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Review: Sonic Universe Volume 1: The Shadow Saga

Shadow the Hedgehog, the dark and grim Ultimate Life form, embarks on his first mission for the Guardian Units of the Nation! He will travel across time and space, fighting deadly killer robots and facing down beings of godlike power! At his side will be the brilliant and alluring Rouge the Bat and the walking arsenal E-123 Omega. Together they form Team Dark, and they’ll show no mercy to anything—or anyone—in their way!

Review: Sonic Universe Volume 1: The Shadow Saga
Written by Ian Flynn; Art by Tracy Yardley
All ages
Archie Comics, September 2011
ISBN: 978-1879794863
144 pgs., $11.95

Sonic Universe was the first ongoing spin off from the long running Sonic the Hedgehog comic series. In an anthology-like setup, it puts the spotlight on different characters from the Sonic comics and gives them their own stories. The first story arc revolves around Shadow the Hedgehog, who first appeared as the antagonist in the video game Sonic Adventure 2 but soon became one of Sonic’s Allies. It collects issues #1-4.

“The Shadow Saga” begins with Shadow chasing the evil Metal Sonic, when they appear on a different world. He is trying to convince Metal Sonic to shake off the control of Dr. Robotnik and join him, one living weapon to another. Metal Sonic doesn’t see things his way and Shadow is left in the ocean, where he meets Blaze the Cat and Marine the Raccoon. The pair rescue him and help him find Metal Sonic. Shadow works for G.U.N., Guardian Units for the Nation, an organization with the goal of protecting Mobius. Shadow is on a mission for them to find chaos emeralds and is sidetracked by Metal Sonic.

The rest of the volume consists of Shadow going on other missions and recruiting other Mobians to join the G.U.N. cause. Rouge the Bat is a spy who is working with them as part of a deal to stay out of jail. Omega is a robot arsenal sent to destroy Gamma, a robot with a soul, but ends up joining Shadow when Gamma transfers his soul to him. Hope Kintobor is the genius mechanic and inventor supporting Team Dark. Overseeing them all is Commander Abraham Tower, who is also Commander of G.U.N. With Team Dark complete, the trio go to the Special Zone to take the chaos gem there.

While this story is about bringing Team Dark together, it is also about Shadow accepting his past and moving on. His past is a tragic one, where his memories were altered and he was tricked into working for the bad guys. In this volume, Shadow is shown to be trying to make up for some of his past and to help others like him, other living weapons, to realize they can be more. Shadow is an angst-ridden character, and he carries the emo well. It’s one of his more appealing characteristics. He still feels guilty over the death of Maria Robotinik, the granddaughter of Gerald Robotnik, Shadow’s creator. He seems to shed a little of this guilt by the end, or at least he accepts it’s okay to fail every once in a while.

Sonic Universe: The Shadow Saga is a great jumping on point into the Sonic Universe. You don’t have to have known what went on in previous issues to know what is going on, though issues are referenced in case you want to look something up. The back of the volume contains some bonus features with short comic strips, data files on all the members of Team Dark and Blaze the Cat, as well as a history of Metal Sonic. Even though they are called Team Dark, there is more angst to the stories, and the art isn’t dark at all. It is bright and more on the light side for the shadowy figures that inhabit the story. It’s perfect for any graphic novel or all ages collection.


Lori Henderson About Lori Henderson

Lori Henderson is a mother of two teenage daughters and an avid reader. She blogs about manga at her personal blog Manga Xanadu as well as contributing and editing for Manga Village. She blogs about all things fandom (mainly Doctor Who) at her other personal blog Fangirl Xanadu. She's been at it so for over 5 years now and counting!

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