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Skye Prower's Comic Reviews

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Posted

Good stuff Skye! I haven't said anything, but I've been keeping up and enjoying the reviews. I've read these comics so long ago, so it's nice to have a refresher on them.

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Posted

Thanks. Good to hear you're enjoying them!

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Posted

Especially love the Pink-hair joke, especially when considering Sonic Boom's Comic Amy. XD

I also like the concept of the "A look at" series, and your small review of the overall year of comics you reviewed thus far. I'm looking forward to hearing your opinion of Sonic 13.

Keep it up, mate. ^_^

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Thanks Jest. Yeah, as the comics go on the theory gathers more proof! :P

I will admit I borrowed that concept, but given how the story arcs etc work in the comics something like it was rather necessary.

Issue 13

So, lets she how things kick off with a new year of comics!

Story 1: The Island Hedgehog

Well, in a far more insightful, witter and entertaining way than I ever could, so I’ll skip the play by play and give a broad overview of my thoughts.

As is obvious, the story is based on Sonic the Hedgehog 3. The first part contains a number of shoutouts to the game, the first mini-boss, the monkey robot, Hydrocity, Sonics temporary shield etc. While the second half is essentially the plot of StH 3. And contains what looks like a Fireball XL5 reference. In an American comic. In the pre-internet days. That’s unexpected, though not as much as when Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers did it! But it's not like it's the only Gerry Anderson reference in the Sonic Franchise, right Tails? *points at SA1 and Sonic X*

To answer one of the points mentioned in Jest’s review, Robotnik states outright that his hovercraft is crippled, which makes the ‘emergency landing’ option viable. Plus, he might have been investigating the legend of Floating Islands.

An interesting (GAH! There’s that word again) thing to note with this story is the jokes take a back seat. Oh, they’re still there, but there’s less of them even than last Issue. Which wasn’t exactly heavy with the humour either. Even the aura of silliness that is often prevalent in the early issues has gone.

The Island Hedgehog is, relatively speaking, a more serious story that introduces a lot of important elements to the world. There are some questionable moments in the story, no question. But for the early years this is one of the best.

Story 2: Space in Yo’ Face

I have to ask, who the hell comes up with these horrible names? It makes me groan just trying to write them.

Names aside, the story begins with Sonic showing his honed artistic skills (now where did THOSE come from???), using a spin dash chainsaw style to carve a wooden statue of Antione. Now, while Sonic does do some ribbing at Antione’s expense, the fact he seems happy to do so, and it doesn’t appear to be on Sally’s orders, suggests that, maybe after the balloon incident, the two don’t hate each other as much as previously implied.

The carving is interrupted, destroy the statue in the process, by Rotor and Sally. Who report that Robotnik has built his new weapon, the Robostorm. But let’s be honest, it’s a proto-Death Egg. And space vehicle shaped like Robotnik’s face with the abilities to Robotize from orbit. The only differences being that this one of much, much smaller, and this one seems to remind me architecturally of something Arabian-like. Interesting that a Death Egg like craft should show up in the same issue as the StH3 adaption in which game the space station is a major point. I wonder if the writers realised too later that the Death egg was in the game, but by that stage it was too late to re-write the script for the first story.

The team moves in to sabotage the Death Egg’s unruly little brother, starting by Sonic saying he’ll lure the Swat Bots away one by one. Only in the last chase panel we see four chasing him at once. And not one of them thought to signal that they spotted the Priority One. Though, he hasn’t been called that yet.

After sneaking aboard the Freedom Fighters barely have time to look around before Robotnik arrives. So they take off and blast into space, only for Robotnik to follow. Handy that his hovercraft can function in space!

Then… things get… odd.

Apparently Mobius has one hundred moons. Some of which have their own rings. Not only that, but some of these conditions on theses moons are well known. After being shot by Rotobnik’s craft, the mini-Death Egg lands on the ‘legendary’ moon Murkury, which is covered in, you guessed it, Muck. According to Rotor. How he knows…. *shrugs* The timeline published much later would try to explain these moons away by saying they were part of an Overlander (human) attempt to launch satellites, but that really doesn’t hold water. Why would a Satellite be covered in muck? And, frankly, how can you explain this crazy thing, and not cover why Robotnik doesn’t try time travel again when he can whip up a time machine in less time than it takes to make a cup of tea.

And, incidentally, I thought Tails would enjoy being in space, rather than being scared.

Robotnik’s hovercraft also arrives on the moon, and as Robotnik claims his vehicle is a transformer, it grows into a giant robot. Note that. It DOESN’T transform. It grows! A massive body emerges from nowhere. The only way that could possibly work is if that hovercraft was actually a TARDIS. And one thing I have to ask, why doesn’t the robot have arms? It just looks silly, and you’ve already shown it growing a whole body. Arm’s are not gonna make it look more daft.

The mech then goes kicking the fun-sized Death Egg around, though, as with when it was shot in space, Robotnik can’t bear to watch cause it looks like him. But the Freedom Fighters have escaped into the barely breathable atmosphere of the moon. Just before everyone passes out, Sonic recalls some of the points mentioned before about Robotnik loving his own appearance, so sculpts a massive statue of Robotnik from muck. Which then buries Robotnik when it collapses, letting the Freedom Fighters escape in the mech-hovercraft-TARDIS thing. And how does Robotnik get back to Mobius? Well, it’s never said, but given the so-called physics on display my guess is he swam back through space.

As with story 1, there are less jokes, but that aura of silliness returns and seems to be trying to make out missing the first story. There is a strong structure to it, with Sonic’s artistic skills and Robotniks love for his appearance being covered at the start, but the story loses points by calling attention to that fact! The first trip into space for the gang turns out rather weak.

Overall

Definitely read for the first story, if only to see Knux and the Floating Island’s introduction. You can happily skip the second story.

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Posted

Now that's what I'm talking about: Bringing in your two cents to the issue we both reviewed and adding in something I missed, probably because I never heard of Fireball XLR and wouldn't get the reference therefore.

Nice reviews mate. :D

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Yes, it seemed like the best way to handle it.

And as I suspect a few people might be confused by me bringing up Gerry Anderson, here's a side bonus.

A look at: Gerry Anderson!

5... 4... 3... 2... 1!

Back in the 1960's in the UK, Gerry Anderson created his Supermarionation series. These shows were made using a combination of puppets and excellent model work. In fact, the model work still hold up pretty well today in terms of effects, especially when the new releases tend to remove the occasional visible string. Of course, these shows weren't perfect, and have been parodied over the years. But most of the time they're remembered fondly, and the parodies are done in good nature, rather than insulting.

Ironically, Gerry Anderson always wanted to do live action television, and kept putting as much effort as he could into his Supermarionation shows in the hopes he'd be 'promoted' to producing a live action show. But the shows were TOO good, so he got boxed in as 'the puppet guy'. And, when he did go live action, well... unfortunately those shows didn't age as well as his Supermarionation ones. Well.... that's putting it kindly. They are horrendously cheesy! I mean really, REALLY so! But having said that, I really hope

Some of his shows include:

Fireball XL5: A space show somewhere between Flash Gordon and Star Trek

Stingray: Underwater adventures and one of the first shows to be broadcast in colour.

Thunderbirds: His most famous show. The International Rescue organisation protect the world from disaster with their five Thunderbird craft.

Captain Scarlet: Humans accidentally trigger a War of Nerves with an alien race with the power to create duplicates of the recently dead.

So, why have I nattered only about this for so long on a Sonic forum? There are often shout-outs and references to these shows in other media, and Sonic.... not only is it no exception, but.... well...

Skip to 1:52 for the most infamous shout-out.

Yep, the launch sequence of the X-Tornado in Season 3 of Sonic X is pretty much this. And the folding down palm trees were also seen in the earlier seasons (my guess is Chuck is a Thunderbirds fan and introduced Tails to it!), as well as Tails' Tornado launch in Sonic Adventure 1. Plus, Thunderbird 2 itself featured in a Sonic X episode, the same one as the X-Tornado first showed up in. Only with a robot birds head attached to the front! And... this one is more of a reach, but the Chaotix space ship might be based on Thunderbird 3.

