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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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2 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

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. 

Well he did essentially commit mass genocide with a lot of them. :P

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1 minute ago, E-122-Psi said:

Well he did essentially commit mass genocide with a lot of them. :P

That wasn't his decision though, he was forced to do that due to the lawsuit; he had an entirely different outline for Endangered Species before everything went to shit, and I'm kind of upset that we'll never see it. 

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1 minute ago, Kuzu said:

That wasn't his decision though, he was forced to do that due to the lawsuit; he had an entirely different outline for Endangered Species before everything went to shit, and I'm kind of upset that we'll never see it. 

Yeah but even before then he was thinning out the numbers of the cast like crazy with arcs like the whole Egg Grapes thing.

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Just now, E-122-Psi said:

Yeah but even before then he was thinning out the numbers of the cast like crazy with arcs like the whole Egg Grapes thing.

That I didn't mind too much, because there were certainly many more characters that were expendable; Julie-Su tho, for better or worse, was one of Knuckles` major characters being his love interest. So losing her and pretty much every Echidna stings a lot more. 

 

Like, I may not have cared much for the whole Knuckles` backstory in Archie, but good god does the pre-reboot end in the most depressing way for him lol. His entire race, including his beloved and his family, are exiled from the world and he doesn't even get a chance to see any of them again before the reset. It's actually really fucked up when you think about it. 

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11 minutes ago, Kuzu said:

That I didn't mind too much, because there were certainly many more characters that were expendable; Julie-Su tho, for better or worse, was one of Knuckles` major characters being his love interest. So losing her and pretty much every Echidna stings a lot more. 

 

Like, I may not have cared much for the whole Knuckles` backstory in Archie, but good god does the pre-reboot end in the most depressing way for him lol. His entire race, including his beloved and his family, are exiled from the world and he doesn't even get a chance to see any of them again before the reset. It's actually really fucked up when you think about it. 

Nearly every Penders era character ended on a morbid note due to the cliffhanger nature of the arc. Hope had a breakdown from her and Snively finally completely turning their backs on each other, Geoffery was a pariah from revealing to be a mole and was reduced to a vessel for Naugus, Hershey died offscreen, Mina was also on bad terms with the Freedom Fighters for leading objections against NICOLE, Elias and Alicia lost Sally and their kingdom and were reduced to hiding. Next to no one left on an uplifting note.

A few of the returning cast weren't really on good terms either of course (Sally was still robotocised, Antoine was in a coma, Bunnie was MIA, Sonic still kinda hated Silver's guts) but nothing a good reset button couldn't fix.

Like I said, they couldn't pick a worse possible time for that mandate to go forward.

Remind me, did Penders also get Shade and the other Chronicles characters banned as well?

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Sonic Super Special - Issue #5: When You and I Were Young, Sally
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What the hell is this?

Spoiler

 

So this first story is Mike Gallagher writing for the Sonic characters as children. I don’t know if that’s a good thing yet. I’ll give it a chance.

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Sonic can do whatever he wants and people will still love him because he’s the main character. I know the timeline probably won’t match up but I want to imagine this is taking place immediately after Antoine loses his dad and he decides to play a  game with his friends to cheer himself up and Sonic just does this. Then when he’s on the floor he starts kicking the shit out of Antoine and laughing. It’s great.

Also, Tails apparently had extremely huge, bushy manly eyebrows when he was a toddler.

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It’s really distressing looking at him. How young is Tails supposed to be here by the way? I was under the assumption that Tails was younger than 8 in these books at this time but considering he apparently ends up in the double digits before the reboot, that may not be true. Either way, it seems weird that Sonic and him are almost the same size. I feel like he should be barely able to walk and talk but… I dunno. 

Rosie tells the kids to roughhouse outside and Sonic zooms out first, wanting to race Tails. Tails agrees but quickly realizes that he can’t go that fast; nobody can. Rosie exclaims that Sonic’s a menace. I don’t disagree but I probably wouldn’t say so out loud like that. Then Julayla, whose apparently appeared before, shows up and says it’s time to rip Sally away from playing to study some princess stuff. 

Except not really because when Sally exposits that Julayla is her mentor who teaches her how to princess, Julayla says that not every lesson has to deal with going inside and basically just tells her to keep playing with her friends. I guess that’s nice of her but I’m wondering why she came at all then. 

Rosie exclaims to Julayla that  what Sally sees in those ruffians is a mystery. I didn’t expect Rosie to be someone who hated these kids so fucking much. Jesus. Julayla may be more tolerable of them but she’s still very weird considering her response to this is that Sally sees her DESTINY in them.

Like, neither came to the conclusion that she might just like them because they like playing and having fun together. Then again, Julayla might be right. In the future, Sally’s going to arrest Sonic over something stupid and wave her privilege around like a flag so… again, I dunno.

Sonic’s exercising his ego by playing ball with himself while all his supposed friends just watch. Miles, as he’s called now, is really adorably sad because he realizes he’ll never be as cool or as fast as Sonic. Sally proceeds to make him feel better by shitting on Antoine instead.

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Even stranger is when Sonic grabs Tails’ tails and makes the proclamation that his special talent might be his two bushy tails. He even suggests SPECIFICALLY that if Tails spins them really fast, he could fly.

Tails immediately does it and it immediately works and he immediately knows how to fly.

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So that’s how Tails learned how to fly. I didn’t expect it to be that lame.

In their defense, Tails can’t control it and ends up flying off into the Great Forest. Sally blames Sonic for this, saying it’s a bad thing that he helped him to awaken a unique power all his own in order to help him feel better because he didn’t foresee him flying off in that particular direction because he surprisingly couldn’t control his flight. How DARE you Sonic.

They follow him using a sextant that Rotor, called Boomer here, made out of twigs and sticks. He brags a bit about how he can make all sorts of stuff and is even working on a computer called Nico-

And then Sally interrupts him.

I see this is going to be one of those issues that does the Star Wars prequel thing of flashing things we know at us and going “See that! This is the origin of THAT!” which isn’t too surprising considering where we are in this comic’s history.

Despite that, I am a little surprised by how shockingly awful it is about doing this. When they reach a hollowed out stump, they hear Tails trying to warn them of something but it’s too late and they all fall through the ground like it’s goddamn quicksand or something. Underneath the ground, they see a cave and IMMEDIATELY one of them is like “We can make this our new hideout!”

And then IMMEDIATELY after that, Sally’s like, “Not hideout, Secret Headquarters!”

And IMMEDIATELY after that, they start coming up with names for their group and Sally just throws out the name “Freedom Fighters”.

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Like, I get it, you want this to function as some sort of origin but good God. I came into this expecting some cute little preschool stories. Instead, Mrs. Big Head is unrolling her checklist of things to reference and marking them all off.

Like seriously, just let things breathe for a bit. This thing has two stories in it and this first one just got all this stuff out of the way super fast. I certainly hope the next one justifies why the pace here had to be at break-neck speed. At least Miles here is hinted at still having problems controlling his flight and the moment where he gets his nickname didn’t just get tossed out like it was free candy or someth-

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giphy.gif

 

Sonic Super Special - Issue #5: Stop… Sonic Time!

The next story is one plotted by Tom Rolston and written by Karl Bollers. Maybe it’ll be better. This story begins with regular old, grown ass Sonic telling stories to little children. One of them comes right out and asks him what it’s like to beat up Robotnik. I like that. Straight and to the point.

A little girl with the face of a gray old man asks Sonic where she can get shoes like his.

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Sonic explains that his shoes are special, custom made by Uncle Chuck himself with the use of Power Rings because any old sneakers he tried to wear would get worn out whenever he’d try to run in them. The only thing close to them are the ones he got for Tails and asks them if they want to hear the story. They enthusiastically shout “YEAH!” really excited to hear Sonic the Hedgehog tell them not a story about taking on Robotnik but a story about how he got shoes for Tails.

It begins with everyone congratulating Tails on getting straight A’s on his report card. Even Boomer is surprised because when he took it, he got C’s and D’s, possibly hinting that Tails is a prodigy unlike any other. Antoine even comes in and gives the lad a medal. It’s all very adorable.

Antoine then begins to tell an obvious lie about how he got the medal that Boomer chides him on. As this goes on, Tails wonders where Sonic is and Sally assures him that he’d be here while thinking in her head that he BETTER be or else.

The next scene shows what Sonic’s doing and it… I have to show the whole page because it’s front loaded with things that fill my head with questions.

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Okay… so, I know that this is all supposed to be okay because it turns out that the shady guy Sonic was doing background deals in the underworld with turned out to be Tails’ uncle… but it’s actually not okay at all because holy shit. What?!

Sonic conspired with a guy in some alleyway to get Tails some special shoes? He did it by handing over some glowing rocks too? Is he not worried? I guess he is a lot younger here still but I gotta say, it’s very concerning that he’s doing stuff like this period. 

I’m also assuming he doesn’t know who Tails’ uncle is...? I have to assume that since he only says it when Sonic is gone and he’s hiding his face so that Sonic doesn’t see him.

Why family members are so fond of remaining secretive around their loved ones in this book, I’ve no idea, but surely there was a way this magic man could have gotten Tails his gift while conjuring up something that looked a little less like a drug deal.

We then cut to Robotropolis because here, Robotnik’s still alive. He’s going on about how he should have killed Sally back when he had the chance and old Snively is pretending to be the most chipper of sidekicks he could ask for… at least until Robotnik chews him out for no reason, prompting him to think really hard about how he’s going to usurp him one day. And he will.

Robotnik’s Saturday morning cartoon plot this time is a freeze ray. Not an ice themed one but one that simply stops time for people. He fires it off and everyone just stands still, in the same pose with the same expressions they had on their face before it happened. Sonic, because he’s so fast, doesn’t get hit by the ray and finds it weird seeing everyone doing the mannequin challenge. He puts it together, rather quickly, that this is Robotnik’s doing and runs off to try and stop him, coming across Swat-Bots that are armed and ready to blow the frozen residents to pieces.

Robotnik’s having a good ol’ time. He’s even galavanting about how he likes to “freeze the furries” with his ray.

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Sonic decides that in order to save everyone, he needs to get taken to Robotnik’s HQ and to do that, he needs to pretend that he’s frozen. That’s exactly what he does and Snively finds him, happy to cart him off on his ship.

I’ve got to stop and say that this story in particular has done a great job making Sonic look cute.

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The missing teeth really does sell it. He’s adorable.

So Robotnik’s got Sonic on a pedestal at his base now. Sonic still looks cute, pretending to be frozen while Robotnik gloats about breaking his promise to leave the people who surrendered and followed his laws alone. He says listening to him is a lot like being a robot slave anyway, so might as well get it over with. I can see the logic there. Sure.

Then he says something very interesting.

 


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I recall Eggman saying something similar in one of the recent issues of the IDW comics; the idea that once he’s enslaved the entire planet, he’ll stretch his reach out to the galaxy. Seeing as how this universe probably has limitless planets to conquer, he’ll never be out of a job like Megamind once he beat Metroman. He’ll be just like the Empire in Star Wars if that happens… except probably more successful since there’s no prophecy saying he’ll be beaten eventually. 

