Issue #5 The Fate of Dr. Eggman Pt. 1 Review

Dr. Eggman has been found, but things might not be quite what they seem! Come along as Sonic and the Chaotix attempt to solve the mystery of the Fate of Dr. Eggman!

Issue: #5
Release Date: 5/30/2018
Title: The Fate of Dr. Eggman Pt. 1
Story: Ian Flynn
Art: Tracy Yardley
Ink: Jim Amash
Colors: Matt Herms
Letters: Corey Breen
Editors: Joe Hughes & David Mariotte
Publisher: Greg Goldstein

Covers:

  • A: Kieran Gates
  • B: Jamal Peppers
  • RI: Nathalie Fourdraine

Featured Characters:

  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Dr. Eggman aka Mr. Tinker
  • Vector the Crocodile (First Appearance)
  • Espio the Chameleon (First Appearance)
  • Charmy Bee (First Appearance)
  • Shadow the Hedgehog (First Appearance)
  • Rouge the Bat (First Appearance)

Synopsis

Sonic and Espio race along a looping track through a mountain range, discussing the Chaotix‘s lead regarding the location of Dr. Eggman while they fight off a swarm of Badniks. Espio explains after the Chaorix searched everywhere for him, they found no trace of the mad doctor anywhere. However, upon receiving an anonymous tip, they discovered the potential location of Dr. Eggman, “kinda”. The pair arrive at a quaint mountain village where they are greeted by Charmy along with some other local children with which he was playing. Sonic asks Charmy where “The Big Guy” is and Charmy pulls out a merry old man in overalls who introduces himself as “Mr. Tinker”. Sonic is obviously unconvinced of this ruse, but Charmy vouches for him and Mr. Tinker admits that he has lost his memory. Sonic questions him on past villainous incidents, but Mr. Tinker shows no recollection of any of them.

Vector pulls Sonic aside and tells him that he believe it is the truth and that Mr. Tinker’s story seems to check out. Sonic continues to hesitate considering the levels of evil and destruction Dr. Eggman has wrought in the past, but the village elder ask Sonic to consider this Mr. Tinker alter ego as a chance for Dr. Eggman to right some of the wrongs he has committed with his good deeds.

Sonic continues to be torn on what to do regarding Dr. Eggman/Mr. Tinker when a villager rushes in warning of incoming Badniks. Sonic orders the Chaotix to head them off while he rushes to confront Eggman. Sonic enters a building to lay Eggman’s deception to bare, but to his surprise, he finds him instead helping bolster a barricade to defend the villagers from the Badniks. Caught off guard by Mr. Tinker’s apparently genuine concern for the villagers and their safety, Sonic leaves him be in order to go assist with the invading Badniks.

Together, Sonic and the Chaotix dispatch the Badniks while the unknown villain watches once more via a Flapper which Charmy spots and destroys. The unknown villain is furious to discover Sonic and company are there and is afraid that they have discovered its plan. Afterwards, Sonic becomes convinced that Dr. Eggman aka Mr. Tinker has truly turned over a new leaf and is no longer a threat. Sonic and the Chaotix say their goodbyes and prepare to leave. Mr. Tinker hopes they return later when Eggmanland is completed. Sonic is shocked and wonders if Eggman just slipped up and showed his hand. However, before he can react Shadow and Rouge appear intent on taking Eggman out regardless of the answer.

Story

If you were getting tired of the formulaic nature of the first 4 issues, you may  have been pleasantly surprised with this issue. While it does contain Sonic teaming up with a new ally to fight some Badniks, it is certainly much more plot heavy than the previous issues. Flynn took what I called “Perhaps the most disturbing depiction of Dr. Eggman ever.” and completely violated my expectations when they revealed his statement to be utterly innocuous and lacking any malevolent intent whatsoever. Despite the apparent and substantial evidence that Dr. Eggman has indeed lost his memories and turned over a new leaf, we are confronted with the multitude of travesties he has committed in the past showing once again that Flynn is intent on making this a full and robust Sonic world rife with references and consequential events from the past playing into the events of the present.

Reading the solicitations for this arc, I was slightly concerned we would see a dragged out scenario where Sonic find the Chaotix, enlists their help, they search for Eggman, report back, and bring Sonic to him. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see issue #4 jump right into the action, filling us in on the details as we went along for the ride. This once again shows that Flynn and the editorial team are seasoned veterans who know how to make a comic book. For any action based book, Sonic not withholding,  you want to use your limited space wisely and draw in readers immediately, rather than lull them to sleep with the mundane niceties of the journey.

