Surge the Tenrec is a character that appears in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by IDW Publishing. She is an anthropomorphic tenrec who was modified into a villainous cyborg by Dr. Starline with no memories of her past, and the companion of Kitsunami the Fennec. She was made for the intended purpose of destroying Sonic the Hedgehog and replacing him as the hero of the world. After discovering her origins however, Surge would begin seeking revenge on those guilty of taking her past away from her.
Concept and creation
According to writer Ian Flynn, Surge is inspired by the infamous Ashura glitch from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, just like the redesign of Scourge the Hedgehog. According to Flynn, this is because just like Scourge, Surge was made as an exploration of Sonic in an inverted way. Her appearance was conceptualized by artists Evan Stanley and Mauro Fonseca, with Fonseca taking the lead in finishing the design. Fonseca took inspiration for Surge's design from the glitch, Japanese delinquents, Android 18 from the Dragon Ball franchise, and possibly the prototype version of Blaze the Cat. Her tall, upright ponytail was inspired by Sango Morimoto's depiction of Amy in the Sonic the Hedgehog manga published by Shogakukan in the Shogaku Ninensei magazine. Surge's electrokinesis was designed with Tails' dislike of thunder in mind.
Surge and Kit were originally pitched for IDW Publishing's Sonic comics by Ian Flynn in 2017, before the first issue was even released. They were meant to debut alongside Dr. Starline as part of a trio of characters based on glitches present in the early Sonic the Hedgehog video games. Although the pitch was rejected at the time, due to the staff thinking it was too early, the characters would eventually be accepted in 2021. Notably, Surge was originally pitched as an android hedgehog, but was changed to a cyborg tenrec at a later date by request of Sega.
Surge is an anthropomorphic tenrec of average height. She possesses mostly bright green fur with a patch of black fur on her face and eyelids, and angular blue-green eyes. She has a peach muzzle with a medium-long black nose, upturned sideburns on each side of her head, peach-skinned arms, and several spiky quills that she keeps in a ponytail by a black hairband with six metal studs on top of her head, leaving her quills turned forward. She also has a tuff for a tail, notable shark teeth, and tall, vertical and flat ears on top of her head.
For attire, she wears two metal earrings on each of her ears, a black shirt with torn-off sleeves, white gloves that possess visible lining with black cuffs that possess six metal studs, a metal ring on each of her index and ring fingers, and yellow baggy pants with black stripes down the sides that are held up by a black belt with a metal circular buckle. Her shoes have yellow flares with double spikes to make them appear that give them a ripped appearance while the back of the shoes are white. Two white straps can be found on the yellow section of the shoes, which also has black toes, black soles with two metal plates embedded and metal studs on the edges.
Both Surge and Kit have been in development for a long time as part of Dr. Starline's Operation: Remaster. Originally a regular person, Starline somehow acquired Surge and modified her by implementing cybernetic enhancements using Power Cores and Tails' DNA, as well as giving her physical toughness using the Metal Virus and a new personality and memories using the codes he got from Belle and information from Neo Metal Sonic. Surge in particular was designed for the purpose of destroying Sonic the Hedgehog and replace him as the hero of the world. Surge was then subjected to hypnotic sessions where Starline imprinted her with a fake, yet intense hatred for Sonic. Afterwards, Surge and Kit were subjected to hundreds of tests, and when they got fed up, Starline would blot out their memories with hypnosis, which left both Surge and Kit with lasting psychological trauma. In the end, Surge was left without awareness of her origins, believing only that Starline gave her the powers she had so he could destroy Sonic and change the world.