Of course, that’s assuming Sonic dies too which he won’t.

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He looks like Mickey Mouse in these panels to me.

Sonic presses all the buttons and reverses the ray so that everyone who was frozen gets unfrozen while all the unfrozen Swat Bots and Snively GET frozen. Then Sonic destroys the machine. Robotnik claims that the Immobilizing Ray will take YEARS to rebuild… meaning that… Snively stays frozen like that for YEARS?

Sonic zooms by Snively and laughs at him too so I guess he doesn’t give a shit.

Then he reaches his friends and finally gives his good wishes to Tails. Then remembers he forgot his present, tells Tails to close his eyes, races away, then comes back with his gift.

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Tails’ excitement at getting shoes that look similar to Sonic’s is adorable enough but the cuteness meter explodes for me when he shows them off to everyone. 

Sally does her absolute best to ruin the good vibes by nagging at Sonic for an explanation despite the fact that everyone’s happy and he just did a good thing. Sonic’s reaction is the appropriate one, where he just laughs in her face and delivers a pun about "time" instead of an explanation.

We cut back to older Sonic who’s just finished telling his story and sees that everyone, literally every single child, has fallen asleep.

Sonic winks at the camera and says he thought it was exciting and asks if I did.

Exciting? Maybe not but I did enjoy it.

 

Final Thoughts - The first story was some Solo: A Star Wars Story level of “Here’s the origin of THIS thing” bad writing. It’s breakneck pace was cartoonishly bad too. However, the last story that was split into three parts for the rest of this issue was excellent. It’s better than what I expected going into this. It was a lot of fun, it was really cute, and it made effective use of Sonic’s big brother mentality towards Tails. I gotta say, this was a really great issue overall as a result. I didn’t expect to really like this based on the Baby Looney Tunes cover but then again I guess that’s why you can’t judge a book BY it’s cover now can you?
 

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog - Issue #54: Running to Stand Still

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That’s a weird sounding title. I like the cover though. I can’t exactly tell what’s supposed to be happening and it’s weird how Sally’s body disappears when it hits Sonic’s hand but its very well drawn. Snively’s nose is fucking scary though. I feel like I’m staring into a cave looking at his nostrils. Anyway, it’s time to run… to stand still.

Spoiler

The Star Wars title crawl for this issue runs down where the story is at. The gang needs to find all of Robotnik’s stuff and store it in a place that’s safe. However, the thing they need to worry about is an enemy that’ll be harder to face than any other before… POLITICS!

So it turns out that the residents of Knothole have decided to move back into Mobotropolis, as it’s now called again, because, shock horror, turns out they don’t like living in Knothole now that it’s three hours ahead. Plus, there’s a huge barrier that keeps them from leaving properly and the only way out is through the Great Oak Slide which makes hauling and transporting items a bitch. So yeah, fuck that. Only Sonic seems to like hanging out there still.

As of now, Sonic’s helping Uncle Chuck and Tails with some experiment and apparently he’s messing it up. I can’t really tell what’s going on because the dialogue is not only written a little oddly but there’s a typo in one of Sonic’s responses.

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Uncle Chuck asks Sonic “What in the world are you *glitch* are you rebelling against?” and Sonic’s response is. “Whaddaya got?” and he tosses what looks like a towel at them? And then Uncle Chuck calls him Boy and Tails says he’s got an attitude and Uncle Chuck says “Certainly not gratitude”.

Gratitude for what? Why was Sonic’s response to Uncle Chuck’s question “Whaddaya got?” That makes no sense as a response to the question he asked. Why does Sonic look like he just got back from the Oil Ocean in that one panel?

Uncle Chuck questions what Sonic’s deal is, thinking that the reason Sonic came back here was to get out of the bustling city and unwind.

We cut to a flashback where Sally is giving a speech about what’s going to happen in the future. She runs down the key players that are here to help restore order. Doctor Quack, Rotor, Geoffrey St. John, and Sonic are the ones she highlights.

Immediately, I’m seeing what Sonic’s deal is here.

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Not only do I identify so much with this but this is one of the few times where Sonic has felt the most like the Sonic I grew up with to me. Or at least close to it. He’s acted like this before but I feel this new context and the changing atmosphere centered around what they’re going to do moving forward has put him in a position of being extremely lost and more bored than he’s ever been before in his life. Not to mention, it must be hard listening to Sally’s speeches. Christ.

Meanwhile, an airship flies its way towards the Devil’s Gulag, that infamous prison that we never got to actually see thanks to Sonic’s plane being shot down during Endgame.

It has a very neat looking design and seeing the Royal Airship have to punt itself through the clouds to reach the top of it, is a very striking image. 

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I should have mentioned this before but this issue is drawn really well. The pencils were done by Nelson Ortega and John Herbert, two names I don’t recognize but am enjoying the style of very much.

The transport is taking Warlord Kodos and the other lacky of Naugus off the ship, still crystalized. It’s good getting a follow-up on that. I was actually ready to assume we’d never see or hear from them again.

We cut back to Sonic, who it turns out was also sleeping with Uncle Chuck and Tails before being woken up by the fox. He’s not exactly happy to see his Uncle either.

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Tails and Sonic head out to do a mission somewhere far off from here. Tails asks Uncle Chuck over the communication device what “Sar-kas-tic” means (seriously, how young is Tails again?) and Uncle Chuck responds by saying that it means his nephew has a lot on his mind.

From reading this, it’s obvious he’s angry at Uncle Chuck but more so than that, he’s just upset in general. Unlike previous stories where Sonic just flies off the handle and does horrible things to people for no reason, his disgruntled, quiet disdain for whatever situation he’s in is being written rather realistically here. I’m actually kind of surprised. So far, Karl Bollers is proving he can actually write really well.

We cut to a flashback where Sally, Uncle Chuck, Tails, Amy and Sonic are having a conversation. The suggestion Uncle Chuck posed is that all the roboticized citizens move to Knothole until they can find a way to cure them all, effectively making a robot city as it were. Sally says it’s a great idea and that she just needs to get it approved by her asshole dad.

Later, when Sonic has left and come back to see Sally and Uncle Chuck gone, he finds that they went to make the plea without him. When he seeks them out, all he sees is Uncle Chuck’s downtrodden face and instantly knows that the king vetoed his request.

What’s interesting about this melancholy moment is that being denied separation between the robot citizens and the normal ones is being portrayed as a bad thing. Usually in stories like this, unifying the two would be put within the positive column. They have to make changes and its going to be hard but the option that eases them into it was just denied meaning they’re gonna have to make due with living among a bunch of robo-people in Mobotropolis. 

Personally, I can’t tell which is better or worse but it’s something that Uncle Chuck clearly wanted. Perhaps he’s worried he’d be seen as a freak to the normal people? I dunno. He hasn’t had to worry about that so far. I guess I’ll find out what the actual conflict is the more I read ahead. It’s piqued my interest.

Back at the prison, the guards are hauling in old Kodos and talking about how he was a pawn of Ixis Naugus. Snively, somehow in prison too, is overhearing this. Not only am I shocked that he couldn’t escape them after the fallout of the final battle but he’s got a smile on his face, even before he started overhearing the conversation. He doesn’t seem to mind being in jail. He gets even more wicked looks when he hears what the guards are saying, forming some sort of idea. 

Snively’s never looked better. Killing Robotnik must have felt REALLY goddamn good.

Cutting back to Sonic, Uncle Chuck, and Tails, Uncle Chuck is chiding Sonic again for running so recklessly since its ruining his experiment. Sonic doesn’t have a response to this. He’s just got a far off angry looking glare. Interesting that he’s still agreeing to help them out on their admittedly strange, and currently pointless, experiment to find out how fast Sonic can run with his mood being so down. Another identifiable trait; helping someone out despite being in a bad mood. Again, I can relate.

As Sonic runs off again we cut to another flashback where we see another thing that’s on Sonic’s mind. This time it has to deal with Rotor.

So, remember that story from long ago where Rotor’s family was hypnotized and then sent away, floating on a chuck of ice? Remember how that was never followed up on because a note at the bottom of the story’s final panel said to send in letters if they wanted it continued? Remember how it didn’t continue because, I assume, no one gave a shit?

Well, turns out Rotor does. He’s talking with Sonic about it in this flashback. Now that the conflict with Robotnik is over he wants to go out and find his family. However, Sonic is surprised to hear that when he brought this up to Sally… she said NO.

Oof. 

Sonic takes it upon himself to lend Rotor a hand. I gotta say, I really love this image of Sonic being a bro.

 


nWn117oJ5ehw_JasspYwPqnI8QwCbetgldAhsYN60s-8854oZicZe0jGzlyR0cciSSUKDyWCbu273A6NPd4UUQbv-MmbzuBu5X9Onp1Bry0T2QvrXBEz5ruJ9ENiIOpsgqx5p-VR

 

You can see the attitude written on his face but its in service of something he very much considers an injustice and even a possible obstruction of Freedom, the very thing the Freedom Fighters exist to fight against.

So we cut to Sonic walking in on Sally’s meeting and she’s apparently going a little overboard with what she wants to do. Doctor Quack is against her trying to get a hospital up and running in TWO DAYS FLAT and Geoffrey’s speaking out against the idea of having a MAN-AT-ARMS on every street corner to protect the robo-citizens from CRAZED MOBS?!

KNc0O47I9zieu53Ri5jbozekVovwgFoeVV3IMI89jg6MkaFpKfKVVn-iLa8KbJlXnyZzDDid-TWkyK40Cb_1iwP_9j-1nZ4iS-SXTI5JUFJaplCeZf7jo-mhPzoww2_cxVZ9Cw1P

Both of them are 100% correct, of course.

It’s incredibly dangerous to expect a hospital to be up and running in two days. Not only is it impossible but the LAST thing you want to give a rush job to is a goddamn HOSPITAL.

As for Geoffrey’s concerns, not only is it unrealistic to man EVERY street corner with a heavily armed man but… it’s also not a smart thing to do for everyone’s mental stability.

Seriously, we have an issue where armed police officers are patrolling the halls of schools now. That doesn’t make anyone feel safe. It just makes the children feel on edge and like they’re in constant, persistent danger. And Sally wants that for every street corner? To guard against crazed mobs? Crazed mobs of citizens? Does she think the people are going to be so uncomfortable with living with robo-people that they’re going to riot against them? Would that happen? I know these robo-people have been stuck in Robotropolis for a long time but they were all once citizens like them before too. It’s interesting to think that crazed mobs of people would be something for her to worry about. I guess the paranoia of having them around would be something to watch out for and it’s definitely something I didn’t consider… but a man at arms at every corner would probably send the wrong message.

It would really just highlight the idea that there definitely IS something to be worried about and both sides of the conflict would assume it’s in retaliation to whatever it is THEY fear.

Worse still, Sally says that Rotor can’t go out and look for his family because she needs him here to help rebuild the city. I’m not entirely against her reasoning. Robotropolis suffered a pretty huge explosion and the people need places to live. They COULD all stay in Knothole but the people don’t want to live there and the king vetoed separating the people so they have even more roofs to put over their heads in ONE place now. I get why the king denying it was such a big deal now.

