There’s a new Sonic The Hedgehog game coming out. I’m not really caught up on Sonic game lore. All I own are Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic Heroes, both on PC and I haven’t beaten either one. Outside of the Archie Comics and ABC Saturday morning cartoon I really haven’t followed it. If you want a discussion of what might be in the game, check out Galvanic’s speculation article, which is where I heard about a digital comic released to promote the upcoming Sonic Forces. The reason I’m going over it is that it is written by Ian Flynn, who will be taking over the Sonic comics in their new home at IDW. Also, it’s a special promo comic that might never see itself on comic store shelves, and you know I’m all about those.
I downloaded the zip file offered by GameInformer that includes the logo above, a cover, and a seven-page story called Moment Of Truth…that was released as eight separate PDF files, one per page and the cover! Really, Sega? I’m able to create a multipage PDF comic with a freeware program, and have, but you can’t do it with what I’m assuming is a high-end program? How do you fail that badly? I already know Flynn’s work thanks to his run on Mega Man, which I sadly didn’t get to finish when I became unemployed. Hopefully someday I can get caught up on the remaining issues if I ever have money coming in again. And we aren’t sure if Flynn will be resuming the Archie continuity, which I dropped after Archie played continuity games after the lawsuit with Ken Penders when he opted to take his original characters like Julie-Su back. But this is a good test at how Flynn will approach the blue hedgehog apart from Archie. This is short so I’m going to summarize the whole thing so you may want to download it yourself first.
Sonic Forces: Moment Of Truth
STORY: Sonic Team (the people who make the Sonic games)
WRITER: Ian Flynn
ARTIST/LETTERER: Adam Bryce Thomas
And if they’re still looking for an artist for the IDW Sonic comics, he should be in the running at least.
Our protagonist in the story is unnamed, but for good reason…a reason I had to look for outside the comic. In the game you play as Sonic, the younger “classic Sonic” as he appeared in the early games, or an original character, just dubbed Avatar in the E3 announcement video. At least you have the option of playing the regular characters if you want, or perhaps you need to play as all three to progress. I’m not sure, but I’m hoping for the first one. I like options. Options are good. The character in the comic story is a coward and a bit clumsy. So basically Flynn based him on me, going with a…actually, I don’t know what kind of animal he’s supposed to be. Look at the cover and let me know. For the purposes of this review I’m going to name him Avy (short for avatar).
Avy took the job of a lookout so he would know when to hide (after sounding the alarm, thankfully). He grew up with tales of Sonic, Tails, and Amy…which brings up some questions. I don’t know his official game age according to Sonic Team but in other media Sonic was usually treated as a teenager, around 16 or so, Tails closer to possibly 12 or 13, and Amy…let’s say about Sonic’s age, although Archie opened a huge can of worms that I really don’t want to get into at this point. We’ll get to the Sonic comics purchased before starting BW Media Spotlight eventually. It’s kind of creepy when you think about it too hard. My point is if Avy lived his whole life following their exploits how old is he and how old are the trio and other characters in this game? I’m already confused that there are two Sonics since this isn’t another time travel game as best I can tell. Or maybe at the end of one of the recent games young Sonic ended up in modern times and hello time paradox.
Also visiting this village are Vector, Espio, and Charmy of the Chaotix. They’re here to fortify the defenses in case Dr. Eggman (the villain formerly known as Robotnik, as you may recall) launches an attack…which he does. Avy sounds the alarm, and then Vector calls him down to help with the set-up but each thing he tries only leads to failure, even getting Charmy burned by one of what I’m assuming is a game weapon or power-up or something. So he hides while the Chaotix fight on, until he hears Vector call for someone to get the cannon loaded and shooting. Then Avy gets an idea.
Heading to the cannon he takes one shot, hitting Eggman’s ship right in the launch bay. He beats a retreat, swearing to return. Avy has earned the respect of the Chaotix (and Charmy forgives him for heating his seat) and they prepare the villagers to move somewhere safe. The story ends with Avy wishing he could have done more, and determined to do better in the future, leading presumably to the events of Sonic Forces.
By itself it isn’t a bad short, the tale of a young watchman who wishes he were stronger forced to become a hero, and somehow succeeding once he starts using his head. As I noted above, Thomas is a good artist and the characters represent their counterparts well. Vector isn’t the rock n roller he is in the Archie comics, nor is he the goofball from Sonic X. His being a heroic fighter is quite believable compared to other versions. I don’t know what happened behind the scenes, but the end result shows a good team, and I’d like to see them team up for the IDW series.
The only thing the comic doesn’t do is discuss the enemies or plot of the game. SPOILERS COMING! In Sonic Forces Eggman teams with a being called Infinite, who helps him gain control of Metal Sonic, Chaos, Shadow, and some other classic Sonic villains, even ones that betrayed him (or at least this is what the trailer indicates). None of this is indicated or even teased in the promotional comic. Instead it’s the story of a character that will only exist if the player decides he or she likes him enough to recreate him in the game’s character creator. It’s probably the only misstep beyond whomever is responsible for putting all the pages in their own separate PDF files rather than combining them into one file. That’s a big goof.
Sonic Forces will be available on November 7th, 2017 for Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4, X-Box, and on PC, including digitally via Steam. It probably won’t run on my old computer, but I hope it’s a good game.