WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Sonic the Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome #1, on sale now from IDW Publishing.
Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most iconic and well-known video game characters in the world, and his colorful cast of supporting characters is almost as popular as the leading hedgehog himself. Where the popularity of Nintendo's Mario stems from his broad everyman status and lack of a defining personality, Sonic is the opposite. His bold and brash attitude explains unapologetically who he is and contributes heavily to his appeal. One of Sonic's most devious enemies recognizes this, and is plotting to bring an end to the legacy of the Blue Blur in more ways than one.
Dr. Starline has been quietly scheming in the pages of the main series for a number of issues now and his plans are finally revealed in Sonic the Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome #1 (by Ian Flynn, Thomas Rothlisberger, Aaron Hammerstrom, Matt Froese, Valentina Pinto and Shawn Lee). Having realized that the reason Eggman can't get rid of the hedgehog or his friends is because of their celebrity status, he plans to strip that away from them all and give the world new heroes that he can create and control.
Dr. Starline knows that, out of the large cast of characters that have come out of the franchise over the years, Sonic and Tails are undeniably the most iconic. That's why, rather than create two totally new characters with their own unique backstories, he decides to recreate those two characters and their classic dynamic.
Surge is a rabbit with super speed, like Sonic. The differences between them seem to be that she has lightning along with her speed, reminiscent of the DC character the Flash. She's far more self-centered in her boasting than her blue counterpart and doesn't have nearly as much sympathy for her partner. As for her other half, Kitsunami is a two-tailed fox with a water-based upgrade. Although he initially appears to be more versatile, he doesn't appear to have the same affinity for tech as Tails. He's also more meek and nervous than the yellow fox and tends to be pushed around by Surge.
The Sonic and Tails dynamic has been around since the 1992 video game Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and still endures to this day. It makes sense that Starline would want to emulate that success, especially if he wants to capture the hearts and minds of the populace. Still, this is an ambitious move, and even Starline acknowledges that he needs to get rid of his idol, Dr. Eggman, in order for his plan to be successful.
Could the end of Sonic and friends be a good thing though? Although Starline's hold on the new duo doesn't seem to be complete, Surge and Kitsunami are still just pawns in his plan. As such, there's no telling what they're really like outside of the control of the villain, and for now they remain nothing more than pale reflections of Sonic and Tails.
Dr. Starline wants to change the entire face of the Sonic franchise for his own villainous goals, which implies that nothing good can come as a result. Surge and Kitsunami are the ones responsible for the forest fire in the latest issues of IDW's Sonic the Hedgehog series, but that doesn't mean they're all bad. Sonic gave Eggman a chance when he was the lovable Mr. Tinker, so the possibility remains that these new additions to the Sonic cast may at some point become just as endearing as the rest of the anthropomorphic crew.
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