Still, I can’t help but side with Rotor and Sonic here. I do feel like the safety of Rotor’s family and the time it would take to search for them is a bit of a bigger concern due to the uncertainty of their lives being left unchecked for… quite a long time now, actually. 

Sally promises that it won’t take long (which is code for, “It’s going to take forever”) and denies the request again. Rotor’s family might not have long so this is quite the… upsetting result.

Rotor asks Sonic how it went and Sonic shamefully has to stammer out the fact that he didn’t manage to succeed. 

It must hurt knowing that Rotor did everything within his power to help save Sally’s prick of a father but when it came time to help his family, she denied him because she needs even more help. That said, I’m surprisingly not mad at Sally either, if only because her denying it is what’s helping to make this all so interesting.

We cut back to present times where Snively is still over hearing the guards talk about Kodos and Uma Arachnis. Snively then comes to the conclusion that he needs to make his move and… does something with his finger nail that made me wince.

mnNRvzcHZPYmR0xDUltwZdY-_bBZXEBw0f_WkB8HWalnnfJ7JXddrQLR42gn11wto1Q-FtCAl9uYtgtx4snBl49wmhKrQILja0iXGFr6Q3fGf2FBNGHz1JvDdalhLgbLpb82xoUB

Yikes. Snively’s scaring me here.

Back with Sonic, he’s still helping out with the tests that Uncle Chuck and Tails are doing, despite his increasingly foul mood. Can’t even blame him here. I’d be pissed off if I were him too.

However, it’s here where he goes even further into what’s peeving him off. Turns out he’s mad at Uncle Chuck for not telling him his parents were alive.  We get another flashback off the heels of this.

A few hours back, while lamenting being on the boring council, Sonic met up with Rosie and the three kids who’ll end up throwing rocks at Monkey Khan in Issue 200-something. When the kids run off playing games about being Robotnik and going to “metalize” the others (cute?) Sonic and Rosie have a chat. 

Sonic just comes right out and says that with Robotnik gone, everything still stinks. Not only because of what happened before but he himself is lost and without much of a purpose. Or at least one that he feels he’d be good at living up to.

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How incredibly mature and wholesome. Also, relatable.

Rosie basically tells him to “make a difference” and Sonic repeats that over and over again, heading off to “make a difference”.

Back in the present, a bunch of Egg Robos are taking flight, having received a signal to search for Ixis Naugus thanks to a remote control device hidden underneath Snively's thumb (OW!). 

Back with Sonic, Tails and Uncle Chuck, Uncle Chuck decides to stop Sonic and talk with him about the reason he kept his folks being alive a secret… all while Tails chases a dragonfly and gets stuck in a tree trunk.

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He says that Robotnik would have used his confused feelings against him and cost them the war. He didn’t mean any harm, of course.

Sonic understands and forgives him, giving his uncle a nice hug and repeating the line Rosie said to him about it all being about making a difference.

Then the Egg Robos show up and Sally starts freaking out at him on his communicator. Emotional moment over.

 

Final Thoughts - This was, without a doubt, the most engaging one of these stories has been for me. The way it conveyed how many problems are cropping up not only due to “politics” but the emotional stress of dealing with change as well as the fallout from decisions made during the war was actually really, really well handled. I really liked the way this was written and the art was really good too. I’m shocked by how well done this issue was. I’ve never been so invested before. Here’s hoping it stays like this going ahead… I mean, I know it’s going to get worse but I’d like at least a bit more issues like this before it does. Awesome job, Karl Bollers.

 

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I'm just gonna come out and say it stuff like Sonic's robot parents and Snivley being in jail would make more sense if you'd read Super Special 2. It's set between #52 and 53.

As for Tails' age he was born the day Robotnik took over so he's 10 in Archie continuity.

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12 minutes ago, SBR2 said:

I'm just gonna come out and say it stuff like Sonic's robot parents and Snivley being in jail would make more sense if you'd read Super Special 2. It's set between #52 and 53.

As for Tails' age he was born the day Robotnik took over so he's 10 in Archie continuity.

Yeah. I missed that one. Its not the fault of my list, I just missed it by accident. I'll cover it next time.

Ah yes. I seem to recall him being either 10 or 11 in the comics. Explains why there's so much confusion about his age out there. God, what a shitty birthday though.

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One thing I might say is wasted potential character wise was making Sonic play middle man between the concern with Rotor's parents and Sally's tactical decision making. I think there was wasted potential for Sally in these issues where she was being brought into a more developed political role. Sally was always a 'head over heart' character, or perhaps more accurately WANTED to be one. She was in fact the Team Mom most of the time and was known to make impulsive choices based on emotion. Seeing her being forced to make pragmatic decisions where she can't make everyone happy could have given a lot of emotional weight to her and made her a very sympathetic character, I think making Sonic the messenger with all the burden placed onto him kinda vanquished that potential here and they never really played much on that in later scenarios. In fact they seemed to keep trying to get Sally out of having much agency in such things, especially when they basically brought in another version of her in the form of Elias to take all the brunt of it, or Ian's run where they made everyone hurt by her tactics into a strawman/jerk.

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Sonic Super Special - Issue #2: Brave New World

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Good lord what is happening on here!

No, it’s not aurora borealis. It’s an awful Sonic cover. Especially Tails. Jesus Christ. His horrifying looking, gremlin hands are creepy and his goddamn muzzle is weirdly shaded. They all look weirdly shaded. They look like that awful metallic sheen effect that One Punch Man Season 2 used for all it’s robots and metal stuff. The absolute worst thing that sticks out is Tails’ mouth though. It looks so much like someone just took a needle and pricked him on the muzzle and made a tiny, bleeding hole in his face. Urgh…!

I can’t look at it anymore. Let’s get into the comic.

Spoiler

So, as was pointed out to me last time, I missed this issue. It wasn’t the fault of my reading order list. I literally just skipped it by accident. I’m rectifying that mistake today.

I love that the credits page says “Chronicled by Ken Penders”. I just got an image of Penders sitting by a fireplace, wearing a robe, and smoking a pipe while bringing up the LARA-SU CHRONICLES IN ALL CAPS app to read you his story… only to then try to change the subject the instant he realized he had no story. 

This fool made an app for a SINGLE comic series. One that doesn’t even fucking exist. 

The first two pages are just a recap of everything that led up to the, then thought, proper formation of the Freedom Fighters. No, apparently, Sally just formed the team on a whim when they found a random cave thanks to grass that functioned like quicksand.

But yeah. You know the story. Everyone lived happily together in the Kingdom of Mobotropolis. Everyone was very much not-dead and very much not a robot. Seeing this little image of Geoffrey behind the king’s throne with his father behind him is honestly really sad to look at in hindsight.

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They were in the middle of a war against the Overlanders (humans) and Sally’s mom disappeared, her fate left unknown like Zuko’s mom in Avatar. Then Warlord Jullian, the world’s most trusted advisor and his talking parrot Iago took over the kingdom and turned everyone into robots. Blah blah. It’s a fine enough recap I suppose.

The book then cuts to the present where the captions try to sell you on how huge the magnitude of what they have to deal with next is going to be. It says things like “Yeah they beat Robotnik… but at what PRICE?!” and all that jazz and honestly… it does a good job of making the reveal of what it’s talking about a good, solid, breath-taking one.

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Jesus Christ. Look at that. It’s huge, it’s impressive, and yes I can totally see why the task ahead would be a hard one to pin down for them.

I don’t quite get what the book means when it says “at what price” here though. They got their city back. Yeah, it’s going to take a lot of work to fix it but “at what price” is usually something said in regards to making the decision they went with something with a regrettable outcome. No matter what, Robotnik being vanquished is the best possible outcome for them. 

Also, these Super Special books are making me even angrier here. This is an amazing two-page spread reveal of them walking into their city. I feel like this should be in the main book. I know back in the day this is considered to be a “special” book but screw that. The idea of someone going down the line of books and missing this because it was in another series is annoying. Hell, I almost missed it and I’ve got a comprehensive reading order list to follow.

Anyway, they head into the city with Rotor going on about how he regrets not considering how attacking Robotropolis would affect them on a personal level. Then it gets repeated back to him from both Sally and Geoffrey that the mission comes first! Sure, whatever.

They enter the place where Eggman did his command center stuff and boy does it looks really neat and detailed. 

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It looks better than it ever did with it abandoned like this.

This whole time they’ve been going on about putting aside their feelings for the sake of their mission but they haven’t been to upfront about what that mission is. She calls Geoffrey forward and Sonic immediately tries to start shit by claiming he’s gonna be sick. Sally tries to ward off another pointless and annoying fight between them when a loud sound is heard that makes Hershey say she lost eight of her nine lives just hearing it. It must be quiet the scary sound but the sound effect of WHOOOEEHR placed at the bottom of the page in apple green doesn’t quite get the feeling or terror across for me.

Anyway, they get attacked by a robot. Sonic and Geoffrey try to handle it but it don’t work.

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Of course Tails is underselling his pain by trying his best to force out a pun about his guts being squished out. I do kind of enjoy that Hershey is going “MEEE-OOOW!” cause she’s a cat. 

Uh… then… stuff happens. It’s a little confusing.

The robot squeezes everyone so badly it gives them a bad case of Muppet mouth.

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Then it tosses them away and at Sonic. Sonic zips off and a scene happens where its time for Rotor to exposit his usual nonsensical techno-babble. Only this time it’s kind of amusing considering he stops and goes “Erm” as if trying to figure out what to make up next in his bullshit explanation.

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“The dynamic registers Sonic’s body heat as he does so!... … SNIVELY!”

Pfft. Okay.

Anyway, Snively’s here folks. Here’s the explanation for how he ended up in prison, which I missed. It’s interesting because he was so confident and scary in that issue. I wonder what his deal is.

Anyway, Snively doesn’t even bother with the “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” shtick and just bolts. 

Sally jumps to try and grab him but she misses and falls because she apparently isn’t good enough to be able to nab Snively.

SNIVELY.

Geoffrey immediately captures him with a net and the giant robot is taken care of when Bunnie grabs a broken electrical wire and uses it to fry it.

With Snively captured, Sally decides to go and check something out.

I don’t know where she ends up, because she doesn’t say, but she starts crying and says it’s not home anymore. Sonic and Geoffrey leave together, knowing she needs some time alone.

I mean, I get it. It’s hard seeing her home so devastated and destroyed. It’s a little lost on me since I both don’t have a clear picture of what home before looked like and the fact that they have it back now is a good thing. I’m not going to be too hard on it though.

Sally then pulls teams together. Bunnie is tasked with getting a clean source of water. Rotor is tasked with getting a source of power up. Sonic and Tails are tasked with scouting for potential threats. So they go do that.

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This issue’s art is kind of scary. Sometimes they look okay but most of the time it’s stuff like this. Muppet mouths and jazz hands.

We then cut to the most interesting point in the issue. It’s the recurring segment on this review page I like to call “The King is an Asshole”.

Yes, it turns out that Sir Charles the Hedgehog is now being pinned for the blame of what’s happened and is being considered a traitor by the angry, half-emerald king.

