (part 1)

Sonic and spy Geoffrey St. John set off for the Special Zone on a mission for King Max, but Geoffrey has an agenda of his own. Meanwhile, singer Mina Mongoose is dealing with post traumatic stress after the Iron Dominion's occupation.

Writer Ian Flynn breaks a couple of writing rules this issue of Sonic the Hedgehog. "Never start a story with a dream" and "Never start with a subplot." Both of them, out the window, and the story works just beautifully. Mina's opening dream casts an ominous shadow over everything that follows and sets up what's sure to become a main plot further along. The subplot also gives readers some insight into what was happening to the non-heroic characters during the Iron Dominion occupation, something we didn't see a lot of during that storyline. This gives Mina's character added depth, shows us how close she and her manager Ash have become, and touches on Sonic and Mina's relationship. Flynn fits a lot into five pages without making it seem crowded or forced. Of course the art team of Jamal Peppers, Terry Austin, and Matt Herms deserve some of the credit. The nightmare panels are tilted, overlapping, and ragged-edged, creating the sense of a surreal, fragmented, terrifying experience. The waking scenes are just as impressive. One of the best moments in a book filled with several is the three panel set showing an upset Mina turning away from a disturbed Sonic, Geoffrey pulling the unsure Sonic away, and the final silent panel showing an enigmatic Ash watching both Sonic and Mina. The body language and expressions are pitch perfect. Peppers and Austin use the characters' large eye design to the best advantage, expressing a great deal with just the shape of the eye.

As for the main plot, well, the James Bondian Geoffrey St. John is one of my favorite characters so I'm liable to be prejudiced, but I do think Flynn uses him well here. Sonic and Geoffrey have a past and Flynn uses it while still making the story accessible to new readers. Exchanges of dialogue give readers enough of an idea of how these two have related to one another in the past, while still moving the story forward, and being amusing.

The entire Special Zone sequence is wonderful. The dialog is bright, the pace is brisk, and the ending takes a sudden, unexpected twist that brings an old character back into play. It's a great, totally believable reversal of events that Flynn and the art team subtly set-up in earlier scenes.

The issue concludes with a five page "Sonic Colors" video game tie-in story with pencils by Tracy Yardley! In it, Sonic and Tails visit Eggman's new amusement park and encounter Wisps. The little creatures have an unusual effect on the Blue Blur. Storywise, there's not much to it, but the dialog is fun, Tails' initial translation of the Wisps' speech is great, and the art is expressive and fluid. Yardley! and Austin do a nice job of integrating pixel-like computer effects with the more organic looking characters.

Even if you don't enjoy a well told, fast paced, beautifully drawn story that combines elements of the Looney Tunes with Jason Bourne, pick up Sonic the Hedgehog #219 for the cover. It's gorgeous.

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