It was interesting to watch Sonic wrestle with this suspicious miracle while multiple sources, as well as his own experience with the apparently reformed villain, corroborate that Mr. Tinker is indeed sincere. Sonic’s initial instinct to arrest the dastardly villain for his past crimes despite not remembering them and becoming a cheerful and contributing member to society are countered mostly significantly by the village elder.  Sonic is obviously deeply impacted by the idea that leaving the villain turned do-gooder to help those in need with his skills and charity, and in a way, pay penance for all the harm he has done, is better than locking him away for crimes he does not remember committing.

Sonic is visibly torn by this dilemma. Being a hero, he wants to do what is best for the people and show mercy to his enemy if truly repentant, but at the same time he recognizes just how dangerous Eggman can be and that there is still a real chance this could all be a ruse or that his memories could return. Ultimately, it is Mr. Tinker’s actions in helping protect the villagers from the Badnik attack that convinces Sonic that he is no longer a threat.

As Sonic and the Chaotix prepare to part ways, Mr. Tinker invites them back to see “Eggmanland” when it is finished. Sonic wonders if he slipped up, but this is more likely a sign that he is potentially regaining his memories rather than faking. If he was merely faking, it would not make sense to reveal himself at this point unless he is about to make his move. However, we are left as a cliff hanger when Shadow shows up before Sonic can react. Faking or not, it seems Shadow will not be as understanding as Sonic was.

Finally, we are once again teased with the mysterious villain in the command chair. They were upset by Sonic and the Chaotix appearing in the mountain town, which implies that the Badnik attack was not meant for them. The most obvious answer is that the unknown villain’s target was Eggman, but are they trying to retrieve him or take him out? Either way, it is clear that they did not want anyone to discover the fate of Dr. Eggman.

In our first real cliff hanger, we are left with many questions. Is Eggman faking? Is it even really Eggman? Is he regaining his memory? Will Sonic defend Mr. Tinker from Shadow? Will Shadow understand the situation? Will Shadow care? And who is this mysterious villain and how does Mr. Tinker work into their master plan!? While this issue was a big departure from the previous ones, that is not a bad thing in my opinion. The Mr. Tinker twist was not one I saw coming. The story finally feels like its building to something, as the stage is beginning to be set for the second half of  Year 1’s pay offs.

 

Characters

Sonic


Our main hero continues to show his range in this issue. Faced with the prospect of an amnesiac Eggman, Sonic runs the gamut of reactions from disbelief to skepticism to acceptance, all in a believable manner. Given his long history with Dr. Eggman, it goes to reason that Sonic would be more than a little suspicious of Mr. Tinker’s sincerity initially. After being informed of the situation by the Chaotix, he remains skeptical but open-minded, wrestling with the facts in his head. Ultimately, in what was perhaps the most poignant moment in the issue was the village elder’s speech suggesting he let the new Mr. Tinker be in order to bring joy to those around him and atone for the crimes he committed as Dr. Eggman.

Clearly, Sonic is deeply disturbed by this conundrum, seemingly on the verge of a mental breakdown as he ponders the ethical dilemma before him, but is this an overreaction? I think not. This was not merely a matter of showing mercy to someone who committed a minor misdemeanor, but an oft genocidal maniac who not long ago captured and tortured him for months on end. Flynn’s writing here shows that there are consequences to the events that transpire and the events of Forces and past adventures have taken their toll on Sonic and his world. As care free as  he seems, Sonic carries the heroes burden of protecting the world from evil like Eggman and bares the scars, physically and mentally of many battles past.

Dr. Eggman/Mr. Tinker


What a twist! Although this is not the first time we have seen a potentially amnesiac Dr. Eggman, I by no means saw this coming thanks to the artful misdirection at the end of issue #4. Eggman muttering to himself that he would soon fix everything, as he ominously peers through the window of a dank room at an unsuspecting child was perhaps the most disturbing depiction of the villain I can recall. The way Flynn subverted this expectation was both hilarious and masterful. I was completely caught off guard by the introduction of Mr. Tinker. However, what may be more disturbing than the perceived pernicious threats from issue #4 is the complete face turn Eggman does. Seeing the bashful and jovial Mr. Tinker selflessly help the villagers with their most mundane of problems almost seems wrong on its face. Your gut tells you that it is a lie, that it is all a ruse, and Eggman is trying far too hard.

