Issue #4 Fallout! Pt. 4 Review

UPDATE: Thanks to David Mariotte for confirming that 7 months previous to issue #4 was when Eggman initially took over Sonic’s world.

The Fallout Arc is coming to a close, but a few more surprises remain. Get to know Tangle, prepare yourself for the return of Blaze, and speculate on what exactly is going on with Dr. Eggman in IDW Sonic the Hedgehog’s 4th installment!

Issue: #4
Release Date: 4/25/2018
Title: Fallout Pt. 4
Story: Ian Flynn
Art: Evan Stanley
Color: Matt Herms
Letters: Corey Breen
Editors: Joe Hughes & David Mariotte
Publisher: Greg Goldstein

Covers:

  • A: Tyson Hesse
  • B: Evan Stanley
  • RI-A: Nathalie Fourdraine
  • RI-B: Tyson Hesse

Featured Characters:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Tangle the Lemur (First Appearance)
  • Blaze the Cat (First Appearance)
  • Dr. Eggman (First Appearance)

Badniks:

  • Egg Pawn
  • Buzz Bomber Carrier (First Appearance)
  • Motobug Tank (First Appearance)

Synopsis

Sonic arrives at a hilltop town besieged by a giant Buzz Bomber dropping a continuous barrage of Badniks upon it. Concerned, Sonic considers that whoever is organizing the Badniks is really stepping up their game, and hopes he is not too late to help.

Assessing the situation, Sonic realizes that it will be difficult for him to fight off such a large organized force on his own, and reconsiders if he should have rejoined the Resistance. As Sonic enters the town, he encounters local militia members fighting holding off the Egg Pawns. He reasons that if the Resistance is not already there and he was with the Resistance, no one would have ever known about the attack. He dismisses the thought, recognizing that he does not have time to second guess his actions before noticing that another combatant is already on the scene.

A young female lemur is fighting a squad of Egg Pawns using her long prehensile tail. She entwines several in its grasp then tugs it to smash the Badniks together causing them to explode. Her tail singed, she alternates between pain and triumph. Smashed but still functional, an Egg Pawn attempts to shoot from behind, but Sonic smashes it, warning her to watch her back. The lemur turns around in surprise, thanking Sonic.

The lemur welcomes Sonic to her hometown, asking forgiveness for the current robot problem like a polite hostess. Sonic slyly asks, “What robot problem?” as the pair casually fight off the Egg Pawns. The lemur tells Sonic that he is sweet not to notice, and comments on how he seems to be a natural at this. Sonic agrees, and the pair shake hands (hand and prehensile tail more specifically), introducing themselves to one another. Introducing himself as Sonic the Hedgehog, the lemur introduces herself as Tangle, and states coolly that she always wanted to me him. Sonic is charmed to meet her, and Tangle responds likewise.

Tangle relays to Sonic that she has been repelling the odd raid for a while now, but nothing like this. She wraps up a few Badniks in her tail and shouts “Pull!” hurling them in the air like clay pigeons for Sonic to smash. Sonic confirms that the gangs of Badniks are becoming more organized and that he is currently looking into it. The pair stop in their tracks as they spot a new wave of Badniks approaches, including a huge, heavily armed Motobug tank.

An Egg Pawn atop the tank opens fire with a turret mowing down several of its allies in attempts to fell our heroes who manage to safely vault out of the line of fire. A second giant Motobug busts in through a wall behind them, as Badniks surround them on all sides. Somewhat tense and nervous, Tangle asks Sonic if he is merely the Resistance’s advance guard. Sonic replies that they are likely tied up somewhere else with a similar situation and are likely not coming to help. She resolves to split them 50/50, not willing to go down without a fight. Sonic agrees to the plan, teasingly adding the condition of her being able to keep up with him.

Suddenly, a cyclone of fire erupts, incinerating several Egg Pawns. As it dissipates, the form of Blaze the Cat is revealed as she turns to face Sonic and Tangle. Sonic is overjoyed to see her, and Tangle is lost in amazement. Sonic enthusiastically greets Blaze, waving vigorously to her. Tangle remains agape as Sonic runs over to greet Blaze who assumes that she just torched Eggman’s robots. Sonic confirms her assumption and asks her to help the town which is currently in peril, if she did not mind. She agrees, stating that it would be her pleasure to lend her assistance. Sonic gives an approving thumbs up as Tangle continues to look on in confusion.

