Issue #8 Silent Support Review

What is the truth behind the mysterious “Guardian Angel” of the Resistance and can the Resistance find out Neo Metal Sonic’s scheme before it is too late?!

Issue: #8
Release Date: 8/15/2018
Title: Silent Support
Story: Ian Flynn
Art: Evan Stanley
Colors: Matt Herms
Letters: Shawn Lee
Editors: Joe Hughes & David Mariotte
Publishser: Greg Goldstein
Covers:

  • A: Evan Stanley
  • B: Evan Stanley
  • RI: Nathalie Fourdraine
    Featured Characters:
  • Sonic the Hedgehog
  • Silver the Hedgehog (First Appearance)
  • Whisper the Wolf (First Appearance)
  • E-107 Theta (First Appearance)
  • Amy Rose
  • Knuckles the Echidna
  • Neo Metal Sonic

Synopsis

Sonic arrives at Arsenal Pyramid in order to seek out any data he can find regarding Neo Metal Sonic’s plans. Dashing past a security door before it closes, he encounters a number of Spinas obstructing his path to the next door. He is able to destroy the Spinas, but is nearly too late to pass through the next door before it closes. Someone in the shadows shoots a projectile that holds the door open long enough for Sonic to slip through.

On the other side, he is confronted by an enormous Spina which is suddenly dispatched by Silver. Silver apologizes for interfering, but Sonic dismisses it and thanks him for the assist with the door. Having come from the opposite direction, Silver has no idea what Sonic is talking about. Sonic ponders about who helped him back there, if not Silver. The giant Spina recovers from Silver’s psychic attack only to be blasted between the eyes by a hidden sniper.

Sonic questions how Silver did that, but Silver gushes that it must have been the legendary “Guardian Angel” who helped the Resistance during the war but never actually joined or made themselves known to them. Commenting on Silver’s fanboy behavior, Sonic asks if he came back in time for an autograph. Silver informs Sonic that he actually came back because the future he returned to had gotten even worse, presumably because of Neo Metal Sonic’s reign.

The pair proceed deeper into the base, Sonic commenting on how this “Guardian Angel” is using some sort of specialized Wispon. Turning a corner, they find her using various Wisp powers on a closed door in attempts to get through.  Silver rushes to greet the enigmatic figure which startles her and causes her to flee into the rafters. Seemingly confused and hurt by the reaction, Silver tries to explain that they are on the same side and that he is a big fan. Sonic attempts to temper Silver’s enthusiasm and explains that if she never joined the Resistance she must have had her reasons, some people just do not want to be part of the crowd.

Sonic apologizes for Silver coming on so strong and thanks her for the assistance. Hearing Sonic’s voice, various Wisps emerge from within capsules in “Guardian Angel’s” coat and rush to greet Sonic. Sonic mentions how he once saved their planet from Eggman.  Jumps down from the rafters and removing her mask, she introduces herself as Whisper, which Silver confuses as a request to speak quietly.

Teasing that Silver’s hair looks like a fork, Sonic asks Silver to get the door. Using his powers, Silver opens the door revealing E-107 Theta integrated directly into the pyramid’s structure as some sort of central control and defense system. The trio immediately engages the Badnik and its legion of Spinas. Together, Sonic and Silver do a combination attack where Silver uses his psychic powers to propel Sonic’s spin through the air destroying most of the smaller Badniks.

Having positioned herself on a high perch, Whisper blasts Theta in the head which does little more than surprise him. He replies with a devastating blast that sends Whisper crashing to the ground below. As Spinas begin to close in on her, her Wisps once again emerge to adamantly defend her. Silver freezes the Spinas and launches them into a volley of missile launched by Theta, destroying all of them.

While assisting Whisper escape from the rubble, Sonic finishes off Theta. Freeing Whisper from the scrap, Silver comments on her loyal Wisps stating that while it is all right to work alone, it seems like she has put together quite a team. Silver goes on to say that he would be proud to be a part of it. Whisper bashfully takes his hand to get up and replies, “Maybe”.

Seeing Eggman’s emblem on a nearby terminal, Whisper suddenly becomes angry and sets to smash it with her Wispon hammer. Sonic asks her to stop since they need glean data from it first. Whisper takes this very harshly and apologizes, sliding her mask back on. Silver searches through the database and find startling information.

Back at Resistance HQ, Knuckles’ connection with the Master Emerald warns him that something is seriously wrong. Just then they get a message from Silver and Sonic that they found out what Neo Metal Sonic is up to and that they are going to need everyone.

Finally, we see that Neo Metal Sonic has already successfully taken over Angel Island and secured the Master Emerald.

Story

Like earlier issues, this issue focuses less on story progression and much more on character introduction, development, and set up for the final arc of the book’s first year. This issue shares more than a few parallels with issue #4. We have the return of a character from another time/dimension, the introduction of a new character, and a major set up for the next arc.

