Silver, with his admiration for Whisper and absolute giddiness to be working with her. He's also easily flustered, as seen when Silver realizes he's making Whisper uncomfortable and his reaction when Blaze finds him gardening in the 2019 Annual issue.
There's also Tangle, whose constant enthusiasm and eagerness to be helping the Resistance is downright endearing. That's not to mention her fangirling over Blaze.
Eggman's first target in the Zombot arc is Windmill Village, the place where he was given a new home as Mr. Tinker. In his typical cruel fashion, he did so as "payment" for their kindness. Though since his discussion with Sonic later reveals a part of him actually missed being Mr. Tinker, targeting the village may have been an attempt (either deliberately or subconsciously) to burn that bridge and make sure he'd never go back.
Anti-Climax Boss: The endgame phase of each major story arc so far has featured at least one of these.
Neo Metal Sonic's new final form, Master Overlord. After proving to be a formidable foe in his base and Super forms, Neo Metal Sonic transforms into something that's supposed to be even stronger than the latter. Come the final battle in Issue #11, he's painfully slow, barely shows his newly-attained power, only inconveniences the heroes at worst, takes actual damage from non-Super attacks and is taken out in 14 pages. What makes this even worse is that he holds the Master Emerald, the jewel that surpasses the power of the Chaos Emeralds.
Most of the Deadly Six become this near the end of the Metal Virus saga, especially in Issue 28. Even though the Zeti are empowered by the Chaos Emeralds and command huge hordes of Zombots, five of the six are defeated in roughly an issue and a half's worth of pages.
None of the main characters who became Zombots suffer any psychological damage upon being turned back to normal, likely thanks to them not remembering any of their actions while they were Zombots.
Rouge in "Crisis City" and "All or Nothing". After Shadow becomes a Zombot and reduces Omega to just a head, Rouge is visibly upset and leaves Restoration HQ in a huff. Come Issue 25, however, she shows no psychological damage whatsover from her personal losses and is snooping around aboard the Faceship with nary a worry or care until the Deadly Six show up.
Arc Fatigue: The Metal Virus saga, the second major arc in the comic, concluded after 19.5 monthsnote 6 February 2019—23 September 2020 and 21 issuesnote the main arc in Issues 13-29 and the 2020 Annual, followed by the three-part epilogue in Issues 30-32, almost exactly two-thirds of the entire comic's run up to that point. This led to heavy fatigue, especially as the storyline constantly gets worse for the heroes while the villains remain borderline invincible until the third act. The saga ended up lasting even longer than planned due to mass-Schedule Slip, including a three-month hiatus in the spring of 2020 caused by the real-life COVID-19 pandemic.
IDW as a story feels like its author, Ian Flynn, trying to fix how the characters were portrayed in Sonic Forces.
Amy and Knuckles, while still keeping their role as leaders of the Resistance, slowly return to their established characterizations in an attempt to combine both roles. note Flynn has commented on Bumblecast that he felt Vector should have been the leader of the resistance rather than Knuckles, due to him feeling the echidna doesn't really work as a team leader. Tails likewise returns to his independant role, after Forces potrayed him as scaredy.
Metal Sonic and Zavok, two characters that were cloned by Infinite in Forces, receive focus in the comic. With Metal Sonic, the story explains what happened to him, since Forces decided to use a fascimile instead of the real deal or other Sonic doppelganges, and expand on both Eggman and Metal's relationship; with Zavok, Flynn fleshes the character out and returns him to his original characterization of a dangerous enemy to both Eggman and Sonic, and join a group of villains like Forcesled people to believe. Time will tell if this applies to Chaos.
Blaze was announced to appear within the fourth issue of the comics, after having been absent in Forces, which the comic takes place after.
Issue #7 is one for Sonic Heroes in that The Unfought Neo Metal Sonic and Sonic actually have an awesome one-on-one fight.
The entire Metal Virus Saga seems to be a clear effort to give Cream the Rabbit much needed focus after being one of few noteworthy characters left out of Sonic Forces, being replaced by the Chao (and Omochao) in Team Rose for Team Sonic Racing without even a namedrop in the story, and overall being one of the most Out of Focus characters in the franchise as of late. Cream's bravery and heroism being brought up by other characters and actively shown as well as her getting to fight Zeena and Zavok in Issue #27 and Issue #30 respectively might also be an attempt to refute the common perception of Cream being a weak and useless character. Ian Flynn had also received criticism from vocal Cream fans during the Archie Comics series for under-utilizing Cream after her introduction, particularly in the Reboot, which could make the Metal Virus Saga three levels of a saving throw for Cream's character!