Imposter Syndrome and Trial by Fire
Surge and Kit were evenutally put to the test by Dr. Starline. After "clearing" an obstacle course however, Surge got into a heated argument with Starline over how they were wasting time with tests when she believed they were ready for action. In response, Starline reset her and Kit's memory with his hypnotic glove. After they regained consciousness, Surge and Kit were sent to the Forest Ridge Zone Campground by Starline. There, they would start a forest fire that could kill Amy and her friends in order to demoralize Sonic. After Surge used her powers to ignite the dried-up flora, she and Kit would walk through the fire they had caused. A few days later, the pair came to Central City for a test to assess their finesse by causing chaos without getting caught. There, Surge caused havoc in the city with her abilities without being seen. Regrouping with Starline at Tails' Lab, Surge got ready to bust down the entrance to the lab when Starline could not open it, but Starline did not want to make a notable scene and had them withdraw. Returning to Starline Base Sigma, Surge learned that the fire she and Kit started had been handled without casualties. Regardless, Starline wanted to put her and Kit through one final test that would let him try out his anti-Eggman algorithm. Surge, however, grew impatient and wanted to fight Sonic. However, she and Kit soon began questioning their motivations and why she hated Sonic so much, prompting Starline to hypnotize them again. Surge recovered rather quickly however and demanded an explanation, forcing Starline to administer a stronger hypnosis that subdued her. When Surge and Kit then woke up, Starline convinced them that they wanted to take part in his final test while he wanted them to move on with his plans. With Surge believing Starline's lie, she listened to Starline's plan for their final test.
Traveling to Egg Base Alpha, Surge was instructed by Starline to escorted Kit to the comms tower and ensure that no alerts would broadcasted onto the Eggnet. Although displeased that she would be babysitting her support unit, she was (somewhat) persuaded by Starline that this was the plan she wanted. Afterward, the trio headed into the base, with Surge and Kit heading to the comms tower. Though Kit suggested a detour when Antons appeared, Surge went ahead and destroyed them, displeased with her role. Kit tried to remind her of Starline's plan, but Surge insisted on doing her own thing and that Kit followed her. Regardless, the two headed towards the comms tower as planned. Once there, Surge opted to just destroy the tower when she thought Kit's plan was too slow. As they argued however, an Egg Breaker showed up. Agreeing to Kit's plan in the end, Surge distracted the Badnik while Kit went to work. Letting her anger fuel her, Surge ferociously attacked the Egg Beater, only to get smashed into a wall by its mace when she let her guard down. As Kit came to her rescue though, Surge noticed to her and Kit's surprise that the attack had hardly injured her. Afterward, she finished the Egg Breaker. Antons then surrounded the duo, only to begin applauding them. Starline subsequently announced that the base and its Badniks were his now, and told Surge and Kit to join him in the control room. There, Surge kept Kit silent and assured Starline that everything was fine when he noticed their bruises. After being dismissed however, Surge told Kit in private that she had realized that Starline had done something to them that they could not recall. With Surge set on sorting this out by taking a look at Starline's video logs and getting revenge on Starline, Surge asked for Kit's help, who eagerly offered it.
Eventually, Surge and Kit managed to break into Dr. Starline's video logs. From them, they discovered how Starline had modified them and erased their memories of their past personas. Afterwards, Surge wanted to know who they were before Starline modified them, but Kit could not find any information about that in the database, as Starline considered it irrelevant. When Starline then showed up in person, Surge demanded answers from him. Starline, however, instead intended to hypnotize her into submission again. Fortunately, Kit came to her aid. When Kit got paralyzed however, Surge attacked Starline until the doctor got caught by Kit's water tentacles. Surge then stole Starline's hypnosis gauntlet and put him to sleep with it. As Kit then asked about they would do now, Surge announced that they would end every hero and villain out there, present and future: if they could not have a past, they will make sure none of them gets a future. While onboard with the idea, Kit suggested that they should use Starline's plan to gather all their targets in one place and then eliminate them all at once. Knowing Starline would be set up for a fall this way, Surge agreed. As such, when Starline awoke, Surge made him believe that he himself had told them the circumstances that led him to create them while assuring the doctor that she did not hold any grudges against him. With that out of the way, she then asked for further details on his plan. Overjoyed, Starline revealed his intend to invade Eggman's newest capital: Eggperial City.