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Geoffrey is in the armoury and contacting King Acorn about preparing to face against “THE ENEMY” and the enemy, as it turns out, is an old man who tried and failed to save his brother’s life and resigned himself to selling chili-dogs.

It’s quite the obvious cheapshot, bringing up the fact that he invented the Roboticizer. He also brings up that Chuck created the Spy Network and that had traitors in it so it’s his fault there too I guess. I know Sleuth Doggy Dog was a traitor but the other people who turned on them in the Spy Network were captured and forcefully roboticized so… I think he’s mad about just Sleuth here, really.

He finishes by saying he’s got info that not even Geoffrey doesn't but is told to relax by Doctor Quack. Geoffrey leaves his resident place and says no one, especially Princess Sally, is allowed in.

I’m glad I have more context for why King Acorn refused Uncle Chuck’s request in Issue 54. Now there’s absolutely no hang ups about hating him.

We also happen to cut to Uncle Chuck, whose busy putting away surveillance equipment now that Robotnik is gone. A sad scene ensues where a bunch of roboticized people approach him and are granted the good news that Robotnik is gone, including Sonic’s dad Jules, who just shows up in a panel without any fanfare. Surprising.

The animal people turned robot animal people say that the only thing keeping them going is the idea that they may one day be returned normal and live a normal life with their families. Charles says that ain’t happening though. The original roboticizer was destroyed during the fallout from the Ultimate Annihilator and even if he could rebuild it, get this, because of any modifications and alterations Eggman made to them, their molecular structure is out of whack. Returning them to flesh and blood with them altered could just get them killed.

Now this is the kind of science stuff I can get behind. It makes sense to, when you think about it. If you get turned into a robot, how does being turned back account for whatever changed about your body when parts were replaced or weaponized? It’s really gruesome thinking about it.

Jules and Bernie decide to stop clinging to false hope. They want to see their son.

At the same time, Sonic and Tails come across a bunch of Swat Bots carrying things into a base. It looks like they’re on a funeral march.

The two of them sneak in behind them and see them all working on… something. They guess at it being a left-over back-up plan from Robotnik that they’re doing on autopilot but it doesn’t seem like it. A Swat Bot literally walks by them and they get completely ignored.

Then a cry for help happens. Sonic bolts for it while Tails is constantly trying to warn him about making sure he isn’t too eager to fall into a trap here.

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Now that’s how you do convincing scary font.

They eventually find Arlo the Armadillo (Hm.) trapped underneath some rubble. Sonic tries to get him free but runs out of breath in the attempt. It’s okay though, Rudyard lifts up the rock and saves him. Who is Rudyard? Some bear that they know. He’s been roboticized so Sonic makes the comment about that being the reason they haven’t seen him in a while.

Then they see Uncle Chuck and all the other robot guys come out.

So… here is where the intrigue behind why Sonic was upset in Issue 54 would have been done away with had I read this issue first. However, the pacing of this part is really strange. It’s too fast and there’s very little emphasis put on the fact that Sonic is reuniting with his fucking PARENTS!

I would have expected a huger panel or a splash page of shock or something but they just keep showing these guys like it’s no big deal. Is that intentional? Are we not supposed to see this as a big deal? Obviously we are because Sonic spends all of Issue 54 sulking about it (among other things).

I mean, look at these panels.

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We go from Chuck saying he’s got a surprise for Sonic. The flat panel next to it, his parents are there. The third one is Sonic is saying who they are. Then the fourth one has Sonic instantly mad at Chuck. 

It just snaps to the next story beat. It’s really odd. I feel like you could have shaved off some space in the beginning of this issue to dedicate more time to this reaction.

It’s even funnier because of what happens next. He jumps from saying “Mom? Dad?” to “WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?!” to running off crying like a toddler.

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Like, it’s not even the emotions that I have a problem with. It’s so fast all of a sudden. Hell, the build up to this meeting in the pages before this one took it’s time better than this.

… Also, I’d hate to be mean but it IS funny seeing Sonic running off like this. It’s a pose you only see happen in those over-the-top dramas and Sonic’s not a character I typically associate with those.

Also, Ms. Duck over is doing more jazz hands.

They say he could use a friend right now and that’s Tails’ cue to fly after him, saying “Tails to Sonic! You forgot something--ME!”

That’s kind of cute.

Uncle Chuck immediately regrets not telling Sonic the truth and says he doesn’t blame him for being mad… which kind of makes the dialogue he has in 54 that made it seem like he wasn’t sure why Sonic was mad all the more stranger.

The roboticized people all return to the surface and greet Sally and the others. It’s a happy reunion with no shades of resentment or potential anti-robot sentiments anywh-!

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Oh God. Hamlin. NO!

Hamlin: I’m sorry but the will of Ken Penders compels me. I don’t have a choice!

Jules also has a great line. Instead of greeting Sally properly he just says something snarky. Bernie asks where his manners are and he says “Back in the sewers, along with my sense of humor.” 

Best line in the issue. I really like Jules. He’s a disgruntled robo-dad.

Another good scene happens where young Tails has to play psychiatrist to Sonic. We even get the best drawn Sonic of the issue here along with a swell looking view of the city.

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Tails actually has to stay here and explain to him that there’s no way Uncle Chuck hid the truth about his parents from him for malicious reasons. I understand that Sonic is upset he wasn’t told. I probably would be, maybe, because it’s like having your emotions toyed and manipulated with. In that sense I totally get it.

Tails’ reasoning ability is to be envied. Sonic brings up that Uncle Chuck said they were casualties of war to which Tails replies that they were because they were roboticized. Sonic brings up that he could have at least told him but Tails brings up that Sally knowing her father was alive and in the Zone of Silence didn’t make her feel any better about the situation. He also brings up that he probably wouldn’t have been able to see them like they could barely see Uncle Chuck because he was working behind enemy lines. Then he summarized by saying Uncle Chuck probably connected the situation with Sally with Sonic’s situation and figured he was better off not knowing for his own sake.

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It’s a really sweet moment. Who says little brother’s can’t be the supportive voice of reason?

The two fly back and it seems like all is well and Sonic’s feeling better.

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He totally isn’t feeling better though.

It’s like a comedy sketch where a person appears to have been catered to and they’ve calmed down only for them to reveal in literally the next scene that they’re still boiling mad and they just take it out on the next person they see.

So, in the city, Sally was talking with Nicole about how this situation was hopeless and that it might be better to find some place else to live. Nicole said they didn’t explore anywhere near enough options for that to be viable. Geoffrey comes along and agrees, saying not to give up and asks if she needs a friend. She says she does so he sticks around to chat.

However, Sally makes it clear to him that even though there’s SOMETHING between them (a very icky and gross, pedophilic thing as we came to find out) her heart belongs to Sonic.

Geoffrey has words in his speech bubbles that implies he’s accepting of this but he goes in for a smooch anyway and… Sally doesn’t look like she minds this? Yet again? I don’t get her reactions to this creepy skunk dude. Why does she just LET him mack on her whenever he wants if she knows her heart belongs to Sonic? She’s just fooling around for no reason at that point.

At this point I wouldn’t blame Sonic for being upset… and yet it still somehow looks like it’s a bit much that the breaking point was Geoffrey calling Sonic his “mate”. 

“Hey mate!”

*GETS PUNCHED IN THE FACE*

“THE FUCK DID YOU SAY TO ME BITCH?!”

It’s hilarious.

So Geoffrey gets up immediately and jumps Sonic. Then they start having a brawl.

The two of them get hosed down by water and Sally demands they shake hands and make up. They shake hands but they make it clear they’re not done being jerks to one another.

We then cut to the next scene and I’m really starting to realize just how important this issue is the more I read it. I’m starting to get even more upset that I almost skipped over it by accident.

Sally is being told to do something against her will by her dad that she clearly doesn’t want to do. Sally tries to concede that maybe her dad should be in charge but he says she’s doing fine for now and orders her to carry out his wishes.

What are his wishes? Well, I’m pretty sure it’s the majority of what we see her doing in Issue 54. She’s not happy about it and is even shown sulking in her bed at night.

The next day she meets up with the roboticized citizens who have come to a majority vote that it’s best they peace out and form a colony.

IMOFO2vUc61n8K7-L99Mot9C-TqpiKQJ2w7dQYB-xDvCWGOK3Y3IM6FNd5LQe1CSC0UZaG8170XRsLbtU-XW8ruAD8a2M4nLuQw39Eui87IeLviMm6pMijxIZMHbhysvsPMl6_UM

Yes. Our kind.

The more I read, the more uncomfortable I’m starting to feel despite how interesting this conflict is.

I get what’s happening and what Penders is going for but… the mere thought of reading a storyline of Ken Penders tackling a racism allegory with these animals and these robo-animals gives me indigestion.

We end on Rotor finally getting a sky tower online and the ship taking Snively off to the Devil’s gulag, where he has a little monologue about how they’re not safe from him just because they’ve got him in a cell that they apparently only check once a week (Sigh). 

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Reading this panel, all I could think about was… how broken up Sonic would be if Snively died. Man, he’d totally just lose his mind at the death of this kind-hearted soul wouldn’t he Penders? Sounds like a good story idea right? RIGHT?

This issue was actually really good. There were a lot of bits to it that had a few pacing issues. Somethings were stretched when they didn’t need to be and somethings went way too fast when they deserved more time but overall, the subject matter and how it was handled was done with a lot of tact. It’s intriguing. King Acorn is an unapologetic asshole. Sonic and Tails have one of the few healthy and awesomely portrayed relationships in this book (until House of Cards). Sally’s conflictions are done well when it comes to her thoughts and feelings about what her dad is making her do and how running the city is supposed to work. The stuff with the love triangle with her, Sonic, and Geoffrey is still awful. It will never be good. I really wish Penders would stop putting it into his stories.

 

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog - Issue #55: Monkey Madness

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Spoiler

 

The title crawl for this issue goes on about how Robotnik experimented with fusing technology with Mobians before he discovered the Roboticizer and shows a picture of Monkey Khan with an X-ray skeleton picture. It’s creepy but it makes it sufficiently clear that he’s the one we’re talking about with this.

Monkey Khan, by the way, is a character I was introduced to for the Iron Dominion Arc. I had no clue who he was or what his relevance was but I hear that in these past books he’s just… okay. He’s there and not much is there to make him standout which is a bit of a shame because I did like him in the stories I read. As someone who doesn’t care to see Sonic and Sally together, I didn’t mind their little fling.

The issue begins with Sonic carrying Sally and deliberating being a dick to Antoine. Antoine asks Sonic to allow him to catch up and he refuses because he’s a dick. He says it because he lives to be fast and dangerous or whatever but no. It’s because he’s a dick.

Anyway, him and Sally come across some Egg-Robos doing things with a huge drill. I can only hope and assume it’s something rated PG.

 Antoine shows up which leads to Sonic and him having a back and forth while Sally wanders off and finds a crypt. She opens it without consulting Sonic and Antoine and releases the cyborg that Robotnik half-created and locked in here for 10 YEARS because he couldn’t control his power.

