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Sonic the Hedgehog IDW Comic Megathread

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Dark Sonic, Jan 22, 2018.

  1. Talking about if he should have stayed dead or not is pointless; its been twenty fucking years already, he ain't going anywhere.


    I'm not gonna act like I've loved every single one of Shadow's appearances in current Sonic media, and I've called out when he's used badly too. But he's pretty inoffensive now days that whenever I see people get up in arms about him, it just always confuses me. And like, don't get me wrong, a Shadow that's well-written is one of my favorite characters, but that doesn't mean I need to hyperfixate on whenever he's written poorer than usual.

    Its not the 2000's anymore; that age where characters had multiple, game-spanning character arcs ain't here no more. Its all about that static characterization, for better or worse.
     
  2. TheCleanerDragon

    TheCleanerDragon

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    "Taking his personality too far" is really the big problem I have with Shadow. I don't dislike his character, but I think the IDW comic takes it too far too often.
     
  3. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    I don't think it's very useful to describe a complaint as "pointless" on a dedicated Sonic fan forum where, by definition, the overwhelming majority of all discussion that goes on is lacking any clear or direct effect. Do you think we are going to manifest striking new character directions by saying the word "Vegeta" over and over? Nobody is under the impression that SEGA is going to retroactively reverse their decisions from Sonic Heroes, but it is totally valid to say that Shadow was a character with an arc that began and finished in SA2, and the laundry list of problems he's faced since then stem from a lack of clear direction for where to take him after that.
     
  4. Yea, but what you described is different from what I said. There's a difference between "This character character hasn't had a direction in a long time, and its affecting his current appearances" versus "This character would have 100% been better off had he stayed dead" I'm not saying the latter isn't a valid stance to have, but there's not much room for discussion off such a point. Obviously Shadow probably would be a much better remembered character had he died in SA2 as intended, but that doesn't relate to the character's current depictions right now.

    I feel like the discussion should be more focused around how to improve his current appearances as opposed to just saying that he should have just died.
     
  5. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    I mean, I guess? But looking back at it, I think Overlord was mostly just making a joke about exactly how tired the entire conversation is and is probably always going to be.
     
  6. Overlord has also never bothered to contribute to these conversations because he just hates Shadow, period.

    Like I'm tired of him being a talking point too, but it's not like I'm just gonna stop discussing it because of it.
     
  7. Overlord

    Overlord

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    I wouldn't say I hate Shadow, he's far from the worst character the series has dredged up. But yes, I do still think a disservice was done by not letting his arc finish at the end of SA2, it somewhat cheapened it and as noted, the character has drifted ever since into yes, the Vegeta-clone that is constantly brought up whenever this topic comes up for discussion. And there's a difference between "never bothered to contribute" and not really being bothered about which way they go with the character.

    also was the :V not a hint about the comment not being 100% serious
     
  8. Starduster

    Starduster

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    I find it odd that wanting Shadow to be written a particular way is a bad thing. Like yeah, we want him written in a way that doesn't do a disservice to his previously established character. Shadow's generally had a bit of an arrogance to him since his debut, but since the 10s it's become the forefront of his character. I think part of what works about Shadow in SA2 (and was enhanced in Heroes and 06, maybe Battle too but my memory's foggy on how he's written there), not to mention the Archie comics, is that, yeah, he does look like an evil Sonic knock off, but he subverts that. In SA2 and Heroes because he's tortured by a crisis of identity that makes his antagonism understandable, then in 06 and Archie by a strong sense of justice and an earnest desire to protect.

    And this was initially the case in IDW, too! Shadow wanted to kill Mr. Tinker because of the risk he posed of turning back into Eggman. It's not a moral stance I agree with but it spoke to those elements of Shadow's character. By the time we get to the Metal Virus saga, that's almost entirely gone. Shadow berates Sonic for not listening to him and pins the Metal Virus on him, which again I think is in line with his character, but his ego is severly inflated from this point out. In the original script, Shadow's logic for trying to take on the Zombots was that, as a potentially immortal lifeform created to cure disease, he should be resistant to illness and infection. I think that's a sound assessment for him to have of the situation, one which was unfortunately incorrect because the Metal Virus isn't a traditional virus.

