Archieâ€™s Sonic the Hedgehog comic series: one of the longest-running (if not THE longest running) video game-based comics of all-time.Â With 163 issues under its belt (as of right now) and a ton of miniseries and one-shots, the book has obviously been doing *something* right since the early 90â€™s.Â However, is the book still worth reading today?Â Well, for a while there, it most-certainly was *not*.Â Lately, though, itâ€™s hit an upward trend thatâ€™s been rising steadily for quite a while now.Â Iâ€™d definitely say that right this very second, Archieâ€™s Sonic the Hedgehog is worth the invested time of any Sonic fan.
The book follows the basic premise of the old DiC produced Sonic the Hedgehog animated series which ran on ABC Saturday mornings back in the early 90â€™s (the show is called â€œSonic SatAMâ€ in the fandom as a means to differentiate it from the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Underground, two other DiC produced Sonic cartoons from the 90â€™s).Â Dr. Robotnik lords over the planet Mobius (which is really Earth in the crazy distant future), determined to turn all its inhabitants into mindless robots.Â Sonic is leader of the Freedom Fighters, a group of anthropomorphic animals whoâ€™ll stop at nothing to defeat Robotnik.Â A far-cry from the plot of the video games, yes, but it has its own charm and a much darker atmosphere than any of the storylines Japan produced for Sonic X.
But that little blurb above is the plot stripped down to its core.Â There have been numerous twists and turns, victories and losses, and a considerable amount of ups and downs since the book started.Â All the characters from the games are there; Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Amy, Robotnik (or Eggman as they call him, now.Â Ugh), Metal Sonic, Nack the Weasel, Shadow, Rouge the Bat and everyone else.Â Additionally, youâ€™ve got the characters recognizable from the SatAM series; Sally Acorn, Bunnie Rabbot, Rotor Walrus, Antoine (10 times less irritating in the comic than he was in the cartoon) and Snively.Â For those who are hardcore purists of the Sega Sonic storylines, the comic has adapted nearly all of the most important video games released since Sonic CD.Â Recently, however, game adaptations have been relegated to the form of back-up strips which barely resemble the actual gameâ€™s plots.Â This may upset the Sega Sonic purists to an extent, but it leaves the comic with more freedom to pursue its own original stories.
So thatâ€™s your crash-course history lesson in the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic book.Â Now with that out of the way, I can address whether or not I think anybody should still read this title or not.Â For a while, what felt like an eternity to steady readers, the Sonic comic was rather abysmal.Â The focus seemed to have been shifted onto Sonicâ€™s love life, of all things.Â Sonic, being the playa that he is, had girls like Sally, Mina Mongoose and Amy hanging off his arm every second.Â This love-trapezoid got old quick, with each girl having a soap opera story in each issue and Sonic not being able to choose which girl he wanted to bang that night (eventually he chose none of them and wound-up with Fiona Fox).Â This got increasingly annoying, as new characters seemed to be introduced for the sole-purpose of macking on Sonic and further complicating his love life.Â And in addition to all THAT, there was a sub plot about Bunnie and Antoineâ€™s tragic romance (Antoine turned out to be an evil twin.Â Gah!).Â For a frustrating length of time, the entire comic read like a (bad) furry romance novel.Â I wouldnâ€™t have recommended the book to my worst enemy.
However, in the past 5 or so issues, thereâ€™s been a change in writing staff and a marked improvement in overall story-telling quality.Â The whole â€œfurry romance novelâ€ angle has been dropped (thank god!) in favor of some decent, epic story-telling.Â Evil Sonic, Sonicâ€™s evil twin from another dimension who has been around since before the days of Metal Sonic and Shadow, has finally come into his own as a character.Â A sweet new character design, and voila!Â â€œEvil Sonicâ€ has now become â€œScourgeâ€ and is finally worth reading about.
But that was only the tip of the iceberg.Â The current story arc, â€œDarkest Stormâ€, is one of Sonicâ€™s most ambitious stories to date.Â A mysterious force named â€œAnonymousâ€ has been gathering together ALL of Sonicâ€™s enemies from the entire run of the book.Â The reader is treated to a hero/villain smack-down of â€œJustice League vs. Legion of Doomâ€-proportions.Â Itâ€™s very much a reward for long-time readers, as the Sonic the Hedgehog comic, while the writing-quality may fluctuate, has always had the best editors in the business.Â No scrap of continuity goes unaddressed, and this book makes magnificent use of its extensive continuity.Â But, as not to confuse new-comers, all important events are explained and there are plenty of editorâ€™s notes telling you which back issue to pick-up for the full story.
Archieâ€™s Sonic the Hedgehog title, after tripping over its own feet for quite some time, has finally begun to hit its stride once more.Â And what perfect timing, too; this being Sonicâ€™s 15th anniversary and all.Â I can thoroughly recommend this book to any Sonic fan, as it has finally turned into something worth reading again.