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Opinions on the Fleetway and Archie Series Overall? (Including All Spinoffs and Specials)


ClassicKnuckles
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I just not remembered how much of an ass Sonic is. Like seriously, Sonic is a jerk in STC, and I love it. Also, Sonic the Comic was cool, and the Brotherhood of Metallix is awesome, and the Sonic Adventure adaptation is a nice "finale" to the series. The Archie comics are cool, and I especially love Sonic Universe, and it's really weird that the Sonic X comic lasted longer than the show itself, and it's super weird that it led into Sonic Universe. The Shadow Saga in particular is really good in Sonic Universe, and we get that sweet Gamma appearance. Tikhaos is also a c ool concept, and I think overall, Sonic has had a good comic run, and it's cool to see all of the game adaptations over time. What did you guys think? 

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Eh, to me Archie felt a little too much like an official fanfic, complete with Mary Sues (Sally, Julie-Su, etc), terrible romance (Mainly in the Penders era), fan characters with lasy/boring designs (Remember Scourge THE HEDGEHOG? Or Didmiti? Or Sonic's long lost father and mother? Or the freedom fighters, exept EVIL? Like, sure, I wouldn't mind that, had the Archie community not been bitching about how awful Underground's designs were), and overall just this fanfiction-y feel.

Fleetway on the other hand started out strong as heck with the SatAM setting, but then slowly began transforming into a non-sonic-comic with Sonic in it. 

 

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Sonic the Comic is my favorite between the two. It has fantastic art by Richard Elson, Nigel Dobbyn and many other artists. I really liked the stories and the setting, it felt like we were on a version of Mobius that mixes the games and its own elements. Sonic being a "jerk" is a nice idea (and he's not that much of a jerk, just read the comics) and the cast felt balanced. Best Amy Rose. Lesbians in space. Knuckles as the only echidna (bar Dr Zachary). Heh, I loved that universe so much I became part of the StCO staff ;p

Archie... is a mixed bag. I'm not a fan of the pre-Ian era. It didn't really feel like a Sonic comic, it took far too much liberties (especially with Penders) and it looked too gritty. When I read Sonic, I don't want echidna politics, Sonic going to school or Titan Tails. On the other hand, I like the Freedom Fighters (especially Antoine) and a few characters like Mina. When Ian came on board, the quality rised a lot. But in the end, I was slowly losing interest, I stopped buying individual issues.

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I grew up reading Archie, so I might have a bias there, but I have read every issue of Fleetway now, so I think I can at least judge them both with some objectivity.

While Archie essentially starts as a comedic version of SatAM before developing into it's own thing starting with the Dark Legion Arc, Fleetway begins sort of emulating the games before switching to a serious AOSTH/SatAM hybrid. I prefer the Archie approach which just seems to have more confidence in the world it's developing where as Fleetway often feels all over the place in what it wants to do. The stories in Archie often involve how Sonic and the Freedom Fighters work and evolve in the world around them as they become more aware, where as Fleetway often focuses on smaller scale vignettes involving characters of the week. Both utilize longer arcs too of course. I enjoy most of Archie's output in this regard - the First Robotnik War, the Dark Legion, the World Tour, the Iron Dominion Arc, the Mecha Sally Arc etc. I also like a lot of the semi-long arcs such as Mecha Madness, Endgame, Home, Eggman Empire, Enerjak Reborn, Moebius etc. On the flip side, there are definitely some Fleetway stories I like, Brutus' uprising, the initial Floating Island stories, and the Special Zone Arc. Shorter stories I'm not as familiar with - they often bleed together honestly. Both books have poorer stories too, specifically both the Chaos Knuckles Arc in Archie and the Shanazar/New Zones Arcs in Fleetway just drag on and on. Both start fairly strong - I like the Chaos Knuckles Arc from 88-100, but the last 25 issues are pretty bad, and Shanazar starts interesting with Kintobor but both just fizzle out into repetitive nonsense way to quickly. But overall, Fleetway at it's best feels like pretty good Archie stuff while Archie at it's best is really something special - at least to me.

As far as characters go - Archie by a country mile. There are so many characters I got attached to over the course of Archie Sonic. To name my favorites unique to Archie/SatAM itself: Antoine, Bunnie, Geoffrey, Jules, Mina, Nicole, Rotor, Sally, Larry Lynx, Shard, Uncle Chuck, Nate Morgan, Elias, Dr. Quack, Snively, Hope, Dimitri, Locke, Archimedes, Julie-Su, Fiona, the Fearsome Foursome, Scourge, Lara-Su, Zonic, the Iron Queen, Fixit, Eclipse, Naugus, Uma, Monkey Khan, Iron King, Conquering Storm, Rob O', Dulcy, Cassia, Clove, Matilda, Jack Rabbit, Mammoth Mogul, Lupe, the Desert Raiders, ADAM, Ancient Walkers, Athair, Merlin Prower, Feist, Lien-Da, Remington, Finitevus, Downunda Freedom Fighters, Razor, Crusher, Coral, and Pearly. Which isn't to say Fleetway doesn't have stand out characters, I just feel like there's fewer: Brutus, Metamorphia, Emperor Metallix, Porker Lewis, the Marxio Bros., Tekno, Dr. Zachary, Turbo, Ebony, the Enchanter Kings, Errol, Morain, Blockhead Bill, Kintobor, Shortfuse, Death-Trap, Omni-Viewer, Hobson, Choy, Grimer, Sally, Johnny, Captain Plunder, and the Drakon Empire. While I left out a lot for both Archie and Fleetway, I feel like those are the character for both that really stick out to me.