    Instead, what we got is him trying to do what Sonic does (and was at that time paying the price for) through sheer ego, believing that he'd be fine simply because he's the strongest, a notion that continues even as he realises he's being infected. He screws over himself and others in the process in order to satisfy his own ego and it makes him look like a complete tool (side note, this is parallel to Cell Saga Vegeta, not Namek Saga - I could give that its own handful of sentences but it'd be getting away from the point).

    Jump to the present and we have what I don't like about the 900th Adventure. It's all about Shadow's ego. At this point there's only the slightest semblance of serving a greater purpose here, and Shadow's main driver is just about proving his own superiority and doing better than Sonic. There's not even a suggestion that he believes he should be the one to take the Warp Topaz because it's a danger in Sonic's hands, but because it personally slights him that Sonic, who Shadow implies is a fool, is has such power in his possession. The idea that Shadow doesn't even have respect for Sonic at this point is just...????

    So yeah I don't see the problem of wanting a character to be written a certain way when the way he's currently being written is a degradation of what we had before that only serves to make him shallow and uninteresting.
     
  9. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    We do focus on how to improve his current appearances, then you complain about us 'nit-picking every single line'.
     
  10. Fair enough, Apologize if it felt like I was jumping at you. I'm more annoyed the overreactions whenever Shadow does literally anything...

    As mentioned, its getting to a point where everything Shadow does is being scrutinized regardless of content or intent. It's incredibly limiting whenever a writer uses him to be met with swaves of "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG".

    Its the same type of people who nitpick every artist's artstyle for the comic for being "off-model".

    Like I said, you can find a balance between constructive criticism and just nitpicking, and that's something I don't think a lot of people understand about Sonic when they criticize it.


    I think there's a bit of difference when Shadow's actions in the Metal Virus arc actively made things worse versus him having a single line of dialogue and then quickly leaving the story right after is what I'm saying. One has consequences for the rest of the story (ones that Shadow himself acknowledged when its all said and done) and the other inconsequential to the story it's in.

    This conversation got started at complaints about one line of dialogue. Its fine to have complaints, but we're reaching a level of inflexibility here.

    Because the only metric people have for writing Shadow "well" basically boils down to "Write like 06, write like SA2" but neither of those games are particularly relevant in the current scope of the series. So how exactly is one supposed to do that?
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2023
  11. Starduster

    Starduster

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    Shadow's appearance in the book is a very short one, so what I'm critcising is put into even sharper relief because it constitutes more of his role, unlike, say, his role in Urban Warfare which does attempt to give a more rounded portrayal of his character. There's no minimum length something needs to met to be critiqued and I'd argue that it's stifling of discussion that we need to meet some arbitrary standard in order to not be dismissed as nitpicking. If this were the only time this had happened with Shadow throughout the entire book we probably wouldn't even be talking about it. As it stands, we are talking about it because it represents a trend. And you've pretty much missed the point of my criticism anyway. I was never criticising that Shadow's actions made things worse for the heroes - that's often an interesting development for the story. My issue is how those actions were presented and rationalised and the impact that has had on Shadow's character.

