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My Reviews of Archie Sonic

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As someone whose first Sonic comic is the new IDW run, Archie Sonic was always a weird thing to me. Something you would hear about in corners of the internet, stuff where weird facts would be spouted like Sonic having several love interests, or darker storylines, or the cast from Satam still being around. I wound up reading Archie Sonic up to around issue #220, even posting some of my thoughts on the stories in the main Archie Sonic thread. However, some real life stuff got in the way, I never went back, and due to my very bad memory, I'm put off reading further into the book. As much as I love Ian Flynn's writing, his love of bringing back old continuity bites for someone like me who constantly forgets where he puts his car keys.

So, I plan to reread all of Archie Sonic from the beginning to where I left off to the end, and this time, I'm going to write down my thoughts as I go through. I want to dedicate a thread to this rather than just do this in the main Archie Sonic thread, because I don't want keep bumping and interupting that thread with reviews for very old issues that aren't relevant anymore, and I want to keep this rather tidy.

One thing though is that I won't be recapping the issues. I will do some plot synopsis, but otherwise I want to spare myself having to write paragraphs just explaining what is happening each issue. When I posted my thoughts on the main Archie thread, just doing that was demoralising honestly. I'm also not a comics guy in general, so when it comes to writing or art, I'm afraid I'm not going to offer anything terribly inciteful aside from what I like, what I don't like, and occasionally comparing it to the other Sonic stuff I've grown up with over the years.

Archie Sonic really is its own beast, and even if much of it isn't terribly great, it does feel like its own unique and evolving entity. So, if you wish to join me on this journey, welcome to my reviews of Archie Sonic. Let us start at the beginning with...

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Sonic the Hedgehog: Mini-Series #0-#3


It is interesting how Archie's run of Sonic would actually begin with a mini-series before becoming an actual continuous book. Also interesting how Archie would seemingly try this approach with them later doing a Princess Sally, Tails and Knuckles mini-series, each one feeling like a little dip into seeing if they could become their own books, which ofcourse Knuckles would receive.

No idea why we start on an issue #0. I always thought a zeroith issue of something was like doing a prequel comic later down the line, not for starting the mini-series off. Well anyway, #0 is actually pretty great. #0 effectively is our "pilot" issue, with it really explaining everything we need to know about Sonic and what the comic is about, with Sonic quipping while fighting Robotnik, Robotnik's evilness as an industrial villian, Sonic's allies Tails, Rotor, Sally and Antoine all having their roles in the comic neatly explained. The issue is split into 2 halves, with the first half focusing on the Freedom Fighters saving some trees from Robotnik, and other half having Sonic narrate how Robotnik took over the planet and how Uncle Chuck would become a robot slave, although in a far more humourous fashion which would be retconned later on in the book's life.


I feel like #0 just gets all the elements right. Sonic is cocky and has bad jokes, Robotnik is gloriously evil. You have little pop culture nods with a dead robot singing "Daisy" like HAL 9000, Sonic and Sally's little romantic tension is established, Rotor as the somewhat cheeky genius is fun, Antoine is ever foiled by Sonic, and Tails at the moment is the youngun' in awe of his hero. I feel like you could give #0 to anyone, and they'd know just from reading it what this incarnation of Sonic is like, so I think it is a great success.

Scott Shaw is the artist for #0-#2 of the mini-series, and I really love his style. Sonic always looks nice and expressive, Robotnik just oozes evil in that saturday morning fashion. The comics feel like the cartoon and I appreciate that, it fits in perfectly with the comedic writing by Michael Gallagher, who I think manages to stop the comic from feeling too cheesy or too dumb, kid friendly but accessible enough so that adults can have fun reading.


Issues #1-#3 are all essentially nice little self contained stories, with each issue having a couple of main plots, as well as a few single pages dedicated to setting up some punchlines. #1 has Sally trying to trick Robotnik into roboticising her so she can use Rotor's tech against him, but ofcourse it backfires when Sonic tries to rescue her for real, which is the kindof thing that will happen often, Sally trying to be smart but Sonic being too impulsive. It is also interesting how in the span of just 1 issue, Sally is changed from a blonde to a brunnette. It is interesting how in these early issues, somethings seem to be in flux, with Sally's design which would eventually confirm to her Satam look somewhere down the line, and we even get a cameo of Bunnie in a single page in number one, with her chest being roboticised. Not to mention Chuck is roboticised, but looks organic still? They seem to also imply Robotnik himself is actually a robot despite looking like an obese human, so don't really understand that either.

