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That's just standard comic pseudo science. The Flash would be proud.

Oh the reading order's about to get a little complicated with super specials, and the Knux mini series all criss crossing with the mainline books. 

Both Knuckles next mini series and the Super Special: Brave New World comes before Sonic #53.

And Return of the King hits off some time after #55 which I believe places it directly after.

 

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Archie Sonic the Hedgehog - Issue #53: Unfinished Business

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So, because this comic apparently has some sort of disorder where they need three different books running at the same time, I've run into problems where the reading order lists I've been following have screwed up twice. I've found a 100% accurate one now so it's all good but this means I'm further ahead than where I should be which is a little annoying, even if it is for a comic that's most likely going to be garbage for a good long while. Not to worry, I'll be covering what I missed next time.

What a strange, creepy looking cover though. I’m really not sure what it is here that I’m looking at here. Not only can I not tell what this thing is but… I can’t tell what that this IS and that’s even creepier. Like, seriously, what the hell is that? I guess I’m gonna find out. I’m sure everything will be fine with everyone’s favorite incompetent doctor around. This story is also a joint effort by Ken Penders and Karl Bollers so… so we’ll see how that turns out…

Spoiler

We begin with our latest Star Wars crawl explaining to us what stuff is and where stuff be. Nothing too out of the ordinary here except for the fact that it refers to Dr. Robotnik’s exploits as "techno-evil". That sounds like a genre of music that didn’t quite take off. Then again, this book would probably say the doctor hates music like apparently all villains seem do in kid’s media. Like the Shredder in the Turtles Coming Out of Our Shell Tour, where he expresses how much he hates music… in song.

Anyway, the Freedom Fighters are trying to dismantle all the machines and weaponry left behind by the late doctor. It’s kind of like removing Grandma’s drapes after she kicks the bucket I’d imagine.They can’t go to Robotropolis until they finish the task, they’ve decided, so here's where we catch up with them.

So, as the first page happens everything looks well and good. The characters and backgrounds seem to be drawn rather well by Art Mawhinney (and Sam Maxwell in the second story) respectively. The title of this issue is even painted on a screen with some neat, almost bloody looking flair.

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Jesus Christ, look at that. It’s like a calling card from Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

We’ve got some UNFINISHED BUSINESS, Freedom Losers.

All’s well and good. Oh hey, Knuckles is here and he seems to have brought a fr-!

?!

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?!!

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THAT bitch is here?!

ALREADY???!!!

Yes, apparently she shows up in Knuckles #4 which I haven’t gotten to yet. Next time, I’m just gonna blow through the next three issues of the Knuckles series but this one takes place after Issue #4 through 6 of the Knuckles series and that’s apparently where we meet… her.

There have been countless characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Some a lot of people like. Some a lot of people hate. 

If I don't love, like, or find a character okay, at worst, I mostly tend not to care about certain characters. It takes quite a lot for me to actually HATE a character. I didn’t realize it until I became an adult but it truly is a strong word. I used to think that I hated Sally but eventually, I realized that I just didn’t give a shit about her. There’s no one in SatAM I really hate; or AoSth, or Underground, or Sonic X, or Sonic Boom, or even in the vast majority of the games.

This character I hate.

I couldn’t stand this character when I first tried getting into the comics on a regular basis from 197 onward. Everything about her was a mixture of all the things I hated the most about the worst written female characters in certain anime I’ve seen. I’ve been told of how awful the origin of these two meeting is and to find out I’m so close to losing my shit over said story out of the blue like this has shocked the hell out of me.

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Julie-Su. 

Obi-wan.

Knuckles introduces her in a pretty typical manner. He says they didn’t get along at first but now they’re buddies but they have their disagreements. Kay.

Anyway, Sally continues the bad vibes by bringing up that incredibly exhausting part of the story where Knuckles was going on a D&D quest to find the Sword of Acorns. Apparently, when the thing with the robot King Acorn was resolved, she went into his room (ALONE with no one else around because that’s smart) and held aloft her mighty sword and said BY THE POWER OF RED SKULL!

Then Red Skull showed up to offer her the Soul Stone and she kicked Sonic over the edge and that’s how the Archie Comic ended. That’s right, it was all Sally’s fault.

No, she actually said something just as silly, if not siller.

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Yes, that’s right. The mystical incantation handed down through generations of the Acorn Kingdom line is a re-written version of the “Starlight, Starbright” nursery rhyme.

This kingdom is a joke. It’s ass. They have no right to toss anyone in prison. I mean, we knew that already considering how many times they’ve arrested Sonic (Hint: it’s more times than they’ve arrested Robotnik) but still.

So Sally explains that afterward, she had Rotor take a look at the sword and he made an amazing discovery.

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Fuck off.

So yeah. Basically, Sally wants Knuckles to go and find the sword for her AGAIN. Sally can’t because she’s busy falling off a building helping with reconstruction.

Knuckles says he can’t because he’s got to deal with the fact that his old city of Echidnaopolis had existed this whole time but in another zone. Robotnik’s Ultimate Annihilator affected the zones and Grandfather Hawkins (whoever that is) managed to bring it back to the original site. I’m assuming this was done the same way all those fish took Bikini Bottom and pushed it someplace else.

So yada yada, he rattles off some stuff about things I’ll find out about when I read the Knuckles issues. The point is, he can’t do it. Thank God.

Knuckles also, apparently, has a mother. Jesus. This is what happens when you mess up the reading order and don’t have time to blow through three issues in a row to compensate! 

Sally tells Knuckles to go see Sonic because apparently they have something in common now, what with the mother thing being dropped on me like that.

Knuckles meets up with Sonic and… apparently we’re in an alternate reality or something because ALL OF A SUDDEN these two are acting like they’re best buddies now?!

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These two have had to work together on a number of occasions at this point. Hell, their first meeting was a misunderstanding and yet only now they’ve patched things up? I guess because Endgame was a landmark story the idea is that everything’s gotta change, regardless of what was established beforehand.

I’ll say that I’m grateful. Hopefully, they’re not… AS at each other’s throats for no reason. It’s fine if they fight but it was so obnoxious how they kept doing it for NO reason. Sonic going up to Knuckles and punching him in the face without provocation is seriously, still one of the biggest asshole moves this character has ever done.

Then someone calls for a Maurice off to the side. Sonic reacts to it as though it’s his name and Knuckles makes the comment that whoever screamed that sounds like a strangled turkey.

Then Robo-Dad walks in. 

Yup, it’s the first present day appearance of Sonic’s dad. He’s really bad at naming his son.

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Knuckles puts two and two together and figures out he’s Sonic’s dad. Although, Robo-Dad has to be all weird and say that Sonic doesn’t think so. Apparently there’s family issues but… I didn’t see any being displayed there aside from typical embarrassing dad stuff. He literally called him dad even. Maybe we’ll find out later.

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog - Issue #53: Sounds of Silence

This story begins with Sally and Sonic overlooking the abandoned Robotnik laboratory. Sally’s trying to wax philosophical about how insane it is that there’s so much unmanned deadly technology in there. Sonic tries to be jokey about it but Sally wants to be serious about it. She’s clearly got something on her mind so Sonic tells her to spill it.

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I’m sorry. I don’t want to take the wind out of the sails of whatever her problem is right now but I don’t buy for a second that this situation right now is the first time in your life where you’ve been scared. You got tossed off a building and fell into a coma. Your father’s a goddamn chandelier. It’s like trying to imagine Princess Elise not immediately crying after finding out her dad was dead; I ain’t buying that.

Now, to her credit, Sally does include the dad thing as part of the reasons she’s scared. I get where they’re going with this. The stuff she rattles off are all collectively things to be concerned about. She’s ruling in place of her father, there’s so many roboticized people, they STILL don’t know if her father can return to normal... but it was worded very oddly.

As she’s pondering this, Geoffrey St. John arrives and informs Sally that Rotor and Dr. Quack are sending a probe into the Zone of Silence to see if it has any new goodies they can acquire to help save the king. He also macks on Sally’s hand instead of going up to her and macking on her lips. So… progress?

Anyway, the science area nearby blows up and they all run there. Sonic’s in his “I told ya so” mood now because he was about to say that sending in a probe might be a bad idea because there’s probably bad guys in the Zone of Silence. Apparently exploiting that was extremely easy because now we’ve got a couple of villains hanging over our unconscious smart guys.

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They look more like they’re melting into one another. I had to stare at this for a long time before I could even gather where Dr. Quack’s body was supposed to begin and end.

Anyway, it’s the return of everyone’s favorite Season 3 ending eyeball tease, Ixis Naugus... and he’s NOT ALOOOOOONE!

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When Sonic gets shocked with Ixis magic, he shouts “HOLE~!”

It’s probably supposed to be HOLY except stretched out but it’s written HOLE, which is way funnier.

Also, Warlord Kodos is back. I remember him. He was the guy who got vaporized by Faust in the Zone of SIlence… only that turned out to be the king’s warped memories of stuff that already happened… except if Kodos is here than that means it didn’t happen...?

Whoops?

Well, anyway, Kodos is about to attack but Geoffrey fires and misses some arrows at him which startles the large man but doesn’t do much else. Then he gets kicked in the head by a third villain, this one named Uma Thurman… I mean Uma Arachnis. I guess this one’s a spider. Oh, and Sonic managed to mildly annoy Ixis Naugus and Kodos by spinning and shooting this green… stuff at them? I’m… actually not sure what’s supposed to be happening here.

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But we’ve got our first instance of Naugus calling Sonic, QUICKSTER, so that’s neat.

The others get away while the villains are momentarily distracted and we end this part of the issue on an interesting note about how the heroes will attempt to gain the truth from their “so-called” king and that he’ll be there to make sure they receive that and nothing but THAT.

Cryptic message or poorly conveyed line of dialogue? Maybe it’s both. Who knows?

All I know is that Naugus is a very, very interesting character to me. Every new thing I find out about him makes me raise an eyebrow. Apparently, even though he’s appeared in the SatAM show, Sonic doesn’t know who he is which must mean he’s relegated to just a specific part of history for these characters, that being trapped in the Zone of Silence… 

More intriguing still is how early the whole storyline about him being ruler of Mobotropolis came about! I don’t know if this comic created that idea or the show did but the fact that it’s so early in the book recontextualized a lot about what I saw happen a lot later for me when Geoffrey did his heel turn. This is fascinating.

