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Skye Prower's Comic Reviews

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Posted

Well I said I was thinking about doing reviews of the comic, so best I put my money where my mouth is! So, here we go!

On important note, there is gonna be a LOT of spoilers here. Too many to put in spoiler tabs. So, if you haven’t read the comics then be warned, you could have a lot of stuff ruined, though I will try not to reveal the exact plot, unless I have to. But if you’ve read them, or don’t mind, then forge ahead.

I also won’t, as a general rule, address the artwork, unless there is a significant reason to do so.

Now, the early comics are very different from what the series will become, beginning as pun-filled kid’s funny comics. I will say now, a lot of my enjoyment from these early comics is not from the stories themselves, but watching the comics evolve over 45-odd issues from kid’s funny comic, to kid’s adventure comic, to young teen adventure comic.

And one last note before we begin, a lot of the earlier comics have several one/two page joke pages. I’ll be ignoring those, just looking at the main story/stories.

Right then, on with the show, and where it all began… At least, where it all began for the Archie comics.

Mini-Series: Sonic the Hedgehog – Issue 0

The very first issue contains two stories. The first being an establishing story, and the second an ‘origin’ story for the conflict between Robotnik and the Freedom Fighters.

Story 1:

The first story is pretty much a good indication of the early comics. The whole story reads like the more light episodes of the ‘Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog’ series, only filled with more puns and a LOT of fourth-wall breaking, with Sonic talking directly to the reader. Also, with the whole ‘the trees are crying because so many have been chopped down’ element, its pretty heavy handed with the Green Aesop, even compared to the series as a whole.

The plot itself is also… well, it’s mostly there as a set up provide laughs rather than making direct sense. That being said, it does do a very good job of introducing the characters and situation quickly and without being wordy. By the end of it you will have a good gasp of who all the characters are.

Story 2:

So this is how it all started!

Except… it didn’t… Almost every single detail of this story detailing the beginning of Robotnik reign will be retconed as the years go on. Some details include; Sonic not knowing who Sally and the Freedom Fighters are, no mention of Mobotropols, the fact Robotnik’s takeover seems to have happened recently as opposed to a decade before the comics, etc. Now, that last point could almost be explained if you assume the early comics cover the first few years after the Freedom Fighters formed, but that still doesn’t cover the rest of the inconsistences.

The story itself is weak, even for early stories. Sonic spends the first half just running back and forth between two locations, one of which is a death trap sets for him, despite the fact that later in the same story, Robotnik doesn’t know who he is. Bwa? After finding Uncle Chuck ‘robotisied’ (see below) Sonic then goes for a display of power, creating a massive tornado, that just screams ‘Why didn’t it end right there? Why are you running away???’

Despite saying I wouldn’t mention the artwork, I’m gonna break that rule already. There is a lot of ‘Early-instalment weirdness’ in the artwork, such as Sally’s whole design (amusingly explained later), Robotnik’s eyes, etc. But the strangest, which actually affects the story, is Robotization. For here, it merely seems to be hypnosis that makes people’s eyes go swirly. As such, it actually has a negative impact on the plot, and raises even further questions as to why Sonic didn’t grab Uncle Chuck when he escaped. After all, hypnosis is easier to break than a metal body.

Overall:

If you can still enjoy AoStH, and don’t mind puns or the fourth wall braking, this issue is still worth a read. It is VERY childish, but you should still find something to smile at. (Personally, the list of Robotnik’s ‘evil credentials’ and Uncle Chuck’s ‘One Nation under a toxic cloud’ still get a giggle out of me. But it’s not worth reading more than once (unless you plan a marathon) as so much of the story will be changed as the comics go on, even moreso than most easily comics, and both stories are pretty weak.

Mini-Series: Sonic the Hedgehog – Issue 1

Move onto Issue 1 of the mini-series. This one’s gotta be stronger, right? Well, let’s have a look at the stories in it.

Story 1:

Oh boy… THIS one. So, Sally goes on a mission to discover more about the Robotizer by letting herself be kidnaped. She leave a note behind, telling the others not to follow her. But without any details on her mission. So when Sonic, Tails and Antoine see her kidnaped they assume the worse and rescue her. And she has the gall to be infuriated at them, when all that was needed was a few words of explanation. Seriously, I know you’re often dealing with childish people Sally, but you’re meant to be the sensible one!

To make matters worse, during the rescue Antoine pick-pockets Robotnik’s ray gun (Bwa?) and… the have Robotnik at their mercy. And walk away. With no explanation as to why they don’t do anything more. Well, all the horrors that come later are on your heads guys!

At least the puns and fourth wall breaking are both less, though still present.

Story 2

And the puns are back. Though still bearable. This is a short and fairly simple story, and one that give Rotor a chance to take action, after missing out in first story until right at the end. And the Bathysphere introduced here will make frequent reappearances.

Interestingly, for a story set underwater, Sonic seems not to mind the stuff. Though he does come very close to running out of air and needing to swallow an air bubble to survive! Nice touch. This is a fun and, although silly, a much more solid story.

Overall

Aside from the appearance of the Bathysphere and Jaws in the second story, there’s nothing really to recommend this issue. Only read if you’re after 100% completion.

Well, that’s us half way through the Mini-series, and so far it’s not a great start. Maybe things will perk up soon…

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Posted

So… where were we? Ah yes.

Mini-Series: Sonic the Hedgehog – Issue 2

Unlike the previous Issues, this one has a single ongoing storyline, though split into four distinct parts. Though, it does give the overall story more room to expand than the previous ones did.

So, the Crown of the Acorns has been stolen, and so the Chaos…. Erm… ‘Freedom’ Emeralds from the crown have to be recovered. Admittedly, the Freedom Emerald’s could indeed be Chaos Emerald given that 1) Chaos Emeralds are numerous and all green at this stage in the comic and 2) It could be that the four emeralds for the crown were simply given a title of ‘Freedom Emeralds.’

That doesn’t explain however how come the crown itself is stolen, yet somehow winds up in Rotor’s hands at the end!

Aside from the continuity gaff, the four stories are fun, and it even has some time to do a bit of character stuff, with Sonic and Antoine (under orders) putting aside their differences briefly, which probably marks the start of their relationship going from dislike to ‘grudging respect’.