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tenor.gif?itemid=7693551

There he is. Looking nothing like he does on the cover for some reason. Also, I guess he’s evil? Sure.

The Egg-Robos uncover a power ring and let Snively know this. Snively is mad because he specifically told them to look for Ixis Naugus’ energy signature. The robos completely ignore this and try to retrieve the ring anyway but it flies up and zips over to Monkey Khan, landing on his head and making a neat little ring crown for him.

He then immediately goes and destroys the robots while monologuing about how evil he is.

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Damn. I guess he IS a villain.

Sonic asks who that guy stealing his thunder is and Sally says it’s apparently a cyborg robot created by Robotnik. Before she can even finish, Sonic says “by Robotnik” is all he needs to here. He has his excuse to attack a thing that had the gull to look cooler than him for a second. Sally says not to be he does. He has no idea who this is or whether he’s evil or not so despite the fact that Khan is apparently a villain, this still somehow makes Sonic look like a dick.

Now, Sally isn’t winning any points with me either since she shouts at Sonic that he rebelled against Robotnik and therefore is on their side. Not true. That’s definitely not how that works. If it did, the Zeti would have been all over being buds with us in Lost World.

Monkey Khan sees Sally, gets a Monkeybone and kidnaps her like some primitive, weird caveman.

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Not in the market for a boyfriend she says. She’s got so many potential “suitors” too.

Sonic and Antoine race after them but are ambushed by Snively’s Egg Robos. While they’re stuck fighting them, they get into an argument about when it’s time for diplomacy and talking rather than charging at everything with their fists. Antoine makes good points about the importance of being diplomatic in certain situations and calls Sonic out for being “insufferable, antagonistic” and one who “doesn’t play well with others”. These are all true of this version of Sonic and something I definitely wouldn’t say about the versions of Sonic that I love the most.

Sonic and Antoine eventually team up to do something incredibly lame (and mildly confusing) to take out some of the Egg Robos. Sonic asks Antoine for his sword and he uses it to break off a piece of the cliff that… the Robos were standing on so that they’d fall into a pit? It’s strange because a page before Sonic was shown almost falling into the pit himself because HE was the one backed into it. I’m not sure how they switched places.

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Also, I don’t understand why they didn’t just fly out and beat the tar out of Sonic for that awful pun. Putting self-aware nyuks at the end of it isn’t gonna make this line okay.

Seriously though, they have jet packs. We’ve seen them fly. How does this work even for a second?

Well, it doesn’t matter because more are behind them. Then this happens.

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I guess he’s a good guy now? Sure.

There was a small panel where Sally said he could be a hero if he watched his ego and I guess he immediately took it to heart.

Wait no, I don’t have to guess. That’s literally what happened.

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… What?

Also, Snively says that the Egg Robos that they destroyed were his last squad? I hope not, otherwise all that build up had quite the unsatisfying end.

Okay so, this first story was weird. Like, really weird.

I’m pretty sure this isn’t how character development works. Monkey Khan came out of his crypt talking about how he’s going to make Mobius tremble with fear, about how his WRATH will be swift and terrible, and about how he’s an engine of DESTRUCTION and then kidnaps Sally because she’s hot. 

Then she has a panel dedicated to calling his ego into question and a (presumably) off-panel conversation (I assume) where she sets him straight? When did Sally become such a strong therapist? That scene with Sonic and Tails in the Super Special was way more convincing and it STILL didn’t fix Sonic’s attitude. How the hell did she make this work?

Whatever. I’m not mad at it. This was just odd. I must say, I do find myself liking Monkey Khan here though. His attitude and demeanor is very strange. It’s kind of refreshing. This was written by Frank Strom who… so far hasn’t been the worst I’ve seen but he’s also got a lot to prove going forward, assuming he sticks around to write some more. He’s also the penciler so maybe he just does more of that.

 

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog - Issue #55: Rise of the Robians

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Oh boy. Here we go.

It’s not enough that this poor girl was captured and turned into a robot against her will by Robotnik but now the people she’s supposed to live with are gonna start harassing her out of fear that she may be up to no good. Her crime? Being near Robotnik’s old lab which means she must be up to no good.

It’s logic that Kindergarten teachers use to get kids in trouble when they didn’t actually do anything wrong.

So, about three pages into this story and the writing of the people who are in opposition to the Robot Mobians, or Robians, is some of the worst, most obvious, most over the top, cartoonish lines from people who are ready to fight for their right to oppress people who are different that I’ve ever seen.

This guy, Mr. Tusk Luza, stands in front as the mouthpiece for these people when Uncle Chuck uses a flashbomb to temporarily blind everyone and get to this chicken girl named Fanny. 

The labs are off-limits to people and Fanny’s explanation is that she’s there because it was a dare from her friends… 

Uncle Chuck says that’s a reasonable explanation and Tusk says it isn’t, which I actually agree with him on. What the fuck?

Despite that, the integration of these Mobians and Robians hasn’t been going on for long at all and yet this dude is READY and RARIN to push the ideals of these mobbing cowards out there for everyone to listen to. It’s so hamfisted and stupid.

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He looks like Harold from Hey Arnold.

It can not have been that long and yet he’s already going “YOU ROBOT MOBIANS!” like they’re a different breed of people from him. Like maybe if the dialogue was more tailored towards the understandable cautious side of having them around rather than just framing it as “They’re different now so we hates em” it might help. Some of that is here but most of it is just really bad excuses for oblivious bigotry.

Like, of course they’re sticking together. They were made into Robotnik’s slaves and forced to fight in a war they had no real business being part of. The maliciousness here doesn’t even properly add up. Look at this.

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He’s calling them LOSERS! 

He’s calling the entire group of people who were made prisoners and slaves of war, LOSERS? There’s definitely things to explore about how the Mobians feel being around the Robians but I don’t know if the strategy should be to paint the side that’s cautious as THIS cartoonish and this obviously wrong. Sure, morons like this DO exist but considering how fast and out of nowhere this is, it’s not working to sell me on this conflict as a whole.

The idea of this being an issue was properly built up but the citizens themselves haven’t had a ton of focus until now. Now that we’re getting some it’s immediately like this as though the pot boiled over fucking immediately. It’s so weird.

I don’t want to jump the gun too early. After all, there’s probably a chance that some stories ahead can address this in a manner that’s a lot less… childish and silly but for now this ain’t it.

We cut to the former Robotnik’s throne room where Geoffrey wanders out wondering what all the fuss is about. Tusk is impatient because the princess has kept them waiting a whole five minutes… 

Geoffrey says they’ll wait five fucking hours if they don’t show some goddamn respect. Uncle Chuck then explains the situation to him. Geoffrey is about to postpone the conflict outright before King Acorn shows up, looking… unwell.

Geoffrey suggests maybe the King of Nutter Butters take a nap or something but he says that’s nonsense and helps himself to his throne where he basically blurts out his decision.

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That’s right folks.

For the horrible, terrible, treasonist CRIME of being kidnapped, turned into robots, enslaved, and having your free will taken from you by a mad-man that I, the king, trusted enough to make the fucking Warlord of my kingdom… you will be stripped of your parts and dismantled.

This is the story that should have been called “Monkey Business”. 

Remember when the king was a fake sent in by Robotnik during Endgame? I have a feeling that it would have been entirely within his character to give Julian a second chance at being Warlord.

Fuck Sally’s shitty dad and fuck this kingdom and it’s shitty people.

Even Tusk’s reaction to this is a tepid “Huh?” when he hears the part about that LOSER being dismantled. 

Chuck’s response to this is magical.

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Yes, UNFAIR… my liege.

I know I was raging a bit before but honestly… I’m enjoying the hell out of this. 

It’s weird, I know, but honestly, seeing Sally’s dad, the father of one of the main heroes whom we’ve been trying to save all this time and the king of this kingdom of good guys going totally buttfuck insane with power is GRIPPING as hell. I can’t tear my eyes away from it.

Imagine being there in this room of people as the king just loses his goddamn mind and starts making up laws and excuses for the sake of killing people who don’t deserve it… and it’s the father of Princess Sally Acorn! 

Geoffrey steps up in an attempt at being another voice of reason and...

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Oh my god! Please don’t be a fake! 

THIS IS AWESOME! HE’S SUCH A FUCKING PRICK!

He’s obviously not a fake though as he immediately gets a headache and passes out due to his crystal state weakening him. All I can say is, “ALL HAIL KING IXIS NAUGUS!”

Then Knuckles shows up on the TV and says he and everyone on the floating island needs help. Sonic then winks at the camera, smiles, and says something stupid to close the issue out, completely and horribly juxtaposed against the terrible attempts at upholding a made up law that gave the king the right to murder innocent civilians for being different and hitting anyone who said that maybe wanton murder might be a touch too far.

 

Oh my God! I loved this issue… I mean, it was AWFUL. It was awfully written but dear lord did I enjoy what happened in it. Bollers can’t write a tale of oppression with racism allegories any better than Penders but they're both doing a fun job of making this kingdom look like absolute shit. It’s a train wreck that I’ve got my eyes fixated on for the foreseeable future. Hot damn!

The way it just ends with the king declaring his right to make up laws that allow him to murder people and him punting Geoffrey away for suggesting he may want to reconsider not murdering people only for it to be abruptly stopped and ends on Sonic winking at the camera is beautifully ignorant writing. It’s like those pictures you see of that dog in the building on fire saying “This is fine”. Look at all the Super Sonic FUN we’re having!

I’m amazed by this. Yeah it’s garbage but it’s the fun kind of garbage. 11/10. Would read again. Also the Monkey Khan story was fine. Whatever. 

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I will give Penders credit SSS #2 is very nicely detailedin the backgrounds but I think it's bullshit he said that literally no other issue has ever been as detailed as it. I also love that he was so incapable of making Sonic show emotions that Spaz had to do it.

Fun fact about Frank Strom he's drawn several Looney Tunes comics and also some straight up porn comics. He's got an interesting resume. 

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On 1/25/2020 at 4:05 AM, E-122-Psi said:

One thing I might say is wasted potential character wise was making Sonic play middle man between the concern with Rotor's parents and Sally's tactical decision making. I think there was wasted potential for Sally in these issues where she was being brought into a more developed political role. Sally was always a 'head over heart' character, or perhaps more accurately WANTED to be one. She was in fact the Team Mom most of the time and was known to make impulsive choices based on emotion. Seeing her being forced to make pragmatic decisions where she can't make everyone happy could have given a lot of emotional weight to her and made her a very sympathetic character, I think making Sonic the messenger with all the burden placed onto him kinda vanquished that potential here and they never really played much on that in later scenarios. In fact they seemed to keep trying to get Sally out of having much agency in such things, especially when they basically brought in another version of her in the form of Elias to take all the brunt of it, or Ian's run where they made everyone hurt by her tactics into a strawman/jerk.

I'm actually starting to see where you're coming from a bit. Its strange that in the issue I just read where her father is abusing his privledge for the sake of murdering a bunch of former prisoners of war, Sally isn't present for any of it. Perhaps its simply not time yet though? I hope...?