A lot is happening in this issue, surprisingly enough.

The second part of this story shows everyone gathered round the king’s bed discussing the trio that just got let loose from their deadly prison.

Sally says that Naugus’ wand can turn objects into crystal, which I recall from the later books. I don’t know if those crystal things I saw was supposed to be HIM turning objects into crystal. It looked more like he was getting hit with crystal thanks to Sonic but… I guess that’s what was happening.

Anyway, the king drops a bomb on us.

Ixis Naugus IS the rightful ruler of Mobotropolis. 

Everyone is surprised… including me, honestly. 

The story concerning Geoffrey and Naugus later in the book has always been of great interest to me, because that was the first I’d heard of Naugus being the ruler of Mobotropolis. I thought it was just Geoffrey screaming about some birthright that Naugus was cheated out of because a squirrel took it first or something. I didn’t know the details. I mostly just figured it was all a bunch of twists.

Come to find out it was a thing since Issue 53? Dude~! That’s crazy!

The king launches into a flashback, now recovered enough to tell a tale of woe for us all to enjoy. Apparently, exposure to the Zone of Silence isn’t entirely the reason he’s crystal. He explains why the Zone of Silence is called what it’s called and it’s a fucking badass reason.

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It looks way cooler than it ever did in any of the issues we’ve been exploring it, here. This explanation for why it’s named the way it is and what it does to you is delightfully sick and twisted. I almost don’t want to imagine it.

The explanation for why he’s crystal feels a lot like revisionist history but… it works well enough… I suppose...

 Basically, Naugus saved him before he entered the black hole and made him pledge allegiance to him. Naugus used to be the kingdom’s court wizard and the guy who created the zone, so he no doubt had ways of navigating and surviving it that the king was in need of. So the King bowed and pledged his loyalty to the guy who used to work under him. 

In exchange, Naugus exchanged his flesh and blood for organic crystal that could be switched to and fro at will. However, when the king left the Zone of Silence, he lost that ability.

Now, there are things here that don’t add up, obviously. Like the fact that when they met the king, he clearly wasn’t in his crystal body despite being openly exposed to the Zone of Silence. Also, apparently, Naugus’ magic didn’t protect his mind all that well because the king was definitely cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs when they met him… and he had weird minions of his own too. What about those things?

Well, anyway, Sally says this in response to hearing this.

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So, when he IS in a position to make decisions again and he still says Ixis is the rightful king now, would you be okay with that? Nah, you wouldn’t. We don’t need to pretend we’re working off of some legitimate system. Both of you guys are fudging it because the throne is like a game of hot potato.

So yeah, Naugus is apparently the rightful king but only because the actual king agreed to it out of desperation. 

I guess the only loophole there would be to just ignore it because the king seems a little crazy right now. 

Anyway, the rightful king and his warlord attack at that very moment and a big battle happens. Kodos swings down an axe at Sonic and Sonic makes what has to be the fifth time I’ve heard him make a joke about close shaves.

Naugus says “Fuck this” and turns Kodos and Uma into full Crystal. Sonic stops the fight to egg Naugus on, daring him to turn him into crystal.

Naugus does but it only works on Sonic’s gloves and shoes…?

Then Sonic explains the how and why....

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Now… how Sonic figured this out when all he had to go on was that Naugus was only blasting the area in front of them is beyond me…

And I kind of have to take Sonic’s word for it that that’s what Naugus was doing because he only used his crystalizing thing once here, and it was to turn two entire people into crystal. Apparently he used it once earlier but I seriously couldn’t tell what that earlier scene was supposed to be depicting because of how oddly drawn it was. 

Sonic just… figured out, I guess, that it only works on inanimate matter and also his flunkies…? I don’t understand how considering that up to this point we’ve literally only been shown examples of Naugus turning organic people into crystal. The King, Kodos, and Uma are all organic beings. How the fuck did Sonic figure out that it only works on inanimate matter when the only examples he has of this thing working are all on animate things?

I actually had to look this up because I was so confused by it. The wiki article about this issue explains what Naugus’ deal was here way better than the actual book did. Sonic just says it works on inanimate objects and “your flunkies?” which I assumed just meant Kodos and Uma but the King is also crystal and technically not Naugus’ flunky.

However, the wiki article states that Naguas can only turn people WHO MAKE THE OATH into crystal. That makes more sense. It’s like a magical spell of sorts. Sonic’s explanation was just confusing. Not to mention, how he figured this out is still suspect. 

So, yeah, Naugus’ staff breaks and he’s just gone. But what of Kodos and Uma?

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Yeah. Apparently, when Sonic broke that staff they just kind of… stayed crystal…

I’m assuming it's for forever until they find out how to reverse the crystal thing. Will they remember to reverse the effect on these two? I have serious doubts.

Sonic clearly doesn’t give a shit. He’s just mad that Naugus is gone.

Then the story ends.

Final Thoughts - The majority of this issue really wasn’t bad at all. It was stocked full of a lot of different stuff and new concepts that do end up being heavy mainstays in the book going forward and even recontextualized some things about the book down the line for me. It’s a shame the writing got a tad derpy and confusing there at the finish line but it didn’t completely shit the bed either, so that’s nice. 

Next time, some more echidnas. 

There’s so much echidnas guys. So many echidnas.

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2 hours ago, Big Panda said:

“Unfinished Business” felt like such an odd story to open an issue on. It felt like it was supposed to be a backup story.

To be honest, it felt more like it was there just in case you didn't read the stories from the other series running at the same time. I typically tend to like how Sonic Universe doesn't present itself as mandatory reading sometimes. It makes accidental skips easier to deal with but here its clearly not concerned with that.

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6 hours ago, Big Panda said:

Also, out of curiosity, what timeline are you using?

I assume it’s a recommended reading order timeline rather than a “story by story” timeline like the one on the wiki?

The one I'm using now is being provided by the unofficial Archie continuation website. 

I don't know what "reading timeline" order or "story by story timeline" order means.

I assume you mean the order in which they come out versus the order in which events happen chronologically.

 

 

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Story by story would mean you’re dividing *every* story into correct chronological order. But reading them in that order would be much more complicated as it would mean having to switch between issues constantly;

You’d have to begin your complete read-through by picking up StH#98 and reading “As the Shadow Awakens”, then jump to StH#66 for “And Then There Was One”, and so on;

After reading the SA2 adaptation in #98, you’d then need to jump to SU#2 and read *only* the flashback pages;

You’d have to read #215’s two stories in reverse-order, and so on.

Release order, I suppose, would be clustering issues together and reading them when relevant (not reading the entirety of SU’s “Secret Freedom” until you’ve read up to StH#240).

Of course, you could also be super-literal and read every issue in publication order, which would involve incorrect chronological order on a number of instances (SU#35 flat out ruins a major surprise that occurs in StH#233 due to the release order).

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I think you're making it seem way more complicated then it is. There's no reason anyone would need to jump from the SA2 adaption all the way to SU #2 and just read the flashback pages. Thats a little insane. 

Reading things in chronological order doesn't account for flashbacks or the way a single issue decides which story is shown first. The SA2 adaption and SU #2 were written so far apart from each other and clearly not meant to be read that way. 

 

 

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Woo, we got a beefer here...from late July. Man, I'm slow on reading these.

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Issue #42 - In Every Kingdom There Must Exist A Little Chaos!

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Before I bitch and moan about everything wrong with this issue it’s my civic duty to first draw your attention to this horrible cover. At a glance it might seem normal to you but then your eyes are drawn to one Sally Acorn, who’s doing a flip in the air so impossible that the contortion in her body is likely not only twisting her organs like a sponge but rupturing the bone structure of her severely destroyed spine. 

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This is a pose that even a Jojo character would have a hard time pulling off. Why on Earth is she being drawn this way? There’s not even anything wrong with the way her face or those specific body parts look. They’re just twisted in an impossible manner that makes me want to vomit.

Tails, however, looks weird. He’s got these strangely bushy black eyebrows and fingers that look like they belong to a frog. Bunnie, for some reason, is unnecessarily extending her mechanical legs, I guess because she desperately wants to be in frame and Rotor looks like he’s dodging some exploding mud on the ground? Antoine is the only one who looks as though he’s actually, properly, charging into battle. Everyone else is acting very strangely.

Not to mention, they’re ALL looking in different directions. Antoine and Sally are looking straight ahead. Rotor is looking back… and to the left… back… and to the left... Tails is clearly high and unable to see anything. Bunnie is smiling while looking at the reader and… Sonic is frowning while staring directly at me. Is he silently asking for help?

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Add on top of that, the fact that it’s a generic “Run towards the danger” picture and you’ve got yourself a really awful cover folks. I rarely spend so much time on a cover but this felt like it deserved it. Let’s move on.

Oof.

Spaz's art is usually a joy to see, but man. That B&A pose did not work out, especially with her giant head in the way.

Exploding mud, lol

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

We open with a shockingly pretentious monologue in the narration boxes telling us what tyranny, war, neutrality, and a guardian is. Each box ends with the word that the next box is going to then explain us the definition of.

It is relatively close to Endgame and the Knuckles comic.

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

After defining what those words mean to the characters in this story we come to the last word, ‘invasion’, and instead of explaining what that word means it just says Knuckles never expected to have to worry about being invaded by Sonic the Hedgehog.

I’m not sure why. Sonic’s an asshole.

Sonic is fighting Knuckles (because of course he is) because he’s trying to steal his last remaining Chaos Emerald. Of course, Knuckles doesn’t want to hand it over because the fucking island is gonna fall into the ocean if he does but Sonic says that the fate of Mobius is riding on it and is unwilling to talk it out and find a compromise. 

Woah, what? I honestly don't remember this.

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Instead of explaining the situation to Knuckles better he just off-handedly mentions that Knuckles stole that current emerald powering his island from a grotto that USED TO BE Royal Real Estate and by “rights” it belongs to King Acorn’s Freedom Fighters…

Well, it used to be Royal Real Estate. But now?

Knuckles says he needs the emerald for “Home Owner’s Insurance” and the studio audience laughs, I’m sure.

Tails finally flies in and tells them that pointlessly fighting won’t save the King’s life. Knuckles stops when he hears this, surprised to hear this detail because apparently Sonic just neglected to tell him while they were busy punching each other in the face.

Oh, okay, this is starting to ring a bell.