Sure, there are still plenty of silly elements to the story, such as Robotnik having a trapdoor set up in the middle of nowhere, but there is a lot less winking at the camera, so to speak. (Epilogue notwithstanding)

The biggest let-down of this story is that, once this story is over, the crown (or at least THIS particular version of the crown) is never mentioned again, despite the impact all the characters are certain it will have. But that’s more a case of nothing being used after the fact, rather than a fault of the story itself.

Overall.

Issue 2 of the mini-series is a fairly solid, if light-hearted and silly story. Certainly one of the stronger stories to begin with. If you like watching AoStH, then you’ll like this story, and it won’t be bad to revisit. If not, well, as with most of the early comics it’s a case of read once just to have it under your belt.

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Posted

So, now I’m back and recovered from my weekend away, let’s get back to reviewing. So when we left the mini-series it had started to pick up. Will it be able to continue the upward trend?

No.

Mini-Series: Sonic the Hedgehog – Issue 3

Story 1: Sonic Flashback

So we open… with both a dream sequence AND a ‘what if story’. Uh, guys? This is only fourth issue… of the MINI-SERIES! How can you be so low on ideas at this early stage to have to resort to BOTH of these? *sighs*.

Okay, so…. ‘what if’ Sonic and Robotnik grew up together as kids on a farm…. What? Just… what? Who thought that was a good idea? And what else do I even need to say. It’s not even really got much in the way of humour to boost it up. Added to that the artwork doesn’t really capture that Sonic and Robotnik are meant to be kids. It also has an overly confusing opening, with Sonic being knocked out, then dreaming an imperceptibly different present, which leads to a fake flash back.

It’s a mess, and doesn’t really add much.

Story 2: Why ask Spy

A least the second story is much stronger. Sonic pretends to be a robot to infiltrate Robotnik’s forces. However, it still has its drawback. The art still suffers as no one seems to be sure what robotized Mobian’s should look like. Uncle Chuck still just looks hypnotised, and Sonic gets away with just a fake steel jaw, while Muttski is full on robot. And it also has the problem of, similar to issue 2, with Sonic able to get that close to Robotnik much more damage, maybe even capturing Robotnik himself, should have been possible.

The other trouble is that, being focused on telling funny jokes, characterisation suffers. Tails' shock at seeing Sonic apparently robotized, and Sonic’s at meeting Uncle Chuck, both last a couple of panels and its back to normal. Sonic’s could be put down to determination, but Tails’ seems oddly chipper about his hero being an evil robot.

It’s good for an early comic story, but, that’s Darning with faint praise.

Mini-series Overall

Overall, the Mini-series is a disappointing start to the series. A lot of the stories are bad, and the ones that aren’t will be either ignored or retconed as the main series goes on. It can be avoided without affecting your enjoyment of the series at all.

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Posted

You're pretty good at the Reviewing angle of things. At the very least you know how to properly dissect a story to see how good/bad it is.

With the mini-series done, Here's to looking forward to the reviews of the main series.

Keep it up, mate. :D

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Posted

Thanks Jest, I'm glad you liked them. I've never done the reviewing thing before, so its great you think it's turning out well.

After the somewhat disappointing start with the Mini-series, let’s see if things improve once we start the Sonic series proper.

Issue 1

Story 1: Meet Me At The Corner Of Hedgehog & Vine

The opening story is simple enough, with Robotnik unleashing a virulent robot plant, the Krudzu, into the forest to either destroy the Freedom Fighters or drive them out. But while simple, it is good. While delivered in a comical and silly way, the plan itself is effect. For the first time the jokes are there to support the story, rather than the story only there to allow for the jokes. And the story would require only a few tweaks to work later on in the comics run. (Robotnik acting more SatAM than AoStH, Tails watering of the Krudzu being an experiment rather than accident, and Antione taking out several Krudzu before being overwhelmed.)

Until we hit the ending. This… is odd. We’ve established the weakness or water to the Krudzu, and it would be easy to come up with a plan to counter them (arming the Freedom Fighters with water guns). But instead, there is a plot convenient thunderstorm that wipes the Krudzu. Deus Ex Machina… When it wasn’t needed. An extra page would have given a better ending, or heck, it could even have been extended to be one longer story (say, Robotnik seeing the Freedom Fighters fighting back and sends more, this time waterproof, robots to stop them.)

Despite the ending, this is a good story, and a much better start than the mini-series was. Plus, the Krudzu will feature repeatedly in the later comics, so unlike the mini-series, continuity important from this point on.

Story 2: You Bet My Life

The second story isn’t nearly as strong as the opening one, but it’s still not bad. Sonic investigates the unveiling of Robotnik’s newest badnik, and gets captured. Then placed in a giant pinball machine.

Well, it’s Sonic. Of course a giant pinball machine was gonna feature at some point! Unlike most Sonic pinballs however, this one is actually used as a fairly effective torture device, at least until Sonic escapes.

As an early Sonic script, there is nothing wrong with it at all, but at the same time there is little to make it stand out either, except for it being the first time a Zone from the games gets namechecked.

Overall:

Issue 1 starts with a strong story and a decent story, making it a much more effective start than the mini-series. To the point where, aside from possible the very first story in Issue 0, I’d be tempted to advise skipping the mini-series entirely.

I haven’t brought up the puns, forth-wall breaking or general stillness, as they are all a common feature of the early comics, and they won’t feature in later review, unless something about them should be noted.

And one final bonus point for Issue 1. It ends with a chilli-dog recipe. Now, I’ve not tried it so no idea how good it is, but it’s still a very nice touch.

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Posted

Well, that's interesting. Are you actually planning in reviewing every stories ?

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Posted

Well, that's interesting. Are you actually planning in reviewing every stories ?

Unless people yell at me to stop, yep!

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After a weekend hiatus, (being transformed into a Pokemon was distracting!), let’s get back to the comics.

Issue 2

Story 1: Triple Trouble

No, not THAT Triple Trouble. The game gets a special issue later on.

One of the comments that could effectively describe the early comics is ‘AoStH stories with SatAM characters’. Issue two redresses that balance. By putting more AoStH characters in.

Scratch, Grounder and Coconuts make their appearance in the comics, and it’s a fun ride. And frankly aside from four panels with Crabmeat, Knothole being namechecked and one (optional) mention of Sally, it COULD be an AoStH episode.