Silver as a whole has been much more competent and no longer an Inspector Javert (as with previous depictions), but Issue 29 turns it Up to Elevenby having Silver finally go Super again after over a 14-year absence, showing just how powerful and intricate his psychokinesis is, and being integral to stopping the Metal Virus.
Issue #31 has Shadow reflecting on his actions from the Metal Virus saga, and acknowledges his poor judgment in ignoring Sonic's advice resulting in him being infected, which, despite actually being a watered down version of what was originally intended, still goes a long way in addressing the controversial nature of said actions among the fanbase.
The heroes' battle with Eggman in Issue #32 can be seen as addressing lingering complaints about unfavorable recent depictions of Sonic's friends in the games. Together, the Restoration, the Chaotix, Cream, Cheese, Gemerl, and Rouge put up a spectacular fight against a huge Eggman mech powered by Omega and do a real number on it, without help from Sonic or other powerful allies such as Knuckles, Shadow, Silver, and Blaze. Although Eggman eventually gains the upper hand, the heroes ultimately hold him off just long enough for Sonic to return and free Omega, who himself then gets chance to shine as he finishes the job.
Two of the major criticisms of the Metal Virus saga, as stated above and below, were the excessive length and excessively dower tone for the majority of it. The first arc immediately after it, "Chao Races and Badnik Bases" easily rectifies both with a much more manageable length of just 4 issues and a considerably lighter story and tone.
Awesome Art: HOO BOY. Where do we begin? Lets just start by saying that Tracy Yardley, Jennifer Hernandez, Evan Stanley, and Matt Herms, other fan favorites return to do the art for these comics. And the results are absolutely SPECTACULAR. Just about every issue and covers are packed to the brim with vibrant colors, highly expressive and well-designed characters, beautifully detailed backgrounds, and just a huge attention to detail in general. Even the detractors of the comic admit it is gorgeous to look at.
Tyson Hesse returned from the Archie Comics to do some promotional art and character designs, and his work is about as spectacular as youd expect.
Adam Bryce Thomas returns for Issue 2 to do the sketches, inks, and colors all by himself. The result is nothing short of gorgeous, with sprawling landscapes, a beautifully warm color palette, and some very expressive art and action sequences.
All the time Evan Stanley has spent sharpening her skills with her continued work on Ghosts of the Future really shows on her absolutely gorgeous covers (She's done covers for issues #4, #8 #12, and #16 so far)
Nathalie Fourdraine's retail incentive covers are highly expressive and boldly colorful paintings. Seeforyourself.
Newcomer artist Aaron Hammerstrom is amazing with a series of covers Cover B of #24 is an amazing work of pixel art managing to throwback to the Sonic Advance series, complete with a custom Tangle sprite!
Broken Base: The main conflict in the Sonic fanbase ever since the series inception has been how the series holds up against to the old Archie Comics series. While some fans find that the characters and the world being Truer to the Text of the games represents a welcome and refreshing clean slate after the at times very unwieldy and complicated backstory the Archie series had, other still fans misses said backstory exactly because the quirky weirdness of it gave the Archie comics a more distinct and memorable personality from other versions of the Sonic franchise, and they wish that the IDW comics could include at least some of that weirdness. There's also the often-mentioned SEGA mandates, with many under the belief that the restrictions imposed by SEGA (for example, the "classic" character being off-limits) hamper potential storytelling ideas.
Catharsis Factor: Issue #25 marks where Eggman finally loses control of the Zombots to the Deadly Six, finally allowing karma to strike him. Plus Starlines gambit to take control of the Deadly Six failing and how he ends up being fired by Eggman, losing his Warp Topaz in the process. After all he had done in bringing Eggman back and bringing in the Deadly Six in the first place, Sonic has no sympathy for him.
Issue #29; After running for over a year in real-time and things increasingly becoming hopeless for the heroes, the Zombot arc concludes at last: Sonic and Silver use the Chaos Emeralds and the Warp Topaz to cure all those infected and send all traces of the Metal Virus into the sun. Even better, Eggman gets infected with his own virus in the same issue, and while he never succumbs before Sonic and Silver save the day, his defeat is still one of his most humiliating ever. And he richly deserves it after all the hell he's put the world through.