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Then again, it doesn’t matter. Knuckles says that the survival of his homeland is just as important as their rebellion and refuses still. So, Sonic and Tails leave. They return to Sally and Tails blurts out that they were fighting much to Sonic’s chagrin because on the way he told Tails not to tell her. Then Sonic says this weirdness.

CSknp_dlMysEGe7_orH8WFvw6LaxHm-FT7vTlG5QCy7bhtdqCsos5HbttigmonyE1OtojBQAuKMKYh4SvdLc3HoyfS2CcZMISwxNI2Kcv3FvjLzUyeAo_uM14vTqGU_e-tfwbdry

I guess he took Tails outside to beat him up or something. I wouldn’t have a hard time believing it.

The next scene, Uncle Chuck walks in on Sonic is eating chili-dogs that are covered in that gross, pink, McDonalds slime goo.

vw89L9282lYksQOCo9KrCW7RfVPUK25nVaLmwh3lTTBxwEhdEy-ZcYiQFnSjZf_v_Idf9NQQDzotqgF8351JNqkFuiQtTCHCfK1Fs5oYljzin6Ni0VjcJfx22jV2fPdi4_gxjD6c

Yeah, those look like dogshit. Let’s not pretend that those chili-dogs look in anyway appetizing. 

Yeah, that sounds kinda like abuse.

Kinda reminds me of some show where they put yogurt or whatever on something where it clearly doesn't belong. Maybe Lilo and Stitch?

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Sally and Tails are there as well so Uncle Chuck decides to spill the beans on what he’s found out. Turns out they used up all the rings they had on the king and his condition hasn’t changed. So he decides instead that the best way to heal the king is to use the magical Crown of Acorns.

The acorn kingdom brandishes the power of magic? No wonder they’re in power. I could rise to power if I had a magic ass crown. 

Anyway, Sonic says that the king was wearing it when he was thrown into the Zone of Silence but they never recovered it. Sally says that crown he had on was a fake though. Sally even whips out a scroll with a doctrine on it that lays out the facts concerning the crown. It outright says that should the king’s life be in peril than the crown must be stored away for future use in the Hall of Limbo.

Tails says “Hall of Jim-Bo!” first and Sonic calls him Dumb-O for it. Nice.

Also, I thought it strange how this magic crown is only being brought up now but apparently Sally was doing research into magic items that could cure her father and just now found this. Stranger still that she didn’t already know about the crown but I guess daddy didn’t want to yet trust her with the secret to The Acorn Kingdom's Fling with the Dark Arts. 

Ah yes, the Crown of Acorns. Don't remember what it specifically does, though.

Funny you mention Dark Arts.

You might recall it from the Darkest Storm.

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

The scroll doesn’t say how to get there but Uncle Chuck says to believe in the heart of the cards find some gold rings and they’ll lead the way because rings give knowledge as well as power. I thought of School House Rock and then I started to feel a bit sad. Anyway, they head off to the lake of rings.

Only not really. They end up waiting at a certain location a bit far off from the lake. When Tails asks why the hell they’re doing that, Sally explains that they’re worried the Combots might have figured out where the Lake of Rings is and since the location is only supposed to be known to Uncle Chuck and the CORE Freedom Fighters, they’re waiting for Fly Fly Freddy from their Spy Network to show up and give a report to them so they can head to the lake with a clear conscience.

That’s… actually pretty smart.

Lol, why? 

Oh fuck, here we go...

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

So, of course, they immediately ruin it by not acting upon the plan they just outlined that was set up specifically to take extra percussion. Instead, Sleuth Doggy Dog shows up and says that dear old Fred’s cover was blown but not to worry because he’ll give the report instead. Sally rightfully points out that this isn’t standard procedure but Sonic’s like “Fuck it. We’re behind schedule.”

So, they lead Sleuth right to the lake of rings despite the fact that he isn’t the one who they had agreed to meet up with, as well as the fact that the story he tells them, according to Sally, is bizarre.

Then Sleuth literally kicks Sally in the ass and tells them that thanks to their poor strategic maneuvers today, Robotnik now knows where the lake of rings is because, shock horror, turns out Sleuth betrayed them and is on Robotnik’s side? Why? Because he was promised personal power and T-Bone steaks.

What? You mean the Resistance doesn’t offer celebratory T-Bone steaks to honor a completed mission? Well, fuck the Resistance then. Every issue I get more and more legitimate reasons not to support the Freedom Fighters.

Also, Sleuth is dressed as a Swat-Bot because he was infiltrating them earlier. What’s interesting about this is that a shit ton of  Swat-Bots show up, out of nowhere, and surround them all suddenly, which means a ton of metal feet were stomping through the area right behind them while they were leading Sleuth to the lake of rings. If not, then that means they were tip-toeing like Fred Flintstone when he goes bowling. Either way, thinking about how they managed to stay secretive this whole time is funny.

Good ol Sleuth Dawg. I remember his album from back in the day--"Dawgy Style."

:lol: 

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Now, this isn’t the first appearance of Sleuth in this book. I know he showed up before but I was blanking on the context in which he did. I couldn't remember if he showed up as a villain or a hero before but my memory was jogged when Freddy shows up later. What I did know is that if this WAS his turn to evil, (which it is) it’s an incredibly fast and petty one. The Freedom Fighters don’t seem all that shaken by it. They just seem really mad. I guess they weren’t very close. They need to be more careful about who they let into their group, let alone how nonchalant they are about abandoning their smart military tactics in favor of doing something that rendered that planning pointless and immediately backfiring on them.

Anyway, Sleuth makes a shocking reveal when he presses a button and in comes a robotic fly dude. It’s Fly Fly Freddy... but he’s been roboticized!

As soon as I saw this guy’s design, it hit me. No way I’d forget a tall drink of water like Fly Fly Freddy; him and his beautiful rippling pectorals.

No, I remember him from when Sonic and Sally’s trainees needed to rescue the rest of the Freedom Fighters after they were ambushed by Combots. It was the same issue that Sonic fell into a previously unknown lake of rings. This Spy Network was made up of Sleuth, Freddy, and some other people who aren’t important enough to be named. They went off to spy on Robotropolis in Swat-Bot disguises while Sonic rescued his friends. It’s all coming back to me now.

It won't be the only instance anytime soon.

Continuity!

You mean you don't remember Sir Kicks A Lot?

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Sonic makes mention that “First Carl Condor” now “Fly Fly Freddy”. Both our well meaning, good friends who we’ve known for… 

... Anyway, they’re gone now. 

Then Bunnie shows up and slams Sleuth into the edge of the lake with an enormous metal hand. She’s doing a lot of robot extension attacks here and it looks really unflattering. She mentions that she was here on ring duty but Sally says that she might have come at the wrong time.

Why? Well, because the instant Bunnie decided to help them is the same instant the ring decides to come out of the fucking water. 

Sally tells Sonic to grab it, because he’s the fastest, but Sonic says he doesn’t want to abandon her in a fight against random Swat-Bots that they’ve presumably all fought plenty of times before. Unless Sally actually hasn’t, in which case, literally why is she here? Sally tells Sonic he’s being an idiot and Sonic’s like “You’re right. I AM an idiot!” and goes to grab the ring like someone who isn’t an idiot would do.

Yep, that's two friends get roboticized in the line of duty...and then killed off.

Da hell was that about?

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

That’s when the narration boxes come back. They wax philosophical about how timing is everything. I’m not going to cover what it says because it’s dumb. The point is, Knuckles flies in and bashes Fly Fly Freddy away from Sonic while he grabs the ring and is saved from falling by Tails.

Then this exchange happens.

Sonic: I guess it’s true what they say-- “All good things come from above!”
Tails: I once said that and then a pigeon flew over my head…!

I don’t think I get it?

So they continue fighting and… Sonic somehow has the power to shoot whirlwinds from his fists? 

 

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iKvAx7fCU_5hC4sXrd1Yjc4L4k4NktiehJxcqUdmsBuzoOSuUD5pEbRWeQhmUgbg31gh2oqIJqVnLQnh_7MkAIOk2Ig3_DHiOY7jg-A7jR_7Aqf6ZQzEzh-pmEEA4qcVgPTgMwk_

Did the ring give him the power to spin his fists like a turbine, ignoring the connecting bone tissue that would prevent this from being possible? I guess it works for Tails…

Anyway, it wrecks everyone’s shit, including that of his friends a bit. Sally’s got Sleuth’s arms behind his back and is happy to make “This traitor stand trial” which seems to be the only thing she gets excited about. She loves making people stand trial. 

If I were Sleuth, I’d probably have acted surprised when the Swat-Bots showed up, pretending that I was followed or something so I could keep my cover. No matter how confident I am, I wouldn’t want to face the humiliation of being carted away by Sally Acorn. Bleugh.

What even is the point?

He got shat on.

Has he ever done that any other time?

Some spy he is. Then again, I recall Mr. Flynn's script bits explicitly telling the artist not to try to hard to make him seem threatening.

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Knuckles then whips out the Chaos Emerald. Yeah. He had a change of heart. Tails says that Sonic will forever be in his debt and Sonic reminds Tails about the "conversation" they had before when he took him outside to “discuss” his tendencies as a blabber-mouth.

Yes, I’m still suggesting that Sonic is beating up Tails in secret for defying how cool he thinks he is.

Everyone returns to Knothole and Sonic demands to know why Knuckles is there, seemingly unable to process in his tiny brain that he’s there to help. Uncle Chuck explains that he got in contact with Knuckles because he had suspected there might be a traitor in their Spy Network. When Fred failed to report back he knew something was up so he contacted Knuckles on an outdated and untraceable frequency to get his assistance.

So basically, he’s here to help. Sit the fuck down, Sonic.

Ch'yeah.

Wait, did Uncle Chuck ever meet Knuckles before? Also, why would he contact him and not Rotor?

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Knuckles loans them the emerald, making it clear that he requires it back. It kind of makes the earlier conflict a little pointless if he’s okay with loaning it and then taking it back when they’re done. Kind of seems a little obvious even.

Then again, his island might be in the water as we speak so… hopefully no one living on it got hurt when he dropped it like it was hot.

Rotor attaches the emerald to the machine and holy hell it’s making the emeralization of the king WORSE!

Oh no. Pumping the energy of the emerald into the king is making the emeralization of the king worse. That’s… appropriate, actually.