Interestingly, while they’re still portrayed as stupid, Scratch and Grounder aren’t quite as dumb as they usually are in the TV Show. Instead, Sonic is able to escape by their second most common failing, infighting! That’s still present and correct.

It’s silly fun, little more can be said.

Alas, that leads us to…

Story 2: Vertigo a’ go go

This is where silly gets… more subjective. This story is definitely silly, but it’s not one I find fun.

This the first time a new Zone (as in dimension, not used to describe a different area on Mobius) is brought up, though Sonic is already aware of them. It also introduces Cal and Al, and… I’m not a fan.

The two characters feel out of place, even given the silliness of the early issues. Their appearance and complete disconnect for the normal world is just too jarring. And the story is just Sonic falling in funny ways when the two of them yammer on. In short, nothing happens.

A disappointing follow up to the first story. But thankfully, it’s short.

Overall

Your enjoyment of Issue 2 will depend on your feeling for AoStH. If you like it, you’ll love seeing Scratch, Grounder and Coconuts turn up. If you don’t, well, you’re probably not keen on any of the early issues. And while the follow-up story is rather pointless, it’s short.

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Posted (edited)

Nice reviews Skye.

Keep it up and I look forward to next review.

Edited by Seviper

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Thanks very much Seviper

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Issue 3

Story 1: The Bomb Bugs Me

Sonic has always has a Green Aesop (Namely don’t pollute and don’t experiment on animals) but most of the time it’s not heavy handed (mostly). It’s just there in the background, or at most ‘This place was beautiful before Robotnik’.

This story as a new Aesop, Nuclear weapons are BAAAAAAADDDDDDD! And beats you over the head with it, with no relenting, for the first half of the story, even going so far to have the character do a marching protest. Okay, it’s a distraction, but still…

The whole ‘Robotnik has nuclear weapons and now is more dangerous’ doesn’t make any sense in context either. If Robotnik wanted to destroy the great forest, all he’d need is a bunch of normal (or maybe incendiary) bombs. Not a nuke.

(Note: This is not a commentary on my own feelings about nuclear weapons. Just how the Aesop is forced and overdone)

So, having pounded us into the ground to not support nukes, the story goes even more insane, with Rotor dressing up as Robotnik to steal the bomb. Only we end up with an out of costume Rotor and Robotnik both arguing that they are the real Rotor. ‘Robotnik’ proves it by taking off his mask to reveal Rotor.

Then ‘Rotor’ takes off his mask to reveal Robotnik, gloating.

Wait, what? How… does that help? At all? And why are you gloating about it.

Cue each of them taking more and more masks off.

What? Just… what? And even Sonic comments it ridicule. The whole sequence makes no sense, either as a joke, or any kind of cunning ploy. But eventually they escape and realise their effort was for naught as Robotnik’s Bomb was just bug spray.

The first half is smothered by the ‘nukes are bad’ Aesop. Even those pro that stance with find it hard to get past. The second half is just ridiculous. Avoid.

Story 2: Rabbot Deployment

Landmark time. There’s one main cast member of SatAM still to be introduced, Bunnie Rabbot. Better late than never I suppose!

The first half is fairly straight forward, with Bunnie being trapped in a Robotizer and Sonic just in the nick of too late to stop it before it begins. Two interesting things of note. The first is a pun so bad and forced Sally herself needs to complain about it. The second is a nice touch. After being rescued from the Robotizer Rotor points out for all they know Robotnik could track her, but Sonic is instant they have to help her. A bit more of a moral dilemma than you usually see at this stage.

Then we get to the second half and we’re right back into light-hearted territory, as Bunnie is completely aware and capable of her new abilities. Not even a learning ‘I can lift how much?’ montage. (Interestingly, going by Antion origin story, the post-reboot world seems to be averting this)

Interestingly, they seem at this stage to be trying to set Bunnie up as an equal to Sonic, with Bunnie even referring to herself as his ‘partner’. Infact, fighting the latest threat, Bunnie is permitted to save Sonic TWICE! The second time with a display of strength that would gobsmack Mighty. Though Sonic still gets the final blow, in the exact same way that Scratch and Grounder were taken out in the last issue.

And yet, after this intro, Bunnie hardly shows up in the following issues, and when she does her power tends to have been reduced. Either the writers didn’t get the memo, or it was felt that two powerful characters would make stories too difficult to write for.

And one other interesting note, Bunnie seems pretty interest in Antione at first sight!

The story has some good points, but is overall average, with just the introduction of a new character too buoy it up. Alas Bunnie fails, at this stage, to live up to her intro, but things will improve later.

Overall:

Read for Bunnie’s introduction, but that’s all that can be recommended about it.

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Posted

I’ve really got to try and do these faster!

Issue 4

Story 1: The Lizard of Odd

So Robotnik creates a massive robot so powerful he loses control. Well, no biggie. After all last issue Sonic and Bunnie teamed up to take on another giant robot. Except, no Bunnie. Not even a throwaway ‘fighting Robotnik’s forces elsewhere’ line. Hmmmmmm, okay, I’ll let you off for now issue, if you behave.

Well at this stage to all of you what happens next should be obvious. The same thing that happens whenever Robotnik loses control of his massive project. It’s Super Sonic time! (Insert your own favourite super sonic theme turn here). With Sonic having previous gather the seven Chaos Emeralds offscreen (seriously??? *sigh*) and with 50 rings, he jumps into a special zone to collect another 50 rings to trigger the transformation.

Uh… that’s not how it works guys…

But now its Super Sonic verses giant robot. Time for an epic fight. But that’s not what happens. Instead Sonic uses an enlarge/reduce component of the robotizer from last issue to shrink the robot down to bug size.

What?

The?

*BLEEP*?

Okay, first problem, why use Super Sonic in the story, if he only does something the REGULAR Sonic could easily pull off. It builds to a massive fight that doesn’t happen, and then solves it with a technobabble solution. That is a fumble and a let down. It makes the whole transformation of Super Sonic feel like filler. Like they had the problem (giant robot) and solution (shrink) and needed something to pad out the middle. A waste of what Super Sonic is.

Second, the component from the Robotizer. The same Robotizer used to semi-robotize Bunnie. So…. You bring up that, but not Bunnie. At all. Who was in the same story. And a larger part of it. And was built up as Sonic’s new partner. And was written by the same guy.