And every time I see I flying aircraft carrier I can't help but think 'Cloudbase!' from Captain Scarlet. I'm looking at you GUN.

So, yeah, Gerry Andersons shows do tend to get quite a lot of shout-outs, so expect me to point out with glee whenever one occurs!

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Posted

Oh wow! That's awesome! The Tornado launch in Sonic Adventure was always one of my favorite scenes... didn't know it came right out of Thunderbird 2.

Another interesting tidbit: Thunderbirds was a big influence for Star Fox. Even the cover of the original Super Famicon game was puppets of the game characters. Miyamoto was fan of Thunderbirds and even said "Back when we released it, I imagined Star Fox selling a lot and the company that produced Thunderbirds coming all the way from England for negotiations to adapt it into a puppet drama." The quotes from here if you're interested.

51175_front.jpgf

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Posted

Yeah, I can see the influence on the cover. :) Hmm... maybe I should check out the Star Fox games then...

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Posted

Yeah, I can see the influence on the cover. :) Hmm... maybe I should check out the Star Fox games then...

Everyone should at least play Star Fox 64 or the 3DS remake of it. "Do a barrel roll!"

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Posted

I played that... didn't care for it I had to say...

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Posted

I now feel bad because I actually HAVE the original game but never played it and now I can't because I lost the console. It's in a drawer in my room now

Anyway, nice reviews Skye. And the look on Gerry Anderson was an eye opener

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AH HA HA HA! DIE DRAGON! Wait, what’s that....?

Reviews...?

Oh yeah, better put Skyrim on hold of a bit.

Issue 14

Story 1: Tails’ Taste of Power

So the honour of being the first character besides Sonic to front a main comic story goes to Tails. And it’s one about him gaining super intelligence. Hmmm, talk about foreshadowing! So after a weak teaser involving a somewhat typical cartoon plant, Tails mistakes Sonic’s comment to ‘take over’ as taking about Freedom Fighter leadership and not watering Rotor’s plants.

Huh, I thought Sally was the Freedom Fighter’s leader, not Sonic. Guess she gave up that role during her pink phase. But Tails is left watering the plants, not really happy. When Rotor and Sonic comes back, Rotor is worried that Tails was left alone, and Sonic implying that watering planets in about the limit of Tails’ abilities.

Given that, I’m not surprised Tails will later get irritated at being treated like a kid all the time. Yet when the two arrive they find the plants are now gigantic which Tails explains in a technobabble wordy way was due to him creating a new plant food. After a moment confusion and panic, Rotor explains that one of his plants in the ‘Mobian Tree of Wisdom’ and by eating it’s only fruit, Tails is now super intelligent.

One thing that has confused me in almost all ‘character gains super intelligence’ stories, how the heck do characters suddenly know stuff they haven’t learned? And least when, say, Star Trek tends to give the super-intelligent granted characters the abilities to read/learn very very fast to explain it. That doesn’t seem the case here. But then I suspect people are gonna be shouting ‘magic fruit’ at me while doing jazz hands so let’s move on.

After saving Sally and Bunnie from a robot attack, Tails declares that he should be leader, harking back to his earlier conversation with Sonic. And is pretty arrogant about it. I have to wonder, where did this inflated ego come from? Over-confidence has been shown to be one of Tails’ traits in the comics, but there’s a difference between that and arrogant superiority. Maybe the fruit warps him more than just smarts. His manner of talking is also different, not just more wordy, but his speech patterns as well.

Heck, I’m half tempted to believe that this magic tree was actually created by Mammoth Mogul. It would explain the wordiness and the ego inflation.

The next day Tails has built a robot (more foreshadowing) but out of a metal Robotnik’s sensors won’t detect. So…. His sensors can pick up organic and metallic… How has he not found the Freedom Fighter’s yet?

After more arrogance, Tails goes off to fight Robotnik, though Sonic takes way, way too long to look up what ‘nemesis’ means in a dictionary. It’d be slow for a sloth! Robot discovers the intelligence effects only last a day, and in fact they wear off just as Tails reaches the big bad’s control room, and gets captured. Sonic rushes to the rescue, and successfully bluff’s that a medal Tails is wearing of the unescapable metal is actually bomb, allowing them to escape. Sonic puts it down to experience, explaining to Tails in fewer words that I’m using that a leader need experience. Okay, Sally had brought that point up earlier, but given she also brought up courage, something Tails hasn’t been shown to lack…

And something Antione at this stage in the comics lacks, which makes his lecturing of Tails rather hypercritical.

Taste of Power hits a lot of notes that stories of this type take. The trouble is, it’s not Tails suddenly being smart. It’s Tails suddenly altering his personality. Yet the rest of the group seems largely unconcerned. And despite the fact he is clearly smarter now, they still try and lecture at him, rather than debating. Something that will continue as Tails becomes more competent naturally over the course of the comics. As a story it’s not bad, just nothing special, and done better elsewhere. If Tails was less arrogant, and the story longer, it could have been better. AKA, the later comics!

On a side note, this fruit is sometimes claimed to have had a lasting effect on Tails after all, and is why he’s so intelligent. I don’t buy that. Mainly because in all but the Fleetway comics Tails in any continuity, even in the comic reboot, is either smart or super smart, and Fleetway gets a pass there as he’s from a dark age society. What it might have done however, is allowed him to unlock his potential sooner. Which is why he’s as smart as Rotor despite being younger. It’s a catalyst, not the source, for his intelligence.

The second part of the comic as a ‘fill in the dialog yourself’ competition. Nothing to say here, expect wow Sonic looks fat in the competition intro and outro. Also, I do like how the SCANF copy has ‘OFFER VOID’ in big red letters. Just in case anyone reading thought 1994 was in the future!

Story 2: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

We need to show our female characters are capable and not stereotypes. But we CAN’T show that unless all the males are not around to get in the way. *facedesk* Look, showing that female characters are strong and capable is good, but if the only way you think you can do that is by shooing away the boys, that’s just shooting yourself in the foot. Show them being strong NEXT to the others. Oh, and if you are trying to show they’re not stereotypes… why THAT title???

Anyway, the story. Robotnik is playing with some Freedom Fighter toys (what the heck? Who is even around to buy them?) Then Snively walks in catching him at it. Hmm, is that meant to be a Spaceball’s reference? And Snively is a little snarky, showing that he’s starting to move to his more traitorous personality.

Robotnik comments that the Freedom Fighters are weak alone. Er…, no. Weaker, yes, but that’s relative! Not actually weak! Then he describes Bunnie and Sally as nothing more than ‘paper dolls’. Okay, so far in the comics we haven’t seen Sally doing anything except yell at people, but Bunnie? A freaking cyborg? The only character who has physically assaulted Robotnik? Oh, wait, sorry, I tell a lie. Antione did it too, but less dramatically. And he still considers her weak? How the heck did you conquered the world Robotnik with that level of intelligence?

So Robotnik traps the two girls by creating… a fake mall. Yes, let’s show how unstereotypical our female leads are by showing them excitedly heading straight into a suspicious mall with no suspicions whatsoever! *sighs* At least they weren’t ‘squee’-ing.

So the girls fall into the trap, then almost immediately fight their way out of it. Okay, good to see Sally can hold her own well in a fight. Though I thought a karate chop could only break brick in specific circumstances, so using it against a robot’s knee seems at best wishful thinking!

And then they capture Robotnik! YAY! The war is over! Oh, wait, they’re walking off and leaving him tied up. So... this is like the third or fourth time the war could have been over. They also reprogram Robotnik’s toys to be more PC, make some more shopping puns, then comment as they pass Sonic how men only think of ‘fun, games and shopping’.

Ha, ha, ha. So, after trying to show our female characters aren’t stereotypes, let’s imply the male characters are. Not that shopping ever, ever applies to male stereotypes, causing a bad idea of a joke to fall flat.

The problem with this story is that it’s trying too hard. It’s pushing the fact Sally and Bunnie are capable too hard, especially considering we KNOW Bunnie can effortless kick robot ass! And in trying to avoid stereotypes they seem to embrace them. It’s badly handled for what it should be, the only good points being that we finally see Sally in a fight, and Snively not fully toadying to his boss for the first time.