So they stop that shit and he returns to his half emeralized state. Their only hope is the ring they got. Sonic grabs it and starts to use it to summon knowledge instead of his usual power to juice. 

It knocks Sonic on his tush doing it. He groans about how much that ring filling him with knowledge hurt.

Well that and driving home how being a dick can just delay things.

lol

Huh, you don't see that everyday. A problem that CAN'T be solved by the Chaos Emeralds/MacGuffin.

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Sally asks if it granted him the whereabouts of the Hall of Limbo so that they can find the king’s magic crown.. Sonic says “NOPE!” but he does know that the King’s royal sword has a link to the crown but “the riddle within the riddle” is that they don’t know where the SWORD is. 

Sally says this is hopeless and at this point I’m in agreement. All these trinkets and things within things to try and fix this problem is taking its toll on my patience. I will say they’re doing a good job of making the Zone of Silence something you definitely don’t want to be stuck in for too long. Jesus Christ. 

Knuckles does something a very faithful, supporting partner would normally do by assuring Sally that she doesn’t need to lose her father like he did (he doesn’t know his dad is alive) and promises that he will find the sword all on his own and save the king. This he solemnly vows!

He does this while holding Sally’s hand while on his knee and Sonic looking on in the background with wide eyes. It’s beautiful.

Yep, the Source of All. You'll get there around the 90s, I think.

That's also a holdover from The Void episode.

Oh yeah, Knuckles Quest!

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Issue #42 - Knuckles’ Quest

Knuckles is sitting in an extremely dangerous sub-seat on Tails’ sea fox. 

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So this quest is, surprisingly, a tag-team of Knuckles and Tails. 

Interesting.

The reasoning becomes clear when the two start having a conversation about it. Knuckles feels that if he can find the Ancient Walkers, he can use their magic voodoo whatever powers to fix this situation. He wanted to do it alone though. Tails butts in saying that the Ancient Walkers only appear when something BIG happens like when Knuckles thought he went to Echidna Heaven back in Triple Trouble, or when Tails was told he was the chosen one by Athair, or when Sonic got his Billionth ring (which is something I’m still trying to process the logic of).

Yeah, funny how unusual this teamup can be. Of course, the comics has an established connection through the Walkers.

I honestly forgot Sonic had a connection outside of the Acid Trip issue though.

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

They head to Downunda, which I know later to be Vector’s home away from home, but currently it’s just the place where the Floating Island used to be. Tails leads him around it for a bit and Knuckles gets mad. Tails then tells Knuckles this is where the floating island used to be and that gets Knuckles even more mad, to the point where he’s about to say he’s had enough of him… but then a voice from over yonder makes itself known and tells Knuckles to knock it off.

It’s Athair! He’s here and he’s still old as fuck. Hooray!

Knuckles gets in this dude’s face, saying that he was the only one to not have the “courage” to sit and guard a green rock on a floating island for the entirety of his life. Athair responds by saying the safety of the universe is more important than the protection of a single tiny pebble.

Knuckles calls this “Mystic Psycho Babble” and I have to disagree with him here on account of me actually understanding exactly what Athair just said.

Tails says they seem to have a history but Athair is quick to note that their history is only a matter of genetics because they’ve never met until just now.

Ah yes, Downunda. One of the favored areas within the Archie comics.

Don't really remember why Gallagher made Athair an Echidna. Not that I'm complaining--he's a pretty interesting character imo. 

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Then Athair holds his hands up and suddenly Knuckles and Tails are floating through space.

Knuckles says this shit: “You are traveling to the limits of infinity but there are no limits to infinity so your travel takes you back to where you started yet you have not traveled at all.”

Now THAT’S Mystic Psycho Babble.

Even though the words came out of Knuckles’ mouth, it wasn’t him talking, as Tails points out. They look up while standing on a floating stalactite in space and gaze upon the Ancient Walkers!

Tails and the Ancient Walkers then have a competition to see who can spew the most Mystic Psycho Babble between them.

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Tails understands this. 

He says that they’re saying that a Chaos Emerald won’t help them.

I could of told you that, considering when they used it, the king's condition got worse. They weren’t looking for a Chaos Emerald though. They were looking for the location of the crown. I don’t know why Tails asked for advice on how the Chaos Emerald could save him. Rotor even said the emerald's power was too mysterious to rely upon. Just focus on getting the crown or more rings, Tails. Those things seem like they’d be more reliable than something with “Chaos” literally in its name.

In fact, Knuckles is about to do just that when it suddenly goes dark and the two of them are thrust through time and space again. Knuckles is about to scold Tails hardcore for wasting their time with his nonsense but Tails remarks that the path they’re traveling isn’t the same one from before.

They’re given yet another riddle because Ancient beings of mystical power can’t speak normally. They need to be cryptic about everything because, I guess, all that powers takes away their ability to be straight-forward. Either that or they’re just arrogant assholes who can’t even help someone without dicking them around with their Riddler shit.

Image result for riddler arkham gif

"Woooah, my head's spinning!"

I have to wonder where the idea for these guys came from. Also, I just realized they're rhyming.

Pretty much.

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:


So anyway, here’s they’re cryptic try-hard rhyme thing.

“On a once lush world and its hunk of floating stone…”

That probably could have been worded better. 

“There exists a sorcerer, wizard, and alchemist who stand alone…”

No matter how fast I read this, the lines don’t flow well. At least you made sure to throw in a word that rhymes with stone.

The pictures we’re shown are of a black cat, a blue bird with a green hood who looks vaguely familiar, and a Donkey wearing Yen Sid’s magic hat.

“A charlatan, enchantress, and paladin with fairness and courage thou must face… with patience and fortitude a blade of steel thou may embrace.”

That line was less sloppy than the other two but still felt like something I’d come up with in a first draft for my poetry class.

Anyway, the pictures we see here are of whom I believe to be Merlin, Tails’ uncle, a character whom I had forgotten existed. I’m guessing he’s the charlatan since he’s making a face that screams “Don’t trust me”. 

There’s a woman who looks like Bunnie. I guess she’s the enchantress. I’m drawing a blank on who this could be. The last one is the paladin, a horse, whom I can only assume is Sir Connery. He’s the only horse character I know of that fits the description of paladin.

I do find myself rather interested in figuring out what the connection these six people have towards finding this ONE sword that’s to be used to find this ONE crown that’s to be used to hopefully, maybe save the king from being turned into a squirrel shaped emerald… but at the same time, this looks like it’s going to be rather exhausting. All this for a goal that, while highly important to the characters, is something I’m struggling to care too much about. I guess I just don’t have any thoughts or feelings about King Acorn one way or another. I certainly don’t have any concern for Sally’s plight in all this.

I’m still intrigued though. They’re going full on fantasy journey with this and I can’t help but feel the games could use a little more of that kind of stuff. Preferably not in a way that’s annoying. Maybe the riddles could be delivered by people who are deliberately supposed to be assholes so I can get less mad about how needlessly unhelpful they’re being. Then again, who’s to say the Ancient Walkers aren’t evil assholes? They might be…!

Tails and Knuckles return home. Tails celebrates the success of their mission but Knuckles says he’s now got a lot on his plate. So now, when he says he’s gotta do it alone, he means it this time. He’s going alone.

Which sucks cause I was rather enjoying the Tails and Knuckles team up.

Don't recall the blue bird.

Oh man, I gotta tell ya, these guys feel like epic potential to me. It's a shame most of them had to be restricted to this one quest, but I guess that' the genre.

It would've been great to maybe have Tails tag along and/or for this to be a full out game.

On 7/21/2019 at 3:37 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

This issue was fine. I think I enjoyed the Knuckles Quest story more so than the first one, which was really just the characters floundering around before something happened TO them. What ended up happening at the end of the first story is an interesting development though. This Spy Network thing WAS indeed set up as were at least two of the characters in it. Problem was they barely had any focus or coverage before this. Fly Fly Freddy I only remembered because of how fucking strange his design was. Sleuth, I only remembered because I know of his character from issues down the line. This needed more than just the few panels they got in the older issues to really make a heavy impact.

That said, this book was jam-packed with a lot of stuff to read. It’s actually kind of surprising that they fit so much in while not having to cut to Robotnik once. The art looked pretty well done too. Nothing really out of the ordinary except the continued grossness of those pink slime chili-dogs.

If those don’t cause Sonic’s bowels to explode, I don’t know what would.
 

Yeah, despite some typical doofiness, I recall this being quite an invigorating issue. The kinda stuff where I remember seeing it on the wiki and going, "man, these old comics seemed cool."

On 7/22/2019 at 11:58 PM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

It didn't seem like he was being that harsh to the fans about it from just reading that passage. I can see why adding a qualifier to why it should likely have been forgotten can be taken the wrong way but I don't think that means he was necessarily demanding people get over it. Especially since everything he's saying here talks about what he did to try and get her back on track which directly correlates to recognizing something went wrong and doing what you can to fix it.

For me, I don't really care about Sally either way. All I know is that he came in at 160 so anything before than affecting the way he's writing the characters and stories from then on would probably be something that he'd want to rectify in someway. Although I do remember some wickedly ridiculous reactions to Sally and Khan hooking up, specifically the one issue where Sonic agreed to let her be on her way and went to get some food with Amy. 

I read a lot of silly comments on a different site about it. One person even saying they ripped the comic in half because their favorite couple was being skewered or whatever.

I seriously can't imagine ever being that invested in a romantic relationship involving characters from Sonic the Hedgehog but I at the very least understand the outrage that comes with character assassination. That famous slap scene, just having it read back to you, sounds like something that would make you hate the character and then some. 

 

That's shipping for ya.

 

On 7/22/2019 at 6:13 PM, MetalSkulkBane said:

God we're never getting Lost Hedgehog Tales...

Well, Flynn sum it up rather nicely. All he says makes sense, although I hoped he'll say more about Sally as character rather than Sally as love interest. Oh well.

There is ONE sentence that is absolutely wrong

It doesn't work like this Ian. Batman movies rebooted twice now but "Batman and Robin" still happened. Still, you can remove story from continuity, but not from our memories.

I mean, MAYBE he tells us to not dwell on the past, especially if it has no impact on present. Okay, I agree that some Sonic fans like to only remember bad moments, no matter how many years have past since 2006 (completely random date). But you can't ask us to just forget what is inconvenient to you. And it's not like Sonic creators aren't all about hanging to the past. (Mania, Generations, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera many more times).