This… this is just…. WHAT? Like I said, a line saying she is too far away even for Sonic to reach in time would be the end of it, but no, apparently she’s just vanished into thin air. This is poor storytelling on numerous levels.

And no matter how funny you find them, whoopee cushions are not 'super humorous'.

And to cap it off, the bot escapes, AFTER havening discovered the location of Knotjhole. Uh… kinda a security risk to let it run away even tiny sized. One report to Robotnik and…

Gah, common sense left this story a long time ago. Let’s get out of here.

Story 2: Tails’ Little Tail

This story follows directly on from the first. GAH! Make up your mind how important you want continuity!

Rant aside, this is the first story to focus on Tails, and is mostly an introduction to his character. Hero-worshiper and imitator of Sonic, somewhat capable of handling himself. And prone to be over-confident. And that last one was a shock given I’d played the games before reading the comics!

It’s an inoffensive little story, though it does also seem to be trying to portray a Tails as a slight butt-monkey as well, going by the last panel.

Overall

Avoid. The first story seems okay at first glance, until you think about it for more than a second. And the second is just really there. Not bad, but nothing to stand out.

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Posted

The trouble with these early issues is that, unless they are really good or really bad, there’s often little to say about them. They are mostly stand-alone stories with no character development, so if it’s just average… what’s there to comment on. Sure, you could point out how silly some things are, like the puns or fourth-wall breaking, but that’s like complaining that they’re comics, not animated. At this stage, it’s just part of what the comics are.

So enjoy this double review!

Issue 5

Story 1: Olympic Trails and Errors

A story that has an almost stronger AoStH feel than Issue 2’s triple trouble! Robotnik builds a stadium and challenges the Freedom Fighter to a tournament, with them only needing to win one event and he’ll surrender. Otherwise the Freedom Fighters will.

Despite EVERYONE knowing it’s a horrible idea and Robotnik is lying, they go ahead because ‘It’s worth the risk’. Please re-read that sentence. Then facepalm. And of course, there is NO mention of running like hell should they lose. Instead they’ll happily march to their doom.

To quote Dark Helmet: "Now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb."

But of course the good guys will win because they have Sonic, only Robotnik has his sneakers swapped with energy draining ones so he faints. While the rest of the Freedom Fighters fail their events, Tails finds the real sneakers, brings them back, and Sonic helps Antione win the last race by distracting the Buzzbomber he’s racing.

Uh, Sonic…. That’s called cheating you know? So, distracting an opponent’s racer on the track is acceptable, but running away from being turned into a robot isn’t. So much for any moral messages!

And of course Robotnik was lying (hey, you could break the deal cause Sonic cheated Robotnik!!). But one Sonic spin and the Robotizer is destroyed.

There’s also a little plot with Tails being put down and the start, only to help save the day, but it only really exists so Tails can actually FIND the sneakers, given we’ve seen Tails is not as bad as Antione claims.

Oh yeah, and if reading on the site, or from the download, parts of some of the pages are missing, making it an awkward read.

Story 2: Chomp on This Chump

Rotor orders an Ant farm from a magazine, only for it to be a trap from Robotnik, who instead sends a super termite called a… groan, Termite-nator.

So….. Ant Farms on Mobius…. I hope ants aren’t intelligent, otherwise it’s rather hypocritical for a Freedom Fighter. (Spoiler, they are). Leaving aside how magazines can even exist in this world, does this mean Robotnik now has the address for Knothole?

Anyway, this termite eats wood and paper, and grows as it eats, even to gigantic size when it can potentially eat trees in seconds…. Uh… how the heck can any eco-system support a creature like that?

But Sonic manages to jam its jaws, and Rotor discovers it’s a robot.

Uh…. Why is it a robot? We’ve already established it’s a real creature! Maybe the real one doesn’t grow fast enough. No, the reason why is so Rotor can reprogram it to eat metal and send it back to Robotnik.

Overall: Aside from the heavy use of the idiot ball in the first story, neither are really bad, but nor are they good. Not recommended, but then, I wouldn’t say avoid.

Issue 6

Story 1: The Spin Doctor

Game adaption time! Sonic Spinball.

We begin with all the Freedom Fighter’s charging Robotnic’s base for ‘the Final fight’. Charging… in broad daylight… Just as well Robotnik has moved otherwise a few moments later it WOULD have been the Final fight.

Oh, and Bunnie makes a brief cameo… And to put that in perspective, Cal and Al showed up again in the comic sooner than Bunnie did!

So Sonic heads alone (because Sonic) to Robotnik’s new base, the Veg-O-Fortress. Er…. Is that name a joke… I think it’s meant to be a joke, but… *shrugs*

We then rush through a few of the levels and badniks in the game, before finding a group of prisoners, and Sonic gets locked in a room. Not a Robotizer (missed a trick there Robotnik), but a spring sending him outside.

Which…. Leaves us with a downer ending. Aside from a few badniks the fortress was undamaged, and none of the prisoners were rescued. Now that’s unusual. Sonic says that he feels he’ll be back, but nope!

We later learn that two prisoners who had got out of their cells did escape, but given their actions when they show up, I can’t help but wonder if they resent Sonic for not saving them or the other prisoners. I’ll explain when we reach that point.

This story is rushed, rushed, rushed. There is no pause for breath, and it doesn’t show off the game very well. Plus, the odd downer ending. It’s not bad, but certainly not good.

Story 2: Sonic’s Christmas Carol

Doing an adaption of A Christmas Carol is common. Looney Toons, the Muppets, even Doctor Who have done it. Now it’s Sonic’s turn.

Of course, because the conflict can’t end the way the normal Christmas Carol story does, it turns out to be a dream sequence. Except, Robotnik is blown up in the dream, and is shown post-explosion back in the real world…. So… what? Was the explosion real? I dunno, I’ll leave it to others to try and work out the logic of this one.

There’s not much to say here. It’s a Sonic dream-sequence version of A Christmas Carol. If that sentence hasn’t put you off, then you’ll enjoy it. However, it’s longer than most secondary stories, which might explain the rushed nature of the first story.

Overall

Again, neither of these stories are bad, but neither are good. The first is okay, but as an adaption it’s too rushed to give any indication about the game. And the second depends on how you feel about the premise.