Issue #30; Zavok is given a well-deserved beatdown by Cheese, Tangle, Whisper, Silver and the Chaotix after his curb-stomp defeat by Super Sonic. Given his actions throughout the Metal Virus saga and his status as The Scrappy among the fandom, it's very satisfying to see. Four of these characters were even controlled by Zavok when they were Zombots, which makes it better.
Character Rerailment: One of the most praised aspects of the comic is how it undoes a lot of the flanderization and derailment present in the games. Some of the characters are improved from the modern games' portrayals.
Tails being able to fight alongside Sonic and be proactive again is a welcomed change, and a step up from his unfavorable portrayals since Sonic Unleashed. Issue #31 kicks this up with Tails handling Sonic's absence at the time much better than in Sonic Forces.
Knuckles returns to his duties as the Master Emerald guardian, and heavy focus is placed on that role in the first arc, as opposed to the games that heavily toned down his guardian duties (and shows like Sonic Boom, which removed that aspect entirely).
Sonic, who returns to the more careful trickster that prefers to work alone to keep his friends safe; compare this to the games incarnation, who not only snarks it up like no tomorrow but allows his impulsiveness to screw him and the others over a few times.
Amy, whose portrayals have teetered between flat at best and stalkerish at worst, has a more well-rounded depiction that combines her sweetheartedness and Sonic-loving side from the earlier games with the more competent and subdued portrayals from later titles.
While Zavok wasn't well received in his debut game, there was criticism regarding his usage in Forces (even if that was a phantom) and Team Sonic Racing for returning him as a minion to Eggman despite being enemies. IDW ignores the later game, and acts as a proper sequel to Lost World, with Zavok returning as a proper menace with the use of the metal virus.
Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: While mostly being met with acclaim, the Metal Virus arc has gotten criticisms of this. Everything just kept getting worse with each passing issue, every seeming victory is instantlyundone, a multitude of heroes were infected (so to speak) with all the stress and trauma that entails, and even Sonic's friends were beginning to doubt him. Issue #24 is stated by Word of God to be the 'rock bottom' of the story arc, with the fan-favorite Tangle getting infected, and the villains on the cusp of controlling the Zombots. Given some fans wishes for darker Sonic storylines, this could be a case of Be Careful What You Wish For. Though for some, it's easy to argue this won't last, and things will look up eventually, especially with the mandates basically ensuring at least some of the affected characters are unlikely to stay infected. Likewise some argued it is a zombie story, so many should've known what they were getting into going into it.
Ensemble Dark Horse: One of the background characters in Issue #2 is a sheep called Lanolin, named by her artist, Adam Bryce Thomas. note Ian Flynn didn't give her a name, and she's listed as a villager in the script. She's getting a following due to her unique design and because she's adorable.
Evil Is Cool: Neo Metal Sonic has a cool design and uses his biodata copying to full advantage, unlike in Heroes where he didn't fight in his base form at all. Not only that, but he can also go Super, and later goes Master Overlord using the Master Emerald's powers.
Since this series has the same publisher as many other well-known licensed comics, fans of other IDW series such as The Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic have welcomed Sonics debut from the start, and this went a step further when the comic was well-received afterwards. More than a few fans have been clamoring for some sort of crossover between Sonic and any of these other properties. Especially since IDW is a pretty big fan of crossovers and has done quite a few of them.
Growing the Beard: While the first 15 issues or so were criticized for being formulaic, easy to predict, and having no real stakes to speak of, the Zombot arc added a genuinely creepy threat, an emotionally-charged plotline, and Sonic showing regret over past actions, which satisfied fans who wanted the comic to be more developed and thoughtful.
Harsher in Hindsight: The Metal Virus saga's "lowest point" couldn't have come at a worse time in real life, when the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak swept throughout Asia, including Sega's homeland Japan. Not helping matter is that by the time issue #25 and the final arc of the saga, All or Nothing, started releasing the entire world had at least one case of coronavirus, not unlike how nearly everyone in Sonics have been turned into zombies. Not to mention the comic got delayed for three months because of the real pandemic.
During the Worlds Collide crossover, one of the things that caused a falling out between Wily and Eggman was because Eggman tried to kill Dr. Light due to seeing him as a threat to their plans which Wily was utterly pissed about because he wanted to break Light's spirit rather than kill him. In Issue #14 of this series, Eggman gives a very similar rant to Starline about not wanting to directly kill Sonic because he wants to break Sonic's spirit.
Tangle is commonly interpreted as lesbian or at least attracted to females due to her fascinations and how she seems to mainly interact with them. With their interactions in Issue #4, the pairing of Tangle and Blaze (or Blazangle) became popular. Tangle and Whisper's friendship, and the fact they have their own miniseries, has made the pairing of them also popular.