On 7/24/2019 at 7:57 AM, BlueSky said:

I dunno, to me it felt like it was no longer canon in sense of the continuity reboot and the FF pretty much forgetting all the stuff that happened in the old one. Like, to them they didn't remember it happening anymore, so in-universe way, one could say it didn't happen..? Does that sound any bit logical? Like, we know it happened since we read it thus it happened to us but since they as residents to that world don't have any real ties, physical or mental, to that continuity anymore (other than some oddities from Blaze's place perhaps) it didn't happen to them if we consider them in their own universe, or something? 🤔

I could be wrong with my interpretations though... I'm no native and all that jazz, I think you might've noticed it by now already, considering the fact we don't have any prepositions in my native language for example...

So yeah, prolly I should stop guessing what others mean, I could get it so wrong... 😅

Now I have an earworm in form of a-ha's "Maybe Maybe", nice.

But yeah, I think Mr. Flynn's love to the franchise is so big the hell'll freeze before he wants to stop, or something... kinda cool I think.

Eh, effectively yes.

Most of the stuff that came before literally didn't happen in the new continuity.

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Knuckles the Echidna - #4: Lost Paradise, Part 1 of 3: The Phantom City

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Knuckles is back, way sooner than I would have liked to be honest, but he’s here. This cover has… quite a lot of… something going on all over it. I mean it looks nice but I have no clue what the fuck is happening. I don’t know why there are several ants now and why they’re riding on tornadoes or why the Chaotix are transparent and why that cannon is comically shaking back and forth and firing at Vector. All I know is that Penders will probably have answers for this that’ll only serve to confuse even more. Or no answers at all.

Spoiler

 

So anyway, we begin with-!

Tynys4ZPTm_zx6w9bPgv4IRNjdYB9Gn5nyuFDdbLEjTbBwJdV2U2Bx1tAPCKqcgouTntnLnnANiFaVJdXG3cojESnBre925WpaLPlhUXrZiTzY58wwQbeAb--BhlTuI5YVsIb5c_

Help. 

Someone help. I’ve decided to read the old Archie Sonic the Hedgehog books. Clearly I’ve gone insane. Help!

TTdX4825ZdsyKKU0OmLybydrSjmz4uYLf_lCv9RAvjZiLi2tqGfzuZMYTSeDH4M0hU2azlrTgQtO1m3Jj4bJfZ67Z9cxRynGeNego93HsYb32nysDS2L2sqsKptjmJSszzhR8rsG

Considering when this was written, I seriously cannot tell if the way Vector talks in these books is supposed to be a joke or a serious attempt at trying to make him sound hip and relevant with the kids.

Anyway, Vector ambushes this person, claiming that they were trying to go after him. This person makes it clear that they definitely were not and promptly kicks his ass. I already know who is under this cloak so the fact that Vector got his butt kicked by this person is infuriating as well as enlightening for a scene involving him that happens in Issue 199 way down the line that I didn’t understand back when I read it. 

But yeah, one punch and a swat and he’s down despite HIM having ambushed HER.

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It’s infuriating.

Anyway, we cut to a shockingly badly drawn Knuckles that becomes well drawn in the next panel, magically, as he’s pretending to mediate for Archimedes. Archimedes gets upset with Knuckles for not taking his meditation seriously and Knuckles points it out for the mumbo jumbo it is. 

I’m on Knuckles side in all things regarding conversations with Archimedes. I don’t particularly like him. 

The next scene is a hilarious one where a cloaked figure seriously tries to sneak up on Knuckles from behind with a taser in an open field. Knuckles, of course, dodges this and the two of them have a scuffle before the big reveal happens. Sigh.

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Sometimes, I do wonder if perhaps I’m being too harsh.

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Then she says shit like this and immediately I’m like, nope. Knuckles, take her out.

Or rather, it’s Archimedes who deals the winning blow by spewing fire at her and burning her hands so that she drops the weird taser thing. Knuckles then removes it’s batteries, which I find funny for some reason. 

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So, Knuckles demands to know why she’s here and Julie-Su begins to tell her… odd story.

Back when Knuckles was dealing with Kragok, the underwhelming idiotic mastermind panicked and decided to nuke his base before leaving. Julie-Su just so happened to spot Knuckles on his way out and followed him right before the base exploded.

She then tracked him to this island and… 

… says this shit.

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Now… I've hated Julie-Su since I was first introduced to her back when I got into the comic during the mid 190s onward. However, I knew nothing about her conception. All I knew was that she had a design I didn’t like and a personality I hated even more. That’s really all I needed. It felt good reading the back issues and seeing Rouge so easily dominate her that one time.

Despite all this, I didn’t know why the two of them were together. I had no idea what they saw in each other as the comic never really gave much of a reason for why these were people that had to have a romantic relationship. 

I just figured that whatever story was told that brought them together was a long-winded tale of two people meeting and hooking up. 

It wasn’t until very recently, back when reading an article on this very site, did I find out the origin of Julie-Su and I was kind of wondering if it truly was as bad as it sounds here but I have a feeling it totally is. 

Vector and the Chaotix show up at this moment, with Vector wanting a rematch badly. I want that rematch too. The only thing in my head right now is that one scene in a future issue of a bunch of hammers and tools falling on Vector’s head while Julie-Su laughs at him from behind. It’s like… one of my favorite characters is rivals with one of the only Sonic characters I actually hate and it’s really upsetting that he’s getting dunked on here.

Thankfully, this isn’t quite the Vector I know and love so it hurts a bit less. The Chaotix in this comic are all a joke so it’s whatever. 

Anyway, they inform Knuckles that an earthquake happened on the other side of the island. Knuckles asks how they didn’t feel it standing where they are and Archimedes says that the island is really huge so it might not come their way. I’m actually okay with this explanation because I’ve often underestimated how huge this island is myself. He’s right when he says it might as well be another world.

Anyway, Julie-Su is just… REALLY onboard with betraying Kragok and everybody else. Vector points out that she’s still wearing their cloak and she just takes it off. Before Vector can assure her that it’s gonna take more than that to convince him, Knuckles says that it’s okay to give her a chance because if they hand her enough rope, she might hang herself with it eventually.

I love this analogy because it totally wouldn’t be in a Sonic comic today.

Anyway, we then zoom out to see Knuckles’ awful dad spying on him through a monitor and saying Knuckles’ goose is cooked and chasticing himself for not foreseeing this. At first I wondered what he meant but then he goes on about how he wasn’t prepared for Lara-Le either.

That’s when I realized that, “Oh… he’s talking about how Knuckles is doomed because he’s getting a woman. Haha… ha…”

One of the other echidnas (yeah, apparently more than just Locke are hanging out on this very island) comes in and talks about how he doesn’t like this but Locke is like… “Nah, it’ll be fine.”

On the monitor, Knuckles was busy concocting a plan to go out and search for the origin of these tremors. However, Julie-Su whined and bitched at him that the problem with guys is that they always think they know what’s best for everyone. 

Like, just ask him to take him with you. You don’t gotta be a bitch about it.

Knuckles agrees to take her along though and after hours of searching Knuckles says they haven’t found anyone, as he looks over at her. Julie-Su asks if he wants her help or not, to which both Knuckles and I say that he didn’t fucking ask her for it!

Then a tremor finally hits.

The two of them turn to see a city… in the distance? The two echidnas watching in their hidey hole with their TV monitors, creeping on Knuckles like stalkers spot this and have two different reactions. The nameless one says that this means their careful planning has gone up in smoke… 

I guess they really didn’t want Knuckles to see this huge ass city on his own island? Or did they put that there as a hologram? But why would they do that if they didn’t want to see the city? There’s an actual city inside this hologram of a city which means… they… PLANNED on not having Knuckles discover this place??? How??? He lives here! What???

Locke’s reaction is that since Archimedes is there, he’ll figure something out. 

Archimedes just leads them into the city with Locke overlooking this and hoping he knows what he’s doing.

We’ve reached a point to where TOO MUCH is being kept secret from us. I’m really annoyed. It gets worse too.

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Again, I know it’s technically not the comic’s fault when it comes to this but this is so weird. I associate Knuckles and the echidnas with old tribal stuff and ancient ruins not The Jetsons.

When Julie-Su points out that no one is paying attention to them and suggests they might be ghosts to them, I actually thought for a second that this might be a bit more excusable. Like, if Locke was projecting a fake city in order to trick Knuckles for whatever reason… 

… Why would he do that? I dunno. Why is Locke doing any of this shit?

Anyway, that turned out to not be the case because, amongst a hoard of look-alike echidnas, in a vast HUGE looking city, who should IMMEDIATELY spot Knuckles but his fucking mom.

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Locke is a terrible dad. Don’t know if you’ve picked up on that yet but Jesus Christ.

The only echidna he’d ever known just decided to walk into a fire and make his son think he was dead for years on end only to remain spying on him and everything he does in a secret room on the very island he lives on while tons and tons more people of his same species exist right under his nose. It’s such a cruel thing to do, you’d swear it was a sick joke.

Archimedes is only worried about doing damage control here. I ain’t a fan of you either, you creepy old ant man. 

Speaking of which, the city disappears suddenly and the three of them are back where they started. Knuckles immediately accuses Archimedes of knowing what’s going on. As the man who always claims to know what’s going on right to Knuckles’ face, it would seem he kind of set himself up for this.

Knuckles demands to be told about everything that’s going on. Archimedes says that he can’t tell him because “he’s not ready”.

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There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that Locke could tell Knuckles that would make what’s happening here okay. There’s NO satisfying answer to this to be found. I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m already sure of it.

Locke could literally be like “The world is going to end” and it wouldn’t make sense not to tell Knuckles. The only thing it could be that would make any kind of sense would be if Locke telling him the world was about to explode would literally make the world explode. 

Like, if Maleficent initiated some weird curse on Knuckles after Locke microwaved his baby (Yes, I’m aware of him doing that. Forgot the reason why though) that said that if Locke ever told Knuckles, just Knuckles, that the world was going to explode… the world would explode.

One of the hardest things to justify in fiction is family members keeping important secrets from each other. There’s hardly ever been a case where I’ve seen it properly handled or justified well. 