Blaze takes off smashing and burning numerous Egg Pawns. Sonic runs off in the opposite direction to handle the other Motobug, while Tangle remains frozen in shock. However, seeing Blaze’s actions, she shakes it off and takes the Egg Pawn manning the tank turret out. She then redirects the turret to shoot the Motobug in its own head, disabling it. She then uses her tail to snap off one of its claws, flinging it into the other and destroying it. Sonic slides away, managing to avoid the Motobug’s final attack, as the three coordinate to wipe out the remaining Egg Pawns.

Blaze feels that the three of them are not enough to win the day, even with the town’s militia assisting them. The Badniks are replenishing their ranks too quickly to overcome. Tangle points out that they are coming from the battleship looming overhead, and Sonic adds that it is a lot beefier than the Blowfish Dropship, he and Amy took out previously. Sonic asks if Blaze can take it out, but it is out of her range. Having just met, Tangle bashfully offers to use her tail to fling them up to it. Using her tail like a giant sling shot, Tangle launches Sonic and Blaze high into the air. Sonic spins and Blaze throws him with fiery force into the open launch bay of the ship. Sonic lands within the ship with a mischievous grin and commences to wreck it. Using her pyrokinesis, Blaze blasts the failing ship with a powerful fire attack, finishing it off.

As she uses her abilities to safely float back to the ground, Blaze is greeted by Tangle praising her amazing powers. Tangle then shows concern for Sonic’s well-being. Blaze seems unconcerned stating that he will be fine jus before Sonic comes bouncing down and lands dizzy and stunned and shakily expresses how much fun that was. Tangle helps Sonic to his feet asking if his life is always so exciting. Sonic assures her that it is as long as he can help it.

Sonic introduced Tangle and Blaze to one another, Tangle as a local and Blaze as a Princess from the Sol Dimension and guardian of the Sol Emeralds. Once again taken back by this revelation, Tangle happily thanks her highness for helping to save her home. Blaze tells Tangle that she is welcome and to just refer to her as Blaze without the formalities. Sonic flirtatiously asks Blaze what brings her to his world, and Blaze reveals that the Sol Emeralds spoke of a terrible event about to transpire in his world. Sonic jokes that she is about 7 months too late and described how he was captured by Dr. Eggman, but eventually escaped and defeated him.

Tangle interjects that if the Badniks are becoming more organized that perhaps something even worse is on its way and that is why the Sol Emeralds warned Blaze. Blaze agrees that the Sol Emeralds would not have done so without good reason. Blaze resolves to stay in Sonic’s world until that reason becomes clear and Sonic applauds Blaze, knowing he can always count on her. Blaze offers to use her powers to help quell the fires around the town, and Tangle excitedly offers to lead her the about the town. Blaze leaves Sonic to find the ringleader behind everything and Tangle thanks him for his help. Sonic needs a breather and rests for a brief moment before heading off to find more clues.

Elsewhere a mother is shown in the streets telling her young son that it is getting late and that it is time to come inside. Crying, the boy protests that his wagon is broken and that he cannot carry it inside. Peaking through the blinds from a nearby building, a somewhat disheveled Dr. Eggman looks on. He promises that very soon he will fix his little red wagon, that he will fix everything.

NEXT TIME: The Doctor is IN!

Story

The action is back in issue #4 as Sonic faces the largest Badnik attack yet. It is now doubtless that someone is behind these devastatingly organized attacks and they are drawing Sonic further away from his allies in the Resistance. This time Sonic gets help from two awesome characters; one returning character we have not seen in a while, and another brand new.

While some have complained that the formula is a bit repetitive in these first 4 issues, I do not find fault in that. The first two issues are equally action oriented with the 3rd taking a slight detour for the sake of world building. This issue ups the ante by throwing in the biggest threat yet and adding not 1, but 2, allies to assist Sonic in securing the town. While the action keeps things feeling fast paced and exciting, as a Sonic comic arguably should be, the real draw to these opening issues is the establishment of the characters in this new universe and how they relate to our hero, Sonic.

While many were similarly displeased with the lack of world building that Flynn said would be in these initial issues, what could be more important than establishing some of Sonic’s main allies and how they fit into this new canon? Beyond Angel Island, locations have never been a big sticking point for plot, as Flynn has said numerous times in reference to concerns over the Two-World Theory.  What is important, for any story, is that we have rich and full, interesting characters.

Flynn once again delivers in issue #4. Not only do we get the introduction of the most anticipated character in the new IDW series, Tangle the Lemur, but the dramatic return of Blaze the Cat, Princess of the Sol Dimension.  Flynn did a great job of giving them an equal spotlight without overshadowing Sonic either. He really emphasized that it took all three of these heroes working in unison in order to defeat the invading forces.

