Sonic the Hedgehog Fang the Hunter 1 Featured Reviews 

“Sonic the Hedgehog: Fang the Hunter” #1

By | January 18th, 2024
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

A classic villainous trio branches out on their own in the first part of this treasure hunting miniseries!

Cover by Aaron Hammerstrom
Written by Ian Flynn
Illustrated by Mauro Fonseca
Inked by Rik Mack
Colored by Valentina Pinto
Lettered by Shawn Lee

Long have legends swirled of the mysterious and fantastic power of… the eighth Chaos Emerald! At least, that’s the rumor Fang the Hunter has heard. And he’s going to track this treasure down with a little help from his gang, Bark the Polar Bear and Bean the Dynamite! First stop: that Chaos Emerald expert himself, Sonic the Hedgehog! The first Classic-era Sonic the Hedgehog miniseries from IDW featuring the jerky jerboa from Sonic Superstars: Fang the Hunter! A Fang 30th anniversary special event!

Be he called Fang the Hunter, Fang the Sniper, or Nack the Weasel (never mind that he is not a weasel), the eponymous jerboa-wolf hybrid of “Sonic the Hedgehog: Fang the Hunter” #1 is a character with very few appearances overall. His concept is rather simple, as is his team’s antagonism to Sonic and his friends, with him being the Sonic equivalent in his trio. However, due to the policies around the Sonic franchise, characters from the pre-3D “Classic” era like Fang and his allies Bean the Dynamite (a woodpecker) and Bark the Polar Bear do not get a lot of opportunities to show up, let alone to distinguish themselves from the plethora of other Sonic antagonists. As such, it was rather surprising to hear that Fang would be receiving top billing (figuratively speaking) on a miniseries in the IDW comics. With his disparate appearances and lacking popularity among all but the closest fans, how does the greedy treasure hunter make his mark under this creative team?

Ian Flynn is, as ever, a great choice for this miniseries as its writer. Flynn is a veteran of the “Sonic the Hedgehog” comics since before their transfer to IDW Publishing, along with more recently being a writer on the source video game series, and definitely knows the characters and personalities at work inside and out. Furthermore, he has experience with this specific treasure hunting trio, having written their only major appearance to date in three IDW Publishing comics: the ‘Seasons of Chaos’ story in “Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary Special” #1. While there is a showing from the usual heroes, he makes careful use of them to help place Fang and his gang within the wider Classic Sonic world, having Fang, Bean, and Bark be relatively incompetent and perhaps unsympathetic, but nonetheless very entertaining to watch. Sure, the impetus for the story comes across as nonsense, but being aware of that is part of the fun.

On the downside, some readers may find Flynn’s reliance on incompetence and slapstick comedy to be tiresome, especially when Sonic and his friend Miles “Tails” Prower each deal with individual members of the gang quite easily. Rather than being just an underdog story, it may seem like a group who simply never will gain any respect. Similarly, the gang can come across as one-note, from Bark being a strong, silent type to Bean being a childish bomb-crazy mad-bird. However, Flynn does seem to at least try to address their lack of much to work with, with the two relative subordinates wondering why they keep working together, but it does not seem to truly amount to much at all. In general, the issues seem to come less from a lack of skill as a writer, and more from a lack of preexisting material to work with.

Mauro Fonseca’s illustrations, aided by the inks of Rik Mack, bring this script to life, flaws and all. Sure, there are potential problems (as mentioned before), but the art style is so lively that these hiccups come across as somewhat endearing. Action-oriented and exaggerated, the style fits well to Sonic as a whole, blending earlier tales’ more simplified characters with enhanced detail and expressiveness.

Fonseca and Mack’s use of perspective on various shots helps to really bring out the life in these panels. A slapstick explosion gag is shown at a distance, while quasi-sinister stalkers are given deep shadows and closer panels just behind them.

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At times, characters’ proportions are deliberately stretched to showcase their sheer speed, not unlike Sonic’s iconic dashes, making for a comedic, panicked appearance rather than seeming disturbing. Together with expressions straight out of a Looney Tunes short, especially from an increasingly frantic Fang himself, the comedy almost writes itself.

Valentina Pinto’s colors help keep the violence and suspense from ever being overbearing, not to mention making the story seem as though it was drawn out of the video games themselves. Sure, there are darker parts (literally speaking, anyway), but by and large the bright hues are enough to make many a fan smile, especially in a flashback montage of sorts going over the gang’s previous misadventures. Meanwhile, the shading is realistic enough to pull the characters of the Classic world closer to their Modern incarnations, bridging a gap that may seem all but impossible for a wide variety of fans.

Final Verdict: 7.0 – Some one-note writing aside, this seems to be the start of a rather good miniseries.

Gregory Ellner

Greg Ellner hails from New York City. He can be found on Twitter as @GregoryEllner or over on his Tumblr.