Knuckles and Julie-Su face another tremor and the city reappears. They immediately head inside to catch an echidna running away and screaming something about the prophesied doomsday happening and that he needs to be with his wife and kids. So are we in the past? (Spoilers: We're not.)

Knuckles and Julie-Su also come across a huge statue of Grandfather Hawking with a plague that reads he came up with a Hyper Zone Projector that helped the civilization endure. Knuckles seems to know what this means but I’m just sat here bogged down by exhaustion. 

The last thing we need is more stuff being thrown at us with no promise of answers coming any time soon.

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Oh snap. Is that the Park Ranger dude from the Lara-Su Chronicles concept art? The one who delivers pizza with his pants down? No way.

What a cliffhanger… 

 

Final Thoughts - So, this story was… frustrating. Fucking frustrating. I’m sick and tired of all these questions popping up because I know good and god-damn well that not only are the answers not going to be satisfactory but they’re not coming for as long as Penders can stretch this shit out. I keep being surprised by the fact that this Knuckles’ series has issues stretching into the 30s. 

Locke and Archimedes are terrible people and the quicker they stop fucking with and manipulating Knuckles’ life, the better. Julie-Su is just a pain and seeing her and Archimedes talk about how bad Knuckles’ personality is when neither of them have room to talk is that gross, cheap icing on the cake that I don’t need.

NEXT.

 

Knuckles the Echidna - #5: Lost Paradise, Part 2 of 3: Fallout

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Is it weird that upon seeing this cover, I was suddenly awash with the realization of how ridiculous the story I’m reading truly is? Seriously, what the hell would this look like to a normal person? Also, I think I’m sort of understanding the point of making everyone look so translucent. It kind of just looks like everyone is a ghost but, as we find out, there’s a bit of a reason for it.

Spoiler

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You don’t want me to imagine this. Anyone who did would turn against this story in a heartbeat.

We start on what’s 100% the laziest page ever put to print in the history of Archie comics’ so far. I’m just gonna post the whole first page and I want you guys to see what the issue is here.

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That’s right. 

The thing wrong with this page is that it has Locke on it. Get him off the screen.

Oh, and also, it’s just the same panel copy and pasted six times with no chances except the speech bubbles… or in the fifth one’s case a lack thereof. 

I’m actually kind of impressed by how fast my expectations shot to zero with this one. Bravo.

The dialogue is… I think an attempt at a joke? The dude says he knows stuff and Locke asks him to say what he knows and he responds by saying he doesn’t know anything. Or something.

The caption box brings up someone named Jenna, because I guess there’s more names we need to know somehow.

Anyway, the dude bringing them in is Constable Remington. He’s darker colored Knuckles with different hair. I’m actually really starting to appreciate just how different from each other all the official hedgehog characters look. Even Shadow, a character designed to look like Sonic, doesn’t look anywhere near as much like Sonic as these echidnas do to Knuckles. It would really help if all of them weren’t some variation of the color red. I know the vast majority of the echidnas in Knuckles’ past in Adventure were of similar build and color but the distinguishing features between the main ones like Tikal and Pachacamac were still more than what we’ve gotten here.

Julie-Su looks different enough and Remington himself has enough defining features to mask it a tiny, tiny bit but then you get to characters like Locke who literally is just Knuckles with a white beard. Or pretty much all the echidnas in that flashback I read a while back. The judge was just Knuckles in a black rope and a powdered wig.

Knuckles and Julie-Su get led into a room by Remington who lets it be known that he knows of Knuckles’ status as a guardian and apologizes for their conduct due to everyone being on edge… right before he points out that Knuckles is being rude for responding so formerly to him afterward. As if he owes you any respect.

Then the two of them fall through a chute when they sit on their seats. Knuckles lands hard into a new area. It’s here where Archimedes and Knuckles trek forward to meet someone… who better be the person that it obviously feels like it should be or my eyes are gonna roll.

We cut back outside to see… this weirdness happening.

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I’m actually not sure how one is supposed to go about describing what’s happening here.

I have a feeling it’s some sort of two worlds bleeding into one another thing but I can’t be certain yet. One of these dingo dudes, named Gerbil, enters the room of one General Stryker, a character I’m aware of from either the aftermath of the Enerjak Reborn thing or the Knuckles Returns thing that barely had anything to do with Knuckles.

All I know is that he has history with the echidnas and he doesn’t particularly like them.

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Good. I don’t like them either. I’m on this man’s side right now. These echidnas have only ever proven to be horrible so far.

Seriously, the only one that hasn’t been an asshole, cult leader, freak with a God complex, or political tyrant who thinks they know what's best for everyone else… is Knuckles himself. Knuckles doesn’t even have too much character aside from all the baggage here too. That and his devotion to Sally Acorn, I guess. I was about to bring up the fact that he hates Sonic too but I guess that’s not true anymore because they’ve bonded over their daddy issues now.

Anyway, despite me literally having been spoiled about this an issue ago, I still held out a tiny bit of hope that Knuckles would meet up with the person he obviously should be meeting with now. However, Archimedes was telling the truth about not having been to this location when they landed sadly. 

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It’s another old ass echidna, with huge ass hands, a head that looks like it’s deflating, and a scowl to end all scowls. It’s Grandfather Hawking. Or rather, Great-Grandfather, seven generations removed.

He’s apparently got a good enough head on his shoulders though. Despite saying something’s gone wrong since Knuckles is here, he decides to just tell him a bunch of stuff. He leads him to his Inner Sanctum and tells Knuckles to put in a disc where a video pops up of this guy… from 200 years ago. 

“As you can see, I was a bit more youthful in those days,''he says as if it’s common to not be more youthful 200 years in the past.

Hawking tells the story of how he stopped a bunch of Dingos from carting away stolen loot in trucks. I did a double take when I saw these vehicles but then I had to remind myself that this comic takes place way, way in the future. Of course there’s still modern looking cargo trucks 200 years in the past.

He has this, admittedly very well written speech about how the Dingos copied and stole Echidna technology because the Echidnas had stuff that they wanted, even though they had no idea how to properly use it. Their recklessness nearly got Echidnaopolis and themselves destroyed. There was also, apparently, a war that’s been going on between the echidnas and the dingos long before the echidnas created the floating island.

This conflict went on until eventually the dingos just straight up created nukes. 

So, Young Hawking speaks with another echidna about what to do. Knuckles asks who that other guy is and Old Hawking says it’s not important (which means it’s probably important… but also probably not as important as it’s going to pretend it is). 

Young Hawking is shown going to the underground bunker where all the technology that was taken from the echidna civilization long ago was put and grabbing weapons. It’s here where Knuckles exposes once again that everybody seems to know everything, except him.

So far, this story has done nothing to convince me this needed to be kept secret from him but I’ll wait. After all, Locke isn’t explaining it so the big, BIG reveal might be the thing that blows Knuckles’ mind.

So anyway, the dingos totally fired a bunch of nukes at the Echidnas homeland… 

Okay… 

I mean, I guess they’re not worth rooting for either. At least, not the ones from 200 years ago. 

Then, while wondering if he should do it because it breaks their STUPID echidna pact, Hawking uses the dreaded evil of technology to fire at the nukes and blow them up. They’ve got energy shields so no one immediately died too.

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At this point, I’d like to take a moment to remind you all that this is a Sonic the Hedgehog comic book we’re reading. It’s a story about how the dingos and echidnas almost blew each other apart in nuclear warfare with missile launches and shit. 

Oh no, we haven’t even reached peak stupid yet.

Hawking was like, “Well shit. We can’t leave with all that nuclear dust out there” so what do they do instead? Well that’s where the Hyper Zone Projector comes into play. Since all echidnas are technical geniuses, apparently, this dude used a theory left behind by Dimitri and some of his notes on the existence of other zones to create a device that would transfer the entirety of Echidnaopolis to another zone temporarily until the nuclear debris was cleared out.

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Oh and by the way, in case it wasn’t clear (it totally wasn’t until this passage in the comic) but the Dingos LIVE on the Floating Island with the Echidnas. 

I know it was said that the island is SO big that it might as well be another world but this is kindo of the point where it’s a little too stupid. These dingos… they have to understand enough about nuclear fallout to know the effects of launching these things right? Hawking can say they were just copying them without knowing the ramifications all he wants, at some point you’re going to happen upon the ramifications if you’re literally smart enough to recreate it from scratch. 

It’s like “Hurray! We copied their nukes! Let’s fire them at the echidnas even though we live on the same island.” Hawking even saved the dingos by transferring them to a safer zone too, probably because he was aware of how it would affect their civilization too.

So apparently, we’ve finally met the one echidna that isn’t a total and complete tyrant/asshole. That ain’t saying much but it’s better than everyone else. Well, except for Athair. He said some pretty agreeable stuff.

He even leads Knuckles to a room with a large statue in it of two echidna guys holding up the island, saying it represents the importance of his status as a guardian. At this point, Knuckles is infatuated with his people and his history. I’d be absolutely livid about being kept so in the dark about stuff like this.

However, we’ve reached a point where Knuckles is now literally begging to not be fucking lied to anymore.

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However, Hawking doesn’t relent here. He just tells Knuckles that he’s the most special of the guardians but at the same time, he needs to do what every other, not-as-special, guardian before him did and shut up and listen. If he means, “shut up and listen to the rest of my story” then fine. But if he means “shut up and blindly listen to what your supperiors tell you to do” then nah. Sorry.

Then another quake happens that knocked Hawking out of his chair and onto the floor. Remington bursts into Julie-Su’s room and tells her to come with him. He needs her to be Knuckles’ representative on a trip to go and have negotiations with the faction of dingos that have just taken some echidnas hostage. Those among them is Knuckles’ mom. 

I’m not entirely sure why he couldn’t go to Knuckles himself since he clearly knows where Knuckles is but… actually, yeah I don’t know why. I guess we need Julie-Su to pretend that she’s relevant. She does point out the hypocrisy of them using loads of technology but Remington brushes that off, saying some crap about common sense and emergencies or whatever. Just get rid of that stupid rule. The time of Edmund was centuries ago for fucks sake. 

Also, Hawking uses echidna magic to magic himself back into his chair, then rolls over the the computer where they instantly get informed and shown that the dingos have got Knuckles’ mom.

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That poor dough eyed looking woman.