#2 has only a single plot, involving the theft of crown of Acorn's 4 magical emerald pieces which do... something. Apparently magic that will help against Robotnik, which leads to Sonic with some help from Antoine and Tails. A pretty funny little story, I do find it funny how the magical crown actually feels like a bit of foreshadowing for all the magical stuff that associates the Acorn royal family, like The Source which pops up way later in the Archie line.


#3 is my least favourite of the mini-series, mainly for 1 of its 2 main plots. What if... Sonic and Robotnik grew up together in a Sonic dreamsequence? Bit of a weird plot honestly, even if it does lead to more slapstick and a young Robotnik acting like a spoiler brat, but not really something I want. Sonic himself breaks the fourth wall asking readers if they want more dream plots, and unless I'm mistaken, very few, if any turn up later in the comedy era of Archie Sonic, so I'm guessing the readers didn't. The second story about Sonic disguising himself as a robot is pretty funny, with his extremey flimsy disguise fooling everyone, including Robotnik, and he tries to save Uncle Chuck but doesn't succeed.

I do love the comedy in this, and I can see fully why kids would like it enough for Archie to make this a proper series. The early days of Archie Sonic are great fun, and will continue to be fun as we start to see more and more things introduced like Bunnie and Evil Sonic that would eventually play massive roles in the serious days of Archie Sonic.


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Sonic the Hedgehog: #1-#4


After a successful mini-series, we have Sonic getting a proper continous series. Personally, I don't really see why they couldn't just keep the numbering from the mini-series, since the proper series keeps the mini-series in continuity, and issue #1 doesn't really serve to be introductory in anyway like how #0 from the mini-series, especially with how episodic these early Archie Sonic stories are. But whatever, I suppose it gave Archie an excuse to pump out another first issue so it could possibly receive better sales.

So, we hit our first issue of the proper Archie numbering, but for a landmark issue that would last from here to number 290, issue #1 isn't very special in anyway. Again, the true start with issue #0 is where we would see the series and characters introduced, so with issue 1 it really is just business as usual with 2 main stories, and aside from the cover proclaiming it as a big start, it doesn't feel like anything actually new. Ah well, more of a nitpick really.

The first issue has one of Robotnik's robots come up with a plan by having a virus that can infect plantlife, a plan that is perhaps rather relevent to the current IDW run right now. However, this virus only infects plants. The plot is kicked off by Antoine going to the surface to pick plants to try and win over Sally, which is a nice little moment. In these early issues, Antoine can be made out to be very insufferable, so it is nice when they give him a bit like this, which is still funny as Sally calls to him while he is lost in thought. Otherwise, plot is standard, Antoine is trapped by vines, FFs save him, and they discover that water short circuits the electronic plants, but before Sonic can save the day, it turns out a heavy storm will do the work for them. Kindof funny having the "first" issue where in one of the two stories, Sonic doesn't actually do anything to save the day.


The other story has Sonic go to the Casino Night Zone from Sonic 2 to witness a speech by Robotnik. It is nice to see a game Zone turn up in the comic, complete with Sonic being used in a pinball table, but I do wish it actually even remotely resembled the in-game Zone, with the comic instead going for a Las Vegas parody instead. Decent story, but otherwise, I wish it was tied more to the game version.

Issue #2 is perhaps the Archie comic's closest ties to the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, as we see Sonic and Tails go against the Coconuts the monkey, and later the 2 famous henchmen from that show Scratch and Grounder. I havn't watched Adventures since I was a kid, so I can only assume episodes from that were like this little story. I like it, but rather like the show, I do think it is very much for kids only, rather than having adult appeal. In a second story, we see Sonic meet the weird characters of Horizont Al and Verti Cal, 2 topsy turvy characters residing in a weird zone where dimensions are constantly shifting. I do like the fact that the comic seems to be trying to introduce characters or concepts so it doesn't have to always be about Sonic and the Freedom Fighters fighting Robotnik, but Cal and Al are a bit one note, hence why they don't show up much after this issue, aside from a really weird reappearance sometime after issue #50 if I recall.

The other notable thing about issue #2 is a short 2 page story talking about Tails, leading to Tails asking the readers if they'd like to see him in a 3 issue mini-series. These early issues seemed to love asking their readers to write in, I guess to help guage what was popular and what the readers wanted with these comics. I guess however they wern't too fussed with a Tails mini-series, since issue #2 would come out July 1993, and the Tails mini-series wouldn't run until December 1995 to February 1996, with Sally getting her mini-series before Tails too.