Overall

Nothing here to recommend. An alright first story and a mishandled second one.

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At the start of my holidays my plan was to do a review and some drawing everyday.

 

And now my hols have passed.  Guess things didn’t go as planned.

 

Issue 15

 

Story 1: Rockin’ the Bot

 

We open with Sonic boasting that he can outrun lightning, fair enough, and, apparently better, run between raindrops.  Er, Sonic, if the rain is that light that there is the space to do so, it’s not that impressive, sorry.

 

And then we see a frog trapped by a tree.  A very convenient tree.  Heavy enough to trap the frog, but not heavy to squish him.  Though, it is a Mobian frog.  And it is MAGICAL!  So maybe that’s why.  And I’m gonna call him Froggy from now on for the hell of it.

 

So, Sonic rescues Froggy from both the tree and a mudslide, and as a reward Froggy gives Sonic three magical gems, each one of which grants a short, one use power.  Sonic seems… oddly sceptical about Froggy’s claims.  This despite the fact that he can speak, unlike most frogs as the end of the story shows, and the fact he made three glowing rocks appear out of thin air. And the fact that nigh-on magical stuff has been witnessed by Sonic before.  He’s an odd kinda skeptic.  Or maybe he just doesn’t believe that magic can be bought via credit-cards.

 

So a few days later…. Wait, it actually has time passing?  Not immediately moving on like the time travel story??  So… a random story has a better sense of time than the one about time travel.  Who’d have thought! 

 

Anyway, said few days later, all the Freedom Fighters are testing out Rotors new buggy off-road transport thing.  Er, I’m not an engineer, but even I know that one tiny wheel at the front is NOT a good off-road design.  Not that it matters as, after established Tails has the glowing rocks with him, Robotnik shows up in his latest bot and smashes the buggy. 

 

At this, Sonic immediately panics as says he has to take a chance that the magic rocks are what Froggy said there were.  So… not even gonna try a token attempt to take it on normally eh?  And rather quick to jump to hoping on the rocks from your earlier skepticism.   

 

Of course, because he wasn’t paying attention, Sonic gets the stones mixed up, twice.  By which time Robotnik has captured the rest of the Freedom Fighters and, maybe having learned from Issue 8, plans to head back and Robotize them before coming back to deal with Sonic.

 

But this time Sonic knows he’s got the rock to give him straight and as Robotnik’s craft is shaped like a bug, creates a massive flyswatter to smash it.

 

Then Sonic finally realises that yes, that frog WAS magical!  So starts talking to every frog he can, wanting more magical rocks.

 

And somewhere, I imagine Froggy, panicked, hopping away frantically, begging this oversized Mobian he runs into to save him from the crazy hedgehog who’s stalking him.  And thus was born a lasting friendship.

 

With Sonic’s odd skepticism bouncing all over the place, the story fells rushed, and adding even more glowing magic rocks into the story makes it get cluttered.  On the other hand, there’s nothing truly bad about it either.

 

Story 2: What’s the Big Idea?

 

I’m not sure I can review this story.  I said at the start of these reviews that I wouldn’t review the joke pages, and this story is an extended joke page as the Freedom Fighters try to guess what Rotor is building.  And then it ends with an advert for Sonic merchandise.  About the only thing of note is the strip seriously implied Robot blew up a cow at somepoint.

 

Story 3: Animal Magnetism

 

We open with Robotnik planning on using Bunnie to destroy the Freedom Fighters.  Ooh, what’s your plan Robotnik?  Take control of her robot parts and force her to attack.  Nope!  We learn later he simple plans to capture her and use her as bait.  Because that worked out SO well last issue.

 

Amazingly, we have some continuity… in what Rotor is cooking.  So… Robotnik isn’t learning from his mistakes, but what is being cooked is SOOOOO important.

 

Showing up in an oddly designed, even for him, machine, Robotnik uses a giant magnet to try and snag Bunnie.  Okay, maybe that’s a way to keep her restrained, but its still a bad idea.  And said machine goes unnoticed by Sally and Antione because…. They were looking the other way I guess.

 

Bunnie stops herself being dragged by grabbing a tree, and Sonic tricks Robotnik into facing Robotropolis which causes in Robotnik’s words ‘everything made of metal’ to shoot towards his machine.  Okay, first, have fun spotting all the cameo’s in the metal pile, even if the inker mistook Grounder for a Burrowbot.  Second, if that is ‘everything’ made of metal…. Then boy, there is very, very little metal in Robotropolis.  Even if just loose metal it’s still not much.  And third, sure, Robotnik said it was being turned to full power to capture Sonic, but you’d think that with that potential, Bunnie wouldn’t be able to hold onto a tree.

 

But regardless, Robotnik is stopped, Rotor covers Bunnies cybernetics in a paint to make them non-magnetic, and we end on a forced joke-laugh.

 

Overall

 

Issue 15 is just slightly below average.  There’s not really anything good about it, but at the same time, nothing terrible.  It’s there, it exists, it fills an issue.  But that’s about it.

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Issue 16

 

Story 1: Sonic Under Glass

 

The story begins with a shocking reveal.  Sally is now in her normal colours!  Oh, and Robotnik has been defeated.  Off-screen, rather anti-climatically.  After a brief bit of celebration, we skip six months later, though the corner box is kind enough to inform that something is ‘not quite right’ TM.  Talk about spoilers.

 

So we’ve fast forwarded to Sonic and Sally’s wedding, a real low-key event, seeing how it’s just the Freedom Fighters around.  Oh, but then we see Robotnik watching them on a combination viewing screen/snow globe.  Turns out he managed to capture the Freedom Fighters and place them in a Virtual Reality simulation.  And considering how easy and transparent the trap he created was, it’s a miracle he hadn’t done so before.  It’s also remarkable that he didn’t just robotize the lot of them.  His claim is that his plan is ‘more evil’.  But frankly, I can’t see how ‘putting you in a virtual paradise where everything you want comes true’ is more evil than ‘turning you in a robot that is still aware of what you are doing’.

 

Regardless, the Freedom Fighters incarcerated, Robotnik sends his forces off, including massive war machines, off to conquer the rest of Mobius.  And with on last glance at his observation fishbowl thing, he leaves the room.

 

Of course, the moment he leaves is when things start to get messed up in the VR program.  Antione swaps himself with Sonic at the wedding, Uncle Chuck shows up de-robotised, and the laws of physics take a holiday.  So, overall, not a very subtle program.  And then the program informs Sonic all about the situation and what’s going on.  Robotnik, you need to work on your programming skills!  Sonic then faces the dilemma of should he free his friends or not as they’re so happy.  Gotta say, it’s odd to see that Sally seem happy to be married to Antione.  And given just how fake this fake reality is, it’s only a matter of time before everyone works it out, so not much of a dilemma.

 

And… this is where things get weird.  Which is pretty remarkable when you consider the whole melting clocks (the universal symbol of ‘stuff not be real’) and physics taking a holiday panels earlier.  First Sonic is given an effortless hack machine which he uses to take control of Robotnik’s War Machines, and threatens to destroy Robotropolis unless his friends are freed.  So…. He took control of them… while inside the VR.  Isf the VR Program connected to the rest of Robotniks computers with no security in between?  Is it fitted with wifi?  Or does it run on magic pixie dust?

 

The latter seems the most likely, as after Robotnik frees the Freedom Fighters, Sonic destroys the War Machines and then exits VR himself.  By…. and I’m seriously not joking, jumping out of the monitor!  So, what…. Did he leave his original body behind or something?

 

Actually, there is a way to explain all this craziness, as I’m sure you’ve worked out.  All the Freedom Fighters are still in VR, just a more ‘realistic’ version.  Sonic never hack the tanks in real life, just those in another layer of VR.  And not only would this explain away the silliness of this story, but when applied to the rest of the series…

 

Almost all the Freedom Fighters get their families back.  Sonic defeats Robotnik and, after finding out peace doesn’t suit him, another happens to show up.  Tails discovers he’s destined to be a hero like Sonic.  Sally finds an orb from the sky that contains a computer that will become her BFF.  Yeah… these make more sense if you think of them as ‘fantasies becoming real’.  And if you go on the assumption that Robotnik adds further heroes to the VR program; Knuckles discovers his entire race is still alive.  Amy wishes she was older so she can be a Freedom Fighter, and lo and behold…   It explain the hammer from nowhere to!

