Archie Sonic: Issue #49 - ENDGAME Part 3 of 4
Alright, this cover certainly is... uh...
Busy. It's very busy.
I couldn't tell what was even happening until I zoomed in on it. Even still, the positions these characters are in defy common sense. Also, it's hard not being skeeved out by Geoffrey's defined bod.
Spaz is a good artist but this was, to be fair, years and years ago at this point.
Anyway, we begin with Geoffrey-
Right. So I suppose now's as good a time as any to talk a bit about how silly this situation is. Now, Sonic has been framed for shit he hasn't done before. He's been forcefully roboticized against his will. There was a Pseudo Sonic once upon a time. He lost his memory and worked for Robotnik once. The Freedom Fighters have plenty of reason to completely ignore what they thought they saw and investigate the matter to find out what the deal was. I know the king gave the order not to, but fuck the king. This kind of shit is why this ruling class Acorn Kingdom nonsense tends to get in the way when you live in a world where you can so easily replace the king with a fake. Also, even if he weren't a fake, the king is still an asshole.
Geoffrey, in particular, however, is clearly just impulsively looking for an out to murder Sonic. Remember when this dude just walked into the doctor's office while they were looking over Sally's dad, goes up to Sally, kisses her, insults Sonic, accuses Chuck of being a traitor, and then tries to kill him? There's no feasible way anyone could possibly like this character.
I know Penders doesn't consider any of what Ian wrote canon, but honestly, the only thing keeping me from hating him is the fact that I actually like where his character ends up near the end of the book.
So Sonic is still falling off the waterfall, very daintily I might add-
-and is unable to see a way out of dying when he hits the bottom. He's exhausted both mentally and physically so creating a figure 8 with his feet to slow himself down doesn't work. It just cramps his legs.
So... instead... he uh...
He takes off his shoe, which I guess he packed full of dirt just in case he needed to run across some of it to escape death off the top of a waterfall... tosses it... then before it disperses into useless ash in the sky, runs across it to safety?
Like... even if Sonic was that fast, how on Earth does he have the prowess to make sure he threw all that dirt in such a perfect arc that all the dregs of dirt were evenly pressed against one another to momentarily create a foothold...!
Sonic wouldn't need to narrowly dodge Geoffrey's arrows if he were this fast and this precise. The dude could walk over to the skunk, shave off all his fur, and shove a pie in his face in a millisecond if this is... at all possible.
I guess old cartoony habits die hard.
But at least he found a flawless esca-
Oh hey. Turns out it was a shit plan.
Sonic lands on his goddamn face and... I think it knocks him so silly that he... starts to think he's in a porno or something?
Why is he making that shape with his mouth and what is he slurping???
Like... I usually try to be a bit choosey with the pics I use but so many of them I NEED to show you. This issue is fucking weird.
Sonic hurries off, looking beyond exhausted. He keeps reciting what he has to do to himself and of course, in typical Sonic comic fashion, when he says he's got to get back to Knothole, his sentence is finished on the next page and we're back in Knothole. Here we see the Warlord Julian giving a deceptive speech while showing off his astonishingly plentiful teeth. They go so far back that he looks like Zebra from Toriko.
He's explaining to them that Sonic the Hedgehog has betrayed them and that King Acorn has not. That's because he's a robot doppelganger. He proves this by taking the wire out the back of the king's head and watching him deflate into... a red mask...? Thing?
This dude may be evil but he sure makes sure to keep his choppers pearly white. I wish Doug Walker had taken aims to do the same but I don't watch his shit anymore so thankfully I don't have to see those yellow gremlins anymore.
Also, you'd think that they would comb through Robotnik's words a little better. He says that Sonic betrayed them but the King didn't because he wants them to think the faked Sonic is real but doesn't care if they know the faked King is real anymore. Now, why he had to reveal here, I don't know. Seems crueler to make them think the King DID betray them to me but what do I know? Also, if there's a fake king logic would dictate that there could be a fake Sonic right? Do none of them realize this?
He explains that he wants to see them all perish with each other in a big, showy way. Something that no doubt will be cathartic and poetic to him. I understand he's a showman so I can let it slide. It's a little obvious as a measure to explain why he doesn't just kill them right then and there but he's got his flaws and this has literally always been one of them.
We cut back to Snively who is being given the medical records on Sally by Dr. Quack. The doctor says he did everything they asked and demands that they keep up their end of the deal. However, Snively is a persnickety fucker and decides to punish the doc for being so rude.
He presses... his hand... and... the back of his hand makes a... clicking noise?
It reveals Dr. Quack's family behind bars. His wife and kids are all there. The DuckTales theme is playing in my head and I can't get it to stop...
Dr. Quack is understandably outraged by this and lashes out at Snively, saying he's gonna do... something.
But before he can do the something he was gonna do, he gets fucking shot!