Dr. Starline's obsession with Dr. Robotnik is often seen as at least partially romantic as he's absolutely enamored with the man. His reaction to Eggman giving him the boot is often compared to that of a jilted lover, Zavok even telling Starline "You don't need him."
Magnificent Bastard: Metal Sonic, having underwent upgrades during the events of Sonic Forces, discovers that the Eggman Empire has been defeated and that Eggman himself has gone missing. Shapeshifting into Eggman and ruling the empire in his place, Metal Sonic leads coordinated attacks across the world while searching for Eggman to have him regain his place as ruler of the Empire. After discovering that Knuckles is on the surface from his observations of Sonic, Metal Sonic takes over the unprotected Angel Island and obtains the Master Emerald, ensuring that he'll be able to negate Sonic's Super form if he tries to use it. Even when defeated, the mercy of the heroes allows Metal Sonic to find the amnesiac Eggman and succesfully restore his memories leading Eggman to return to his old ways. After the events of the Metal Virus, Metal Sonic single-handedy buys time for Eggman to escape by lying in wait and critically injuring Gemerl when the latter is about to apprehend Eggman. Proving to be as cunning as he was during Sonic Heroes while maintaining his loyalty to the doctor, Metal Sonic shows why Eggman views him as his greatest creation.
Misblamed: Shadow, and to a lesser extent, Omega's, characterizations have been a point of controversy in the fanbase, with writer Ian Flynn getting the blame for it.
Shadow's characterization as an loner arrogant rival with temper problems, which many remark is similar to Vegeta from Dragon Ball Z is blamed on Ian. Shadow's characterization is a mandate by Sega.
Omega's characterization with him saying quippy one liners was blamed by some fans as Flynn trying to make Omega into a "meme lord". In general, Omega has always been a hammy character barring one exception, (heck, BioWare turned him into an expy of HK-47in their game), with his debut making him say one-liners like "WORTHLESS CONSUMER MODELS!" while smashing Eggman's robots. If anything, Flynn's characterization in IDW is toned down from the more comical Archie version of Omega, who was more cartoonish.
Moe: Due to just about every character having their fair share of Adorkable moments, along with the way they are occasionally drawn, there are more than a few instances where EVERYONE can be seen as this. Comic-exclusive characters such as Tangle, Whisper, and Jewel tend to get these reactions the most from fans.
Charmy's Zombot form. As horrific as it is to see the poor kid fall victim to the Metal Virus (and in fact, he's the first major character to do so), he's still somehow too cute and dopey-looking after his infection to be scary at all.
Cheese and Chocola are also this after they become Zombots, resembling miscolored Dark Chao at the very worst.
Big's Zombot form ultimately falls into this, too. The artwork makes him look somewhat intimidating at first, but a closer look in Issue #29 reveals he's even less scary as a Zombot than Charmy.
Like in Sonic Forces, the comic having Sonic's world be separate from the human world seen in the Adventure games has raised a few eyebrows. However, Ian Flynn explained out in a Q&A that, even though it's never been brought up in-game, the "Two Worlds" canon has been part of Sonic's official lore since Sonic Adventure. He also pointed that this is why Sonic X also separated Sonic's world and the human world.
The explication as for why some of the Wisps are still present in Sonic's world was first officially stated in the story mode of Sonic Runners (which admittedly wasn't taken as canon at the time, being a mobile game and all, and was ultimately delisted from mobile stores after a few years).
Metal Sonic stated that after the events of Sonic Heroes, Dr. Eggman repaired Metal Sonic and removed the rebelliousness from his coding, this was first stated in the official Japanese website SONIC CHANNEL, explaining that after Heroes, Metal Sonic was 'punished' by Eggman by having his AI chip reprogrammed to return him back to the status of the loyal and obedient robot.note His Wild Card role in Sonic Free Riders notwithstanding
The Metal Virus Saga involves Sonic being affected by a technology-based virus which is slowly turning him into metal. Roboticization was a frequent concept used in the cartoons and Archie comics, the main difference being it happened immediately. In fact, during a brief period in the Karl Bollers run of Archie Sonic, Eggman was able to robotize anyone if he touch them, akin to King Midas from Greek Mythology.