Unfortunately, we are not allowed to see the inner workings of Mr. Tinker’s mind and are relegated to working things out vicariously along with Sonic as he attempts to figure out what is truly going on. Ultimately, it is Mr. Tinkers actions when the Badnik attacks that convince Sonic that he is indeed a different man than he was before. However, his seeming “slip up” at the end in mentioning “Eggmanland” may be an indication that this is indeed a trick and that nearly unbelievable altruism and timidness of Mr. Tinker is all part of some larger evil plan. Previously, I had considered the possibility that Mr. Tinker is not Eggman at all and it is indeed a case of mistaken identity, despite the issues this would raise with the new line in the sand that is the Two-Worlds System. It seems more likely that it is a ruse or Eggman truly has lost his memory but is beginning to reclaim it.

The Chaotix


I was greatly anticipating the return of the Chaotix and my personally favorite character, Espio. Although they did not get too much space in the issue, I was pleased to see Espio play a significant role in accompanying Sonic the mountainside village, explaining the situation, and fighting off the Badniks alongside Sonic. Otherwise, this issue served merely as an introduction to the group who were mostly used to advance the plot this time around. Hopefully we will see more from the Chaotix Detective Agency in the future.

Art

As we get further into the series, Yardley’s art seems to be growing on me. While not my favorite. He does a good job with capturing what I like to call “Sonicisms” artistic stylings unique to the world of Sonic like spin dashes, loops raceways, and wheel legs. The character designs are spot on and the coloring by Matt Herms matches the juxtaposition of the bright, cheery village and the dark memories of Eggman’s past crimes. This two have been at it for a long time and it shows.

The gem of this issue has to be the final full page of artwork featuring Shadow’s threat breathed through a vicious looking snarl with Rouge glaring intimidatingly from behind. It is clear that there is hell to pay and Shadow is ready to deal it out. As strange as this issue was, this page alone has me excited to see what happens next in issue #7.

If I was to criticize anything, it would have to be the roll call page. While it is a welcome addition and something, I thought was lacking from the book thus far, this one is utterly hideous. Plain blocks with random illustrations of characters with random color palettes and plain type face is quite the eyesore, It seems they were testing the waters with this one and only added it to the digital version thankfully, sparing the physical copies. I have to cite the editors on this one, it seems like this was perhaps a last-minute addition and was hastily put together. Perhaps they can combine the “roll call” and “previously” sections into one much more attractive page in future issues.

Covers

With the April launch bonanza done, it seems the normal format will be an A & B cover and one retailer exclusive. This pattern is currently scheduled to continue until issue #7 when IDW will be celebrating the first half-year of Sonic with some special San Diego Comic Con exclusives! In the meantime, it will be much easier to get your hands on the much more limited number of variants until July!


Cover A by Kierin Gates: Kieran Gates once again lends his ability to reproduce “official game” art with his A cover depicting Sonic flinching in the shadow of Dr. Eggman.
Cover B by Jamal Peppers: While I think Jamal’s pencil are great, I am curious as to what happened with the shading. The bland shading really takes away from the quality of the artwork and makes what might have been my favorite of the 3 covers into my least favorite.
RI by Nathalie Fourdraine: Nathalie once again hits it out of the part with her unique style, illustrating her 5 RI cover in a row! Retailers receive 1 copy of this cover for every 10 issues ordered.

Overall Thoughts

This issue definite changed gears in a few ways! It served the plot a lot more than previous issues, while still maintaining strong character driven story points, particularly in Sonic’s dilemma. It became the beginning of the first true story arc rather than a string of single  issue introductions. It actually set up some meaningful conflicts to be resolved and posed some questions that lent themselves to excellent cliff hangers beyond just “Who is the new villain?” Beside that, we now have Shadow squaring off against Sonic, the truth behind Mr. Tinker, and the motivation of the unknown villain for going after Eggman. All this leading up to a more major conflict lurking around the corner in the second half of year 1!

It is clear that Flynn has a plan and more latitude and freedom to execute it than ever before. His characters show depth and his plot show complexity while still being accessible to fans of any age who just want a comic book about their favorite video game character. It is clear that he has a plan for each character and plot point and it will be exciting to see how Shadow and Rouge play into it next month!

I hope you enjoyed my review of the first half of  “The Fate of Dr. Eggman”! If you did check out some of the other articles that are regularly added to the site! You will find anything and everything from news, announcements, reviews, speculation, sales statistics, and more!

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