    Hell, let's bring back the Dragon Ball comparison. Contrary to what might be inferred from people complaining that Shadow is being written like Cell Saga Vegeta, that iteration of Vegeta is actually a really interesting character who's pivotal to the development of that plot. Vegeta going rogue to allow Cell to absorb 18 and attain perfection, almost resulting in the destruction of Earth and the entire cast, was a conclusion that occurred in an organic manner and played off various character dynamics and personalities, Vegeta's first and foremost. Cell knew he couldn't take Vegeta in a straight fight and was getting desperate to achieve his perfection. However, give that Vegeta was a part of him, he knew about Vegeta's fatal flaws of pride and insecurity, which he took advantage of by proposing to Vegeta that, by denying Cell his perfection, Vegeta was squandering the opportunity to fight and besting a strong opponent, something that drives Vegeta. To sweeten the deal, he even suggests that Goku couldn't offer the same kind of challenge, further pushing Vegeta's buttons. It springboards off of the grudge Vegeta has held since the Saiyan Saga, deepened by the events of the Namek Saga, where, not only was Vegeta humiliated by Freeza, he was forced to swallow his pride to work with the earthlings when realising he was out of his depth. I could further elaborate but I think I've gotten my point across.

    Compare and contrast with Shadow refusing to heed Sonic's advice about running, misinterpeted to mean a retreat. Shadow's response was that cowards run and he wins. What does this tell us about Shadow? He's got a superiority complex, like Vegeta, and is obsessed with winning, like Vegeta. But where does that come from? Sure, Shadow's got a long-standing rivalry with Sonic, but that's pretty much born of his respect for Sonic as a worthy opponent in SA2 (a respect which is implicitly not there when Shadow dismisses Sonic's advice out of hand). And since when has Shadow cared about how people view him? When told in 06 that he would only end up being betrayed by humanity in the future, his response is that he'll still fight for the world, like he always has. Shadow, as he was written up until the 10s, was not a character driven by ego, and his presentation in recent times ultimately contradicts that. "Character assassination" is a term frequently bandied about in this community, and I don't like that, but there Shadow is one of a very small selection of characters that I feel such an complaint accurately maps to, because there's just no cohesion between what was and what now is.


    I have literally done that in my previous post, which you've just dismissed as nitpicking. And I've not asked that he just be written like one game or another. What I have done is laid out what we've learned about Shadow through this games and how those events have informed his character. There's a broad line between that simply repeating plot beats and character arcs that we've already done (ironically a complaint often levelled at Vegeta since the advent of modern Dragon Ball). What I am asking is that the history of the character be respected. If the history of a character we've experienced ceases to matter and inform the character, what's the point of that character continuing to exist?
     
  12. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    We used the line because it's the most blatant level its reached, with him literally saying "my superior hands".

    If you've not noticed, I've repeatedly noted in such conversations various aspects about Shadow's character: I don't like him being punch-happy and overly aggressive towards Sonic, I don't like him flaunting his "ultimate lifeform" status every chance he gets where the 'normal' cast are hesitating.

    I point to Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) simply because it's the last place we saw him as a major character with focus: there, we saw he can be focused to a fault (refusing to talk to Rouge about the thing in her hands, just focusing on doing his side of the mission), loyal to his friends those two he teams up on a regular, accepting missions from the President of the United Federation, immediately jumping in to help Sonic (I'm fairly certain his current characterisation would jump into Silver's cutscene to punch Sonic), and when he realises something isn't right he entrusts Rouge and Omega to monitor while he goes off to do further research on the issue.

    Current Shadow jumps into zombies because "I'm the ultimate lifeform!!1!!"
    Current Shadow demands everything be left to his "superior hands".
    Current Shadow sees a vision of Sonic trapped in a sphere and decides Sonic's going to wipe everything, better go punch him.

    I'm not saying limit his character to what we see above, but grow and develop that. Not make him this constantly hostile thing that will throw himself at anything or attempt to attack Sonic on the flimsiest pretense.
     
  13. Shadow is also a character that's been easily manipulated by others in the past and has literally been bred to be perfect. He is motivated as much by his own sense of duty and justice as much by his own ego. Its not completely out of the realm of possibility that he would take actions purely based on his own ego than simply be pragmatic, it's a matter what the story is presenting at the time. Like I said, I have admitted that Shadow has not been utilized as effectively as he could be in the comics, but I also recognize the author's intent too, even if it didn't exactly land.