In front of his kids! What the hell?!
The sound effect there is a SKZZAKT so it was definitely a laser but the gun barrel looks like it belongs to a gat or a machine gun. There are Combots there instead of the usual Swatbots so you know they mean business this time too.
So, the doc is mostly alright. His feathers are a little charred and smoke is lightly coming off his body but he's good. He's cool. He's fine. Just got shot in the stomach but he's alright. Yeah. He's fine.
Snively takes the Doc out of the room and tells him they want another favor from him. He reveals the ACTUAL King Acorn under a tarp and tells him to get to work on... something involving him. I'm not sure what. Dr. Quack relents because what else is he gonna do?
So, we then cut back to Sonic who-
WHAT IS GOING ON?!
I guess Sonic's just fucking magic now.
I mean... could he do this in the show? Is this how they called Dulcy over? He certainly has never done this before in the comic as far as I can remember. Then again, my memory when it comes to the stuff before I started reviewing it on here hasn't been the best.
Whatever. Dulcy's here thanks to Sonic's magic whistle they fly off together because Dulcy is a dragon and dragons can apparently sense when someone's being truthful and shit. So they ride off just as Geoffrey arrives with his Tasmanian Devils. He shouts that he'll never stop following him like a mad-man because Sonic's still wearing that tracking shackle on him.
Although, if Geoffrey ever lost sight of Sonic, he'd just find him again when he returned to Knothole because that's literally where he said he's going. Right?
Anyway, who's up for some more physical and mental abuse?
This scene is a fairly good example of why the weird cartoony nonsense in this issue is especially weird.
There's definitely an attempt to drag things more into the realm of seriousness and realism here. While it usually isn't a problem to mix comedy and drama together, things become askew when you don't know when and how to do it properly. Now, this scene isn't happening within the realm of anything resembling a joke or anything but it does feel more noticeable when not two pages ago, Sonic summoned a dragon with a cheap magic whistling thing he can do. And yes, I'm calling it magic because it's so silly.
Now, I don't think Drago and Hershey here are a couple really considering Drago, rather insultingly, keeps referring to this grown woman as "kid" while also punching and smacking her across the face but it's a rather unnecessary layer of cruelty to add on top of the fact that this dude literally tricked her into murdering Sally Acorn.
Yes, It's here where it's revealed that the one who cut Sally's rope was Hershey.
She was wearing a Sonic mask that, when put on, makes it so the person wearing it only sees Snively no matter who they're looking at.
So Hershey thought that when she cut the rope and sent someone to go splat against the ground, preferably into huge mounds of chunky salsa, it was Snively instead of Sally. Now, setting aside how dark it still is that she was so brazenly ready to just... murder Robotnik's slightly more sympathetic flunky... this is a tremendously horrifying thing to do to someone already.
I'm understanding now why Ian, when writing for Drago, wrote him as this terrifying LOOKING dude who would constantly get shit on and undermined and told to shut up all the time. This is an incredibly awful person who relishes in the fact that he tricked this young woman into murdering someone she was trying to help and laughs at her while she's curled up on the ground, grieving over the horrible thing she's done on top of not giving a fuck about swatting her across the room.
It's so uncomfortable and it gets worse when you realize that this was IT!
This was literally supposed to be the ending storyline of the book. Issue 49 is supposed to be the penultimate issue before the series was set to end in Issue 50 and THIS is what it was going to leave behind.
Sally actually WAS supposed to die! Hershey WAS supposed to have actually have murdered her when she thought she was helping the Freedom Fighters all along!
What a thing to leave behind. I almost WANT to see the original ending now, just to see how much of a sour note it was planning to end things on. I know Ken wanted to kill off Sally because she "cramped Sonic's style" or whatever but Jesus.
Also, this was co-written by Mike Gallagher too. Don't think I'm letting him off the hook for this. The treatment of woman in this book on top of the overdone dramatic flare concerning death is making this really quite the odd Sonic the Hedgehog comic book. Sally's supposed to be this team's leader and yet she's been nothing but useless these first 49 issues and she was unceremoniously planned to be killed off in a lame way with zero closure at the beginning of this four part finale. How embarrassing.
I like death in stories for children. I like death in Sonic games and Sonic comics. Children can handle it and if it's done right it can make your stories come off as natural and mature. But this honestly feels a bit like what Shadow the Hedgehog tried to do, where it shoves all these mature themes at you in a bid to be taken serious and it either looks weird, comes off as humorous, or in this case is just gross.
And after this scene of Hershey crying on the floor as Drago laughs over how he tricked her into killing Sally, THAT'S when they decide to have the page for fan-art from the all the little kiddies.
It's almost like a weird punchline.