At the climax of the Metal Virus saga, Sonic seemingly vanished after he destroyed the Metal Virus when the Warp Topaz exploded, but later returned alive and well. Something similar happened in the Archie comic in issue 125, when Sonic seemingly sacrificed himself to destroy the Quantum Dial, but later returned alive and well. Unlike in Archie, however, where Sonic was flung into the far reaches of the universe, and spent an entire year trying to get home, while everyone else believed him to be dead, IDWs Sonic had him land conveniently in Blazes palace in the Sol Dimension (albeit with a brief case of amnesia) where he quickly recovered and returned home, and a few characters expected that he would return eventually.
Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: The Deadly Six were widely despised by the fans for being generic, one-dimensional villain stereotypes without any real character behind them. Prior attempts to rectify the situation were undermined by limited screentime or storylines that didnt fully justify their presence. As villains in the comic proper, however, they're written as being far less comical and considerably more terrifying as they usurp control of the Metal Virus from Eggman and become the new Big Bads of the arc.
Zavok especially has gotten this, thanks to the Bad Guys miniseries putting more focus on him as a character and allowing more emphasis on his cunning side.
Silver/Whisper has become popular since their debut in Issue #8.
Tangle/Whisper, also known as "Whispangle", which arose in the wake of their miniseries.
In the weeks preceding Belle's full debut in Issue #34, fans began shipping her with Tails after Evan Stanley posted some preliminary sketches of them interacting. Said issue's release on 11 November 2020 sealed the deal.
Signature Scene: Shadow's rather poor showing against the Zombots in Issue #19 that gets him turned into one of them himself. This scene has since become one of the comic's most notorious moments.
In Issue #24, Sonic and Tangle create an anti-Zombot tripwire using Tangle's tail, stretching it to the limit and causing Tangle to exclaim that Sonic's going to pull her butt off. Yeah, the less thought about that, the better. To say nothing of what happens to Tangle at the end of the same issue...
Zavok's giant form, as seen in Issues #28-29, is much uglier in this comic than in Sonic Lost World. The swollen veins that appear on his chest and limbs are particularly nasty.
Some of the more diehard fans of the original Archie series dislike this series, as the Freedom Fighters aren't in it and the tone is closer to the games. Many of those fans were hoping at the least this comic would be a re-imagining of the old comic, but once it was clear it was a full-on new universe with none of the old (or even new) Archie universe comic stylings, those hopes were completely squashed.
The news that some of the game characters were forbidden by SEGA for being used because of the now separate dimensions of classic Sonic and modern Sonic, such as Mighty, Ray and the Hooligans (Nack/Fang, Bean, and Bark), did not go over well. Many fans find it utterly ridiculous for SEGA to restrict themselves like that, especially since those characters (or in the Hooligans' case their designs) did appear in Mania for the first time in decades.note Especially when classic stages, such as the infamously overused Green Hill Zone, are seemingly fair game. That Ian Flynn himself pointed out there was a time when he wasn't even allowed to use Cream and Omega in the Archie series and things might change in the future did little to mitigate this, though G-Mel, Cream, and her family eventually appeared.
Fans of Shadow have expressed disappointment in several mandates involving him that greatly affect his characterization, mostly notably an incident in issue #19 that was rewritten to make him come off as overconfident and rash, and a reveal from Word of God that, according to Sega, Shadow apparently doesn't consider Rouge and Omega as friends. That said, he is still considered to have some stand-out moments, including an Author's Saving Throw for the issue #19 debacle.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Sonic's amnesia only lasted for two issues, even though it was an interesting idea that could've had long-term effects for the story. It came and went so quick that one might question why it even happened at all. And apparently, so did the comic itself, as that plot point wasn't even mentioned in issue 32's recap page◊.
Ugly Cute: Belle comes off as this to some fans, being an obvious marionette which would be off-putting compared to the other characters, yet the childish leprechaun-like look makes up for it.
Unexpected Character: Fans were surprised when solicitations for issue #18 showed that Gemerl would debut as his game counterpart, G-Merl, had only appeared in one game from 2004. It was especially noticeable that he appeared before other more well-known Sonic characters like E-123 Omega or Big the Cat. Though with Flynn's use of Gemerl at the tail end of his Archie run and IDW's much smaller character pool to draw from meant his appearance wasn't completely out of left field.
The Tangle and Whisper miniseries has an Ax-Crazy murderer as the main antagonist, who betrayed andslaughtered the Diamond Cutters,note their demise is being killed by Shadow Androids rather than the expected hacking-and-slashing, but still whom Whisper was part of, in the past and is now trying to hunt down and kill Whisper and her friends.