Surge later arrived at Eggperial City with Kit and Starline, where she continued to feign her allegiance to the latter. After fighting their way through the city's Badniks, Starline split off from Surge and Kit, who were to occupy Eggman and his forces while he uploaded his override program. Though Surge still had issues with Starline, she enjoyed making as much destruction as possible. When Kit had asked her if it was okay that they were using Starline's plan against him, Surge assured him that all they were doing was justified and the only person he should be loyal to is her. Surge and Kit continued to tear through the Badniks easily until Surge got ambushed by Metal Sonic, though she liked the new challenge. Despite putting up quite a fight, Surge got overwhelmed by Metal Sonic until Kit came to her rescue by restraining Metal Sonic with his water coils before trapping him in a water bubble that Surge proceeded to electrocute, defeating the robot. As a final taunt, Surge told Metal Sonic that he will never be Sonic because she will replace him. Also, with Kit fine and happy to help, she determined that they would get along just fine. After Starline had then uploaded and broadcasted his override program to the Badniks of the world, Surge and Kit witnessed the Coconuts around them fall under Starline's control. The pair soon saw Starline be carried by Egg Pawns to Eggman's main headquarters; when Surge asked if it was everything he hoped for, Starline stated that it was a bittersweet victory. Soon, Surge and Kit watched Badniks from around the world arrive at Eggperial City. Surge told Kit that after they get rid of Starline and the others, he would have to reprogram all of the Badniks to self-destruct but also thought of leaving some for herself. She then explained, should it come down to it, she would fight Sonic alone while Kit kept Tails from distracting her. Once all of this had been taken care of, Surge plotted for herself and Kit to hunt down all of Sonic's allies and topple the cities that celebrated them together.
Battle for the Empire
Once Sonic and friends arrive to the Eggperial City, Surge ambushes Sonic with her super speed and takes him away from Tails and Belle. They introduce themselves, with Surge explaining to Sonic how much he is responsible for her creation by letting the doctors live by his "precious moral code", and how she would end him, the doctors and the world. Sonic would be unfazed and ask her again who she is, which angers Surge. She quickly introduces her name and boast how Sonic couldn't defeat her, starting a fight.
Surge would fight with all her determination to kill her foe, while Sonic merely enjoyed the confrontation. Sonic tells her he hopes she's having fun too, to which she is offended, as she is clearly fighting to the death. Sonic dismisses her and tells he has experience with individuals who were wronged by the world and aiming to destroy it, which further offends her. Sonic strikes her, and while having the high ground, tells her he doesn't know her full story but can't let her hurt anyone. Surge tells him to end her, to which he declines, as he wants her to have a chance to have the freedom to enjoy life and he doesn't want to take away that chance from anyone. Surge asks if that includes the doctors, and he confirms it. Surge thinks it for a minute and rejects that invitation, rationalizing that whatever her past was (choosing to be Starline's test subject, meaning she didn't had a good life; or she was kidnapped, and no one looked for her), the world rejected her. She tries to attack Sonic with the intent of destroying everything associated with him, but he later clarifies that while he may give her the freedom to choose, he would stop her if that takes away the freedom of anyone else.
During their fight, Surge ends up hold off a cliff. Sonic stops the fight and tries to help her, but Surge electrocutes Sonic's hand, satisfied she "got the last hit". As debris fell from the city, Surge seemingly fell to her demise.
Surge possesses Sonic's indomitable and free spirit, albeit in a twisted and sinister way. A roguish speedster, she is arrogant, cocky, and hot-tempered. Loving to brag, she takes great pride in her skills and abilities. She is also fearless and bold, never showing any form of worry or concern, even in stressful situations. When push comes to shove, however, she tends to give in to anger, causing her to become a more volatile force.
