The ROAD TO #50 continues here! Enjoy a TEN-ISSUE long adventure leading up to the EPIC SHOWDOWN in milestone issue #50.
A surge of imposters spells trouble for Sonic the Hedgehog, Tails, and even Eggman! Dr. Starline is pulling every tool from his kit as he creates his fastest and smartest inventions. An all new mini-series from Sonic writer Ian Flynn, Imposter Syndrome #1 will have readers seeing double!
- 1 Story one
- 1.1 Synopsis
- 1.2 Appearances
- 1.3 Continuity
- 1.4 Trivia
- Story: Ian Flynn
- Art: Thomas Rothlisberger, Aaron Hammerstrom (p. 8-12)
- Inks: Matt Froese (p. 8-12)
- Colors: Valentina Pinto
- Letters: Shawn Lee
- Assistant Editor: Riley Farmer
- Editor: David Mariotte
- Special thanks to: Mai Kiyotaki, Michael Cisneros, Sandra Jo, Sonic Team, and everyone at Sega for their invaluable assistance
At Starline Base Sigma, Dr. Starline is logging a video. He talks about his plan, "Operation: Remaster", and how it is moving into its final stages. He wishes to break what he calls "The Sonic Cycle" with this idea of his. In summary, Dr. Eggman enacts a plan to reshape the world, Sonic arrives to put a stop to it, sometimes with his allies, and then with the day shifting to Sonic's favor, the general populace return to their regular lives. Starline's problem with this is that there is no evolution and thus no future. He explains that Operation: Remaster will seek to remove Eggman from play; though he still admires Eggman to some extent, he believes the doctor has tunnel-vision when it comes to Sonic. After having studied under him, he believes he knows his shortcomings and has perfected his technique. Starline even mentions that Eggman may thank him for what he will do. The second step of the plan is to replace the so-called "heroes" that stand of the way of progress. He states that the general populace rely too much on them but finds it easier to replace the celebrities than to change society. The platypus says that by controlling the "hero vs. villain" dynamic, he will be able to shape the world and its people with the theatrics they have become accustomed to. He adds that it has been a long journey to get to gather and assemble the components needed to make his plan work but they are now ready.
Starline begins to explain that Sonic is undeniably the hero of the world, but to counter him, building another Metal Sonic would not be enough. He says that the hedgehog is more than just raw power; he is about style and even above that, attitude. Starline says that he needs that type of indomitable spirit, but since it is a liability as much it is a boon, he will have Surge the Tenrec replace him. He adds that he will keep her bravado on a leash. Cycling back to Sonic's design flaws, Starline says that Surge needs a support unit to make up for her short-comings. Due to this, Kitsunami the Fennec was modeled after Tails to keep that dynamic. On the compound for the base, Surge is running around the area dodging shots from turrets. She then proceeds to destroy several Egg Pawns with a Spin Attack and mocks them for attempting to touch her. She does not notice a Hei Hou approaching her from behind about to swing its axe at her. However, it is held in place by the water tentacles from Kit's Hydro Pack, allowing Surge to spin her way through the robot and destroy it. She compliments Kit for his assistance but asks for it not to go to his head, with the fennec bashfully accepting the praise. He says that they have less than a minute to complete their course, which Surge believes will be a simple task. The pair continue their way through the course. Surge disposes of some Moto Bugs quite easily and makes her way to the final hatch. It nearly closes on her but Kit holds it open with his Hydro Pack.
Surge boasts about her performance to Starline, who was waiting on the other end, and asks him to admit that he is impressed by her work. Starline, however, points out that she left Kit behind. The fennec catches up and apologizes, saying that he had to recharge his Hydro Pack. Surge argues that Kit managed to arrive eventually but thought of herself to be the more important one and emphasizes her record time. With this, she emphasizes that they passed the test and they should move on to the main mission. Starline says that they have proven proficiency in a controlled environment and the next step was to test their skills in their field. Not liking the sound of this, Surge grabs Starline by the collar and states how she is sick of him talking down to her; she demands to go on a mission immediately with everything she has. Starline instead uses his hypnosis feature on his glove to send Surge to sleep. Kit worryingly catches her and asks what Starline did to her, only for the doctor to send him to sleep to and claim that he saw nothing. Thinking to himself, Starline finds it a pity that the glove's hypnosis was not potent against anyone else, but he does find use in it for Surge and Kit to have a weakness to it. The dazed pair soon wake up and learn from Starline that they apparently pushed their enhancements too far and had a brief blackout. He then proceeds to tell them about their first live field test. First, to remove Sonic from play, they needed to weaken their support base. Starline believes that a vengeful hero is driven, dedicated, and morally righteous, but a hero suffering from a tragic loss from a horrible accident is one that is broken and morose. The second point was to assess their finesse; since Starline wanted their first real mission to be clandestine, he wanted Surge and Kit to cause chaos and not get caught.
