Issue 34 of Sonic the Hedgehog released this week, continuing the “Chao Races & Badnik Bases” arc written by Evan Stanley.
Sonic and Tails continue on their mission to gather data to help rebuild Omega. Amy, Rouge, Cream, and Cheese are determined to win the Chao races to get parts for Omega. Shadow also has his own plans of investigating the rumors about Eggnet.
Story & Characters
The story continues with the girls eating breakfast at their hotel. Cream worries about Rouge since she hasn’t came back the last night they were there. Amy comforts Cream telling her that Rouge can take care of herself. Which is true. Rouge has dealt with many dangerous situations before and came out fine. Rouge comes back startling Amy as she came out of nowhere. Rouge is very likable in this arc so far. She is very friendly and calm with some classiness on the side. Amy is more upbeat and very expressive. She just wants to have fun with her friends. Both Rouge and Amy are like big sisters to Cream. They help guide her and comfort her when she needs it. Gemerl continues to be Cream’s protector and is willing to help her too. Cream encourages Cheese to win the races and they still are the cutest duo in the cast.
Rouge being late to the party is a bit suspicious. There is speculation that she got kidnapped in #33. When Shadow was fighting the hooded character, they were holding something or someone in their other arm. Part of the thing they were holding looks like Rouge’s head. In this issue, there is a panel that helps support this theory. Rouge looks a bit suspicious after claimed she will call Tails. She has a darker tone than the others and telling by her eyes she looks a bit serious. Though this can be a bit of a stretch since we don’t see her mouth. She could be smiling but we don’t see that so we don’t know. Also, during the second half of the issue, it focuses on Sonic and Tails. Throughout that part, Tails hasn’t received a call from Rouge like she said she would. She probably will end up calling Tails some time in #35.
Shadow in the IDW Sonic comics has gotten a lot of flak since issue #19. But I feel like he’s alright in this arc so far. Shadow has been focusing on his investigation, and after what happened last issue, he’s more determined to get to his goal.
After getting his lead, Shadow travels to Clutch’s collection room and finds something terrible and his friend Omega. It seems that Shadow doesn’t know about Rouge’s plan to trick Clutch. But Luckily he has Omega to get him in on the details. And Shadow has a new plan after learning about what he just discovered about Clutch. To spill the beans, Shadow found a cage full of Chao kept by Clutch. Later when Rouge follows through her plan, Shadow comes out to kick Clutch in the face when the codeword is said.
Something that bugs me a little bit about this is that it wasn’t really specified how or when Rouge knew about Shadow’s new plan. This could be a nitpick but it’s something that I feel like could have been explained.
Switching over to Sonic & Tails, Sonic is being a goofball playing with the plushies in the base. Tails is trying his best to get into Eggman’s data. Sonic is pretty bored in there, declaring the mission to be the least fun trip to an Eggman base he’s ever been on. When he kicks a bolt, it hits something and a voice comes out. This gets Sonic and Tails’ attention pretty quickly. This is when Belle first appears.
Sonic thinks Belle is a Badnik and takes this as a fun opportunity to pull out name puns to guess what her name was and then destroy her. Belle seems to be a bit acrobatic, but she barely manages to dodge Sonic’s attacks. Tails is the first to notice that Belle isn’t a Badnik and tries to tell Sonic she isn’t one but he doesn’t listen. Sonic soon finally hears Belle out and calms down, claiming he gets a bit squirrely when he’s cooped up inside. I guess we know why we don’t see Sonic stay in the same building for a while.
While getting to know each other a little bit, Belle wants to find her father assures them that her father is not Eggman. Belle is an interesting character so far. Her design is unique and she has a gentle and kind personality. She doesn’t want to fight, she has shown she’d rather get out of one than be in one.
The security in the base gets turned on and things go down south. An army of Badniks showed up to stop the heroes. Sonic comes up with a plan to get out of the room but while Sonic and Tails are distracted, a Badnik tries to capture Tails, until Belle pushes him out of the way and gets herself taken instead. Tails is quick to destroy the bot and save Belle back. The issue ends with Sonic telling Belle that they need her help so they can all get out of there.
The story in this issue so far is pretty good. I see any glaring flaws at all. This is one of my favorite issues in this series so far. If there was anything I had against the story, I think they would be minor nitpicks. Evan Stanley has been doing a good job so far and I can’t wait for the next two issues of this arc.
The art in this issue is once again done by Evan Stanley and colored by Reggie Graham. I think these two make a great team when it comes to art. Evan Stanley’s art is amazing and remains to be one of my favorite artists for the comic. The characters in this issue are extremely expressive thanks to her and as an artist, I’m extremely jealous of how good the hands look. Her backgrounds have a good amount of detail put into them and the angles are good as well. Reggie Graham’s coloring style in this arc is fantastic. There are so many different variations for different colors in these issues and last issue. I haven’t seen any dull colors so far and they all help set the tone. A minor problem I have so far with the coloring is when it’s nighttime, I feel like the colors are a little bit too bright but it’s still fine the way it is.
Overall, I think Sonic The Hedgehog #34 is a really good read with great character interaction and characterization. With the addition of outstanding artwork, it’s something you should definitely take a look at. The same can be said for Issue 33. I can’t wait for the next installment in this arc and the conclusion of Chao Races & Badnik Bases!