Issues #3 and #4, unlike issues #1 and #2, would in fact have a couple of important firsts for the comic, with issue #3 having us introduced to Bunnie the Rab-bot in the issue's second story. The first story is actually pretty fun regardless, the FFs believe Robotnik has a nuke, so wind up using a protestor distraction and later Rotor disguised as Robotnik to try and stop Robotnik using the weapon, before realising "the bomb" was actually a bug bomb to take care of an insect problem. Just a simple issue with lots of great little gags, as well as the revelation that religion is outlawed in Robotnik's regime. A few funny one off pages in this issue too, perhaps my favourite being Sally getting furious over an article about her dying her hair. I must admit, I do like this sortof old fashioned humour.


The second story however, is ofcourse far more significant with Bunnie introduced. Sonic and Rotor run when they hear about Robotnik trying to invade the South of Mobius, but are too late when Bunnie is halfway roboticised with a portable roboticiser. Bunnie however is extremely quick to get over this, with her showing off her new found strength to the Sally, and later to defeat a giant 50 foot high robot. I really like Bunnie, she is just a very funny energetic character with her exagerrated Southern accent and her slightly flirty demeanour. I also like this panel, considering her and Antoine's future relationship. I do find it interesting Bunnie is interested in this way, rather than as part of the gang in the beginning, considering how unless I'm wrong, she was in Satam from the very start rather than introduced mid way through.



Issue #4's big first would be the introduction of Super Sonic into the comic. When Robotnik accidently roboticises a lizard into a giant Godzilla like creature, Sonic is forced to become Super Sonic, using the power of the 7 Chaos Emeralds and 50 rings in a Sonic 2 special stage. It is nice to see Super Sonic, even if it does come along with some baggage that I feel would hurt the comic. The Chaos Emeralds are all portrayed as being green for some reason, even though in all the games the Chaos Emeralds are always portrayed as being multi-coloured, and while this issues has Sonic imply only 7 exist, the comic would later make it that Chaos Emeralds are just a resource on Mobius, wtih them used up after being used for a transformation. Not to mention considering how easy Sonic becomes Super, it does become a bit of a plot hole whenever he doesn't go Super when the situation calls for it, especially when the comic hits its more serious phase. Certainly when in the Ian Flynn run, the Chaos Emeralds were changed into their game counterparts after a story arc, I think it was for the better.


Nothing too much else to say about #4, Tails gets a little story as he tries to emulate Sonic while he is asleep, only to be captured by Robotnik after becoming overconfident and Sonic having to save him, which is OK.

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It is a truly interesting switch to go from reading the newer IDW series, which is completely polished with a set storyline rather than various overarching plots that cause it to become confusing. I myself need to read more of the Archie Sonic storyline, but I've heard many a tale about how crazy the plot can get and how OOC many of the characters act. Ken Penders was the catalyst that ruined Archie Sonic, no doubt about that. The only character I liked of his was Scourge. 

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Sonic the Hedgehog: #5-#8


Issue #5 of StH has the Freedom Fighters compete against Robotnik in his Olympics and a story where Robotnik sends a giant termite to try and decimate the Freedom Fighters, both resulting in some funny comedy. It's an issue like this where I have very little to talk about, and also in a sense, why I'm glad Archie Sonic would move away from the Adventures style comedy. I like it but it can also feel repetitive, especially when the characters are stuck as basic archetypes and the status quo never changes. Some issues can be very memorable if the plot has a unique element or memorable lines, but an issue like this just sortof blends in with the rest of the issues.

I do enjoy this phase of Sonic, but I don't think it makes me care, unlike when we start hitting the more serious and story driven aspect of the book in a couple of years. A bit like how I struggled to care much about the Sonic X comics when they decided to wind up being restricted between episodes 48 and 49 of the TV show, rather than trying to progress past the show's ending. Still, #5 is a good issue, but it also makes me glad in a way that this phase of Archie Sonic didn't last for a huge amount of time. Perhaps thats an overly negative thing to say. Still, I do enjoy the fact that the time the FFs fought Robotnik in the Olympics is in canon with the Echidna genocide and all the other dark shit in the Archie run, it'd be like having Adam West's Batman and Tim Burton's Batman sharing the same continuity.