 

Now, I don’t hold to that theory, but I’ve brought it up to show the problem with this story.  Fake realities can be a really good story device, when handled well.  And this story isn’t.  When a ‘bad ending’ of still being trapped makes far, far more sense, then you’ve failed.  And what happens in the VR program isn’t that interesting easier.  There’s no slow build-up to the reveal its fake, and the weirdness make it appear as if the program has some serious bugs.

 

Despite this, the story does end on a strong note, showing us the robotised Uncle Chuck and Muttski, now in proper robot form unlike before, and Sonic promising that he’ll rescue him.  Made the more effective because of Uncle Chuck’s de-robotized appearance in VR.

 

So, a mishandled chaotic story that nevertheless manages a strong, punchy ending.

 

Story 2: The Man From H.E.D.G.E.H.O.G.

 

As the title gives away, this is gonna be a spy parody, though more of James Bond rather than The Man From U.N.C.L.E.  Though, I have to wonder how many of our current readers have even heard of that show.  I barely had, and I was the target audience for the comics at the time this one was published!

 

Anyway, Robotnik is mad because he believes there is a spy, and so gets a lateral mole dug up.  But on being questioned, the Mole just seems to be babbling.  So Robotnik orders in a large spinning wheel with random crimes on it.  Reasoning that if he uses the wheel to come up with a quick sudden plan, they’ll be no time for the spy to leak it.  But all his plans fail, and almost-cryptic notes are left.

 

After which, Sonic and Sally visit Casino Night Zone.  Considering it’s owned by Robotnik, uh, WHY?  But Sonic gets captured, strapped to the wheel, and then shot, even by a Star Trek phaser held by a random arm.  But the lights go out allowing Sonic to escape.  Er… after being shot…  Not the best timing.  The lights should go out, THEN the shooting happens in panic.  But Sonic is safe, and Robotnik finds the wheel was fitted with a camera, hence why his plans were foiled.

 

And finally we find out the head of Sonic’s security agency is an owl called Harvey Who, therefore explaining the apparent babbling of the mole and the meaning of the notes.  He was seen in a robotic disguise throughout the story.

 

How much you like this story depends on how much you find James Bond parodies and homages enjoyable.  If you do, then it’s worth a look.  Oddly, despite looking like the regular stories, and being part of the canon, the whole story feels like it takes place in another continuity.  It doesn’t quite match up with the regular situations.

 

Overall

 

Issue 16 has its moments, but they are lost in the first story and the second is more subjective.

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Hmm, maybe I should give this review topic a snazzy name, like Jest’s review have…

 

Issue 17

 

Despite the incredibly warped biplane on the cover, Issue 17 is a very significant issue.  Both stories introduce elements that will have repercussions for the comics, for good and for ill.

 

 Story 1: Gorilla Warfare

 

Let’s start with the ill first!    As the cover may indicate, this story is ‘inspired’ by King Kong.  Well, when I say inspired, I think shameless rip off might be closer to the truth.  While there have been shout outs or references to other films, comics and the like before, most of the time it’s just short jokes (issue 8 notwithstanding).  But this is the first one that the whole story is clearly based on another work.  And not the last.  At least they’re uncommon.

 

Well let’s get started with this cloned adventure.  A quick rec room scene establishes that Robotnik has been away for a while, Sonic hogs the ping pong table, and Rotor needs to get more sleep.  Turns out Robotnik is on Skoal Island.  And with that you can tell exactly how subtle this story is gonna be.  Or, more accurately, unsubtle!

 

Robotnik then tells the story of the first ever robot he made, and the story moves away from a retelling of King Kong.  Yay.  To a parody of Frankenstein.  Boo.  So, Robotnik’s first ever ever robot was a massive titan.  Seriously?  No smaller prototypes first?  Even after you complained it would be easier to have robots to help you.  And how the heck is a gargantuan robot gonna be able to help you with your chores?  It’s too big for that to be practical.

 

To no one’s surprise but Robotnik, because the robot is a prototype, it doesn’t obey commands and smashes its way out of the lab and to freedom.  According to Robotnik, the trail he took wandering the world was very noticeable.

 

Then, in the VERY NEXT panel, Robotnik said he searched everywhere and couldn’t find him.

 

Er… what?  Just…. WHAT?  HOW?  Even if the giant robot walked along the sea floor, you would have a pretty good idea the direction he’d have set off in.

 

And now satellite photos have only now revealed its location.  Only now…. No wonder some kids living in the woods are giving you so much trouble Robotnik.  But then, we get to see the massive robot in all it’s glory.

 

King… Gong… cause it has a clock in its chest…

 

 

 

 

*groans*

 

Okay, okay, despite this, I’ll press on.  Robotnik gives the robot bananas and ships it back, intending for it to squish Sonic.  And the Freedom Fiighters are off on a picnic while commenting Robotnik’s been missing for weeks.

 

So…. Riddle me this… why aren’t you blowing up Robotropiolis while Robotnik has been gone?  (note to self: don’t have Batman film’s on in the background while writing reviews)  Darn, everyone is incompetent this story. 

 

The robots attacks the party, the heroes dive for cover, then Sally yells at it and kicks it in the shins.  Guess some of her fur is still pink somewhere for that hot tempered outburst.  Probably her feet under her boots.  And King Gong spots her and instantly falls in love, because King Kong rip-off.

 

Sonic gets knocked away and Sally grabbed, so the hero’s follow in the Tornado.  Well… I guess I should be thankful the didn’t shoe-horn in a biplane from now where.   And King Gong starts climbing… the Trans-Mobian Trade Centre…. WHERE DID THAT CITY COME FROM?!  It’s not Robotropolis… so… unless it’s the ruins of some human city… but it’s too well maintained for that.

 

Sally meanwhile… well, her character has been a little inconstant between stories.  Here, like the Robotnik searching example above, it’s inconstant between panels.   Whenever she’s in the distance (or on the cover), she’s doing the screaming damsel in distress thing.  But when focused on she’s taking the tough-girl approach, arguing and trying to talk down the robot.  Does she know when the camera is on her so acts up accordingly?

Sonic, Tails and Antione arrive, with the Tornado equipped with a tank of banana oil for…. Because… uh… *cough* Look, over there!

 

Tails grabs Sally, Sonic sprays the robot with the oil, causing him to fall from the tower with predicable results.  Robotnik makes a pop-culture reference (one I thought was late nineties, not early nineties, but oh well) Sonic makes another reference to being in love with Sally, and it’s over.  Finally.

 

I think it’s pretty clear what I make of this tale, but in all honestly, aside from the logical hiccups, it’s merely below average.  Like or dislike of this story depends on how much you are willing to forgive, or if you like, parodies of other works.  As I mentioned before, it is far from the last of the parody/homage stories, merely the first. 

 

But introducing new elements is not limited to the first story only.

 

Story 2: First Star I See Tonight

 

Sally sits pondering the past, then a shooting star lands.  The Freedom Fighters find a strange orb in the middle of a crater where it landed.

 

That’s it.  Really.

 

This story is utterly different from any that have come before.   There is no humour, no jokes or puns.  There’s no action whatsoever.  There is genuine emotion and character on display.  And it doesn’t end in a single issue.  The end makes it clear more is to come.

 

This little innocuous story might just be the most significant in the whole series.  It is the first story to be serious and an ongoing tale, essentially, the comic has started maturing.  Even the artwork seems to indicate this.  While it is still drawn in the same way, the colours seem to make it appear less flat and cartoony compared to normal. 

 

It is the beginning of the comic as a proper, ongoing narrative.  Combine this with the short summary of Sally’s history, and seeing the robotised Uncle Chuck and Muttski last issue, the comic seems to be aware of this, and restating everyone ready for this new direction.

 

Alas, this new direction will take a while to arrive fully into the comic, as many of the sillier/light-hearted elements will be retained for a while.  And as for this story itself, it may introduce this new direction, and bring up the orb from the sky, but does little else aside from repeating backstory we already know, and which will be repeated again later.  In essence, read it for the start of the story proper, not for itself.

