Warning: SPOILERS for Sonic the Hedgehog #53Whisper the Wolf, one of the few female warriors in IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog and undoubtedly one of the greatest fighters in the series overall, has finally made her triumphant and explosive return to the series.
Besides the hammer-swinging Amy Rose, the current Sonic series is greatly lacking in capable female fighters, and many fans can’t help but view the pink hedgehog Amy in a negative light for unabashedly throwing herself at Sonic despite him always spurring her advances. The irony is that in Sonic the Hedgehog #45, the issue where all the female heroes took the lead without any cameos from their male counterparts, Whisper the Wolf was missing. She had left in an attempt to protect Sonic and his friends due to her being relentlessly targeted by a deadly assassin called Mimic, as revealed in the Tangle & Whisper miniseries. And ever since then, Whisper hasn’t returned for 12 issues, including the Imposter Syndrome tie-in series, until now.
Whisper finally steps in when Sonic’s evil cyborg Surge the Tenrec starts terrorizing Central City (where she’s apparently been lying low) in Sonic the Hedgehog #53 by story writer Evan Stanely, artist Adam Bryce Thomas, colorist Reggie Graham and letterer Shawn Lee. As expected, Whisper holds her own against the rampaging tenrec, but the tables turn when the cyborg uses a new item that absorbs Whisper’s wisp friends, granting Surge new powers that give her the upper hand. From that moment on, Whisper takes quite a beating for the rest of the issue and suffers emotionally for seeing her friends getting taken from her.
Whisper’s Tragic Backstory Underscores Her Suffering
While critics might see this as IDW perpetuating the unfortunate damsel in distress trope (even though she’s fighting Surge the Tenric who’s also female), two important factors that need to be considered. First, the issue ends with Whisper adopting a much less “Woe is me” mentality. Whisper is understandably first traumatized at the abduction of her friends. But when enough time has passed, she is straight up furious, which never happens and is actually quite jarring to see since she’s pretty timid and shy. Second, Whisper has one of the most tragic backstories in the series, where she witnessed the murder of her friends at the hands of a close colleague. The only survivors were her wisp friends and, as a result, she has had difficulty connecting with others because she’s scared of going through the same thing again. So Whisper the Wolf now losing her oldest friends, who are the only creatures she can truly be comfortable around except for Tangle, will understandably be traumatizing. Readers are therefore highly invested in seeing her get her revenge on Surge, especially since most of Whisper’s power derives from her wisp companions. Since all of her wisps save one have been taken from her, Whisper will be forced to rely on other methods, namely herself, to get them back. This will only make her an even more skilled and deadly proficient warrior.
For those who are still unconvinced that this issue doesn’t overly victimize Whisper to a fault, they need to realize that every other female character’s weakness besides Amy Rose negatively impacts their effectiveness as a fighter. Tangle wants to be powerful, but her overly eccentric behavior causes her to make ridiculous mistakes on the field. Dr. Eggman’s daughter Belle the Tinkerer is just a straight-up klutz who admits she can’t fight. Jewel likes hiding behind administrative work. And Cream is too young, even though she’s the same age as Tails. Whisper the Wolf is not just the only true female warrior who doesn’t make a fool out of herself with Sonic the Hedgehog (like Amy Rose) but is a fighter with the most intriguing backstory that has the potential to transform her into a more worthy hero than even the Blue Blur himself.
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