In Sonic #57, a female character gets a major upgrade, filling a crucial void in the series while sharing qualities with a forgotten warrior.
Warning: contains spoilers for Sonic the Hedgehog #57The newest team in Sonic the Hedgehog‘s effort against Dr. Eggman has been established by a recently promoted member who’s undoubtedly the most important character in IDW’s universe. However, that’s as much for what she represents as for her actions within the story. Lanolin the Sheep has taken a leadership role with ‘the Restoration,’ giving the series something it was sorely missing.
Although originally just a background character for five years whose biggest role involved pleading for Sonic’s help in the second issue, Lanolin the Sheep has now not only put together a dream team of members who complement each other perfectly, but filled a much-needed character void in the overall continuity based on her actions in Sonic the Hedgehog #57 (by writer Ian Flynn, artist Adam Bryce Thomas, colorist Matt Herms, and letterer Shawn Lee.) The issue demonstrates that Lanolin is a strong, authoritative woman, effectively replacing a major missing character fans know from Sonic’s most beloved comic adaptation.
Sonic Is Addressing a Problem with Its Female Heroes
Lanolin leadership style finally sets the Restoration up as a force equal to Sonic, not simply his support staff. Previously led by Amy Rose (who stepped in after Knuckles the Echidna resigned as Commander of the Restoration), the team was constantly answerable to the headstrong Blue Blur, who has long been the object of Amy Rose’s overwhelming affection. Amy was unable to treat Sonic as one hero under her command, however Lanolin has a very different style – one which is set to tap into the Restoration’s full potential.
Previous to this, IDW has struggled with its female heroes. Unlike every male hero who is a proficient warrior and has proven themselves in battle, the Restoration’s current leader, Jewel the Beetle, is scared of fighting and therefore chooses to work behind a desk. Belle the Tinkerer is clumsy and doesn’t believe in her abilities, so she steers clear of the battlefield. Tangle, on the other hand, is quite an enthusiastic and capable warrior, but this enthusiasm usually results in her making unnecessary mistakes. Aside from Amy (and now Lanolin), the most impressive fighter in Sonic is Whisper the Wolf, but her weaknesses are unfortunately expressions of gendered clichés, including shyness and a debilitating awareness of how she’s seen by others. Lanolin, however, refreshingly doesn’t follow the same patterns.
Lanolin Can Be the New Sally Acorn
Moreover, Lanolin’s qualities naturally remind fans of a forgotten character that IDW has unfortunately not incorporated into its continuity from Archie Comics – Sally Acorn, Sonic’s freedom fighter love interest. Lanolin not only channels Sally’s level-headedness and logical mindset, but both of them effectively reel in and refuse to coddle Sonic whenever he does or says something straight-up stupid – both even have the weirdly specific quality of wielding robotic devices with feminine names.
These similarities beg the question of whether Sonic and Lanolin will eventually form a romantic relationship like Sonic and Sally did, even becoming king and queen in Archie’s Mobius: 25 Years Later storyline. The only downside is that these similarities between Lanolin and Sally could mean that IDW has no intention to incorporate Sally herself, even though writer Ian Flynn has voiced a desire to write Sally and the Freedom Fighters into his new comic. But, for now, readers can enjoy the correlations between them and the void Lanolin’s character is filling in IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog universe.
Sonic the Hedgehog #57 is available from IDW Publishing.