Believing force to be the easy solution to anything, Surge is convinced that she can defeat any opponent and overcome any obstacle getting in her way with pure strength and speed. She is likewise brutal, somewhat bloodthirsty, and majorly aggressive, expressing great eagerness to fight and cause chaos and destruction, persistently demanding to go on missions, and even grabbing Dr. Starline by the collar and threatening him when she does not get her way. She prefers open conflict over covert plans, no matter how effective the latter might be. Notably, she would willingly abandon a plan focusing on stealth in favor of an open assault, assured that she would be able to defeat any attention she would attract, even when within enemy lines. She is likewise fiercely independent and irrelevant to authority, much like Sonic, meaning she prefers to do things her own way. As such, she is perfectly willing to abandon a well thought out plan in favor of following her own whims and doing her own thing. Unlike Sonic, however, she is unconcerned with how her rogue actions affect others, regardless of the damage or the risks they end up posing to others. That said, she is willing to listen to others' ideas when she admits that she does not really have any plan to go about with, which makes her more open to Kit's suggestions.
Like Sonic, Surge shows a great deal of attitude when facing off against foes, namely by taunting and mocking her opponents. However, this is out of mean-spirited arrogance and maliciousness instead of carefree playfulness like Sonic. She is likewise brash, careless, and impatient, qualities that term from her explosive temperament and sense of superiority, unlike Sonic, whose same qualities stem from his positive attitude and confidence. As such, she is prone to facing everything head-on, making her extremely reckless and dependent on support from Kit (despite what she may believe). Her temperament is most likely influenced by the psychological trauma caused by too much exposure to hypnosis. She also hates having lies told to her and will seek out terrible retribution against those who have wronged her, although this is more out of personal vengeance than a sense of justice.
Despite her punkish attitude and simple view on things, Surge does have her moments of insight. Despite her programming, she was able to deduce that her own thoughts did not add up to her own understandings and that Starline had something to do with them by realizing that he was in the center of them all. For all her roughness, she also has a slightly vulnerable side to her: upon discovering that her current persona is fabricated, she despaired and would even shed tears of sadness. However, this sadness would soon pave way for anger and hatred at everyone and drive her to destroy everything, convinced that if she cannot have a past, then others will not get to have a future.
Powers and abilities
Having been modified by Dr. Starline with cybernetic enhancements, Surge possesses an array of powers derived from Power Cores, the bio data of Sonic, Shadow, and Tails, and physical resistance derived from the Metal Virus.
Thanks to her enhancements, combined with electro-magnetic propulsion, Surge has the ability to move at super speeds, being fast enough to create a sonic boom. Thanks to the cellular upgrades provided by the Metal Virus, she is also extremely durable, having withstood an otherwise lethal impact from the Egg Breaker with nothing more than superficial bruises. She is also able to perform the Spin Attack, a technique where she curls into a concussive ball or cutting disk and directs herself at her targets. With it, Surge can shred or burrow through just about any substance given enough speed, and perform moves like the Spin Dash.
As a offset of her electro-magnetic propulsion, Surge has the ability to generate electricity of varying intensity and project it as small lightning bolts or sparks. Notably, she can generate enough electricity to ignite flora and cause various electricity-powered devices to overload. Furthermore, by spinning like a top, she can increase the power of the electricity she generates.
As a part of Dr. Starline's precautions to keep Surge's bravado on a leash, Surge has been made highly susceptible to hypnosis in case she goes out of control. As such, she is quick to respond to Starline's commands and lose some of her most recent memories when exposed to Starline's hypnotic devices. However, her memories cannot be completely erased. In addition, over time, she has begun developing a resistance to this effect.
Dr. Starline is the one who turned Surge into who she is now, being responsible for her enhancements, her current memories, and hatred of Sonic. However, she was completely unaware of this fact due to her memories having been fabricated from scratch by Starline. Instead, Surge thought that Starline merely gave her the powers she currently wields for the purpose of destroying Sonic.