Other than that, Flynn stuck to the “Fallout Formula” of  1) Sonic arrives, 2) Sonic teams up with ally of the week, 3) Sonic and ally work together to beat the Super Badniks, 4) Ally stays behind while Sonic moves on to the next town, and 5) villain ominously broods from the shadows. However, he did diverge from the formula slightly by featuring a very creepy Dr. Eggman rather than his unknown usurper. This is representative of the story changing gears into the next arc, “The Fate of Dr. Eggman“, where we will find out exactly what happened to the nefarious doctor after Sonic defeated him and his Death Egg Robot 7 months previously.

Speak of 7 months previous, this is the first reference to chronology in the book, and is significant for that reason: It gives us a frame of reference for events in this universe. Confirmed by editor David Mariotte, himself, Sonic was referring to Eggman’s initial conquest of Sonic’s world, this means that the events of Forces transpired approximately 7 months before the start of the IDW continuity. Give or take a few months, this roughly lines up with the time that has transpired since the games initially release in November. However, trying to imply that time passes in Sonic’s world at the same or similar rate as our own is a stretch, and even if it were the case, would be an incredibly hard device to keep up.

That said, Flynn seamless introduces Blaze into the IDW continuity and simultaneously ties it to her absence from Forces in an organic and believable manner. Similar to how he explained Silver’s arrival from the future in the Forces prequel comic, Stress Test.  Moreover, he smoothly spun us into the next arc by changing up the final step of the formula. I fully expected our first real clue at the identity of the unknown individual manning the Eggman Empire command chair in this issue, and was surprised to instead see Eggman himself in perhaps the creepiest scene I have ever seen him.

Overall, this was a great way to close out the month-long welcome back celebration for the Blue Blur! We now have a host of well-developed characters, old and new, a new villain scheming in the shadows, and intrigue regarding Dr. Eggman’s fate and future plans. We are set up for some interesting twists and turns this year, and I am sure we will enjoy the ride!

Characters

While it was packed with the most characters yet, this issue did a good job of dividing the spot light amongst its two strong, females: Tangle and Blaze. I think both were done justice and I look forward to seeing their involvement in things to come!

Tangle the Lemur


Tangle already has a rabid fan base that began growing when IDW revealed her character design months ago. The internet was flooded with so much fan art that the fan section of this issue exclusively consisted of drawings of the sprightly lemur. And that fan base is sure to grow after her official debut in issue #4!

What immediately set her apart for me was how she reacted to meeting Sonic. Thus far in the series anyone who encountered Sonic was completely start-struck and amazed to see such a renowned hero in the flesh, but Tangle, while happy to meet him, kept her cool. Her nonchalant, almost aloof attitude was quite refreshing, and her cheerful, positive exuberance made her immediately likable as a character.

Similarly, not to disparage the efforts of the various other militia members we have seen across the various towns thus far, we see that Tangle in a different class altogether when it comes to combat. She is squarely put on the level of Sonic and his other allies; not needing a Wispon to fight and having her own unique ability in here stretchy, prehensile tail. Living up to her name, she is truly ready to tangle with the Badniks invading her home.

While as confident and nonchalant as Sonic in the midst of battle, she also showed that she differs from him in terms of cockiness. She comes off much more humble and complimentary as shown in her praise and captivation towards Blaze and her awesome powers. Overall, she comes across as sweet, sincere, capable, brave although somewhat naive and aloof. While she is certainly a unique character, many will doubtless compare her as an analogue to Princess Sally. However, if I had to make a comparison, I find her to be much more like Bunnie Rabbot, who is a much better and compelling character, at least in my opinion.

Blaze the Cat


Blaze’s dramatic entrance in the nick of time was perhaps one of my favorite moments in the issue, matching her regal nature. Blaze certainly came across with the composure of a royalty. Her bemused expressions belied her fiery powers. It was clear both Tangle and Sonic were quite smitten by her.

Similar to Tangle, she is confident, but not arrogant. Yet, she seems much more self-possessed and sure of her own abilities as well as those around her than Tangle does. Although able to logically and realistically assess the direness of the situation, she never breaks a sweat, even amidst the raging inferno she summons to destroy her enemies.

As guardian of the Sol Emeralds, their warning is what drives her motivation to travel to Sonic’s world and investigate.  While Forces did not give much reason for Silver to come back in time beyond Flynn’s writing him to warn Knuckles of the impending danger; I am sure we will see Blaze much more involved in what is to come! In fact, I have some theories on that I may write an article on soon!