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Posted

To be fair, that WAS the actual name of the fortress in the actual game of Sonic Spinball. Can't quite think of why it's called that even then though, the only thing that comes to mind is turning Mobians into metaphorical Vegetables.

Nice reviews so far, Skye. I'll have you know I'm taking them into consideration when thinking up the Plots for my Sonic: TPU story. Keep it up! ^_^

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It was really called that in the game? Wow. File that under bizarre!

Glad you're enjoying them, though I'm not sure how useful they can actually be to your project.

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Issue 7

Story 1: Uncle Chuck’s Treasure

I mentioned earlier in my reviews that, while the comic has a green Aesop, it’s in the background mostly. Here, its far more avert, as the Freedom Fighters search for treasure buried by Uncle Chuck in a former national park after finding a hidden map. Except, there’s not much left of said park. But even though the ‘pollution is bad’ subtext is brazen, its still nowhere near as ‘in your face’ as the anti-nuclear missile barrage back in Issue 3. Mostly it’s just pointing out how ‘location X used to be beautiful’

And even then the situation is used firstly to make the puns the early comics are fond of, followed by a fun chase sequence with Sonic using the terrain to his advantage. The only disadvantage is that the other characters are reduced to being mostly helpless dudes/damsels in distress.

But while the Freedom Fighters are fine Robotnik escapes with the treasure, only to be disappointed in what ‘treasure’ actually means. Huh… I wonder if the story writers for Sonic Riders had read this story.

Which does raise a question. Why would Uncle Chuck bury Sonic’s old baby boots, write a map, and then hide the map in knothole? Best I can come up with is that Chuck was planning to have it as some sentiment trip for Sonic when he had kids of his own.

Story 2: Sorceress in Distress

Odd to see a Halloween-esk story right after Christmas. Even odder is the fact Robotnik can’t recognises Sally, when the only difference is a witches cloak and a hat. Maybe the hat works the same way as Clark Kent’s glasses.

Anyway, Robotnik spots the costumed Sally, mistakes her for a real witch and tries to marry her. And why is Sally on her own and easily kidnapped? Cause she arrogantly and angrily insisted on it. So much for the tactical leader of the Freedom Fighters. Okay, okay, being watched all the time can get pretty oppressive, but there was no need to be so forceful.

But Sonic followed anyway and is able to pull Sally away before the vows. And apparently he can spin fast enough to turn inviable, I’m sure that will be really useful later on. Shame he’ll forget he can do it!

And to top it off Sally whacks Sonic for disobeying orders. Right…. So getting married and the robotized by Robotnik would have been better? At least her insistence on going alone was understandable. Her reaction here…. Not so much!

Overall:

Silly but fun can sum up this issue, the first story being more fun and the latter more silly.

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Issue 8

My first thought on seeing the cover was ‘At least the covers at this stage usually don’t reflect the stories in the comic’. Alas, this was one of the exceptions. And that should be warning enough.

Story 1: Bot’s All Folks

This… is a bad story. And to make matters worse, it’s just the same joke over and over again. Robotnik make a poor imitation robot of some superhero from anther franchise and Sonic trashes it. And… that’s it. No, really.

Okay, there’s the fact Robotnik lures Sonic out by performing a deliberately evil act on TV, a tactic he’ll use again in a later issue. But there’s really little to say about this story. Unless the superhero bots or the in-jokes appel to you, there’s nothing here to recommend.

Story 2: A Little Sonic Goes a Long Way

The second story is an improvement. Well, honestly, almost anything would be!

So Snively makes his first appearance in the story, but interestingly, not his first in the comics, as a variant of him appeared in the Christmas Carol story. Given neither story introduces him though, any readers who didn’t watch SatAM would probably be wondering who the odd, short, big nosed person was.

Anyway, back to the story. Snively has created a shirking machine, the effects of which only last an hour. So when the freedom fighters go to an old concert hall to pick up some instruments, Robotnik ambushes and zaps them. Then proceeds to chase the minute Sonic around with a vacuum cleaner/robotizier combo.

This is where Robotnik’s obsession with Sonic first obviously turns against him, as had he chased after the other Freedom Fighters first, there’s a good chance he’d have captured and robotizied them all. Having said that, it’s also the closest he gets to actually robotizing Sonic, a mere button push away. Before the shrunken Freedom Fighters use a stringed instrument in typical cartoon style as a bow and arrow to knock the Robotizer out of his hands.

And then apparently the hour is up. Despite the fact that the events would have latest…. Oooh, about five minutes as show. But then, time has never been something comics have handled well, not just Sonic ones.

Now back to normal size, the Freedom Fighters use music to drive Robotnik off. Apparently it actually seems to cause him physical pain… Despite…. Or maybe because of, the fact he seems to have cybernetic ears. No wonder he bans it then. Then the shrink ray is used by the Freedom Fighters to shrink the attacking badnik army. Who then throw it into the cupboard and never even think about it again.

How much you enjoy this story depends on two things. First, how you feel about ‘shrunken down’ stories. Second, how willing you are to forgive the ‘an hour is about 5 minutes’ element. Aside from that, and Snively’s proper introduction, it’s an above average story for these early days, but still not a good or standout one.

Overall

With a first story that is dire, and a follow-up which will be hit or miss depending on your tastes, I certainly can’t recommend this one.

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Sorry for taking so long. It’s been a busy time at work, and I haven’t had a chance to really focus on the reviews. Thankfully this busy time will soon turn into the easiest time of the year… hopefully!

Issue 9

This was an interesting one. I enjoyed reading it, but when it came to reviewing, well….

Story 1: Pseudo-Sonic

There’s a few interesting ‘firsts’ in this story. The most obvious being the first appearance of a robotic copy of Sonic. Secondly, it’s the first story where Sonic doesn’t save the day. He’s been incapacitated before, but always comes to save the day at the end. And more minorly, it’s also the first appearance of a sentient Mobian who looks almost completely like an animal, with all the confusion that causes! (Muttski doesn’t count because his intelligence wasn’t established until later. For now he was a normal dog.) Rotor is first referred to as such, previously being known as Boomer. And lastly Bunnie gets a roll beyond a cameo!

So, with all of those (with the possible exception of the animalistic Mobian one) it sounds like a fun story, and is probably why I enjoyed reading it despite the fact, well, it kinda isn’t.