On 1/30/2020 at 7:50 PM, SBR2 said:

I will give Penders credit SSS #2 is very nicely detailedin the backgrounds but I think it's bullshit he said that literally no other issue has ever been as detailed as it. I also love that he was so incapable of making Sonic show emotions that Spaz had to do it.

Fun fact about Frank Strom he's drawn several Looney Tunes comics and also some straight up porn comics. He's got an interesting resume. 

Thats neat. Good on Mr. Strom.

I'm not sure what Penders means by the most detailed. There was a lot of stuff in it and I enjoyed it but I'm not sure the buck stops here as far as that is concerned.

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37 minutes ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

I'm not sure what Penders means by the most detailed. There was a lot of stuff in it and I enjoyed it but I'm not sure the buck stops here as far as that is concerned.

He means the art is the most detailed the book has ever been and literallyno issue ever has come close. I guess nobody has shown him anything Ben Bates has done.

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When it comes to the BumbleKast, it's too bad Ian Flynn won't answer questions related to old plans for Archie Sonic anymore. I still don't understand how answering those questions would hurt his reputation, especially how this comic is cancelled. It's even worse with how Lost Hedgehog Tales still hasn't been fully released yet despite being started in the last decade, and I barely have hope on that project now as there's nothing left for Archie Sonic fans now that many characters are gone for good. I still hope for a miracle, though.

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1 hour ago, NiTROACTiVE said:

When it comes to the BumbleKast, it's too bad Ian Flynn won't answer questions related to old plans for Archie Sonic anymore. I still don't understand how answering those questions would hurt his reputation, especially how this comic is cancelled. It's even worse with how Lost Hedgehog Tales still hasn't been fully released yet despite being started in the last decade, and I barely have hope on that project now as there's nothing left for Archie Sonic fans now that many characters are gone for good. I still hope for a miracle, though.

I feel it's less about his reputation and more about the legal snafu that might happen if he were to do such a thing without the okay from all the proper channels. I also don't understand how releasing details on what was going to happen in a now cancelled comic could harm him but Ian is the one working closely with whatever is happening behind the scenes so he's the one who would know. I do recall Penders getting a little pissy when the first chapter of Lost Hedgehog Tales was released but I forgot why.

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1 hour ago, NiTROACTiVE said:

When it comes to the BumbleKast, it's too bad Ian Flynn won't answer questions related to old plans for Archie Sonic anymore. I still don't understand how answering those questions would hurt his reputation, especially how this comic is cancelled. It's even worse with how Lost Hedgehog Tales still hasn't been fully released yet despite being started in the last decade, and I barely have hope on that project now as there's nothing left for Archie Sonic fans now that many characters are gone for good. I still hope for a miracle, though.

I thought it was because he could still use some of his old plans in the new comic. Like the zombots.

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Knuckles the Echidna - Issue # 7: Dark Vengeance, Part 1 of 3: Deadly Homecoming

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These are some nice covers all around. Of course, this one kind of loses a bit of its luster for me since it’s depicting characters I don’t very much care for but my boy Knuckles is here at least so it can never be all bad. Gotta love that awful title though. Vengeance alone would have been cool but no, it’s gotta be dark vengeance. There’s regular vengeance and there’s DARK vengeance. Let’s get into it.

Spoiler

The title crawl this time recaps all of Knuckles’ emotions for him. He’s apparently really conflicted about learning that he’s not the only echidna in the world anymore because they were living in a futuristic city in another dimension (Good God, it’s even stupider when summing it up like that) and it’s all because Archimedes entered his life that things keep getting more fucked. Someone should hurry and step on that ant then.

When we last left our favorite insane, God he was traveling into space.

No, it’s not Eneru but rather our favorite looney toon, Dimitri aka Enerjak. Someone is looking at him through a Chaos Emerald and using his enchanting powers, I guess, to bring him back home. 

So after all this time, someone else decides to bring Dimitri back eh? I suppose we’ll never find out why Dimitri was laughing when he got shot into space then. Maybe he just found the idea of dying in a vacuum funny.

Meanwhile, Kragok and the Dark Legion are having a PTA meeting in some desert when the great Dimitri statue they’re talking about worshipping breaks apart with Dimitri bursting out of it, shouting about how Enerjak has returned. He doesn’t seem to realize that he just burst out of a statue of himself so… whoever brought him back must have a pretty decent sense of humor.

Anyway, it’s kind of amazing how fast this sequence happens. Dimitri just shows up and says the statue of himself looks handsome. Kragok is like “YOU know Dimitri” and Dimitri's like, “Bitch, I AM he!” and then Kragok immediately believes him and is like “We serve you now.” and Dimitri is very nonchalant about the fact that he just got a huge army in the span of a page and a half.

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Class act.

Back on the Floating Island, Knuckles is thinking hard about how much of an asshole everyone has been to him in a talk with Julie-Su. He muses that he and Sonic are kind of alike in that their parents kept a secret from them… only in Knuckles’ case it was literally everyone. Not just his parents but his self-proclaimed teacher and practically everyone in that city.

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At least the story is aware of it. I wouldn’t have wanted to continue on with Knuckles just being okay that he’s being taken advantage of like this for a reason that we, the audience, still don’t know and thus have no real choice but to sympathize with Knuckles the most. 

Julie-Su interjects with an admittedly pitiable story about how she can’t walk the streets without people giving her angry looks because she still looks like one of Kragok’s goons. She just wants to see where her family lives so Knuckles decides to look for Archimedes with her to help her out. It’s relatively sweet. It’s nice seeing her act a little vulnerable and relatable instead of just in constant, verbal conflict with Knuckles for no reason.

As for Archimedes, he’s speaking with his grandfather on top of a high tech computer. It’s amusing how small they are for some reason. They’re talking about how danger approaches while standing on a keyboard. 

Just then though, the floating disembodied head of Colonel Sanders appears before them and begins singing, “EVERYTHING YOU KNOW IS WRONG! BLACK IS WHITE, UP IS DOWN, AND SHORT IS LONG~!”

No, just kidding. It’s the floating disembodied head of Enerjak/Dimitri.

He’s chosen to appear before these two ants because he’s fucking pissed about the fact that his tower was chewed through by ants all those years ago, so he puts an end to their misery? I think?

 

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I actually can’t tell what he’s doing here. It looks like he’s locking them into plastic Easter Eggs and then zipping them into the computer screen. That FA-VHRUUM sound-effect surprisingly doesn’t help me figure out what the deal is either.

We cut back to the Echidna city where General Stryker is approaching the council with an urgent housing issue regarding his people. They’re all tired of living in tents. Immediately, the head echidna at that council seat is like “I heAr YoUR CoNCeRns!” and says he “sympathizes” with his plight… 

But then says they’re going as fast as they can and that’s kind of it.

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Look at the faces of Darwin and those other sods. I especially like the one tugging at the collar on his neck. They know they’re full of shit.

I can only hope this dude isn’t called Darwin because of Charles Darwin. I don’t want to have to play the Richard Kuta Sonic Movie clip again. “And if I may quote Charles Darwin…”

A lady echidna bitch stands up and asks how the dingos can even be trusted. Stryker responds by saying he has the rank of general and shall be referred to as such (DAMN.) and then says that the situation literally couldn’t be more in the hands of the echidnas right now. When he asks what more could he do to appease them, Darwin says “Well… laying down your arms would be a good staaaaaaart… wink wink.”

Stryker says “Yeah, sure. I’ll do that.” while we’re shown an image of his fingers crossed.

This kind of disappointed me a bit. These echidnas don’t really deserve any vows of honor to be upheld before them but I was kind of hoping Stryker would stay true to the mature demeanor he was showcasing here and not pull something like this. I don’t want these echidnas to have any sort of argument in favor of their actions. I enjoy how easy it is to hate them.

As this happens, Knuckles and Julie-Su make it to the Lava Reef Zone where he finds an ant and asks it where Archimedes is. The ant says he doesn’t know. Both him and … Deo Valente, the grandfather ant, are missing and it’s suspected that something even bigger than the Dark Legion may have a hand in why. With that info, Knuckles and Julie-Su leave.

We then cut to Knuckles’ mom, continuing to be one of the only few decent echidnas around thankfully.

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Never before have I wanted to see people just run away from responsibility. Well, quote-unquote “responsibility”. It’s been more spoken of as “destiny” which is something that’s always hard to be accepting of, in universe and out. I’d like for both Knuckles and his mom to just be away from all this. Wyn here seems like a nice dude too. Him and his R2-D2 shirt.

Wyn basically tells her that she just didn’t grasp the concept of basically marrying into echidna royalty with a rich history spanning over 400 years. It’s a new dawn for their people and what matters now is how she’ll handle what’s to come next. This gives her the idea that it’s finally time for her to have a conversation with Knuckles’ dad.

Good, good. I’m liking where this is going. I like the fact that the story is acknowledging how messed up some of this stuff is now and is running with the idea of trying to fix it.

Back with Knuckles and Julie-Su, they’ve ended up in Rainbow Valley where apparently the Chameleons live. As in more than one… interesting? Apparently they like blending in with this colorful area because they’re suspicious of people by nature. I suppose living on an island with these echidnas would do that to them. It’s here where he calls out for Espio, who apparently lives in a treehouse.

Now, it’s been a long time since I’ve read Journey to the East but this isn’t lining up with what I remember about that story. It’s been too long though. Drawing upon memory won’t help me here.

Knuckles can’t find Espio and goes to search for Mighty next, thinking this is a REALLY bad situation now. Cut to Knuckles’ shitty dad and he’s working on getting Grandfather Hawking up to snuff again. Locke’s dad is there… no formal introduction, he’s just here. Cool.

He tells Locke he needs sleep, not really for his benefit, but because if he doesn’t stay at peak performance something bad may happen. At that exact moment, Hawking has a heart attack. I don’t want to say the timing was funny but… I dunno, it kind of was.

Locke says their instruments could kill him (for some reason) so he decides to make mental contact and uses Echidna bullshit magic to go into his head. There he sees Grandfather Hawking who, apparently, wants to die and asks Locke “Haven’t I done enough in this world already???”

Well gee. Sometimes people just want to go. 

We cut back to Knuckles and Julie-Su as they scale a mountain and, for no reason, Julie-Su has decided to revert back to being a bitch again. 

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Again, it’s really not endearing seeing someone get so instantly insulted by being offered help. It doesn’t help that she keeps doing and saying the same thing over and over again. Whatever Penders is trying to get across by having her act like this, if it hasn’t come to fruition yet then it’s probably best to stop until something meaningful is made of it. Also, the added insult at the end of that bottom panel that, again, she says for no reason doesn’t help matters. I don’t want to hate anyone but this really is my least favorite kind of character in fiction.

Back with the Legion, Kragok accidentally walks in on Dimitri and what he sees surprises him so much that he freezes and has to buffer.

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But what is it that he’s seeing? Well...

Uh…

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Honestly, I couldn’t tell you.

Whatever he’s doing, I suspect it may or may not be some kind of newfound fetish. I’m not entirely sure how his preparations for revenge against Knuckles requires for him to be upside down and spread-eagle like that either. 

Kragok, maybe try and find a way to install some doors on these tents. It sounds weird, nay impossible, I know, but maybe knocking would help to keep you from walking in on Dimitri’s private time.