That night at the Forest Ridge Zone Campground, Kit collected large bags of firewood. Surge used her electrical powers to start a fire with this and accelerated it with a powerful tornado. Days later, in Central City, Surge and Kit lurked in an alley looking at civilians. Surge felt disgusted with their happiness, recalling that Zombots tore the place apart not too long ago. Kit points out that the Restoration helped them rebuild and believes that they just want to be happy; Surge replies that she aims to misbehave. The fennec suggests using his Hydro-Coil tails to reach underground where he would access and manipulate the wiring, and throw the traffic lights and power grids into disarray. Surge does not care much for his plan and tells him that she chooses to go fast. Though this visibly demotivates Kit, Surge Spin Dashes off and uses her powers to interrupt traffic, cause street lights to blow out, knock over several civilians, and cause a car crash. A few miles away in Emerald Town, Starline is at Tails' lab, going over similarities to Eggman in surprising ways. He then thinks that though he managed to cover his tracks, Tails would be astute enough to realize that he was studying Belle for something; if the fox does review her code, he may soon uncover what he did to Surge and Kit. From there, Tails may develop some sort of counter-measure, meaning Starline must find out what Tails knows and destroy any research he has. The doctor tries to break into the lab with the Tricore's power aspect but is unsuccessful. Surge and Kit return from their mission, with the latter being asked to use his Hydro-Coil under the door to unlock it from the other side. Kit is unsuccessful as the door is airtight. Surge impatiently asks for attention to the fact that they passed another test, only for Starline to be preoccupied more with Tails' upgrades. The tenrec angrily attempts to break her way into the lab to satisfy Starline, only for the doctor to stop her as the mission was supposed to be about stealth. Believing that their time is up, Starline flees the scene back to base with Surge and Kit.
Back at the base, though Surge and Kit's chaos made the news, the fire was reported to have been stopped by local heroes. Kit believes they failed but Surge adds that they did not get caught, which was the point of the mission. However, Surge did want to deal with Sonic's allies directly, but Starline trusted "a wall of stupid flame" more. Starline defends himself by saying a close call for them is not any better or worse than Eggman's track record. Surge seeks for praise once again, with the doctor finally saying that the did well and they should now prepare for the final test. This angers Surge and she confronts Starline by saying that she was given the power to destroy Sonic and demands that she is sent to do just that. The doctor replies that she was given the power to change the world, which will only work if she follows his plan. The first step is to safely remove Eggman from play, which they can only do once they are sure they can strip him of his support. Starline has selected one remote base to test out his newly updated bypass algorithm. Plotting to infiltrate the base, Surge realizes that Starline wants her and Kit to get his security blanket out of its secure bunker so that he feels safe enough to do another test. Kit wishes to do this carefully as he did not Surge to get hurt, causing to tenrec to ask if he does not believe that she can handle herself and ask if he will not do his job to watch her back; once Kit confirms this is not true, Surge dismisses him. She brings up the fact that she knows that the "brainy-types" like to think of all the angles, but states that she and Sonic are simple creatures; she plans to hit him fast, hit him hard, and keep hitting him until he does not move anymore.
Starline questions how Surge would find Sonic and what she would do if he was with friends, to which she states that she can run laps around the planet until she did find him and take his friends out too. Starline offers a scenario where Tails is providing air support, Tangle and Whisper are striking at a range, and Amy is closing in, and asks if she can handle Sonic. Surge gets slightly flustered but believes she can still manage it, pointing out that Kit would handle the others anyway. Kit nervously says he will do his best, only for the tenrec to tell him not to patronize her or she would drown him with his tails. Seeing Kit reel back from her, Surge demands that Kit stops acting like that as they would not be able to take out with such a dynamic. Kit apologizes and Surge asks why Kit even wants to help her. The fennec cries over this as he does not know. This makes Surge stop as she does not know why she even wants to fight Sonic herself. She begins to breakdown as she does not believe she has even met Sonic before. Kit comes to her side and asks if she still wants to destroy him; Surge says yes but questions why and asks if Kit wanted to do the same. The fennec answers that he wishes to do whatever Surge wants but the tenrec questions this as well. When Kit is once again unable to provide an answer, Starline uses his hypnosis on the pair to send them to sleep and reboot. Starline says to himself that he thought keeping things simple would make it easier but now considers crafting a backstory for them for better motivation. Surge, who did not properly go to sleep, grabs Starline and demands to know what he did to her. The doctor quickly puts his glove on her face and uses his hypnosis again, which knocks Surge out this time.