After some brief testing Pseudo-Sonic infiltrates Knothole, while Sonic is suffering elsewhere from an allergic reaction to a bed of flowers. When Pseudo-Sonic tries to contact Robotnik, Tails short-circuits him by creating a static-electricity field with his tails. This is the reason the story isn’t as good as it appears. Not because Tails shows a useful ability that will never be used again, like Sonic’s invisibility a couple of issues ago. But because Pseudo-Sonic doesn’t actually do anything in the story. He shows up, and is taken out without a fight or struggle.

After which Robotnik discover the vulnerable Sonic and tries to take him out, only to be taken out himself by Bunnie. Who then, alas, does the common thing of the early comic by, rather than capturing Robotnik, simply throws him back into his factory. On the more interesting front, this seems to first time Robotnik is made aware of Bunnie, judging by his comments.

The trouble with the story is not much happens. The title character is taken out too easily, the chance of showing all the Freedom Fighters in combat being squandered. There is also a LOT of fourth wall breaking in this story, which could affect your enjoyment. Its not bad, it could just clearly have been more.

And yes, I am aware it’s heavily based on an AoStH story, but it’s certainly more different than just being a remix.

Story 2: What’s the Point?

From a fully intelligent animal looking Mobian, to a normal animal Mobian. Well… normal for Mobius, being some kinda bird with spines.

Sonic takes said injured bird to be a present for Sally’s birthday. She’s not keen on in, firstly because Robotnik has used real and fake animal before against them. And second cause it ate her cake.

So Sonic leaves to put the bird back in the woods, and Sally to get berries for a new cake, only to be grabbed by a robot tree.

Yes, a robot tree. Complete with angry face… Followed by a forth wall smash to put all the tree-based puns possible in a single speech bubble.

Anyway, Sonic takes out the robot with the bird’s help, then the bird takes out Robotnik…. Er…. Well, I suppose it’s a staple of children’s stories, having the animal companion save the day. After which the bird is made an official member of the Freedom Fighters, and of course is never seen again.

The story is slightly above average, but how much you enjoy it depends on how you feel about the ‘animal saves the day’ plot.

Overall

Issue 9 is full of potential that it never quite realises. You would think with the elements present more could have been done.

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So it’s been a while since my last one of these. And, aside from work and stuff, the main reason it’s been so long, is that this is an issue I wasn’t looking forward to reviewing. It’s not bad in ‘I’m looking forward to tearing it to shreds’ but just sign inducing.

Issue 10

Looking at the covers for the past four issues, only one doesn’t represent the story within. And as this cover shows a distinct scenario of Robotnik with a freeze ray, as opposed to the other non-representing covers which are more generic, you would expect one of the stories to involve said freeze ray.

No such luck.

Kinda the opposite to issue 8 then!

Story 1: Revenge of the Nerbs

Like the main story in Issue 8, this story has one joke repeated over and over, laughing at the Nerd stereotype. Though, oddly, none of the typical nerd hobbies are on display. Thankfully there is a bit more story to it than Issue 8’s. Unfortunately, it’s not a good story.

The Freedom Fighters get caught in a trap, only for a Deus Ex Machina meeting with a Nerb from underground allowing them to escape. But the Nerbs in their underground city are inhospitable, so the Freedom Fighters storm off.

But after getting lost they discover Robotnik and a mining operations. So after saving some ungrateful Nerbs Sonic floods the sight, cause numerous geysers, one of which…. Seems to destroy Robotropolis…. Er, that’s odd. But of course, it’s not even damaged in the next story.

There’s not really much I want to add. The Nerbs are so irritating that any attempt at humour (even ignoring the stereotype issues) is drowned out. And it’s never explained how the Freedom Fighters or Nerbs survive the flood Sonic causes. A weak story made worse by a poor choice of supporting cast.

I had hoped the Nerbs would be one element of the comics that would fade into obscurity, but alas, they were brought back. Thankfully, mostly as just a cameo, and nothing more was done with them before the reboot hit.

Story 2: Twan with the Wind

In a similar way to Issue 4’s second Story focusing on Tails, this story seems to serve as a character introduction to Antione, making him more than just the cowardly, uptight, funny-accented comic relief.

The Freedom Fighters are suing Antione’s hot air balloon to scout for a picnic location, only to have it taken out by two buzz bombers. The next day, after complaints about the balloon from the others, Antione fixes the balloon while the others are at the picnic, then uses it to save the day when Robotnik attacks.

Aside from being the first story to feature Antione as the main, there is little else to make the story stand out. It is pretty much by the numbers. Antione is permitted to save everyone, including Sonic, and the story also shows his determination, and that it can overcome his cowardliness. But these are all things that will be shown better later.

Antione does make reference to being the head of balloons for King Acorn, something that seems suspect here, and will be clearly a lie with later developments. After all, it was true, he’d be at least in his 30’s or something. This is one of those things that could be analysed away, or just dismissed under early instalment weirdness!

And, like the Tails story mentioned above, this one also desired to end on a laugh at the expense of the character.

Overall

Don’t read the first story. Just, *sighs* don’t. As for the second, if you like Antone and want to see the start of him becoming a well-rounded, then skip to the second story. If not, you can pass this issue over.

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Issue 11

After last issue did away with the stand-alone joke pages (Forgot to mention that! Whoops) this means there is now more space in the comics for stories. Will the comics makes the best use of it? Well…

Story 1: The Good, the Bad, and the Hedgehog

This story begins continuity proper in the comic. While elements from pervious stories would be mentioned down the line, that is much, MUCH further down the line, over 150 issues. Well, technically I’m getting ahead of myself, as the actual continuity won’t occur until the sequel to this story 13 issues from here. But the story is still interesting as it introduces a lot of recurring elements.

Hmm, I use the word ‘interesting’ way too much in these reviews. I better stop before it becomes my catchphrase!

So we open with another ‘pollution is bad’ poke with Robotnik’s new factory polluting a river. Sonic however is on the other side of Mobius, too far away even for him to make it back quickly, so takes a shortcut through (dun dun dunnnn!) the Cosmic Interstate. Basically a way to navigate through all the different dimensions. Most likely this is kinda like the Void/Limbo etc in most sci-fi worlds, i.e. the space between dimensions. Except this one has pathways you can follow.