 

Overall

 

Issue 17 is a signifant issue for the direction of the comic, but that doesn’t magically make the stories great.  The first can be avoided with no consequences.  The second is worth reading as it marks the start of a proper ongoing plot in the comics, but has little in itself as a story.

 

If you wish to avoid most of the silliness of the early comics, the second story of Issue 17 is the best place to start.

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Why don't you keep doing this? I love them!

Edited by UltraSonicTeam

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Heh, thanks.

 

I have meant to get back into them (the next one is half-written) but works been pushing at me recently so once I get back I just wanna crash.

 

Hopefully I'll get writing again soon.

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It hasn’t been that long since my last review has it?  *looks back*  Oh!

 

Issue 18

 

Story 1: Wedding Bells Blues

 

We open with a quick bit of exposition, and a large full page panel, that Sonic and Sally are getting married, they’re converting an old barn for said wedding, and that as so often before Antione is going to be, as he might put it, “Ze Butt Money!”

 

This activity is spotted by Motobug, who rushes of disbelieving to report to Robotnik.  Who is equally sceptical.  Uh… why?  Just a couple of issues ago in the perfect virtual reality the two were about to marry and Robotnik was watching.  Or do you take drugs or something to erase your defeats from your mind Robotnik?  Would explain some of your other decisions.

 

Even reading the headline in the newspaper doesn’t convince Robotnik, so he sends in Bat Brain, who is German because…. Because……

 

So he sends in Bat Brain to spy on the Freedom Fighters, though, for someone with ‘Brain’ in his name, he really doesn’t get that spying on someone with a light shining behind you so your easy to spot is a pretty dumb thing to do.  Surprise-surprise, he’s spotted and Sonic gets rid of him by throwing a book through the window he’s looking through.  Though… barns don’t tend to have glass windows, and the one Bat Brain is looking through is actually a hatch, not a window.

 

But now with proof, Robotnik summons all his robots, speeches at them for a bit, then sends them out to smash said wedding.  Though his bots seem to mostly walk into each other.  Guess he STILL hasn’t fixed those pathfinding bugs!

 

We pop back to the wedding, where we see it underway, then the bots smash in.  The priest gives a stern objection because of the holy sanctuary with centuries of tradition.  Er…. It’s a barn… at most it’s been holy for all of ten minutes.  But Sonic saves the priest and then everyone else from the bots, though Sally gets to take out Robotnik by dropping a curtain on him.

 

Robotnik wonders why everyone is cheering at a wedding.  Er…. Maybe because Sonic just saved everyone?  But no, turns out the whole thing was actually a theatre play, not an actual wedding.  Robotnik takes it… like it’s a defeat worse than his robots being trashed.  Odd.  Sonic tries to rub it in his face by showing how it was reported in the newspaper.  Two problems here.  First, how did Sonic know Robotnik had read it in a newspaper.  And Second, Sonic is holding up a different newspaper.

 

The whole thing is meant to be a ‘hah, gotya’ to the readers, except most of the time it cheats in order to do this.  Now, in most of the wide shots in the barn you can see how the layout is meant to be a theatre in the background.  Except for the main shot of the wedding, where the stage mysteriously disappears!  The newspaper is another example.  If it was meant to be the same one, then the layout had been changed simply to hide the fact.

 

So we reach the end with Antione reading a review of the play and Rotor… uh…. Rotor?  Are you narcoleptic or something?  That’s two issues in a row you’ve fallen asleep standing up for one panel.  Anyway, Sally makes a quick reference she’d like to marry Sonic for really, and we’re done.

 

The story is another mood whiplash after the last issue, moving right back into the slapstick area.  It also doesn’t gel well with the events of previous stories.  The whole point of the story seems to be to fool the reader into thinking this is actually happening, but the artwork is deliberately erroronious in points in order to achieve this.

 

Story 2: In the Still of the Night

 

And mood whiplash again as we go right back to a serious story.  And, for the first time in the comics, a character death.  Admittedly, it’s a new introduced character in this story, but that doesn’t make the impact any less on Sally.

 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.  We start with Rotor examining the orb from last issue, suspecting the orb itself is actually a force field, when Sally gets some bad news.  She goes to see her dying mentor Julalya, and we get more of her backstory.  Sally certainly is getting much fleshed out than most character, especially so at this early stage.  After a final test for Sally, Julalya passes on, leaving an upset Sally to ponder under the night sky, with Sonic joining her for comfort.

 

The final text box tells us ‘This is not an end, but a beginning’.  And in many ways it’s right.  As with last issue, this is the beginning of the new direction the comics will start to take.  Though as I said last time, it will take a while for the changes to fully manifest in the main comic.  But, once you’ve killed off a character, you’re certainly left ‘children’s funny comic’ behind.

 

Overall

 

For those wanting only to read the serious comics, ignore the first story and read the second.  The first isn’t anything special, and a little more nonsensical than normal.

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So, what's next? Issue 19, or In Your Face special?

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The Special.  I'm following continuity. 

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Hope you can do another one soon. ^_^

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I was actually working on it last night!  ;)

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Special – Sonic In Your Face

 

We’ve reached the first Sonic money grab… er. I mean, Special Issue.  Let’s see what it has in store.

 

Story 1 – The Quest

 

We begin with Sonic and Sally training, though for some odd reason there seems to be a ‘fake out’ attempt to pretend that Sally is infact a bad guy for some uncertain reason.  But the training isn’t going well as Sally is badly distracted.  Hardly surprising as she’s still shocked that despite this being a kiddy’s comic book someone turned off God Mode last issue.  As Cubot commented in the last issue of Sonic Boom: “I thought we were a “comic” book.”  Same shock applies here.

 

And the shock of the lack of humour continues as Sally is called away to see everything that Julayla had left her.  Sally comments how amazing it is that someone could have so much… well she doesn’t say junk but it seems to be implied.  But that does raises a point, if everyone was evacuated to Knothole, how did Julayla get all this stuff here?  Hmm, maybe she lived in Knothole.  Okay story, I’ll let that one side if you create no more unanswered questions, alright?

 

While going through the belongings Sally finds a chest that Julayla was saving for Sally’s wedding day.  So Sally opens it there and then.  Take about a lack of patience!  Here is where Sally finds her vest.  A nice moment…. If not for the fact she was wearing one last issue.  Oh well!  There’s also a map, setting up the next part of the plot.

 

We skip ahead to night-time where Sally is sleeping and the orb is doing….. something… that somehow wakes Sally and draws her to it.  But the orb fades away revealing Nicole underneath, to a little understandable confusion to Sally, especially as Nicole seems to know her.  Cue everyone else arriving.  Now, it could be they all work up cause they… sensed.. whatever Nicole did to get Sally’s attention, but Rotor says it was because they heard voices, and they’re all dressed… so… were they having a late-night party without inviting Sally.

 

We do get a hint that Nicole does have more personality than your average smartphone when Sonic grabs and shakes her, only to get zapped in response.

 

Another timeskip follows to the next evening with Sally planning to go alone to follow the map she was given.  Only everyone else is waiting for her.  Somehow…  Did she tell everyone she was going away?  While it doesn’t say, it’s implied she didn’t mention it… so… yet ANOTHER unexplained event.  Things just happen in this story cause they need to, not because they make sense.  To say nothing about the fact what Sally is after is apparently ‘Oneness of the Soul’.  And a more psychobabble reward I can hardly imagine.

 

So the whole team of Freedom Fighters is going with Sally, except for Rotor who just flies them nearby.  The location is in somewhere called the Forbidden Zone, and for…. some reason, the group drops via parachute outside the Zone with SwatBot patrols in the way, rather than directly into the Zone.  Once again, for an unexplained reason.  My guess is this is just to pad out the story as we have a short scuffle with the Swat Bot before the Freedom Fighters escape into the Forbidden Zone and the Swat Bot don’t follow, convinced the Freedom Fighters will be destroyed.  Though the Forbidden Zone doesn’t seem that dangerous.