Being as brash and impatient as she is, Surge did not like Starline's overcautious approach towards realizing their goals and would not hesitate to threaten him violently when she got fed up with his attitude. She similarly did not respect his instructions due to her independence, having noted that he "ain't the boss of [her]". Rather, she saw him as the tech support and "idea-guy", which she considers a dime a dozen.
Upon realizing that he had done more to her that she has realized, Surge began mistrusting Starline's intentions and seeking to make him pay for what he had done to her. After getting the answers she sought, Surge wants to kill Starline for what he had done to her. After getting a suggestion from Kit however, she now also wants to see him fall from grace after all the hard work he had put into her by betraying him when the time is right.
Kitsunami the Fennec
Kitsunami the Fennec is Surge's partner, the two of them having been modified to make up for each other's shortcomings, with Kit in particular having designed to support Surge with his analytical mind. However, their original partnership is nothing but a farce, as both Surge and Kit have been programmed with false memories and motivations for helping each other by Starline in order to make their teamwork more effective. As such, when they think closely about it, both Surge and Kit are unsure and confused about why they even care about each other and why they are compelled to helping each other out.
Kit is usually quite polite towards Surge, as he addresses her as "ma'am". Whatever Surge wishes, it is also what Kit wants, and he will do everything to make her pleased. Although Surge does not necessarily care about his attention and kindness, she will occasionally show appreciation for Kit's devotion to her, a especially in combat. Most of the time though, Surge tends to dominate Kit with her bravado and feisty spirit, and she expects him to cover her when needed and being nothing more than her tactical support unit. In other situations, she simply does not listen to him or heeds his warnings.
Surge and Kit eventually began forming a real partnership in their quest for answers about their past. After learning about how Starline had used and manipulated them and that her relationship with Kit was a lie, Surge remained nonetheless dominant over Kit as she needed him to get answers about her past. When Surge later decided to destroy everyone they deemed guilty for taking away their past, Kit went along with her idea, although he came up with a plan that would let them take advantage of Starline. Ironically, this allowed them to form a real bond based on their shared hatred for their newfound enemies.
Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog was the inspiration behind Surge's modifications, which was why Dr. Starline modified her with powers similar to his and made her believe after dozens of different hypnotic sessions that she hated Sonic with all of her heart and wanted to destroy him. However, she would get close to a mental breakdown when she began to question why she wanted to defeat Sonic, as they had never actually met. However, once she discovered who she was, she gained a genuine hatred for Sonic, finding him responsible for her existence due to Sonic's refusal to take the life out of his enemies.
Utterly convinced that she is Sonic's superior, Surge wants nothing more than to crush Sonic and prove she is better than him, and will give into anger at the prospect of appearing weaker than him. After learning the truth about her origins as a cyborg however, Surge now seeks to destroy Sonic, not because of Starline's hypnosis, but rather because she does not believe he deserves a future if she cannot know her past.
When the time came for her and Sonic to finally meet, she vented her frustration towards him that her existence was based on the fact that Sonic simply let the foes he defeated live and eventually come back to cause more trouble. At one point, she got knocked down and beckoned him to finish her off. Sonic, however, refused and stated that he simply wanted everyone to live life freely like he does and asked Surge to do the same. At first, Surge seemed to consider his offer, but brushed it off shortly after, and the hedgehog and tenrec continued to fight. Even when Surge was at risk of falling into a chasm and Sonic offered a brief truce in order to pull her up, she pettily shocked him and remarked she got the last hit in before falling into the chasm.
- "Oh, I know who you are. It's all I know, really, and that's the problem. I am your fault. Starline? Eggman? Sure, they're part of this and they'll get theirs, but it really comes down to you. If you had just taken them out, I wouldn't have been made! Or is that against your precious "moral code," you could've just rolled over and quit! But no! You keep on fighting! You keep on giving idiots the freedom to repeat their awful mistakes! And it just keeps on going and going and going! And the whole loves you for it. So I'm ending it. All of it. You. The docs. The world. It's what you all deserve. "
- —Surge full monologue towards Sonic , Sonic the Hedgehog #50
- Surge is the second character to be designed off of the "Ashura" glitch and act as an evil counterpart to Sonic, following Scourge the Hedgehog's redesign in the Archie Comics.