Although it’s never said why Sonic never uses the Cosmic Interstates to move around Mobius after this story what happens next is probably the unstated reason for that. He gets lost and winds up in the wrong dimension. His attempts to find out what’s going on leads him to a Vet Clinic where Knothole should be run by… Dr Robotnik? Escaping from the angry animals there, Sonic them bumps into himself!

More accuracy, the EVVVVIL version of himself, who has an overly irradiating way of speaking, which thankfully only lasts a few panels. And he seems oddly well informed that he knows that he’s the EVIL version of Sonic, and that this Zone is the EVIL version of Mobius. He certainly doesn’t come across as the kinda person who’d have that sorta education or experience. But someone’s gotta explain what’s going on.

Sonic is more interested in getting home, but Evil Sonic just wants someone to race against. So Sonic leads him back to the Vet clinic where Evil Sonic is beaten up, and Sonic is able to explain the situation to the good Robotnik. Who gives him a device to deal with the pollution problem…. An oddly specific device considering Sally was very vague in her description of what was happening. But the device sooks up the gloop turning it into harmless bubbles. So fast that it beats the rate the factory is producing the gloop.

So fast… it causes the factory to explode? Er? How? If the devices was plugged into the factory maybe the stain would cause a breakdown. But it’s working on the river outside. It has no effect on the factory whatsoever. But we need to get rid of it somehow.

Then Sally kisses Sonic on the cheek, which is a step up in their relationship from ‘trying not to show the other that they care’.

Evil versions of good guys was an old trope even at the time this was first published. (The oldest I can think of is Star Trek’s ‘Mirror Mirror’ in the 60’s but there are likely even older ones) But they are still often a popular aspect. This one… well, by the time the story has explained what is going on, doesn’t have much to it. And while it introduces aspects that will be expanded later, they come out of nowhere. How Sonic knows about the Cosmic Interstate is never explained. It’s an interesting if overdone idea, coupled with a below average story that has a lot of plot holes for its short length.

Story 2: Beat the Clock

A short second story,, featuring Coconuts, who has captured some of the Freedom Fighters. Rather than handing them over to Robotnik, as would be sensible, he wants to be the badnik who beats the record for length of time survived fighting Sonic.

So… he wants a gold star from Robotnik for lasting the longest against Sonic….. rather than the reward for handing over three Freedom Fighters….. I think I know which Robotnik would prefer Coconuts! But then, this is Coconuts we’re talking about. Robotnik would just complain that he hadn’t captured Sonic and throw him in a trash compactor.

But looking at his plan. He’s captured the Freedom Fighters as bait. Okay, good. Perfect bait for Sonic. He’s put a ‘never-ending’ maze up for Sonic to get through. Well, it’s not never-ending or even that hard, but then it’s for kids to scribble over their comics and reduce the resale value when they’re collector’s items.

And he has the Freedom Fighters attached to a time bomb. Uh… Why? Just… WHY? You are trying to last as long as possible against Sonic. So why do you have a timer in the background that you’d need to stop in order to achieve your goal? I’m not getting your plan at all Coconuts.

Anyway, Sonic arrives at the last second, frees the Freedom Fighters and escapes with them ignoring Coconuts. Who then gets blown up by his own time bomb. Yeah, your ‘clever’ plan kinda backfired horribly there.

I… seriously don’t know what is going on with this story. The plan has SUCH a major flaw, and the fact Coconuts didn’t even try to fight Sonic just make the whole thing ridiculous.

Hopefully the next story will be better.

Story 3: Food for Thought

And… it’s a dream sequence… *facedesk* Seriously, you have extra space now, and you waste it on a dream sequence story rather than, say, giving the main story room to breath.

Sigh. Let’s get on with it then. After overeating before bed, Sonic dreams of the characters being walking, talking food. Except, they just look like they are wearing food based costumes. Except for Tails, who just looks creepy. Anyway, Robotnik kidnaps Tails, uses that to trap Sonic…. Then the dream ends. We get an unresolved dream sequence. And to cap it all Sonic doesn’t learn his lesson as upon waking he scoffs down more Chili-dogs.

This is here to take up space, noting more. It’s incomplete and pointless.

Overall

Read the first story for the elements it introduces to the comics, then skip the other stories. It doesn't take advantage of the extra space.

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I'm liking your reviews, you have my FULL support! I might be reading them in an irregular basis, but be assured you have a fan in me! :)

Looking forward to more from you. KEEP EET UP!

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Thanks so much Eliza! I'll do my best. I just hope you keep enjoying them!

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But then, this is Coconuts we’re talking about. Robotnik would just complain that he hadn’t captured Sonic and throw him in a trash compactor.

Hehehe....Can't help but be reminded of this little scene.

Nice work so far, mate. Keep it up. :D

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Lol!

And thanks Jest. Your's is good too, looking forward to the next one.

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Issue 12

Story 1: A Timely Arrival

It’s pretty much inevitable after a while that every children’s series will do a story about time travel and one about aliens. This is the former of the two, and while introducing casual time travel at this stage is okay, once continuity became important to the series the question haws to be asked why does now one use it anymore? If you’re gonna bring back the *bleep*ing Nerbs you better address this.

And they don’t. Sigh.

Still, I can’t hold bad future decisions against this story. So we being seeing Sonic piling up the robot remains of another failed Robotnik plot. To which Robitnik fumes that Sonic beats him ‘time after time’, turning into a sinister grin and “hmmmm”. A nice ominous way to end the first page, only for page two to spoil it by Robotnik declaring his plan to build a time machine.

Sonic heads straight back to Knothole and, after a bit of musing about Tails flying, sees a report about Robotnik’s new giant chainsaw machine for chopping down forests. So Sonic shoot’s off to stop this latest threat, only it’s the time machine, and Robotnik zaps him back to the past.

So…. Robotnik was able to design AND build a Time Machine, AND set up this trap, in the time it took for Sonic to run from Robotropolis to Knothole.

What… can I POSSIBLY add to that? Even by comic/cartoon standards that’s crazy! Why not a little ‘next day’ corner box?

Anyway, Sonic is thrown back to the prehistoric ages, as a pterodactyl informs him. How the pterodactyl knows this is prehistoric as that is a term from the future… well, who knows. After taking care of that and a T-rex, well, time for the element these time-travel stories have, the nigh identical copies of the heroes/villains in a different time zone. Though, giving Sonic’s caveman copy a WHITE caveman beard just makes him look old, not caveman-y.