After searching the houses of the Chaotix and still finding nothing, Knuckles decides to jump off a cliff and kill himself.

No, he senses something and jumps to glide towards it. Julie-Su makes mention that all this searching is so annoying she’d rather be his enemy and Knuckles fires back with “How do I know you aren’t?” and she gets upset, wondering if she has to take an oath of loyalty and he says they’ll talk about it later. When he dives off the cliff, she grabs his legs so as to keep up with him.

I’ve said this about the other stories Julie-Su has been in up to this point but you could write her out and nothing would change so far. She hasn’t done anything aside from complain and give Knuckles someone to bounce off of but Penders isn’t averse to having Knuckles literally narrate his life to himself so it’s not like he values not making him look silly by doing this.

Knuckles lands and explains that the person doing this must have access to a TON of power because apparently you don’t just bag the Chaotix as easy as one-two-three. Julie-Su says they aren’t the best fighters (something I have to unfortunately agree with her on) right as the two of them get attacked by someone who claims to be disappointed in Knuckles.

As this is happening, they’re being watched by a MAMMOTH shaped figure through a Chaos Emerald. Some might even say he’s quite the MOGUL.

Anyway, Knuckles and Julie-Su get ambushed by a now giant Enerjak.

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Nice choppers. I also like the caption that suggests there might not be anything left to tell. I know that’s supposed to be a crack about how Knuckles might die but Penders would never assume he has nothing left to tell, even if he clearly doesn’t and just wants instant notoriety. Be sure to download the app I made for a story that doesn’t exist folks.

I gotta say, the later issues of the book I read where Enerjak was a thing did a lot better at making him seem like a big fucking deal. Hearing characters talk about him with reverence and seeing how much damage Knuckles was causing as Enerjak in both the story where he lost his father and the one that took place in the Silver Saga really did a lot more for this character than I thought. 

Honestly, he’s really only been lame in these earlier stories. Maybe Dimitri is just really bad at being evil. He’s a much more interesting character when he becomes a floating mechanical head in a bubble and I can’t wait to find out how THAT happens. On the whole though, this issue was just set up. Nothing really all that special about it. Time to move on.

 

Knuckles the Echidna - Issue #8: Dark Vengeance, Part 2 of 3: The Gauntlet

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Obviously this is my favorite of the three covers. I mean, you guys know me. You know I’m probably the biggest Chaotix fan to ever grace the forums, maybe. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of their older designs, it’s still neat. Charmy’s pose there is rather amusing. I’m guessing by the title, we’re in for a story about the infinity gauntlet or something.

Spoiler

The issue begins with the title crawl outright lying to us about what happened last issue. “Knuckles and Julie-Su engaged in a thoughtful discussion involving plenty of questions but few answers” it says. Fuck no they didn’t. Knuckles just said he hated being lied to and then Julie-Su said she was lonely and they spent the rest of the issue looking for the Chaotix before being ambushed by Enerjak.

We begin with Knuckles being made to spin in the middle of space while thinking about how he didn’t have much to worry about back when he was just thinking about his island and the emerald he was protecting. Now he’s being spun around by Enerjak for his amusement.

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I do really enjoy it when Gods act like dicks for no reason.

Oh yeah, by the way, we’re on the moon now.

Knuckles also recaps that Enerjak got his power from ELEVEN Chaos Emeralds, something I almost forgot. It’s really kind of astonishing when you think about it. That sounds fucking unreal, especially nowadays being so used to just seven being able to wreck everyone’s shit.

Enerjak hates Knuckles and he gloats about how much he hates him as well as how powerful he is that he can bring Knuckles from the island to space and give him a pocket of air to breathe in. This was no doubt long before we saw the characters just galavanting around in open space in Adventure 2 (even Eggman could do it). I know they went to space in some of the Classic games but I can’t fault Penders for ignoring that.

Anyway, Enerjak then teleports himself and Knuckles to the depths of the ocean on Mobius. Why? Literally just so he can gloat about how easy it is for him to do it. He still loves talking about himself and not finishing off the person he wants revenge on I see.

Meanwhile, Kragok is talking with Julie-Su, happy to have found her traitorous ass. 

Julie-Su quickly says that she was just using Knuckles to find the Legion again and didn’t expect Dimitri would lead her back for her. Kragok says that since she’s been such a good student so far, he’ll trust her and lets her go. He tends to just let people go when they ask quite a lot I’ve noticed.

Julie-Su wanders through the area and contemplates how much of a stranger she feels being here. She goes up to some dude named Rykor and says she’s here to resume her position and the guy responds by waving a weapon in her face and basically saying, “You’d BETTER not be betraying us. I don’t wanna see no betrayal from you little missy. Nuh-uh.”

By the way, I’ve got to make mention of how annoying the comic is being about the characters beginning a sentence in the last panel of the page and only finishing it in the text box on the first panel of the next page. It’s something I’ve seen done plenty of times before, sure, but Penders is abusing it quite a whole lot. He just did it three times in a row and none of the lines he did it for warranted such a thing. Use it for proper dramatic tension at the very least. It’s supposed to be used as a line that lingers in the air as something ominous over the next scene taking place, pretty much. At least that’s what it feels like it’s supposed to be. He’s undermining its use by using it so frequently for mundane, often repeated, lines of dialogue. 

The scene we’ve cut to is the one I’m most interested in seeing develop. Knuckles’ mom goes to Constable Remington and asks to be put into contact with the Guardian Locke. Remington acts a little confused by this since he was under the impression that her son, Knuckles, is the current guardian but she quickly shoots that notion down.

She needs to see him not as a duty to some guardian. It’s a matter of a mother needing to watch over her son. 

Remington seems like he genuinely would like to help but he’s at a bit of an impasse since Locke, the tit, basically told him not to get involved with anything unofficial. Guardians protect their privacy and all that bullshit. Basic morality and decency to your fellow man be damned.

Still, she calmly asks again for his help.

We cut back to Knuckles for a brief spell where he’s still at the bottom of the ocean being fucked with by sea creatures while Enerjak gloats. Excuse me, according to Enerjak the word “gloat” is far too mild a word to describe it. At least he’s honest about how dumb he’s being.

As for Knuckles-?

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Well… he tries.

So back with Locke, he’s just come out of being in Grandfather Hawking’s mind and… nothing happened. Hawking is still in a coma. Then the alarm sounds and he and his father (still weird that Locke’s father is just here now. If he got a formal introduction, I sure as fuck don’t remember it) head to the OTHER room with tons of monitors to see Julie-Su and the other guys working with Kragok doing stuff on their candid cameras.

They also assume Julie-Su has betrayed them when they spot her with the others, as expected.

Poor Knuckles is still having a rough time though. He manages to escape the shark and the large octopus that has him in his clutches but the dude is getting dizzy and in need of some air. I like how in the games, they can’t breathe underwater but they can breathe in space. I guess it’s because not being able to breathe underwater is a significantly more relatable thing and thus it would stand out a lot more to the average person. I mean, I’ve never been to space so how could I relate?

Knuckles manages to make it to the surface and sees Enerjak floating there with his legs crossed and laughing at him. Still not killing him.

Cut to the Chaotix who are tied up on the beach. Vector spots Julie-Su and assumes she’s a bad guy again. Espio and Mighty are willing to listen to her side of the story but Vector says one of the strangest lines ever in response to this.

“Mighty, m’man. A fox is a fox and my daddy told me never to trust one.”

Oh geez. You and Tails wouldn’t get along well at all then.

Anyway, a guard goes up to them and tells them to shut the fuck up but clever Vector has already broken free of his bonds under their noses.

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He’s so hip. So relevant.

This moment isn’t paid off by the Chaotix finally getting a chance to look cool though. Julie-Su shows up and makes Vector and the others, once again, look like chumps when she knocks them out with knockout gas from a knockout gas gun on orders from her commander. He tells her to finish them off and we cut back to Knuckles.

Enerjak is still toying with Knuckles by bringing him high into the sky once again. He seems to be just at the edge of the stratosphere and Knuckles is still determined to not break so he cracks jokes. That’s when Enerjak loses his shit and shouts that he doesn’t wanna play with mean ol’ Knuckles anymore, blasting him downward so that he’ll go splat against the surface of the planet.

I understand he’s a gloating, egotistical villain but Dimitri used to be a scientist right? It's kind of amazing he's THIS stupid. Did the power he got get exchanged with sections of his brain? I buy the Knuckles version of Enerjak being this dumb but…

I dunno. I guess it’s just my preconceived notions about what I thought Enerjak was getting in the way. The way he was presented in the later comics left too much that I thought had to be awesome up to my imagination. Yet I’m reading it now and it’s so lame. He’s SO lame.

So anyway, Kragok has Archimedes and Grandfather Deo in a glass bubble and he puts that glass bubble into a soda cooler. I was momentarily confused by this scene because the end of the panel on the last page saw someone begin to speak before the line was ended on the next page by Archimedes. I thought that since Knuckles was on the previous page, it was Knuckles’ thoughts I was hearing but it was actually the words of a character that I had no way of knowing he was speaking. 

So when I read this for the first time, the voice I hear in my head is either going to be one of two options. One, it will be Knuckles because he’s the one on the page, but it’ll turn out to be wrong. Or two, it’ll be a voiceless entity because I don’t KNOW who's talking. What an excellent panel set-up. Good job.

Anyway, Kragok has the ants in a glass bubble that he tosses into a cooler and he tosses the cooler into what looks like some quick sand… or some oil, and the two ants sink. Now that’s some Casino level of burial tactics there.

Julie-Su watches him do this and just leaves. Whatever plan she has, IF she has one, I’m interested in seeing it now because... she just left those two to die...

Right as Knuckles is about to smash into the ground, Dimitri stops him from dying…

Sure.

He says that he’s giving Knuckles one last chance to… I dunno. Say he gives up? Knuckles doesn’t and blows a raspberry at him which pisses Enerjak off.

Then Enerjak finally, fucking finally, does something cool. 

He starts turning Knuckles into neurons.

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Sweet.

So we’re two issues done and I gotta say that so far this arc isn’t really living up to the epicness posed by the three issue connection cover thing it has going for it. Enerjak hasn’t done much but toy with Knuckles. Meanwhile, the Chaotix are in the same literal position they were in before and Knuckles’ mom still hasn’t gotten the chance to speak with Locke. The two ants sinking into the ground is the most this story has developed and I can’t say I care about their survival, although, I can’t help but imagine how horrible of a death that would be. Being buried alive hurts THINKING about. Yeesh.

Still, this is mostly just kind of mundane. Maybe everything explodes in the final issue.

 

Knuckles the Echidna - Issue #9: Dark Vengeance, Part 3 of 3: Twilight of the Titans

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Is this our first connecting cover piece? It might be. I can’t remember any other ones up to this point so I’m guessing so. The final cover in this set looks alright too. I’m willing to bet the characters on it will do more than the Chaotix did in the issue they were on the front of. Also that title was almost good. I would have called it either “Twilight Titans” or “Twilight of Titans” instead. “Twilight of the Titans” doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.