While it is certainly a transition story into the next 4 part finale arc, it is rife with character development and world building, if not plot progression.

This issue has a number of excellent touchstones with which we are quickly becoming accustomed to in this new book. First, we see Sonic infiltrating Arsenal Pyramid from Sonic Forces, although never explicitly acknowledged as such. We once again see Wisps utilized by Whisper in her unique Wispon. Wisps have definitely become an established element within this canon between issue #3, this issue, and the general use of Wispons by various militia throughout. They even serve a key role in this issue, serving as a bridge of trust between Sonic and the mistrusting Whisper.

We also see the return of the lost E-100 series robot, E-107 Theta. Last mentioned in the Light Mobius arc of the Archie series, Theta was supposedly set to appear in issue #258 according to solicitations but was changed to E-106 Eta instead to avoid any potential legal issues. An homage to Sonic Adventure, we see Theta refitted as a defense system like Zeta was.

There were some interesting character interactions this issues, introducing Whisper’s shyness to Silver‘s naivety has sparked a new shipping craze amongst the community. Likewise, the action scenes were fun and well done, as we see Sonic and friend racing along the stage until they arrive at the final boss reminiscent of a Sonic game, itself.

Ultimately, the Resistance catches up with Neo Metal Sonic‘s schemes, but it is a bit too late. He has already taken over Angel Island and is enthroned upon the Master Emerald, presumably drawing power from it to continue his domination of Sonic’s world.

With the cast mostly assembled (it seems we will have a few more additions thrown in soon) and stage set, I am eager to see what Neo Metal Sonic will throw at the Resistance and how and if they can overcome it!

Characters

Character development was the meat of this issue with the introduction of perhaps the most interesting character yet.

Whisper


Like Tangle before her, I feel we did not get enough time with the new character at the cost of adding Silver to the mix. While her and Silver’s interactions may have been cute, I would have liked to see more of Whisper herself. Regardless, I think she got more of the spotlight than Tangle did in issue #4, and better hints about some of her background that we hopefully will discover later.

Whisper is a welcome new character with an interesting design, unique weaponry, and mysterious motivations and past, but it is her personality that is perhaps most intriguing. At first glance she seems like a shy, loner, almost feral, with her skittish nature, monosyllabic responses, and pronounced claws and fangs, but we are given clues that there is more to Whisper’s story, something dark and painful.

Based on her reaction to encountering Sonic and Silver, her reaction to seeing and wanting to smash the computer bearing Eggman’s emblem, and her response to Sonic asking her not to do so is quite telling. Whisper clearly shows signs of some past abuse, likely at the hands of Dr. Eggman himself. This has made her very wary and mistrusting of others. I am unsure if Whisper would have cooperated with Sonic and Silver if not for their mutual bond with the Wisps. Whisper clearly has a strong bond with her Wisps who were ready to face down Badniks to protect her. It was their overwhelmingly positive response to Sonic that I believe won her over to trust the hedgehogs.

Nonetheless, she is obviously quite intelligent and talented, able to move around in the shadows and assist the Resistance and fight Eggman without ever being seen. Where she got her unique Wispon, mask, and other paraphernalia from is a mystery. Are they technologies stolen from Eggman? Did she create or modify them herself? We get very few words out of Whisper this issue giving us virtually no clues as to the answers.

While initially building a bond with Sonic via their mutual close relations to the Wisps, she seems to have a stronger affinity to Silver by the end of their mission. While Silver’s overzealous enthusiasm spooked Whisper initially, it is he who comes to her aid when she becomes trapped under a pill of scrap. While not positively affirming his request to be part of her “team”, she did take his hand, accepting his assistance.

Unfortunately, it is Sonic’s request for her not to unleash her rage on the computer terminal that caused her to once again become withdrawn. Her reaction to this is perhaps the most telling of potential past trauma. Though not done in anger or disapproval, she becomes very upset at Sonic’s request, apologizing and once again hiding behind her mask. This to me seems like textbook signs of abuse, where the victim has become so accustomed to a violent response for some perceived failure or shortcoming. Sonic confirms this when he wonders out loud what exactly Eggman had done to her to make her like this.

Whatever the case may be, Whisper definitely has a story to tell, and has a unique place amongst an already large cast of characters. I am impressed with Flynn and company working in a complex character that is sure to resonate with a lot of people from her cool aesthetic to her personal struggles. I look forward to seeing more of her than any of the other new characters.

Silver


It always amuses me that despite coming from a constantly post-apocalyptic, war-torn future, Silver is perhaps the most naive and enthusiastic character in the cast. Likewise at this point, “Silver arriving from the future to warn Sonic of a future peril and to help prevent it” has essentially become a meme. It is a plot device, although an effective one, to explain why Silver is in the present. Certainly one of many Dragonball homages a la Trunks throughout the Sonic franchise.