So after some running, an attack by caveman Robotnik, and a flash to the future where we see Robotnik is REALLY to focused on Sonic for his own good, we learn that the caveman Freedom Fighters are so scared of the outdoors they plan to live underground. Instead, Sonic invents… the hedge…. I guess bushes don’t naturally grow together in prehistoric times. And then, thanks to the Freedom Fighters… er, the ones in the present…. I mean the future present, not the past present, ahem. Thanks to the Freedom Fighters capturing the time machine due to Robotnik’s premature celebration, Sonic is returned to his normal time.

And the Time Machine is left in a cupboard forgotten and Robotnik never makes another again.

I know I’ve lambasted the story a lot, but, aside from flaws that are present in all variations of this story, it’s not bad. Just, not anything to stand out either. The trouble is it is a very ‘cookie cutter’ plot. Odd’s are you’ve seen a variation of it before.

Story 2: Bold-headed Eagle.

Taking a shortcut through some mountains Sonic runs off a cliff… huh, must have been me with the controller. And crashes into an old eagle’s nest below. The old eagle, Cyril, and yeah, I am emphasising OLD here (he has a freaking walking stick), explains he was the leader of a large flock till Robotnik came.

Meanwhile Robotnik’s scanners have picked up signs of organic life…. Er… I guess it can’t tract Knothole because it classes trees as life…. Otherwise… well, time for a tortured ‘why’.

Sonic persuades Cyril to try flying again, and his does, but not before dropping like a stone to begin with. He arrives on another outcrop, only to find the rest of his flock hiding out…. Er.. how did the scanners not pick up them? *shakes head* Sure it might not work through rock but they’d have had to go out to eat now and again.

I have to admit that the first time I read the story I missed the ‘soon’ caption in the panel after Cyril feel. So it looked as if his flock was just on the ledge below! Which would have been a little embarrassing for Ol’ Cyril. But then given the type for stories thus far it wouldn’t have been surprising/

Sonic meanwhile is rather bummed thinking something bad has happened to Cyril, the Robotnik shows up in a Rambot, presumably to somehow suit the maintain setting, and in, unfortunately, fancy dress.

But as Robotnik blasts Sonic off the mountain, Cyril swoops in to save him, and Robotnik is punished, not with an avalanche or rockfall on top of his robot, but the ground below giving way.

This story is… functional. It works, but there is nothing that makes it stand out, except that Cyril will appear again later. It’s another standard plot. ‘Hero talks to old hero and gives him confidence again, so he can help the new hero at the end of the story.’ And it brings very little to the table. It is marginally better than the first story though.

Story 3: The Lynx is a Jinx

The story opens with Sonic saving a couple of small animals from a Swat Bot raid. But really that’s just an excuse to introduce Larry Lynx, who in appearance seems to be the missing link between regular animals and your usual Mobian. He’s also the jinx referred to in the title as he brings bad luck with him wherever he goes.

And to prove the point the branch he is sitting on breaks and smashes into the Freedom Fighters below. Injured, the Freedom Fighters leave, with Sally showing her P*ssed off side again. Seriously, that girl really needs to calm down. I guess she hates being pink. Hmm… maybe having pink fur makes Mobians have anger management issues or something; Sally, Amy Rose, Julie-su….

Sonic isn’t going to abandon his new friend (Wow, that was quick. You know his name and that’s about it!) so they set off to find a safe place of Larry. There travels take them to a desert area where they spot the Freedom Fighters now captured and being escorted to Robotropolis. Now, I’m not an expert in geography, far from it, and fictional geography even less. But First I’m pretty sure Sonic and Larry were heading away from both Knothole and big-scary-robot-town, and Second I’m 99% sure that there isn’t a desert like that between Robotropolis and Knothole. I guess the Swat Bots are taking the prisoners via the scenic root.

So Sonic persuades Larry to walk towards the bots, and low and behold his jinx causes them to take themselves out, and then Robotnik, who had shown up intending to gloat, to crash his hot rod tractor thing.

With the Freedom Fighters free they all return to Knothole where Sonic proves Larry’s bad luck is over when Larry win’s 50 games of chess in a row.

Chess. Does not. Rely. On luck!

All you’ve proven is he’s a good chess player. Snakes and Ladders would have been a better choice. Unless it’s good luck that the board didn’t spontaneously combust or something.

Aside from the Swat Bot’s pathfinding issues (time to do some de-bugging Robotnik) and someone not knowing how you play a bloody game of chess The Lynx is a Jinx is the strongest of the three stories. Like Cyril Larry will appear in a later story. Unlike Cyril he will then reappear waaaayyyyy later on in a fairly major role.

Overview

Issue 12 is a solid issue, but rather derivative. The first two stories have been done before many times and there is little unique about them. It’s not quite as bad a being able to plug any cartoon character in without changing anything, but it’s not far off. Story 3 is more unique, but someone with super-bad luck is not uncommon either. Worth reading once, especially as two new characters will reappear later, but probably not worth a re-read.

A Look At: Year One

Now and again I’ll want to cover topics in more detail. Say, talk about a character, a story arc, a group or theme that’s been hanging over the comics. And also, talking a look at the development of the comic over each year. This is what these 'A Look At's are for.

I have to confess to being a bit lazy here. Because SCANF arranges the comics in pages of 25, and also because every 25 issues the comic tends to have some big event issue, I will tend to count 25 issues as two years and either 12 or 13 as one year. I say ‘tend’ because off the top of my head I already know two points where I’m gonna break that pattern.

Having said all that, for Year One, there is very little to say. Sonic the Hedgehog starts out as a light hearted comic aimed at kids. And to begin with, well… I guess the best way of putting it is there seems to be now real ambition to be more. To not expand beyond a children’s funny comic. However, the last few issues hint towards a slight shift, especially the last issue where you could take the jokes out of all three stories and they still mostly work. There is definitely a change coming in the comics, though it might take a while to arrive. But overall, most of year one could be skipped and aside from a handful of shout-outs/references down the road you won’t miss over much.

And while did I stop year one here? Well, something big is coming in Issue 13. Which, if you’ve already read the comics, or Jest’s reviews, you’ll know about!

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