Comic Scope: Sonic Saga Series, Volume 5

The latest volume of the Saga Series is on stands. Is it worth a read?

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 09/11/2014 12:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

Comic Scope is back, this time with a look at Archie Comics’ latest trade paperback collection of its comic book Sonic the Hedgehog. So what’s the difference between a trade paperback and a graphic novel, some of you might ask? Well, trade paperbacks are collections of the single issues of a monthly comic book series, while graphic novels are comic book stories that were never released as monthly issues of any comic series. In this case, Sonic Saga Series gathers issues of Sonic the Hedgehog into collected volumes of around five to six issues. This particular line of trades from Archie Comics starts at the point where current series writer Ian Flynn came aboard.

With that out of the way… onto our analysis!

Sonic Saga Series, Volume 5: Evil Reborn

Writer: Ian Flynn
Artists: Tracy Yardley and Steven Butler

Evil Reborn starts readers off right in the middle of the action, as Sonic and Tails are both en route to save their adopted city of New Mobotropolis and all their friends from being totally destroyed. The source of all the pandemonium is Enerjak, a supremely powerful being who has been a thorn in the side of both Sonic and his friend/rival Knuckles. This time is a bit different, though, as Enerjak’s identity is a mystery, one that unfolds through the first part of the story. It’s not the biggest twist (even people new to the series will probably shine on to who Enerjak is before Flynn pulls the curtain), but that’s not to say it’s a bad one. It’s an interesting turn for the character under the helmet, and gives the volume a challenging conflict to overcome.

The central players in that conflict are a good mix. Early on, Sonic finds himself flung together with Knuckles’ father Locke and Knuckles’ girlfriend Julie-Su, who generally don’t share much page time with Sonic. Flynn’s characterization is always topnotch, and the interplay between the improvised trio is fun to read. Flynn’s Sonic is particularly sound (which only makes sense, he’s the lead!); Sonic is rarely shaken, always confident, always cracking jokes, which makes him believable as the de facto leader, even if someone else might be carrying that title. Sonic can be a little cocky at times, though, which balances him out as a character and makes him more multidimensional. All in all, Flynn’s characterization is one of the real highlights of this volume and makes the story stronger.

Tracy Yardley (with a solid assist by Steven Butler in a brief aside) turns in some stellar artwork for Evil Reborn. His work is clean and kinetic, which is a great match for Sonic’s speedy action and fights. One of the trickier parts of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic that Yardley nails is making Sonic and all of the original characters in the series mesh perfectly together. There are characters and enemies who look like they’d fit right into one of the games, and it’s a testament to Yardley’s skill as an artist and a designer that he can make them work. His version of Enerjak is a joy to take in, and Yardley keeps the story easy to read. The coloring is only passable, however. It’s not heavy-handed by any means, but it can also be too subdued at times. Regardless, Evil Reborn is a beautiful comic.

Though not the perfect jumping on point for new readers, Evil Reborn fills in the gaps to get anyone up to speed on what’s happening, so there’s no reason to hesitate to pick it up. The story is fast and ends with a real shocker, not to mention rocks one of the series’ status quos to its core. Flynn and Yardley were truly in a groove even this far back in their run on Sonic, and fans of the series and adventure comics should definitely give it a read. The story is available in physical and digital formats, or as we always love to suggest, make your way to a comic shop! However you do it, pick your favorite and get to reading!

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