Dr. Eggman


Dr. Eggman finally makes his not so triumphant return in this issue. Hiding out in an undisclosed town, he peaks through the blinds at a young child distraught over his broken wagon. In what is perhaps the most disturbing Dr. Eggman scene I have ever witnessed, he assures that he will fix the wagon, and ultimately fix everything. What has brought Eggman to this new low? What is he planning? What would he do to reclaim power over his empire? I suppose we will find out next time! Either way, Flynn has wrought a striking blow in a single line, and set a terrifying tone for Sonic’s archenemy.

Art

I became excited to see Evan Stanley’s new work as soon as I saw her excellent B cover art some time back, and she definitely did not disappoint with her interior work. Immediately, we are given something  fresh on the first page. While technically it is yet another walled town, it is a walled town on a hill with a giant Buzz Bomber hovering over it. Tangle’s home town is given a distinct look and aesthetic as opposed to the other generic looking towns in which Sonic met Tails and Knuckles respectively.

Furthermore, Stanley had quite the challenge, not only in illustrating perhaps the most anticipated new character in Sonic ever, but her unique tail and its abilities as well! I think she used it to great effect, showing the various utilitarian applications such as: a lasso, vaulting pole, handshake, and even a slingshot in action beats that were clear and easy to follow. Likewise, we saw an awesome array of moves from Blaze including: cyclones, ribbons, and balls of fire! Blaze showed the many applications of her pyrokinesis, even using her powers to float in the air in a manner similar to Ironman’s repulsars.

Her background characters were unique and fresh as well. It has been fascinating to see each artist’s take on the inhabitants of Sonic’s world, even sneaking some of their  own original characters into the mix. Stanley’s characters showed an impressive range of emotions ranging from wonder and surprise to joy and mischief. The eagle-eyed reader might have noticed a certain face Sonic made in this issue that was inspired by a cursed image as pointed out by Evan, herself, on Twitter:

Not to be forgtten, Matt Herms once again shows that he is a true pro, coloring this issue beautifully, and once again creating an eerie twilight tone to the intense battle with his palette choices.

In regards to the first 4 issues, Stanley’s art ranks right behind Thomas, and well above Yardley, in my opinion. The moment where Blaze appears in a swirl of fire and turns to face our heroes in deus ex machina fashion, gave me shivers, I cannot wait to see more from her in the future!

Covers

As the previous two issue, #4 has 4 covers. Starting next month the book will be issued monthly and normally only have 3 different covers, an A, B, and one incentive. Of course, this will change for special events like milestone issues and other events or conventions, but it seems those seem to be the exception going forward.


Cover A by Tyson Hesse: If you picked all the A covers up until this point, you can now complete the diorama! If you place the A covers for issues #1-4 side-by-side, they will create one large picture of Sonic racing through the Emerald Hill Zone accompanied by his various allies.
Cover B by Evan Stanley: We were graced with the artwork for this cover early on, and it is what got me excited for Stanley’s interior work. Like the first 3 issues, the B cover is done by the interior artist. The colors were done by Sonic vet, Matt Herms, as well.
RI-A by Nathalie Fourdraine: The only cover by Nathalie not previously revealed, depicts our trio of heroes jumping from the exploding Buzz Bomber. I believe it was withheld because of potential spoilers! Nathalie is lined up to do at least the next three RI covers into July.
RI-B by Tyson Hesse: Tyson is credited with not 1, but 2 covers this issue! His awesome promotional art has been vibrantly recolored to make one of the most stunning covers yet.

Overall Thoughts

Flynn has delivered on what he promised in the first 4 issues: He established Sonic’s character as well as his allies, pulled off some dynamic and exciting action scenes, introduced some awesome new characters, and set up enough mystery and intrigue to last us quite some time.

The introduction of a great new original character, the return of a new one in a blaze of glory, and the creepiest tease of Eggman’s return was a great way to end this month-long celebration of the world most way past cool hero, Sonic the Hedgehog!

April is drawing to a close, and thing will likely calm down a bit as IDW transitions to a normal schedule, but rest assured there is plenty of news to come. Several more issue #1 variants are on the horizons, news on sales and reprints, previews of future issues, and new box sets and other merchandise are all on the way! Make sure you are checking back with us regularly for the latest news and info about IDW Sonic!

Thanks for reading, until next time…Gotta speed!

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