Issue #6 has our very first game tie-in, with a story about Sonic Spinball, which is actually pretty appropriate considering how Sonic Spinball is the only Sonic game to be set in the Satam continuity rather than the main line games. However, like many of the direct tie-in issues to Sonic games that would follow all the way up to the recent IDW Team Sonic Racing one-shot, in that it struggles to be an interesting story but rather than seeing a video game put into comic form, which is tedious. Thankfully the Spinball story of this issue isn't long, only 8 pages, but it definetly serves to be one of the weakest stories of early Archie.

However issue #6 does give us a pretty nice Christmas Carol parody, with this issue coming out in December of 1993. I made the point when talking about the mini-series issue #3 that I wasn't really a fan of the idea of dream stories, but a parody like this I think works alot better when you are taking a well known story and having fun with it, rather than inventing a weird plot that has no relevance to anything, although funnily enough this parody is framed as being a dream of Sonic's. It is fun seeing Robotnik put in the role of Scrooge, and in fact not learning his lesson by the end but rather being blown up by a bomb. Also we see Snively turn up for the first time in the comic, but not as himself but rather a parody of Jacob Marley, which is a slightly weird introduction.


Issue #7 is another fairly standard issue. The first story has the gang hunt for Uncle Chuck's treasure, with Robotnik also in pursuit of it, but Sonic winds up letting go of the treasure when he realises that the sort of "treasure" to Uncle Chuck is actually far more sentimental rather than actually useful. A pretty nice punchline to the story. The other story is also relatively basic, Sally wants to dress up as a witch for Halloween, Robotnik jumps to the conclusion that she is an actual witch, and so wishes to marry her. Decent story, but I do find it funny in hindsight considering how from issue #200, a storyline in the Iron Dominion arc has Robotnik's nephew, Snively, try to romance a technomancer, who is basically a witch that manipulates technology. A nice parallel.


Issue #8's first story is about as '90s as you can get, with a pisstake on superheroes of the time. Sortof hilarious to see Spawn parodied, when Spawn would actually appear in Sonic Super Special #7 with that big Image crossover. Decent but rather dated. I actually really enjoy the second story however, where it is revealed that Robotnik is so evil, he has banned music because he hates it so much. Sonic and the FFs go to a concert hall, but Robotnik tries to destroy them by using a 1 hour shrink ray, but the FFs use the musical instruments as weaponary to foil Robotnik. I really like this, it takes 2 themes, music and shrinking, and mixes them together for some fun action, some good puns, but it makes Robotnik absurdly comedically evil. It's stories like these that make me really enjoy this era of Archie Sonic.

It also ofcourse has one of my favourite "wait, did they seriously write that?" moments, with Bunnie's line here. Oh Bunnie, there are certain corners of the fandom where you are indeed their "sax cymbal".


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Sonic the Hedgehog: #9-#12


Issue #9 has us see Robotnik build a robotic duplicate of Sonic. No, not Mecha Sonic, certainly not Metal Sonic, but Psuedo Sonic!... who proceeds to be defeated by Tails running a literal circle around him to build up static electricity, while the real Sonic is incapicated by a flower allergy. Decent story, although it does seem like a very weird way to use a robot duplicate plot. Apparently the plot of the issue is somewhat based on an Adventures episode, but I havn't seen AoStH in over a decade so have no memory. As per usual, the issue asks the reader to write in, this time to see if they would like to see more of Psuedo Sonic, but considering that this issue came out in early 1994, after the release of Sonic CD, it wouldn't surprise me if the reason Pseudo never became a recurring villian was because readers were more interested in Metal Sonic. That's just my theory though. Funnily enough though, Pseudo Sonic would return way way later in issue #170, in that issue's B story about Sonic finding an island filled with very badniks and baddies from the Adventure cartoon, with Psuedo as part of their ranks in a fun throw back to the early days of Archie.

I actually prefer the second story of issue #9, in which it is revealed that Sonic has a bad habit of adopting animals which turn out to be dangerous, but a plucky bird he tries to adopt actually helps save his and Sally's hide after Robotnik's trap tree traps the 2 of them. This page in particular gets a very big laugh out of me, I do like it when we find out that Sonic does have a bit of a weak spot, both for cute critters and also constantly failing to recognise them as being dangerous.