 

And in they go to a cave, and the ‘horrors’ within.  First up, a robot cyclops that tracks targets by motion, so the group stands still, it goes into standby, and they can sneak past.  Okay, leaving out the fact that having just one ‘eye’ on something that relies on tracking movement is inefficient, this make no sense.  If it goes into standby with no movement nearby, it must have been in standby BEFORE the Freedom Fighters showed up.  And if that was the case, the moment they started moving again, it should have woken up.  Now, there are explanations for this.  Maybe it was switched on by some other system in the cave when the Freedom Fighters entered, or maybe when it goes into standby the sensors don’t switch it back on until a few minutes have passed.  But, as with so many other points in the story, this is not explained at all.  So no points for you story, just another failure in trying to be clever.

 

Next up is a griffon.  A fire breathing one, because griffons are well known for their fiery breath.  Despite looking real turns out this one’s a machine, as when Tails pulls a sword from a nearby stone the Griffon crashes and Nicole says Tails ‘broke the circuit that granted the griffon its mobility’.  Er…. Isn’t… a mobility circuit one that would only work mounted ON the Griffon?  Maybe it flies via telemetry from a ground based computer like a remote control, and that was switched off.  But you’re not getting any favours from me now story.

 

Then we reach the final challenge.  Two doors…. And a two headed creature with one head that tells the truth and one that always li…. ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdF_ibT4_jo

(Sorry for the poor quality clip, this was the only I could find)

 

This riddle was clichéd when Doctor Who used it back in the 70’s!  The only reason it’s not the FOREWORD in the big book of riddles is because the Riddle of the Sphinx of more well known.  

 

But even still, this encounter is flawed.  First, one head says ‘one question and only one’.  So, unless there IS no riddle here (cause two questions and you have your answer) that HAS to be the head telling the truth.  MAYBE that’s meant to be a hint, but with the quality of writing so far on display, I seriously doubt it.  And then, when Sally gives the answer (ask one head what the other would say, then do the opposite) the heads look surprised and confused at each other, DESPITE THIS BEING THE ANSWER TO THE RIDDLE.  Surely they MUST have known that, given the whole purpose of their existence is to guard those Darn doors!  And then head says Sally is ‘wise beyond her years’.  If it wasn’t for the fact it’s the same head that said ‘only one question’ I’d have sworn it was the lying head, cause I knew the answer to that riddle when I was eight, and I’m not that smart when it comes to riddles.  And even if you follow the theory that the early comics are the first few years of the Freedom Fighters, Sally should be at her youngest just coming up to being a teen.

 

Anyway, behind the right door is a massive chamber, a small chest and inside the chest another scroll.  Sally starts to read, then we have another timeskip, this time TWENTY YEARS to Sally reading the same scroll.  Trouble is, except for Rotor, no one looks older.  Well, Antione does, but he could be wearing a fake moustache and beard then he’d look the same.  And Bunnie is wearing no clothes whatsoever, aside from a text box.  Now from the way Mobins act, that seems the equivalent of wearing shorts and t-shirt, but still, at that age…

 

But the whole point of this scene is to show Nicole was made in the future by Rotor and sent back in time.  Which, given this future doesn’t match the others we’ve seen, makes Nicole’s existence rather tenuous.  But that sorta makes sense as a legacy of this story.  Nicole exists just cause, despite how the future changes, and it shall never be explained.  Oh, and we’re told she’s destined to die to.  Well that’s nice! *mutter mutter grumble way to spoil the tension mutter grumble*

 

And that scroll, the words that were so important: ‘To thine own self be true’.  Which sure, sounds fine, but not the sort of words to bring hope top a Freedom Fighter… and a motto that can be used by a selfish person to justify their depravity.  And it seems to have been a LOT of effort to set up this elaborate partway for a nursemaid to do for a simple scroll.

 

On the surface, The Quest is not a bad story, except for the two door riddle part, though that might be more YMMV.  However, as I’ve probably made clear, when you think about the story for a moment it all falls apart.  As a follow-up to the two early parts, it’s a disappointment, and has lost a lot of the ‘maturity’ that the pervious stories had.  Having said that, the tone of the story does mark the tone that most of the main series stories will have from now on.  The jokes and puns are dialled down, and more focus is on the events in the story.  More ‘kids adventure’ than ‘kids funny story’.

 

Story 2 – The Mirror Zone

 

A quick two page story of Sonic and Tails chasing a Swat Bot with a hidden message.  The only thing to make it stand out is the text is written backwards as it takes place in the titular Mirror Zone.  But at the end the two heroes recover the message and lament that they can’t read it cause its in code, despite the code just being it written backwards like the in story text was..  And… the message is quite frankly weird.

 

Story 3 – Tails’ Tallest Tale

 

As the title suggests this is a story about Tails, so I should love it right?  Er…. Nope.  After all, we start with Tails complimenting his logo, which is the blandest text ever after the Arial Font. 

 

Into the story proper, Tails his on his way to speak to a Sonic Fan Club, and as he goes complains that he can’t fly through the forest because it is too thick.  So… why not fly ABOVE the darn trees?  As such Tails ends up slipping into a pool after being startled by a toad, serving him right for being so stupid.  But eventually he arrives at the convention, where he’s introduced to Posey, and seems to take a shine to her.  And then forced to make a speech, which he talks himself up by saying his falling into the pond cause of a toad was actually a battle against an overpowered Robotnik robot.

 

Needless to say, Robotnik shows up (in a more ridiculous than usual contraption) and after Tails speech everyone is convinced he can take on Robotnik single handed.  Tails ties, but distracted by the idea Posey is watching he gets his butt kicked.  But seeing Posey about to be squished by Robotnik, Tails leaps back into the fray, sinning round to make Robotnik dizzy and causing him to crash his vehicle.

 

As Robotnik flees the crowd cheers Tails and Posey gives him a kiss.  Tails says he need to tell her the truth about his speech earlier, and given we never see her again, I wonder if she took the truth badly.  Those, this is just the start in a lot of girls being possibly interested in Tails.  Kid’s gonna have an interesting teenage life.

 

It’s a story that has been told several times before.  Person makes false claim, then needs to prove said claim.  Sometimes is can be great (see Galaxy Quest) but here it’s just…well… ‘meh’.  And isn’t that an insightful description.

 

Overall

 

If it wasn’t for the fact The Quest introduces Nicole and is the culmination of two earlier stories I’d be tempted to say skip this Special.  The other stories don’t have much going for them

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And we’re back

 

Issue 19

 

Night of 1000 Sonics

 

Yep, just one story this issue.  Dimension travelling stories are usually ones I find interesting.  It allows for a ‘what if’ scenario, yet still involves (at least one of) our usual heroes to keep a connection going.  The Silver Saga is a great example of this.  A ‘what if’ story without that connection lacks a certain weight as none of the characters we’re seeing is the ‘real’ one, so we are less invested as a result.

 

The trouble is, many Dimension traveling stories in Sonic Comics don’t show ‘what ifs’ or other possible ideas.  Instead they are more… Sonic characters cos-playing other franchise.  Okay, sorry, that’s mean on cos-players.  But it was the quickest way to get the point across.  We’re not being shown new worlds or stories.  But existing ones where the characters have been reskinned.  It’s a waste of the potential at best, and just indulgences of the writers/artists at worst.

 

So how does Night of 1000 Sonic’s shape up?

 

I mentioned back in my review of Issue 11 that the Cosmic Interstate would reappear, and here it is, in all its portal-y glory.  Sonic, despite having run through several and seemingly able to create these things at will back in issue 11, is unsure what it is.  At least until a cyborg Sonic gets thrown through.  THEN he remembers.  Seriously Sonic, what happened that it took you that long to remember what the swirly portal does?  At this stage you haven’t encountered many of the darn things!  And come to think of it, why is Antoine lounging on the ground so close to the darn thing?

 

We then get two exposition dumps.  One a recap of Issue 11.  (You mean you never told anyone what happened Sonic?)  The other the cyborg explaining his backstory.  First that his Robotnik made all the Freedom Fighters into cyborgs, then lost control of them.  Okay, I’m inferring here.  From what Cyber-Sonic says its implied Robotnik had no control to being with, which is just dumb.   Facing defeat Robotnik robotized himself, and promptly kicked butt, leaving the only Freedom Fighter left as Cyber-Sonic.  (Darn it Skye, stop calling him Cyber-Sonic and imagining a Cyberman Sonic all the time.  Now is not the time for a Dr Who crossover!)  Cyber… er… borg-Sonic… darn it, that’s just worse thanks to Star Trek.  Okay, Cyborg-Sonic fled to this Zone as the now Robo-Robotnik threatens multiple universes.