I would comment on art, but the only Fleetway artist I can actually remember is Richard Elson and I don't think that's fair of me since I'm sure there's more. Especially when I could do a laundry list of Archie artists over the years I love.

I do recommend reading both, I do think they're both good. But if you had to ask me which one is better, I'd honestly say Archie - especially pre-reboot (that's a whole other can of worms).

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Plus Ian's run tends to eclipse discussions involving Archie. Most of my experience is with Archie. STC always interested me with how much it dovetails from the games and early cartoons into it's own thing, but Archie always been the more convenient one for me to collect. Something that stood out to me about STC are the way Sonic was often drawn

Spoiler

5a760de2990c5_STCSonic.thumb.png.7f76636538b22c15e0f911bba85395c8.png .

 The way his top spike is and the others curve up it's uniquely STC.

 

Archie definitely took many forms over its run. The early issues would be right at home in the Sunday funnies next to Garfield and Peanuts, often compared to AoStH, but I think they were always a little more grounded than that. One thing Archie definitely had was a love for DC Comics as a number of superhero comic conventions would find their way into the book at some point: evil doppelgangers, the cosmic interstate with it's multiverses, Mogul's backstory, and not once but twice they flat-out aped Marvel's "Coming of Galactus" nearly verbatim.

My favorite run in the books were #25-57, "A Scrambled Hedgehog" (#27-28), a better execution of  SatAM's "No Brainer" if nothing else, Mecha Madness, and the Endgame Saga, all stand out and match SatAM note for note, and the initial sense of freedom and soul searching right after Robotnik was killed off was palatable.

My interest starts to wine with the World Tour arc (#57-67). Conceptually it's a great idea, this is Archie trying to define what "Post-SatAM" looks like in a era before Sonic Adventure provides a modern road map, but I never liked how ineffectual Nagus actually was. He serves as a great final boss at the end of this arc, but in the mean time you only see him as a face in the clouds, a reflection in on a lake, carved in bark, etc. Ever present, never causing any actual damage. It was ultimately his only time in the primary antagonist role, and one of the reasons I was so bummed to see Ian's last pre-reboot arc cut short. Nagus almost had a second shot at it. On top of that, until Ian surprised me and reworked a lot of these concepts, Sand Blast City and Monkey Khan's "Journey to the West" land, felt like one-offs we'd never see again.

 

Over it's run Archie used Bunnie and Antoine to great affect. It got more mileage out of them than SatAM ever did, and I am going to miss Bunnie as an evolving character in this franchise. The character conflicts Ian was setting up for her, and uncle Beauregard is another major casualty of the Pendering.

 

I want to do more but that's enough for now.

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Way too many people describe Fleetway Sonic as if he's an unfeeling monster or something.

Yes, he's way more cocky, arrogant and snarky, his brand of humour even has a sadistic streak, and he's not afraid to be say what he really thinks.

But he is truly heroic, and while he has a funny way of showing it, he cares about his friends deeply. He lashed out when Porker Lewis decided to quit the Freedom Fighters because he genuinly didn't want him to leave, even if he didn't admit it, and he was hit hard by Johnny Lightfoot's death, blaming himself for it.

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I know I will anger many people, but big chunk of Fleetway sucked.

I'm talking about every 7 pages story with thinnest plot possible. I'm talking about most generic baddies world can think of (Tricker, Dr Genius) and some god-awuful parodies (those X-men monkeys in Special Zone... most things in special zone). I'm talking about the villagers so dumb and easy to manipulate, they make Sonic Boom village look like intellectuals. I'm talking about Fabian Vane and Norris Wimple.

This thing shined mostly in big picture. Sonic felt like jerk sometimes, but if you read more stories, you can feel it's mostly an act. Most of characters feel 2 dimensional, but from big picture you see that Tails, Amy and Porker grew through out comic, while Robotnik actually changed strategies.

Big story arcs were pretty great too. Simple (Robotnik becoming God was solved with oldest trick in the book), but grand in feel. New heroes were okay, I didn't fall in love with anyone (I guess Plunder was really funny in early stories). But it had few fun villains I would love to see in IDW. Sonic was great idea on paper, but personally I found him kinda repetitive. Brotherhood of Metallix, now those guys were awesome.

Plus this book was surprisingly good in adapting games into it's growing lore (while early Archie felt like it hates it, but has to do anyway. Adventure 1&2). Most characters were given justice, at least as much as it's possible without knowing future (Chaotix. And even then, look at Charmy). My biggest coplain would be Amy Rosy. Ironically I liked her more before she became tomboy. She was flawed, but smart and determinated (something I always admire in people). Later she went kinda stereotype.

My favorite periods was #21-29, with cute Amy, funny Plunder, badass Metal and WTF Eggman. This was first time I actually enjoyed this comic (no later story beat it, but most big arcs remain epic. Adventure adaptation was really nice ending).

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About Fleetway, for me it seems more like everybody has a bit too jerkish sense of humour than what I personally like, it isn't just Sonic. And yes, they do have other, more likeable characteristics in the characters too but the way they speak to each other sometimes really makes me feel bad. But I suppose it's just that my flavour doesn't handle it because I haven't grown up with it and haven't come to the point where I know how to take it.

So it's more of a personal opinion than a fact, really. I appreciate Fleetway Sonic for what it is and it is interesting for me, not bad at all, that one nuance just makes me feel a bit uncomfortable around it. Apples and oranges, really.

I suppose pretty much everyone in here know already how much I adore Archie Sonic but I suppose I could talk about that later.

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Although there are few exceptions (Sonic Live anybody?), I feel that sonics run as comic series is great. I find the sonic comics (especially Archie) better than any other comics and I will also go on to say that they are better than the games (in my opinion of course. :) ).

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