Silver also serves the function of filling Sonic in on events that transpired during his imprisonment. Thankfully, he is not just a narration robot, but expresses genuine enthusiasm for the “Guardian Angel” that actually becomes relevant to the plot. Silver is a big fan of this mysterious “Guardian Angel”, and overly exuberant to actually meet her in person, and perhaps be the first person to do so at that. However, his excitement is seen as threatening causing her to retreat. While Sonic is able to coax her out with a common connection, Silver plays the hero, saving her from certain doom trapped beneath a pile of scrap. Recognizing the strong bond Whisper has with her Wisps, he smoothly mentions he wishes to be part of her team. He gets a hesitant though improved response from Whisper as she bashfully takes his hand.

This interaction alone has sparked a new wave of shipping across the Sonic fandom. Blaze was forced, Gold has been annihilated, it is time for Whisver…Silpher? Whatever, it ends up being called, this is perhaps the most overt romantic interaction we have seen in the book yet, but I would not get your hopes up for anything more than some fanboy crushing.

Sonic


Sonic comes into this issue with a pretty straightforward motivation: infiltrate Eggman’s base and find data on Neo’s plans. Upon running into Silver, he is his typical self, cracking jokes and taking the situation lightly. However, when they encounter Whisper, he shows great maturity. He moderates the interaction between Silver and Whisper, helping to diffuse her tension, and counsel Silver on how to be more considerate to other people’s feelings and different perspectives.

Though Sonic’s role is much more action oriented in this issue, as opposed to “Fate of Dr. Eggman” arc, this one moment definitely stood out to me. While Sonic can be pretty snappy with his quips at times, he is able to show consideration and empathy for others, a truly heroic quality.

Art

Evan Stanley did some great work this issue along with the great colors we have come to expect from Matt Herms. The care and detail Evan put into Whisper is evident on every page. The character has a great design, definitely much more busy than your average Sonic character with all her gear and equipment, but it does not feel like too much. Every part of her aesthetic seems to have a purpose and adds to her character.

I really like her character introduction poses, Silver in particular struck me as pretty epic. Likewise, I loved the attention to detail on the Spinas, definitely a great choice for Badniks.  Her adaptation of Theta integrated into a defense system is spot on from the designs in the games, and was a great surprise.

My only real complaints are personal nit picks like the way she sometimes draws the vertical lines on character’s teeth, but all in all, I think she knocked it out of the park with this issue, even better than #4 in my opinion.

Covers

Thankfully for our collective wallets, issue #8 only has 3 different covers. Originally, the B cover was solicited as being drawn by Sonic fan artist and creator or “The Murder of Me” web comic, Gigi Dutreix, but according to David Mariotte on the IDW Sonic Comic Squad, certain unspecified circumstances delayed her work. However, she is still doing cover(s) for IDW so look out for her work in the future! Instead, we got 2 awesome covers from Evan Stanley that a mirror like theme. The A cover shows Silver and Sonic in Whisper’s crosshairs; while the B cover shows a close up of her mask, with Sonic reflected in her lens.

Cover A by Evan Stanley: An excellent cover with our two hedgehog heroes in Whisper’s sights. It features some great character art and nice perspective and use of space.

Cover B by Evan Stanley: A mirror to her A cover, Stanley’s B cover shows a close up shot of the lens of Whisper’s unique mask with Sonic’s image reflected in it. As gorgeous as the A cover is, this is definitely my favorite.

RI by Nathalie Fourdraine: Nathalie continues to expand her IDW portfolio with another stellar cover in her signature lineless style. I love the allusion to Arsenal Pyramid with Sonic and Silver seemingly surfing across the sand. Retailers received 1 copy of this cover for every 10 copies ordered.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed this issue for many reasons. The new character was interesting and well-crafted. The story was fun and action packed, almost like playing through a stage in a Sonic game. The interactions felt natural and in character, and the art, colors, and lettering were great. To be  honest, I was slightly concerned with how the quality of this book would hold up long-term, but I feel like the staff is really starting to click and the book is looking more polished with each passing issue. I have to give some credit due to the editors Joe and David for that.

Now the final battle looms like the shadow of Angel Island itself! Every character introduced so far, and then some, are set to appear in the coming arc. Just how formidable is Neo Metal Sonic, and what will it take to bring him down? I cannot wait to find out in this years final arc: The Battle for Angel Island!

I am sure you all are as exciting I am for the final big 4 issue arc to round out the first year, “The Battle for Angel Island”! Keep checking in for the latest IDW Sonic comic news: characters, covers, events and more! Thanks for reading!

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1 Comment

  1. Evan’s art is very expressive! The wisps look so much better here than in issue 3, that’s because:
    1-Their inking is much thinner and consistent
    2-The inks’s colors match with the wisp’s color
    I’m beginning to like the wisps as much as the Chao. They are definitley a fundamental part of the Sonic lore now.

    Like

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