 

I have to say at this point, even though I said I would tend not to comment on artwork, but the Cyborgs look horrible.  First, the white and over complex circuit design doesn’t look good and appears far too flat.  And having the exact split down the middle make it look more like one of those movie posters that split the good-guy and bad-guy faces down the middle.  He doesn’t look like a cyborg.  It looks like there is a rip in the page beneath which is a different character. Compare this to the version on the cover which, though similar, is gold, more 3D looking, and has a more natural split between the flesh and mechanical parts.  Plus, why the heck are Rotor’s hat and Sally’s hair half cybernetic???

 

Okay, artwork rant over, let’ move in, and try to ignore how this guy is a Terminator parody.  Which is hard to do, as the next two pages are ‘spot the influence’ as many different Sonic’s arrive, all in different fancy dress.  No, seriously… why would there be a mummy Sonic?  If it was an actual mummy it’d look a bit more desiccated!  Now the reason I’m bringing this up is, if these are all alternate universes, why aren’t there more closer in appearance to the original Sonic?  Maybe not identical, but like the differences between Classic, Modern, Boom, and Sonic X Sonics.  Or other minor changes, like different fur colours, or minor clothing alterations.  It just makes sense that there would be more Sonic’s closer to the original.  Or heck, why are there no female Sonics?  Given the roughly 50% chance of being born a boy or girl, some female Sonics are way more likely than the prominent ‘yer a wizard’ Sonic.  As none of the Sonic’s have any distinct personalities it’s not like they need to look so different, or like Batman or Wolverine.

 

Oh, yeah, and for some reason Cyborg-Sonic takes his coat off between frames. 

 

But after gathering all the Sonic’s together and explaining the situation to them, (referring to it as a Crisis, insert your own DC joke here) Robo-Robotnik crashes the party with a floating head hologram and an army of Shadow Swat Bots.  Which… seriously… you expect to take down an army of Sonic’s with a few robots????  For a super-genius that’s pretty weak.

 

And on the subject of super-geniuses with bad judgement, we move to our own Robotnik, watching the events unfold.  Annoyed at someone stealing his thunder he sends his own Swat Bots to trash Robo-Robotniks.  And the originals wipe the floor with the invaders.  Seriously, Robo-Robotnik isn’t coming off as much of a treat here. 

 

The Robo-Robotnik hologram vanishes, and then all the Sonics get ready to turn on the Prime Robotnik.   Of course, Robotnik talks his way out of it by suggesting an alliance, but it does raise a question.  Why DON’T the Sonic’s do a massive team up to take care of every single Robotnik.  1 Sonic is almost capable of taking out Robotnik alone.  Thousands of them working together…?  It’ll be over by lunchtime.  Now, later on we learn about the authorities who would prevent such things, but here it’s not even tried despite being brought up here.

 

After a page of foreshadowing with a group of mini sonic striping a giant (or possible Hulk given the purple pants) Sonic, Robotnik says he’s worked out Robo-Robotnik’s plan.  And boy, does it come out of nowhere.  There’s this super powerful weapon located in ‘the neutral zone’.   So…… HOW does Robotnik know about it, and WHY hasn’t he or Robo-Robotnik got it yet?  No, seriously, how could Robotnik possibly know about it?  At least there might be a possible reason why, if Robotnik can’t open portals to the Cosmic Interstate but Sonic can, therefore Robotnik is using this as a gamble to have Sonic pick up this ultimate weapon, The Giants Hand.  Okay, that’s probably a copy of the Infinity Gauntlet from Marvel, or if not some other all-powerful weapon from another comic franchise.  At this stage originality is NOT this story…. Correction, it’s not the COMICS strength at this time.

 

Robo-Robotnik is watching all this take place…. Somehow… And has acquired a Sonic of his own in a glowing sphere… Somehow.  So he opens the pokeball and out pops Evil Sonic…. Or maybe the glowing sphere is meant to be a teleporter effect ripping off Terminator.  For the second time this story.

 

After a bit of map reading and some black and white antics, and Sonic and the Sonics (now there’s a bad name for a band) find the Giants hand, only to be ambushed by Shadow Swat Bots and Evil Sonic, who grabs the Hand and runs for it.  Sonic catches up, but Robo-Robotnik is now able to teleport the hand away, though why he couldn’t before if left up to the reader.

 

So after all that Robo-Robotnic has the unstoppable weapon of the Giants Hand, which he activates to… turn it into a giant robot…. Somehow I was expecting something….. less mundane.  As one of the Sonic’s actually comments: ‘I’ve fought others who were even bigger’.

 

But before that the Sonic’s argue for a short while, then Sally suggests doing what the mini-Sonic’s did before, destroying what little subtly was left in this story.  So massed Sonic charge, giant robot goes off balance then gets bombarded with spin attacks, getting smashed apart in a ‘Where’s Wally’ (or Waldo) search for items spread.  For an Ultimate Weapon, it sure went down fast.

 

Robo-Robotnik was also smashed apart, and Cyborg-Sonic takes his head, the only intact part left, back to his own world with one last Terminator reference.  While this is happened Prime Robotnik is trying to gather up all the pieces despite the flock…er…swarm.. er… brood.. er..  hmm.. What DO you call a mass gathering of Sonics?  Needless to say the Sonic’s put a stop to that plan, but as I mentioned earlier, not a stop to Robotnik himself.  And in order to stop the glass-jaw-ultimate-weapon being reassembled, each Sonic takes one of the pieces back home.  Okay, that at least is a nice idea.  And with that, it’s over.

 

Overall

 

This is a VERY derivate story.  Almost everything is a shout-out, homage or parody to some other franchises, though which of those definitions it is will vary from person to person.  There are more than a few plot holes, like how the heck did Robotnik know of the existence of a superweapon hidden in (practically laterally) the middle of the nowhere.  However, despite this the story is still fun.  It’s just only fun on the surface, and doesn’t stand to any form of, well, thinking!

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Well…. It’s been a darn long while, but here we are again!

 

Issue 20

 

Story 1: That’s The Sprit

 

Swat-bots are blind.  And very likely deaf.  Sonic and Sally are swinging above a group of Swat-bots in one of Robotnik’s factories, with Sally worried about being spotted.  But there’s a Swat-Bot looking right at them.  And… it seems to be doing a strange dance.  Also, given Sally and Sonic don’t seem to be whispering, how come none of the nearby Swat Bots can hear them?

 

As they swing Sally explains the mission the two are on.  Robotnik has developed an Antimatter device.  Okay, sounds bad, something you’d want to take out quickly because….. it… can make… robots invisible?  Er…. What? Antimatter isn’t known for playing with the light spectrum.  More for making things go BOOM!  Yeah, I know it’s sorta sci-fi technobabble, but antimatter is pretty darn consistent.  I think this is the first time I’ve seen antimatter in a non-explosive context.  Even antimatter reactors work on controlled explosions.

 

That’s a lot of criticism for the first page, let’s keep moving.  Sonic and Sally soon find the antimatter device, though with a suspicious lack of guards.  Sally thinks it could be a trap but as expected Sonic rushes ahead and soon regrets it as the door slams shut.  Robotnik appears to gloat, of course, and informs Sonic that he made the whole thing into a trap after he couldn’t get the antimatter device to work.  Well of course you couldn’t.  That’s like filling a balloon with petrol and being surprised it doesn’t fly.  Maybe that’s why the Swat-Bot’s were blind at the start, but I think that might be giving the story too much credit!

 

As the inept Swat-bots close in, Sonic decides to throw the bomb then spin-dash his way through the door.  Only he trips, must have been me with the controller again.  And of course bomb plus antimatter equal one very big explosion.