    Flynn has talked about that he intended for Shadow's hubris to be his undoing and I don't think its necessarily wrong to do that, because while the history of the character is important, it doesn't mean suddenly that all of their character flaws just vanish into thin air. Shadow should be allowed to make mistakes and fuck up without the fanbase going up in arms about it, he should be able to act like a jackass without fans going off is basically what I'm saying.

    Sonic 06 was also the last time Shadow was a major protagonist and the focus of the story was on him attempting to deflect Mephiles' temptations to turn on humanity. This is what I meant when I said that you guys aren't paying attention to the context of the story and what's actually happening.

    Shadow is not a major protagonist in IDW, but a semi-prominent recurring antihero foil to Sonic. There isn't a figure like Mephiles that plays as Shadow's foil to highlight his more positive traits and reinforce them. I completely understand WHY everyone defaults to that depiction since that is Shadow at his most realized and ideal as a character, but that's not how the character is presented nowadays.


    So if the problem is that Shadow isn't being depicted like he was in 06, then I don't know what else to say to that; this isn't 06 and that era where Shadow was a major deuteragonist alongside Sonic isn't really applicable to what IDW is at this time. Maybe you think Shadow SHOULD be a deuteragonist again and be a mostly upright hero, but that's not the type of story the writers are doing right now.

    Shadow plays such a small role in the 900th Adventure book that I don't even consider even worth criticizing, but I guess I'm alone in thinking that way.
     
  14. BlackHole

    BlackHole

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    So, what, if a character isn't a main character any more, that's Carte Blanche for how they act?

    Just because he's no longer a deuteragonist with his own antagonist doesn't mean he can suddenly become a completely different character.

    I pointed to three instances of Shadow's behaviour in IDW (and Sonic Prime) that contradict his previous actions established in the games.

    Shadow jumps into the Zombots, outright ignoring advice in favour of his status as the Ultimate Lifeform, even though he outright states he knows not to let them touch him.
    Actually, the more I look at this one, the more I realise it doesn't counteract any specific instance, it's just the height of stupidity: he outright states he knows not to let them touch him, so he... dives into the middle of them. For no actual reason beyond "Destroy Eggman's army. What else?" And then reacts as if it's absolutely impossible for him to be infected because "Ultimate Lifeform".
    Closest I can think is his ignoring Rouge when she tries to talk about the Scepter of Darkness because it doesn't pertain to his actual mission of getting her to the rendezvous point. He had no interest in fighting Eggman's army beyond getting her to where she needed to be.

    Shadow demands Sonic hand the Warp Topaz over to his 'superior hands'.
    Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), instead of taking over Rouge's mission and collecting the Sceptre of Darkness from her, he leaves it in her care since he's just trying to get her to the rendezvous point.

    Shadow sees a vision of Sonic trapped in a sphere and immediately jumps to Sonic going to wipe everyone out decides to punch him.
    Shadow the Hedgehog, Shadow sees a vision of a G.U.N. soldier shooting Maria, and instead of assuming G.U.N. is a villain group and punching them, decides "I have no idea what's going on, but I'm going to brood on this hill until I can figure out what the hell that's all about."

    Of those three examples, current Shadow would just wipe out White Acropolis, take the Scepter, deliver it to G.U.N. while ignoring Rouge's existence (or keep it safe in his 'superior hands'), then see Sonic in the Chaos Emerald and go try to attack him, no Silver needed.

    Also, there's another example of a Dragon Ball-inspired element, yet no one seems to have an issue with Silver's characterisation or role in the plot. The latter probably because instead of having a clear aim in the past like Trunks with the Androids, Silver is trying to figure it out as he goes along.

    Remember when I said you can be inspired, or copy wholesale? Silver is inspired, he's got the same general beat of being a future kid brought to the present to alter the bad future, but the details are wildly different in comparison. Now, if they start trying to force it so Silver knows Surge and Kitsunade are the threats to his future (and then a third Starline... biodroid?... comes along to absorb them), then there's going to be ire.
     
