Comic Scope: Sonic Boom #1

Boom like fireworks or boom like a car backfiring? We give the lowdown on Sonic’s newest comic!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 11/13/2014 14:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Sonic Boom #1

Writer: Ian Flynn
Artist: Evan Stanley

Though Sega is now infamous for its frequent reinventions of its Sonic the Hedgehog video games, it’s been a while since the series has seen anything as ambitious as Sonic Boom. Sega is attempting to reinvigorate the Blue Blur as a multimedia property once more, launching a 3DS and Wii U game, comic book, TV show, and a range of toys all bearing Sonic Boom branding. After the toys, Archie’s Sonic Boom comic is the first true glimpse into what to expect from this new direction, and though I can’t speak toward the games yet, this first issue is a fun, if by-the-numbers romp.

Ian Flynn has to be one of the busier writers in comics. Sonic Boom marks his fourth ongoing series at Archie, but luckily for readers it doesn’t seem to have impacted the quality of his writing. Flynn’s solid plotting and dialogue shine through as always, but Sonic Boom feels quite a bit different compared to his typical Sonic comics. The most notable change to the formula is some very aggressive fourth wall breaking, something that old school Sonic the Hedgehog comic readers will be very familiar with. It speaks to the nature of the new cartoon (which just debuted this month, and is the wellspring from which all related media flows) that Sonic Boom‘s tone is even more lighthearted than the two mainline series. It’s not a bad thing, but I’m going to have to wait and see how it plays out in the long run.

The issue revolves around a fairly straightforward fight with Eggman and Sonic. It’s a good starting point, laying the foundation for what will undoubtedly be the central conflict in this series (along with anything else featuring Sonic!). I wouldn’t have objected to something a little more surprising, but we’re at ground zero, so I can forgive some predictability. Some of the characters will be familiar to longtime fans, most notably Sonic cracking wise and Tails showing his smarts, but others are pretty different. Eggman is oddly aloof and gullible, while Amy is more self-confident than I’ve ever seen. Sticks, a new addition, meshes well with the established characters, but I’ll need to see more of her to determine if her inclusion was worthwhile. Knuckles, though, left a bad taste in my mouth. His oversized redesign on a visual level is hard enough to swallow, but he’s portrayed here as a borderline moron, something I didn’t appreciate. It was just too different and almost felt like a mockery of the character.

Speaking of looks, Evan Stanley does some good work with this debut. It looked a little rougher than I thought it would, considering the cartoon is decidedly smooth and CG, but it fits with the house look of Sonic comics at Archie, so I got into it quickly enough. The athletic tape covering everyone’s extremities is another story. It’s an obvious visual shout out to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon, but seriously, it’s a bit much. Not horrible, but it can stand to be toned down. Sonic with blue arms, though! It’s so weird. Overall, however, the characters look fine, save for Knuckles’ monstrous transformation. Stanley’s storytelling is easy to follow, and he pulls off action scenes like no one’s business. It’ll be a treat to look at Sonic Boom every month, especially if colorist Matt Herms sticks around.

It’s clear that Sonic Boom is going to carve its own niche with a lighter tone than either Sonic the Hedgehog or Sonic Universe. Whether that direction will pay off in the long term will be determined after a few more issues are in the can. The art was the solid Sonic fare that Archie is known for, and Flynn’s writing was typically sound. Some of the characterization is going to take some getting used to, but I liked what I saw in this debut. Hopefully, the accompanying games will make this multimedia push worth the effort. I can’t recommend this issue as wholeheartedly as I do the two mainline Sonic comics, but for those wanting a fresh start and/or to see what all the fuss is about with this new direction, Sonic Boom #1 is worth a read!

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