 

We then cut to Sally retuning to the others looking very worse for wear.  And despite being an hour late, and probably being able to hear such a big explosion, the other Freedom Fighters were just kicking back relaxing.  No attempt for a rescue or even keeping a watch eh guys?  After telling the others about Sonic being in the explosion she declares: “There’s no way he could have survived that.”

 

Now I’ll admit this is early in Sonic’s career, but even then she should have retained more hope after the other death-defying things Sonic has escaped from.  Especially considering there was no body. You should at least hope there’s an outside chance he survived.  Only Tails is genre-savvy enough to not think Sonic is dead.  And with Antoine making a comment about Sonic being a spirit we move on to a scene of the devastation.  Which, considering that was an anti-matter explosion, seems to have been a lot less destructive than I would expect.  Maybe the lab was reinforced cause it was, after all, dealing with anti-matter.  Okay, I’ll let you off with that one story.

 

We see Sonic speaking, but by the looks of things the colourist was running out of ink.  Or maybe something else is up as a solid metal door falls through him, understandably shocking Sonic.  And me, as shouldn’t he be fast enough on his feet do get out of the way?  And the shocks keep coming as Sonic realises the inking problem is due to him being invisible and intangible.  Now, I guess you’re expecting me to criticize the fact that Sonic is passing through objects, but not passing through the ground.  I would, but almost whenever intangibility is brought up… Star Trek, X-men (film), Captain Scarlet, Ghost (the film of that name), etc etc etc it’s a common fault, so I’m not gonna single Sonic out for it.  Still a flaw though.  I am however gonna say again that ANTI-MATTER JUST BLOWS *BLEEP* UP!

 

Sonic returns to Knothole to find that as well as his other issues, the other Freedom Fighters can’t hear him, a standard side effect of his symptoms, and that Rotor is a terrible artist, which isn’t surprising, and that Tails is a good artists, which is not the first time it’s brought up, but never seen on panel, and never seen again, unless you count his vehicle designs.

 

Depressed, well who wouldn’t be after learning all your friends aren’t even gonna check the wreckage just in case you survived, Sonic wanders off.   Only to hurt his foot kicking a rock and startles a frog with his voice.  I bet it was that Magic Frog, who probably thought “NOOO!  That crazy stalker hedgehog has tracked me down!  Flee!  Flee!”  Yet it does mean that two of Sonic’s three symptoms have worn off, leaving just invisibility.  And of course Sonic realises that it’s due to the anti-matter explosion and ANTI-MATTER DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY and wow I get really hung up on technobabble.

 

Rushing back to Knothole Sonic finds the others have gone, and a note from Tails explains they are off to avenge Sonic’s death.  Gotta say, I love the p.s. “If you are dead then pay no attention to this letter.”  Both Sonic and Robotnik, after the latter has celebrated Sonic’s death and seeing the other Freedom Fighters attack, believe that the Freedom Fighters’ are about to be wiped out.  Now normally I’d contradict that by saying that the Freedom Fighters are more than just Sonic’s cheerleaders, but… they way they stood around for hours and now are taking a page from Arnold Rimmer’s tactics “We will advance over the minefield under cover of daylight!” it seems they’re pretty much hopeless.

 

Robotnik sets out to attack personally in a jet, only Sonic has snuck aboard.  He uses his invisibility to trick Robotnik into thinking he’s a ghost, causing Robotnik to call off the attack, and give in to some other ridiculous requests.  The invisibly wears off and Sonic returns to the Freedom Fighters to explain everything, and is spotted by Snively who decides to (eventually) tell Robotnik to ensure the Status Quo is restored.

 

There is little to say about this story really.  It’s pretty by the numbers.  If you’ve seen one ‘character becomes insubstantial and everyone thinks they’re dead’ story this one hits pretty much the same notes, and being a short story in a comic it doesn’t have room to do anything else with the concept.  Despite this, its still and enjoyable enough tale, despite my criticisms and the incompetence of the other Freedom Fighters.

 

Story 2: Deadliest of the Species

 

Wow… that’s a BIG gun barrel.  I know they’re trying to imitate the James Bond, but it’s really NOT good gun safety to lean into the barrel like that.  And the James Bond imitation continues with the Goldfinger opening of the scuba suit with the duck decoy on the top, the fully dry outfit underneath, and the grappling hook over the wall, taking out a guard and setting changes.  The only differences being that this time the guard isn’t distracted by a grappling hook and is taken out by a defribulator, and the target is a power plant rather than “heroin flavoured bananas”.

Sally isn’t the only one with plans on the Power Station and she soon bumps into the sneaky figure.  And so we are introduced to Geoffrey St John, who clearly needs to lose some weight, and thankfully will do as the series goes on.  But serious, for a leader of a rebel underground he is a little podgy.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  The two start by pointing weapons at each other, only to be interrupted by the explosion.  THEN they do the proper introductions, but while doing so, a Swat Bot takes aim at Sally…

Annnnnd… that’s as far as we go for now, a teaser for the upcoming Sally Mini-series, but an effective one, depending on how you feel about the Goldfinger rip-off.


Just one thing confuses me though… what the heck is up with Sally’s nose?  Did she paint it silver or something?

 

Bonus Story: Everything Old is Newt Again

 

The copy of this issue on SCANF has a bonus story.  A short tale about the return of Universalamander that wasn’t in the comics originally.  It is still not part of the cannon, for starters it has completely contradictory origins for Nicole, but still, let’s take a look at it.

 

Robotnik is holding a triumph over Sonic’s defeat.  Only it’s a pretend one, to further emphasise Robotnik’s early patheticness.  In fact, he’s reduced to asking his robots for ideas.  Oh how the mighty have fallen, even for these early issues.  No wonder the story was lost!  Still, one speaks up, and given I’ve already namechecked him yep, it’s Universalamander, still tiny.  Why don’t you just tell Robotnik where Knothole is, don’t you remember from last time?  Guess he’s keeping that to himself, but Robotnik has a plan of his own.

 

Jump cut to the Freedom Fighter’s playing a tag game against Sonic, with predicable results. Only for the now restored Universalamander to show up and quickly boot Sonic way off into the distance.  Bunnie counterattacks, but isn’t able to do much but irritate the giant robot.

 

Sonic meanwhile has ended up lost in a desert, face first in an ant hill.  Thankfully it’s a friendly ant.  Well, as friendly as you can be to a giant slamming into and damaging your house.  I wonder if he’s one of the fire ants we’ll meet later…  But anyway the ant gives Sonic a way to find his way home by running in spirals till he finds a landmark.

 

Meanwhile Rotor is trying to use the same tactic as last time, using the Reduce/Enlarge robotizier to shrink Universalamander.  Only instead it makes the Robot even larger. Then we see Robotnik giving an explanation for the reverser system which caused that effect.  The now massive robot makes quick work of the Freedom Fighters, but just before dealing the deathblow Sonic returns, of course, to save the day!  Well, the Freedom Fighters.  There’s still the matter of the gigantic robot. 

 

Rotor had a plan to use the Reduce/Enlarger on the Enlarger setting in the hope it would be reversed and shirk Universalamander, but the device is broken.  Now, credit where it is due.  Given the quality of writing in the early comics I would have expected Sonic to come up with that idea rather than Rotor, i.e. the dedicated smart person, so a bonus point there.  Sally and Robot go to build a new one, Sally saying that she just got Nicole in the post…. From an ordering system… Who would be shipping super-handheld-computers around?

 

Meanwhile the rest of the Freedom Fighters are holding off Universalamander.  Well, Sonic, Bunnie and, to Bunnie’s surprise, Tails are.  Antoine is just watching.  Rotor pops up from the secret Knothole entrance to sap Universalamander with the new enlarger, and it does indeed shrink the robot.  Only it doesn’t stop, and Universalamander shrinks to microscopic size and disappears.

 

Nicole then makes a comment on how future events will become more ‘complex’.  I can’t help but wonder if that is a new line added to the story!  But once again Robotnik ends up with egg on his face.

 

I… uh..  I didn’t realise what I’d written just there till I wrote it!

 

Overall

 

Issue 20 is fairly unremarkable overall.  The stories are fine, just nothing special.  And the Sally focused ‘serious’ story is mild set up.  It terms of continuity it is worth a read, and certainly isn’t one to avoid, but it won’t be astounding you!

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