  15. Except he's not a completely different character and I think this is something you have a problem with comprehending. Shadow IS arrogant, Shadow IS a dick. These are not traits that just suddenly spawned into existence that the current writers just made up, they've always been there. The only difference between now and then is that none of those traits were ever portrayed negatively or really affected his competence much. Which is why I said what I said before; Shadow should be able to screw up every now and then without his fanbase losing their minds over it. At this point, you're literally complaining about the very idea Shadow can actually make a mistake or be a bit of a screw up.

    And like I said already, this is because the version of Shadow that most of his fanbase are accustomed to, is the one that is mostly competent and makes little to no mistakes.

    Silver's current personality is almost nothing like how it was 06. In fact, Silver was literally despised on his debut for being a ripoff of Trunks and many fans not being able to empathize with his cause. It was only after they softened his personality and sanded off his edges that people warmed up to him.

    And if that's what you want them to do with Shadow, tone down his personality and make him more nicer and approachable, then fine. I'm just gonna say that's not Shadow. Even in his most morally upright depictions, he's always had an independent and arrogant streak to him. But I already know Sonic fans would prefer that all of these characters to basically be flawless paragons of virtue at all times anyway, despite their words to the contrary, so *shrug*
     
  16. Plorpus

    Plorpus

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    It feels like everyone else in the thread is talking past you. Only one person is criticizing the fact that Shadow’s screwed up (and even then it’s about HOW he screwed up), and nobody is denying that being an overconfident jerk has always been a part of his character. People are criticizing how it’s been depicted as well as the fact that it’s the only aspect that we’re allowed to see nowadays.

    So wait, is this a different “version” of Shadow or not? You seem to go back and forth on this. You’re also lumping everyone here in with a nebulous “fanbase” rather than fairly engaging with individual criticisms.

    The only edges on his personality were when he thought Sonic ruined the future and even then he was wavering throughout the story. He was a naive nice guy in pretty much every part of 06’s story than when he faces Sonic (once or twice) or Iblis. He’s just a character that grew on people once he wasn’t solely associated with one of the worst games of all time.

    Let’s be honest, that’s basically what Shadow was in 06. He was the least badly written character in the game and it was a natural enough place for his character to go, but it was very much Soft-Shadow. Do fans want that? Some of them, sure. But that’s not people here are saying. There’s a difference between what Shadow’s “edge” was and what it is now.
    And here you’re lumping everyone together as “Sonic fans” again. I know the kind of people you’re talking about (and over generalizing). I’m not one of them. Over the years I’ve generally felt that the character depictions in the comics have been what fans think the characters are rather than what the official characters felt like, (something that I feel less of nowadays, at least with Ian). So I get what you’re saying in that regard.

    This is not that. The criticisms in this thread lie with the character being one note and the his depiction clashing with prior ones. Examples of how that’s the case have been posted multiple times, yet you keep blowing everyone off.
     
  17. For the sake of not extending this discussion long past its meaning, I'm gonna concede and just end it.

    This whole Shadow shit is too complicated and we're never gonna reach a conclusion if none of us can agree on where the problems begin and end with him.
     
  18. Battons

    Battons

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    Shadow is a poorly written one trick character that makes me roll my eyes whenever he shows up. He suffers the same issue many people criticize the zeti for, of being a simplified personification of the character trait “douchebag.” Even in the nonsense of 06 not only does shadow properly think things through, but his word choice is deliberate. He doesn’t recklessly charge into battle but rather thinks things through carefully.
    If modern shadow writing was in 06 he would’ve just died to iblis or mephiles because “I am the strongest life form” or some garbage like that.
     
  19. KingOfBunnies

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    Who cares about this Shadow talk. When is the Ninja Turtles crossover?
     
  20. Levi Church

    Levi Church

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