Issue #10 has the Freedom Fighters encounter the Nerbs, a race of subterranean creatures that dress like dorks, constantly whine about everything, and treat the Freedom Fighters like rubbish. Even when the FFs save 3 Nerbs from Robotnik and are accepted by the Nerbs, they are forced to wear the Nerbs awful outfits. Shockingly, the Nerbs would never appear again outside of this story. In all serious though, I don't hate the story, but it does feel like one of those episodes were the writers go for cheap gags, especially when the FFs keep calling the Nerbs "nerds" as a very cheap punchline.

Again, I do prefer the second story, which has Antoine be made a fool of when his hot air baloon ride is shot down by some buzzbombers, but Antoine manages to justify the hot air baloon after weaponising to defeat Robotnik and his army of robots. I do like Antoine actually in a story like this where even though he is a buffoon who is full of himself, he does try to do his best for the Freedom Fighters and that he shows that he isn't totally useless, especially knowing how much more capable he will be later on in the Archie run.

I should quickly bring up a couple of artists here, Dave Manak has been doing the pencils on all the A stories of the Sonic comics since the last mini-series issue, and I do like his style. I think Manak is very good at getting the action down, showing off Sonic's speed during fight scenes while also giving all the characters appropriate faces for comedy, especially true with the uppity Nerbs. However in the B story we get Art Mawhinney, and while I don't know if this is his very first Sonic story, he would go on to do art for many of the Sonic specials, the Princess Sally mini-series, Knuckles #29, and would go on as late as to do Sonic #150, and was even a storyboard artist for Satam. I really like Mawhinney's art for #10, he has a very soft look with the characters, I really like the way he draws Antoine's eyebrows and the very Disney look of Sally and Bunnie. I do find it interesting how all the characters all seem slightly shorter as well, especially noticable with Bunnie with how small her chest seems to be and how slightly oversized her mech appendages are.

With issue #11 we get... oh no.


Oh god no.


...well, issue #11 would see two very important elements debut that would play a role throughout the rest of Archie Sonic's history. The first being the Cosmic Interstate, which would especially the existence of a multiverse in the Archie universe, which would lead to the introduction of the Mirror Universe, the Zone Cops, and perhaps most importantly of all, let Sonic do a cross over with Image Comics. The second ofcourse would be the introduction of Evil Sonic, a version of Sonic in a leather jacket and sunglasses, who fights against Freedom. We don't see any show up but we do learn of the existence of the rest of the anti-Freedom Fighters, who ofcourse would come in to play way later on. It is a very standard story regardless, it is afterall basically another take on Star Trek's famous mirror universe episode, but Evil Sonic will become a recurring villian throughout the Archie run, and at the beginning of Ian Flynn's run, would be given a design and turned into Scourge the Hedgehog thanks to Master Emerald schenanigans. I'll have more thoughts on Evil Sonic later on down the line when he begins to have more significant story time.


Not much of a fan of the second story. Coconuts intends to defeat Sonic by blowing up the Freedom Fighters with a time bomb, but Sonic won't be able to arrive in time due to a massive maze Coconuts made up... which Sonic manages to beat off panel. Not terribly interesting, but does at least have this nice little moment, including the slightly funny implication about all the male FFs wondering if Sally might fancy them. Oddly enough, yet again no Bunnie in this issue, I do find it a little weird how she seems to dip in and out of existence.


So, with issue #11 introducing the multiverse, sod it, why don't we go ahead and bring in time travel to the mix in issue #12, where Sonic is sent back by Robotnik's time machine to prehistoric Mobius. Sonic fights off dinosaurs, meets with his caveman counterpart, fights the caveman Robotnik, and has to teach the cave people Freedom Fighters to stay on the surface. I guess Mobius is forever doomed to have reincarnations of Robotnik and Sonic to duke each other. I also love the fact that Robotnik invented time travel, but never thinks to use it again, like, I dunno, when everything goes to hell in issue #50. I do love the fact that these Adventure style stories are in continuity with the serious Archie stuff. Also the B story has Sonic meet the last eagle on Mobius, turns out not to be the last eagle on Mobius, and Robotnik manages to defeat himself by driving a very heavy vehicle up a cliff that can't support the weight. Decent story, nothing to write home about. I do enjoy the third story, which sees Sonic encounter a Lynx who is jinxed with very bad luck, which winds up wounding some of the FFs, but helps in a fight against Robotnik. Pretty funny if yet another stock plot. My one favourite thing about issue #12 is the gag of Sally crying to her soap operas. It is old fashioned humour but I do like it regardless, I don't think there is any harm in some light sterotyping.


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