I'm a little confused about Drago's character here too. Why is he THIS much of a scumbag? Robotnik offered him a kingdom apparently. I know the Wolf Pack aren't Freedom Fighters and I know next to nothing about their morality and devotion to the cause but he came from a group of people willing to enter the war against Robotnik to save this virtually dying planet and he's just... a guy who turns out to be okay with gleefully doing shit like this?
So we thankfully cut away to ... another place that I don't like. Downunda. Hurray.
This is where Antoine and Bunnie have been taken after being discovered by Drago. It's literally on the other side of the planet. Two of the Downunda Freedom Fighters show up and, I guess in an attempt to make them seem more relevant, they have close ups on their faces and they say their names. I definitely remember them but I've already forgotten their names and looking back at the page just to jot them down is too much work. Also, they suck because they're immediately spotted by the head of the prison.
Here it's revealed that the head guard of the Downduna prison is Crocbot!
I do but only because I have little nuggets of info on what happens with certain characters down the line. This dude was beaten by Tails and the Downunda Freedom Fighters in the Tails mini-series and thrown down a pit. He really wants you to be aware of who he is and he REALLY wants you to care because he goes on for two pages about how he made his glorious return. He gathered up Combot parts and made a station and I can't remember if he was always a tank or just attached himself to one...
Whatever. It's all very interesting, I'm sure.
He outright says that he ambushed and captured the Downunda Freedom Fighters and has delighted in torturing them mercilessly. So... I guess the "they've been torturing him for months" thing isn't new for the series after all.
Pictured below are the Downunda Freedom Fighters, making the appropriate faces one would expect of characters that didn't know how much they sucked.
I can't stress how much this sequence of pages feels tacked on. Like, honestly who cares? Crocbot is going on and on and on about how great it's gonna be to have his revenge and it's just so boring.
We cut back to Sonic and Dulcy who arrive... at the floating island for some reason? Odd, considering Sonic said he wanted to go back to Knothole so many times...
I guess he's here hoping to get a helping hand from Knuc-BWAHAHAHA! No.
These two hate each other and the instant Dulcy flies in, Knuckles punches her in the face and knocks her out cold because he doesn't let anyone (save for the Chaotix for whatever reason. I guess because the book told us they're supposed to be friends) on the island. I don't understand why Knuckles is this aggressive. I understand not wanting people on his island but punching a girl in the face because they got close to it?
Sonic is understandably upset by that and they fight. Because of course they do.
It's broken up by Geoffrey when he flies in and fires in between them. So now these four are here and... I guess something's gonna happen.
So that was Issue 49 and Christy Christ Christ Christ.
This book actually has the nerve to end with the caption "Brought to you with pride by Mike Gallagher and Ken Penders".
I just... damn.
This shit just nose-dived into a bottomless pit.
It is nice to know that some of the readers are asking legit questions about what they're reading even at this time though.
“Dear Sonic, I watch SONIC on USA Network’s Cartoon Express. I have a few questions. 1) Why does Sally kiss and hug that skunk dude (Geoffrey St. John) in Issue #43? 2) In Sonic Quest #3, you used Silver Sonic’s robot body to fight Robotnik. How is that possible when you fried it? 3? What is Robotnik’s first name: Ivo or Julian? 4) If the Floating Island has one chaos emerald,how could Robotnik steal two emeralds in the SONIC QUEST series? I gotta’ buz’, cuz’!
- Steven Cash, Oxford, NC
They answer this question by pretending to be Bunnie Rabbot. I don’t really like it when stuff like this is done. I guess because they think the kids will pay more attention to it? But they make Bunnie say that she doesn’t like Geoffrey but YOU’VE GOTTA ADMIT HE’S A HUNK AND A HALF!
So Sally kissed him cause he’s hot. I guess. Remember, this is either Ken or Gallagher or someone tied to these books pretending to be Bunnie, making her say that Sally is vain and she’ll kiss you so long as you’re attractive. She doesn't care that you're college age when she's like, 15 or some shit. The rest of the answers are actual answers. Silver Sonic was reprogrammed. Robotnik's first name is Julian and Ivo is his family name (You’d think Robotnik was his family name but whatever) and Knuckles had a spare emerald.
Here we have someone who agrees that Sally should pass away!
“Hey, Team Sonic, Here it is in a nutshell: Sally should pass away. Whether she comes back or not (you know how comic book death works after all…) is up to you, but you can only avoid real-life topics so long before it gets stale. Anyone who doesn’t agree can watch Barney. As for me, I’ll still look forward to another issue of Sonic, no matter what. I read it because its a comic book remember?”
- Kerri Vines, being the hardest of the hardcore.
You hear that? Sally should fucking die and anyone who disagrees should go watch BARNEY! This book that’s constantly showcasing themes of war, death, torture, politics, and abuse can only avoid real-life topics for so long before it gets stale.
Well. That’s about enough for me today. I think my brain has fried. I’ve gotta go watch Barney.