Final Thoughts - So many of these characters keep repeating phrases like “The question is whether or not you’re ready to handle it” or “You’re not ready” or even “This is more than he’s bargained for” in something like the title crawl. This story has done nothing to explain to me why Knuckles isn’t ready for this shit. As a reader, I’m just really frustrated by all the secrecy. The only way to know why Knuckles isn’t ready is to show what he isn’t ready for and how he deals with it, but they can’t because they want this to stretch itself out for the sake of some sort of self-important story romp. It’s not worth it.

This issue was convoluted and overdone. Maybe back in the past I would have given this a pass for being mildly interesting on it’s own but the amount of issues focusing on Knuckles that devolve into just an endless exposition dump and history lesson has reached staggering levels of ridiculousness. This is not how you do this. At some point, history’s gotta be made with what’s happening in the present. So much of what’s happening in the present is just people talking about the past and how shit’s still like it was in the past. 

 

Knuckles the Echidna - #5: Lost Paradise, Part 3 of 3: Zero Hour… and Counting

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This is the worst cover of the three but it’s still nothing bad. Spaz is a great artist. They all look well drawn here. It’s just the formatting is still a little hard to get used to. A part of me can’t look at this and not think it looks ridiculous. 

Anyway, time to conclude this dump-truck of a fucking story.

Spoiler

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I can think of plenty bonds stronger than that of a parent and child. It’s true that the newborn’s first instinct is to drawn upon dependency from its parent but things get a little muddled when the parent or parents decide they want to be deadbeats or perhaps, say, walk into fire and abandon their child so they can spy on them with high tech video cameras and call said child a fool for not knowing things he deliberately doesn’t tell him.

 If Knuckles actually has a stronger bond with the blank canvases that the Chaotix are then his father, I can’t say it’d be hard to understand why.

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I probably wouldn’t be paying this much attention to these dumb blurbs if they weren’t written to sound as pretentious as possible. I know Knuckles isn’t the kind of guy who’d let his mother die but this word salad about how dependant children are to their parents and how they don’t question stuff and love them no matter what is here to mask how bad the situation between them is. Knuckles does not have a good or healthy relationship with his parents. Don’t try to frame it as such. It’s not just that his parents have an estranged relationship. Knuckles has been so far removed from their lives it’s a wonder he wants to be in on the echidna stuff at all.

Anyway, we cut to the Chaotix who are waiting around like Knuckles told them to do until another quake happens.

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Good golly, Miss Molly.

It's a pointless scene that doesn't have anything to do with anything and we never cut back to the Chaotix after it. Moving on.

Knuckles uses Archimedes’ teleporting power to poof directly to where the dingos are with his mom. Like, they literally just poof into the room where she is. 

Knuckles wants to charge in to take her back but for some reason Archimedes says that they should let the dingos go to them?

So… one of the dingos thinks he hears something and checks it out and then Knuckles beats him up, tosses him out, and then charges forward like he wanted to do anyway. So… I guess that’s what Archimedes wanted? Let’s sneak attack exactly one of them so that we could then say “Fuck it” and charge like you wanted?

One of the dingos calls Knuckles a swine. So Knuckles retaliates with a zinger.

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Goodness me, this dialogue.

So Knuckles and some other echidna dude beat up the dingos because they suck so much that two echidnas can take them out. Knuckles’ mom hugs Knuckles, happy to see her boy again. I have no doubt she’s being genuine. Whatever’s happening doesn’t seem to be her fault.

Anyway, they leave right as more dingos show up. Wouldn’t you know it, they just happen to start… fading out. Which is something that still hasn’t been properly explained. If I had to guess, whatever separated them into two zones is pushing them back together again…? 

Is this a recent phenomenon for them? If so, how have they managed to keep this conflict going for so long? Did they wallow in hatred for generations past the people who were alive to experience this fight and come back with just as much hatred for the echidnas? 

I need more answers. You can’t make a story with nothing but a pile of questions.

Remington is being called back to headquarters after traveling all the way out here with Julie-Su to do nothing. However, they’re interrupted by something mysterious. Ooo~! I’m sure it’s totally interesting, whatever it is they see.

Anyway, old Hawking is in the computer room wondering what the fuck to do until another fucking ant named Deo, shows up. I know Penders likes to get crazy so I’m hoping this ant gets stepped on or crushed at some point.

Hawking apparently suspected that the dumbass dingos were the ones responsible for breaking down the barriers between zones but he realizes that’s not the case. So Locke contacts him about whatever his speculation is and proceeds to… 

...Sigh…

...Give another huge ass exposition dump.

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It’s a bunch of words that I made smaller so that it resembles the chicken scratch that it is.

This is nonsense. 

Who the FUCK are you writing this book for at this point? What child is reading this and nodding their heads going, “Aww sweet, the omega wave from Robotropolis wiped everything out of existence in the primary zone for just a billionth of a second and accelerated the entropic effect allowing the buffers between zones to-” BLEUGH!

I wish an Omega Wave would come through and blow this crap away.

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Anyway, the point is that the two dimensions are colliding and only one is going to survive. 

We cut back to Remington, Julie-Su, Knuckles, and his mom on the way home… so apparently the people they saw wasn’t a new foe or someone mysterious, it was just Knuckles leaving the building with his mom…

Why the hell did you keep that secret like it was going to be some grand reveal? Also, this officially means that Remington and Julie-Su did jack shit.

Back in Remington’s office, we finally get to see Knuckles have a chat with his mom. Of course, he has no idea what to say.

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I gotta say, I do think her design is a touch better than some of the ones we’ve seen. She’s got these huge flowing locks, the shape of her eyes is actually different, for once. I even kind of like her outfit. The only odd thing is that weird crown of brown hair.

Here she goes on about how she was his mother at birth and envisioned a happy life ahead for her family but she didn’t exactly comprehend what it meant to be married to a guardian yet. Apparently, she had literally NO say in his upbringing. This was to the point where she had no choice but to either accept her place or walk away.

So, yeah… basically her job was done when the baby was born. I guess that’s just how it be when you’re a guardian. Can you imagine anyone who refused to be married to one or bear the child of a guardian knowing the full extent to which they were allowed to be in their child’s life? The blood-line would probably end way sooner than it did.

This is just adding more fuel to the fire of hatred I have for this dumb system and these horrible echidnas. She knew his destiny before he was born and was still shocked when she wasn’t allowed any say in his upbringing. No, apparently she had to listen to what Locke said about purposefully abandoning and isolating their child so that whatever destiny he could fulfill… he could do it right?

It’s really starting to hit me how stupid Archimedes’ test for Knuckles on learning the value of friendship so long ago was. It kind of seems like it was his destiny to be alone and lied to until the time to reveal things comes.

They should know that it’s not healthy to treat their child this way. I’m at least sure his mother knows this but Locke? 

Remington comes in and lets them know what Hawking just discovered. As he tells them, it starts happening. The two zones are merging and the echidnas and dingos are in the same vicinity as one another.

Gerbil comes back to tell this to General Stryker. In response, Stryker has ordered his dingo tropes to take what echidnas they’ve captured and put them against a wall to use them as leverage. Gerbil is a panicky type you see and Stryker is very calm and collected, sure that even though the supposed apocalypse is happening, they will be the ones to survive.

Stryker’s plan doesn’t work as Knuckles and Julie-Su come in and easily beat the dingos up. There’s another echidna there helping them but no one gives a shit.

Another tremor happens. Julie-Su gets knocked on her butt. Knuckles offers to help her up. Julie-Su shouts at him and tells him to fuck off for no reason. It’s so endearing and it makes her likeable when she does that, I’m sure.

The office of General Stryker is collapsing now. This dude is STILL cool as a cucumber though. Gerbil is pissing himself with fear as he tells his boss that the place is going down. Stryker is almost ready though, for you see… HE HAS THE POWER GLOVE!

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giphy.gif

Literally, as Gerbil sees this happening, he says that Knuckles, Julie-Su, and the other echidna are literally blocking the exit. Knuckles is here to apparently negotiate.

Negotiations don’t go over well.

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Despite my hatred of this girl, I really want to not complain about her as often as I do but how can I not when literally everytime Knuckles speaks to her or tries to help her, she gets all defensive. Like, geez. Go die then.

The echidnas put a gun to poor Gerbil’s back and force him to take them to where the other hostages are. Gerbil, who I only feel bad for, claims to just work there. He’s not harming anyone. Leave Gerbil alone.

Hawking, still sitting by the computer, opens up a case with a button on it and says that he’s about to do something naughty. He doesn’t say ‘naughty’ but he uses WAY more words than necessary to describe it so I paraphrased it. These echidnas talk way too goddamn much.

They should be more like Knuckles, who’s just finished a second attempt at negotiations with Stryker.

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For someone who isn’t allowed to know anything, he’s sure getting more shit done than any of these other guys.

Julie-Su has done literally nothing in this conflict by the way.

Gerbil leads the echidnas to the safety bunker they use in times of emergency. When the extra echidna dude who was paling around with Knuckles and Julie-Su speaks up about this, he asks for confirmation about whether it’s the right one. Gerbil responds by saying the dingos aren’t as secretive as the echidnas. The echidna dude fires back by saying they’re not as warlike.

Hold the phone. You have no moral high ground to stand on, Obi-Wan. So much of your history is bathed in the conflict of civil war amongst your own people and now we’ve learned you’ve been in an even longer war with people that live on the very same island you do. Bitch please.

Everyone back in Stryker’s suite is shown running down the hall, trying to escape the collapsing building. This is literally the second three part Knuckles story in these books to end with a collapsing or exploding building by the by.

Archimedes shows up and poofs them all out of harms way and into the bunker.

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Huzzah! Everyone’s safe.

Remington and Stryker approach one another and look about ready to engage in fisticuffs but Knuckles keeps them apart. He’s once again demonstrating that he’s the only one here with any level of maturity.

Stryker agrees to a ceasefire and goes above ground to inspect the damage. Echidnaopolis is still standing, though, we have no clue what’s become of the home of the dingos.

Archimedes then poofs to the area where Hawking last was and finds HIS old ant partner Deo (there’s too many fucking characters in this story) who informs them that Hawking’s fate is… a massive shrug of the shoulders.

However, he did want to give Knuckles something.

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His reward is the Hat from the OVA.

My reward is having Knuckles come out and say the very thing I’ve been saying this entire time.

I survived an exposition dump of a shitty story and all I got was this bangin’ cowboy hat.