- Surge is the first female antagonist who originally comes from the IDW Sonic the Hedgehog comic series.
- Surge and Kit's names together reference the word "circuit".
- IDW Publishing on Twitter. Twitter (14 November 2021). Retrieved on 14 November 2021. "David Mariotte: Surge and Kit actually predate Sonic number 1, as seen on this year one springboard from Ian Flynn. They predate most of the things in IDW Sonic, in fact. When Ian Flynn pitched Surge and Kit in 2017 before the series started, we knew that it wasn't quite the right time for their story to get the justice it deserves. When it came to 2021 planning with Ian, writer Evan Stanley, and assistant editor Riley Farmer, we knew it was the right time."
- Mauro Fonseca on Twitter. Twitter (2 September 2021). Archived from the original on 13 November 2021. Retrieved on 2 September 2021.
- BumbleKast for May 9th, 2022 - Priority Q&A Podcast with Ian Flynn. YouTube. BumbleKing Videos (9 May 2022). Retrieved on 20 June 2022.
- Dreadknux (26 August 2021). SURGE THE TENREC AND KIT THE FENNEC: IDW’S ‘IMPOSTER SYNDROME’ MINISERIES’ NEW CHARACTERS REVEALED. The Sonic Stadium. Archived from the original on 26 August 2021.
- BumbleKast Monthly Livestream for April 2022 - Q&A with Ian Flynn!. YouTube (30 April 2022). Retrieved on 30 April 2022.
- STH Imposter Syndrome!. Reddit (September 2021). Retrieved on 11 November 2021. "Ian Flynn: Dr. Starline was inspired by the "Wechina" sprite error from Knuckles's Chaotix. Likewise, Surge is inspired by the famous "Ashura" glitch of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and Kit by a personal glitch I remember getting for Tails in S3&K."
- Mauro Fonseca on Twitter. Twitter (18 November 2021). Archived from the original on 18 November 2021. Retrieved on 18 November 2021.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome #2, Sonic Letters Squad
- Ask on Evan Stanley's blog. Tumblr (12 December 2021). Retrieved on 12 December 2021. "evilhatsune: Is Surge a greater hedgehog tenrec or a lesser hedgehog tenrec? or is she a completely different sort of tenrec like the highland streaked tenrec? or just general non specified tenrec / Evan Stanley: She doesn’t have an exact type of tenrec called out in canon, but we were looking more at Lowland Streaked Tenrecs. They’ve got the black face-mask and the flippy-up spikes."
- BumbleKing Videos (7 January 2019). The Final (For Real) Smash Bros. Ultimate Episode - BumbleKast #82. YouTube. Retrieved on 18 November 2021. "Ian Flynn: See actually, Starline was meant to debut with two other characters and they were all built around a similar [...], and if they had all come out at the same time I think folks would've gone "Oh, I see where the inspiration is from", but things were revised because our season 2 plans were [...] we need to just push some stuff to the back burner now and focus on [...] so that's why we only have Starline now. Eh, maybe we'll get to it down the line."
- Ian Flynn on Twitter. Twitter (17 November 2021). Archived from the original on 18 November 2021. Retrieved on 18 November 2021.
- BumbleKast for May 20th, 2022 - Standard Q&A Podcast with Ian Flynn. Youtube (20 May 2022). Retrieved on 20 May 2022.
- Surge's model sheet.
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome #1, story one
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome #3, story one
- Sonic the Hedgehog #46, "Trial by Fire, Part 2"
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome #2, story one
- Sonic the Hedgehog: Imposter Syndrome #4, story one
- Sonic the Hedgehog #50, "Battle for the Empire"