Starline thinks to himself on how he used Belle's base code to write personalities for them and expected a little more stability. He considers a difference between them being that Belle was actually made from scratch or that there could be a byproduct of something else. Starline also does not like the fact that there is now a resistance to his hypnotic control. He states that he has invested too much in them and he must now start over but handle them with more care; he believes that once they begin to fulfill their primary directives, their personalities should even out. When Surge and Kit begin to wake up, Starline "worryingly" checks on their well-being and asks if anything was broken or if anything felt wrong. Surge replies no, allowing Starline to emphasize that Kit caught her when she had apparently glitched out, although he had glitched out as well. Liking the thought of Kit always having her back, Surge thanks Kit, which he accepts. Once the tenrec questions their glitches, Starline says that it was due to a heated argument which overloaded their upgrades; Surge wanted to complete one more optimization test but the doctor wanted to push ahead into the main mission. As tempers flared, they glitched, leading them to their current point. With this, Starline apologizes, saying that Surge is right and they should go ahead with the final testing phase if that was what she wanted. Surge checks if this sounded right with Kit, to which the fennec says that he does want to make sure that she is safe. With this, Surge agrees to do the test. Starline then takes it upon himself to explain his plan once again.
- Amy Rose (portrait)
- Egg Pawn (multiple)
- Moto Bug (multiple)
- Dr. Eggman (recording)
- Dr. Starline
- Hei Hou (first appearance)
- Kitsunami the Fennec
- Metal Sonic (mentioned)
- Miles "Tails" Prower (mentioned)
- Restoration (mentioned)
- Belle the Tinkerer (flashback)
- Tangle the Lemur (mentioned)
- Sonic the Hedgehog (recording)
- Surge the Tenrec
- Whisper the Wolf (mentioned)
Races and species:
- Zombot (mentioned)
- Sonic's dimension
- Sonic's world
- Central City
- Emerald Town
- Tails' Lab
- Forest Ridge Zone Campground
- Starline Base Sigma
- Sonic's world
- Egg Spear (multiple) (recording)
- Hydro Pack (first appearance)
- Egg Mobile (recording)
- Eggman Empire
- Operation: Remaster (first appearance)
- Spin Attack
- Spin Dash
- Dr. Starline still has the Tricore that he created in Sonic the Hedgehog: Bad Guys #2, "Smash & Grab".
- Starline references his acquirement of Tails' fur sample in Sonic the Hedgehog #36, "Chao Races and Badnik Bases, Part 4".
- Kit explains that Central City was once infected by the Metal Virus, which happened in Sonic the Hedgehog #21, "The Last Minute, Part 1".
- Starline references his acquirement of Belle's A.I. data in Sonic the Hedgehog #44, "Zeti Hunt, Part 4".
- Starline still possesses Egg Base Sigma, which he acquired for himself in Sonic the Hedgehog: Bad Guys #4, "No Honor Among Thieves".
- Surge starts a fire at the Forest Ridge Zone Campground. This fire was first seen in Sonic the Hedgehog #45, "Trial by Fire, Part 1". It was later implied that Surge started the fire in Sonic the Hedgehog #46, "Trial by Fire, Part 2".
- Starline references Tails learning from the Zombot outbreak as he had upgraded his lab's security. This is in reference to Sonic the Hedgehog #21, "The Last Minute, Part 1", where Tails' lab was broken into by several Zombots, ruining his chance at creating a cure for the Metal Virus.
- The file name for Dr. Starline's video log, "1M9-SYM-001", is a reference to the name of the Sonic the Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome miniseries (1M9-SYM) and this issue (001).
- Surge's running style in this story mirrors Classic Sonic's running animation in the console/PC version of Sonic Generations, while Kit's mirrors Tails' running animation in most 2D titles.
- One of the citizens on page ten bears a resemblance to Ian Mutchler's Avatar that he made in Sonic Forces and named "Ian Jr."
- This is an infamous version of the Avatar that has been seen in the Sonic the Hedgehog 30th Anniversary Symphony during the "Sonic Forces Medley".
- This cameo was added at the request of Nathalie Fourdraine.
- On page twelve, Surge has her hands on her hips and taps her foot impatiently in a similar way to one of Sonic's idle animations from the original Sonic the Hedgehog.
- On page 14, Kitsunami's name is misspelled as "Kitsnunami".