Final Thoughts - This story was a travesty. It was pureale garbage from top to bottom. These stories where tons of characters act like they know better than you, who start spewing bullshit from their mouths in a thinly veiled attempt at sounding important, and do NOTHING to serve the story except exemplify why their existence has only allowed problems to fester need to go the hell away.

This was a story where nothing happens for the first two issues before something miraculously happens that pushed people to run away from something towards their safety. It happened last time with the Kragok thing. I mostly just covered a huge flashback in that. The shit going on in the present wasn’t much of anything. This dude showed up, captured Knuckles’ friends, let Knuckles go, and then had to escape a collapsing building.

Here, Knuckles’ mom was captured. Knuckles easily rescued her… and then the other zones started to merge which meant getting to a bunker? They sure were lucky that bunker didn’t collapse under the weight of two zones merging. This was just a bunch of frivolous explanations for things that DO NOT need to be as complicated as they are for the sake of an underwhelming resolution. I really hope this doesn’t happen again. Something about Knuckles’ PRESENT needs to advance soon. These stories where we just get told a bunch of shit that happened in the past and some dude who wants revenge for something in the past just… runs off or calls a truce and nothing happens aren’t interesting. 

Also, for the love of God, stop introducing characters. We don’t need anymore. Or at least get rid of some if you’re going to. Drag Locke out of his bunker and force him to do something productive. Or kick Julie-Su off the island. That’d make me happy.

Garbage.

Here’s Eustass Bagg reviewing this old as shit Ken Penders Knuckles comic Muriel found out back.

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Vector's dialogue under Penders is so bad, geez. And his character for the longest time would basically just be "hates women", which only makes it worse. 

As much as I dislike the Downunda backstory, at least I can say that it means Vector's bad jive talk has some sort of purpose.

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I actually like Julie-Su but I can fully understand not liking her here. The problem, one of them, is Penders doesn't know how to write women. He's trying to make a strong independent woman but is falling into tropes like having her constantly talk about how she is a strong independent woman who don't need no man instead letting her actually do things.

As for how he writes Vector the big problem is that he writes him as an "Urban" character hence all the lingo he never stops spouting. The problem is he also made a basically black coded character loud, obnoxious, hot-tempered and later on a bit misogynist. It's...it's not great.

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There was another Vector quote that I wanted to highlight but I took it out because I figured you guys would get the point without constant re-emphasis.

Really, my biggest issues with these Knuckles issues is how formulaic and repetitive it all is. Constant exhausting exposition dumps about the past that see the present day story lacking any real gravitos. It really is just things from the past showing up again to let themselves be known they're still around before something blows up or the conflict is halted to be dealt with at a later date. Thats been all 6 issues of this Knuckles comic and its maddening.

If he ever gets the answers he seeks, I'm half expecting them to pull another Sword of Acorns twist and reveal its all fake so as to prolong it ever more.

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Whenever I see those Knuckles covers I’m filled with bitter nostalgia.

I think back to when I first saw them in the Mega Collection bonus features, my first exposure to Archie Sonic at large. The idea of a comic having spin-offs was a completely new concept to me, and I thought it was awesome. Seeing these sweet looking Knuckles covers, I could only imagine what the stuff inside was like. “I bet it’s awesome” I’d think.

Then I actually got my hands on the issues...

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On 1/17/2020 at 4:43 PM, SBR2 said:

I actually like Julie-Su but I can fully understand not liking her here. The problem, one of them, is Penders doesn't know how to write women. He's trying to make a strong independent woman but is falling into tropes like having her constantly talk about how she is a strong independent woman who don't need no man instead letting her actually do things.

As for how he writes Vector the big problem is that he writes him as an "Urban" character hence all the lingo he never stops spouting. The problem is he also made a basically black coded character loud, obnoxious, hot-tempered and later on a bit misogynist. It's...it's not great.

This was the 90s, it was just how things were done back then. Don't forget the big in-your-face 'Girl Power' edition issue. :P Even in the later pre-reboot era it felt like the writers were struggling not to rely on the old tired cliches like making most of the main girls 'down to earth' love interest archetypes, or making slimeball villains suddenly become punching bags against all the female cast (poor Fang really got that running gag shoved down his throat in the end). After Penders' run, Julie Su was still mostly seen beating up Vector or latching onto Knuckles arm with fawning eyes despite being touted as a badass.

Then again making well handled characters with a good agency and a consistent set of natural strengths and flaws has never been a really well grasped notion in the Sonic franchise, boy or girl.

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I like Julie-Su, but I have to wonder how much of that is residual from my childhood and a result of her design being good (especially by classic Archie Sonic standards). There isn't that much to her character and it's painfully obvious her only major purpose in life is being Knuckles' girlfriend. The concept of a Dark Legionnaire being Knuckles' girlfriend should be interesting, but it's a bit ruined by the fact that there is no real reason for their relationship other than the "soul touch" malarkey. I can't help but like her, but it's difficult to come up with many actual good reasons why, honestly.

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10 hours ago, E-122-Psi said:

making slimeball villains suddenly become punching bags against all the female cast (poor Fang really got that running gag shoved down his throat in the end).

I mean being totally fair being a joke is literally Fang/Nack's whole character even in Triple Trouble.

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2 hours ago, SBR2 said:

I mean being totally fair being a joke is literally Fang/Nack's whole character even in Triple Trouble.

Yeah, but I guess my point is more what a damn formulaic gag he'd become through that. "You go girl, trash that slimeball" type of thing you saw in droves in the 90s. As Fang lampshaded in one of the last cases, even if he was ALWAYS bumbling and usually got a comical defeat, while he was at least allowed to be a cunning threat to Sonic and others earlier on, now he was getting one shotted by Sally or CREAM every appearance.

There are weirder cases I admit, from what I remember Amy made a jobber out of the Iron king in the Iron Dominion arc, despite him being played as nigh unstoppable otherwise. It's weird because I don't think Archie ever had a no-no against girls suffering violence (Sonic pounded Sally and Bunnie whenever mind controlled for example), so it's odd so many main rivalries were one sided gags. Again weird 90s thinking writing where they never really evolved out of just using old cliches, it wasn't just Penders.

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19 hours ago, Monkey Destruction Switch said:

I like Julie-Su, but I have to wonder how much of that is residual from my childhood and a result of her design being good (especially by classic Archie Sonic standards). There isn't that much to her character and it's painfully obvious her only major purpose in life is being Knuckles' girlfriend. The concept of a Dark Legionnaire being Knuckles' girlfriend should be interesting, but it's a bit ruined by the fact that there is no real reason for their relationship other than the "soul touch" malarkey. I can't help but like her, but it's difficult to come up with many actual good reasons why, honestly.

There's nothing wrong with just liking her design.

 

 

Personally speaking, I didn't care much for Julie-Su for the exact reasons to laid out; its not that I didn't think she was a "good" character...just very bland, with her only role being Knuckles` "badass girlfriend". I can kinda get why such a character would appeal to a younger crowd given the women's rights movement going on around the time that were meant to subvert the standard passive and weak females of that time, but making her "cool" isn't really a substitute for giving her a character so I was just...ambivalent to her whole existence and just kinda rolled my eyes whenever her and Knuckles were on screen together. 

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26 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

There's nothing wrong with just liking her design.

 

 

Personally speaking, I didn't care much for Julie-Su for the exact reasons to laid out; its not that I didn't think she was a "good" character...just very bland, with her only role being Knuckles` "badass girlfriend".

Maybe off-topic, but I always found it weird how Penders ended up completely rewriting her personality in M25YL to be more girly, for lack of a better term. She lost basically all of her tomboy or "badass" qualities and became very much the "girl" character, either playing Mother to Lara-Su, Wife to Knuckles, or friend for Sally. Now granted, I don't remember a ton about M25YL, but I remember clearly that a lot of it was just interjecting in Lara-Su and Knuckles' arguments, or doing stuff like laying around the pool with Sally, or cooking, or joining in Lara-Su's slumber party, and in general, her personality became a lot more gentle, compared to how brash she could be before. I always thought it was really lame because it felt severely out of character for Julie-Su to basically forgo all tomboy personality traits, and her tough persona. You can argue she can change in however many years between the main timeline and M25YL occurred, but I always found it off. So ironically, I think she became even more bland, becoming essentially Knuckles' wife, and that's about it.

I think even Ian saw the issue in that as well, because I distinctly remember Julie-Su for the brief period she was in M30YL was at least back to adventuring with Knuckles, and on top of that, her design was changed slightly to reflect her original timeline design, getting shorter hair, as opposed to the longer hair she had in M25YL.

Personally, I'm in the same boat in general, although I found Julie-Su to be more likeable when Ian took over writing for her, especially when she delivered some nice call-outs towards Locke for his shitty treatment of Knuckles, and started having some actual chemistry with Knuckles, as opposed to the soul-touch bullshit Penders introduced. I remember really liking her during Knuckles the Return arc in Universe. 

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2 hours ago, Conquering Storm’s Servant said:

I just imagined a small dose of wasted potential for Pre-Reboot that we’ll now never see:

Mina Mongoose with a Magenta Wisp.

I’m mad now...

Speaking of her, I kinda feel sorry for Mina fans, the pre reboot ended at the exact worst possible time for her character, clashing with the Freedom Fighters over controversial speaking against one of their team and more or less ending up a pariah to them (besides ironically NICOLE herself). It wasn't even intentional demonising or 'ship sinking', it was just damn piss-take timing of the mandates.

I think if they had wanted to do that plot however, one with an actual personal and direct Sally vs Mina conflict, it was a very bad time for it, putting it just before the Mecha Sally arc. It felt like they kept giving up and cutting Sally of any agency in arcs where Mina was concerned (often JUST as a little heat had picked up as well, maybe why Mina fans tended to demonise her).

Hell I think the whole arc was the WORST possible way to end the pre-reboot canon, I get they were trying to work around things without a reset at first, but it ended on such a morbid note for so many of the departing characters, especially the aforementioned Julie-Su, instead of letting them get a nice swan song. It'd likely have been better if they'd been told early on they couldn't salvage it and just done a shorter tamer Naugus arc with Mina vs NICOLE done complete as the side plot.

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Ian definitely did what he could with the character, but there's not much he could do given her lousy base conceptual design. I definitely feel for the guy though, having to pick up the garbage that was Pender's creations. 

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