Spoiler

The title crawl went from being pretentious to trying to be funny.

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I think this works a lot better.

So Enerjak poofs back in front of Kragok and his men and he asks about the state of his army. Kragok says they’re ready to invade Echidnapolis by sundown. Enerjak says they should probably just take the direct route and goes “BEHOLD!”

Now, stupid me, thought that because Enerjak was busy showing off how he could move Knuckles from the moon to the bottom of the ocean in a literal instant that he’d just use his power to teleport the army where they needed to be instantly.

But no, instead he creates a huge GOLDEN ARCH for the army to walk and roll across so they can reach the city. It’s probably easier than going by sand but why, pray tell, are you not just teleporting us there Mr. All-Powerful Enerjak? Hello?

When asked what happened to Knuckles, Enerjak says he killed him. Fair enough.

They then go across the Golden Arch with Vector, Espio, and Mighty tied to some cuffs in the sand. I guess their torture is to lie on the hot desert sand and get trounced by the sun. I understand how that could kill them but I’m thinking these villains may have an issue with unnecessarily long, overdone ways of killing their victims. 

Also, something I just noticed, is that Charmy isn’t here. 

Yeah. 

He wasn’t in the last issue either despite literally being on the cover for that one too. I don’t know if this is a set-up for some surprise or if Penders literally just forgot.

I’m going to lean towards “He Forgot” though.

In the very next scene we see Knuckles get reconstituted right next to Athair.

Athair, looking suspiciously, oddly younger than before, says Knuckles was saved by the Ancient Deus Ex Machina Walkers.

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Yes, I know the Ancient Walkers have appeared before but I do still think this counts as a Deus Ex Machina simply because they haven’t been seen or mentioned anywhere in THIS story nor has it been suggested or hinted that they have ever or would ever need Knuckles to be alive.

Athair says they see "the bigger picture" and saved Knuckles because they need him to be apart of it but… why? 

Knuckles asks just that and they don’t give him an answer because OF COURSE THEY DON’T!

Anyway, he gets transported to the desert, literally right next to the Chaotix. Vector asks if he’s chillin’ or grillin cause he just gives the straight dope, or something.

So yeah… Charmy was on the cover of that issue but didn’t appear in the story despite it being said that Knuckles went looking for ALL the Chaotix and couldn’t find ANY of them… and yet only Vector, Espio, and Mighty are here. 

Odd.

Cutting back to Remington, he’s sending out all his soldiers to prepare for what’s going to happen at that Golden bridge that just formed in the middle of their city. So much for a sneak attack. Would have been better suited for the villains had Enerjak just teleported all their men and their tanks directly into the city. You couldn’t ask for a more awesome and perfect sneak attack.

Remington also goes to General Stryker and asks for their cooperation. Stryker is willing to listen and eventually gets convinced to help. Impending doom doesn’t seem worth squabbling with the echidnas over.

Back with Knuckles, he’s just freed his friends, although Vector won’t stop complaining and talking like he’s some sort of punchline for the 90s.

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Seriously, Vector is awful in this book so far. If his current iteration weren’t already one of my favorite characters I could see myself not liking him at all here.

Knuckles finds a canteen of water in the sand and Vector grabs it and drinks it, no questions asked. Then Knuckles sees… a vision of Archimedes and goes looking for him. Then, here, he randomly brings up Charmy for like a split second before spotting something. It’s a very oddly constructed page.

What happens next is even MORE confusing. 

So… Knuckles finds the red cooler that the ants were tossed into and opens it up. Mighty has a cute little child-like scene here that actually makes him a little endearing to me as a character.

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Aww. That’s adorable.

He’s the only one here who’s been grateful and hasn’t been constantly scowling, and angry, and complaining. It’s very charming.

Speaking of charming though, Charmy shows up… coming out of the little glass ball that we saw the two ants get shoved into??????????

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No, I didn’t forget about you Charmy but I have a sneaking suspicion the writer did.

Seriously, what the hell is this? Why…? Why was he in there? First of all, I know he’s a lot smaller than normal but he isn’t THIS small. I definitely would have noticed him there if he was shoved inside that glass ball earlier.

He clearly was NOT there when the ants were put into the ball and thrown in the cooler and tossed into the desert sand.

I checked and double checked. He was NOT there. If he was, they would have shown him.

This is very obviously a transparent way to override an oopsie made in the writing process. Like, Penders very clearly FORGOT about Charmy. He didn’t appear at all with the other Chaotix in the last issue despite him being ON the cover and he definitely WAS NOT in the cooler with Archimedes and Deo last issue either. It’s no wonder the mention of Charmy and him showing up just sort of happens here in these last two panels at complete fucking random. 

I mean, goodness me. The Chaotix are so inconsequential that he couldn’t even remember all of them. 

Back in the city, Julie-Su, Kragok, and the Dark Legion have invaded the city over the Golden Bridge. Because they foolishly didn’t just teleport there though Remington had more than enough time to gather and prepare troops to fend off the attack. Obviously, the giant bridge that landed in their city was going to set off some alarm bells. What idiots.

At this point I’m also starting to wonder if maybe Julie-Su actually did betray them? Like, she’s attacking the city with the Dark Legion, she knocked the Chaotix out and left them to get smoked by the desert sun, and left the two ants to sink into the desert to die. There’s literally no way she could have known the Ancient Walkers were going to save Knuckles so that he could save them too. If it’s going to be revealed that she’s still on Knuckles' side then I’d have no choice but to call bullshit on the method of planning she has here… but I guess I’ll see.

I have a feeling I’m not going to like what I find out.

So Stryker and his Dingos are trying to blast the invaders away but their blasters stop working. We then cut to Enerjak, giving a speech about how he’ll be generous if they surrender… but doesn’t finish because he gets teleported away in mid-speech. 

That’s when Julie-Su decides to floor the controls of the speeder she’s riding in and crashes it… then she escapes.

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Oh I see. 

She didn’t actually have a plan. She was just going along with them until she found a viable means of escaping…?

But then, wouldn’t she have done that when Kragok let her go? I suppose it might have looked suspicious had she just wandered off and not reported for some kind of duty but she just crashed Kragok’s transport here in the middle of an open battlefield. Perhaps this situation is better for her because it’s a more confusing one? 

She did have some minor contemplation about her place among the legion but that was only to reaffirm how she felt like a stranger amongst them and literally nothing else. So I assumed she was just playing along to sabotage them from within.

Instead she did nothing.

She just waited and then crashed the transport they were on so she could run away from them . 

I mean… she couldn’t have tried to do anything else before then? Dumping the two ants in a hole in the desert and leaving the Chaotix to fry in the desert sun were just things she let happen apparently. It doesn’t even look like she’s concerned about finding them to make sure they’re okay so…

Yeah, fuck her I guess.

Anyway, we cut back to Enerjak who has been teleported away by, you guessed it, Mammoth Mogul. Enerjak is enraged and GOOD LORD, his teeth!

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I haven’t commented on it yet but this comic keeps drawing Enerjak with the most whacked out teeth. It’s so disturbing.

Anyway, the biggest and best plot twist of all these Knuckles issues happens right here.

Enerjak is busy yelling and screaming at Mogul about how dead he is and tries to kill him but Mogul no sells it and proceeds to take the arrogant fool’s power using the REAL Sword of Acorns. 

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As an aside, I totally forgot that it was an established plot point that Mogul stole the real sword. It’s been so long that expecting me to remember it was a bit of a fool’s errand. That doesn’t really change the fact that this nonsense with the Sword of Acorns has been stretched super thin for the sake of saving the life of one of this comic’s biggest assholes.

I’m so happy this happened though. This moment might have single handedly saved this story from being completely boring and rudderless.

Here, we see actual hubris befall the mighty Enerjak. He was a fool who played with his food and acted foolish, dumb, and arrogant in the face of overwhelming power. With this act of Mogul’s, it recontextualizes the earlier frustration I had with the fact that Enerjak took so long to finish off Knuckles. I do also have to give Enerjak credit that he DID eventually do it and Knuckles was only saved because of some magic bullshit.

Not only that but Mammoth Mogul has done well to turn my opinion of him around in both his notable appearances after his first one disappointed me so much. He’s really doing a great job living up to the image of him the later comics crafted of the man.

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Now he’s just a withered, pathetic, crippled old man that has to be saved at the last second by Knuckles. 

I’m glad. It’s nice to have context for how stupid Enerjak can be. When I eventually re-read the Silver Saga I may end up liking it way more knowing that his arrogance and foolish nature is supposed to be apart of his character rather than general writing fuckery. 

See, A LOT can be accomplished by simply acknowledging something like this within the story and having a character explicitly pay for it in a way that doesn’t just see the hero winning because the hero needs to win. This was a great way to do that and I’m trying hard not to cough up blood, giving Ken Penders so much praise.

Back with Locke, he’s watching the fight unfold on the computer screen. He was ready to go out and help but he decided that staying here, watching on the computer was the most important thing to do. Locke’s dad points out that Locke is Knuckles’ dad and that it’s fine if he goes and lends him a hand but Locke is like “Nah. He’s got friends and shit.”

Locke does decide to do something useful though, finally. He contacts the Freedom Fighters and uses… echidna technology to make it look as though it’s Knuckles contacting them instead.

So I guess it’s tech that simply removes his white beard then.

On the next page… SO MUCH shit happens all at once. I’ve gotta just post the whole thing.

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The Professor and Mary Ann~!

No seriously. Remington rides up and shows him the captured Kragok and, the captured off-screen, Julie-Su. Then Knuckles tries to speak in protest. THEN we see an image of Mogul saying he’s got some shit up his sleeve. THEN the Freedom Fighters arrive fucking IMMEDIATELY, like… faster than should be possible. THEN all the characters are scrunched together in the last panel and three of them start glowing. You can almost feel the comic pressing the fast forward button on itself.

We end on a big page of the true villain.

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I gotta say, this is a little maddening. Again, I really appreciate how Sonic Universe kept most of its stories self-contained because this right here would be extremely confusing for anyone jumping straight to Sonic #56. 

The end of #55 saw Knuckles calling them for help and all of a sudden, in the next issue, Mogul is there with the echidnas and dingos having sucked out all the power from Enerjak, a character who hasn’t shown up in forever, using the power of the REAL Sword of Acorns, something that’s tantamount to the importance of what’s happening in the main book? Yeah, perhaps that’s a bit too much crossover for a second book.

I was ready to write this whole story off as a gigantic waste of time. Thank God for Mammoth Mogul. I’m not kidding when I say that he seriously saved the proceedings here. His presence and the following actions he took recontextualized a lot of what was bugging me about Enerjak and it made this long wait almost worth it.

Almost. 

This story doesn’t feel like it lived up to the image that the connecting cover posed. The one cool thing Enerjak did was undone by the Ancient Walkers and Kragok certainly didn’t come out of this looking any better than before. At the very least, I can’t say I thought it was complete and utter garbage like the last three Knuckles issues were. I wasn’t pissed off or angry. I was mostly just waiting to see where it was going and I’m at least happy to see that we ended up somewhere good. Thank goodness.

I still can’t believe this Knuckles series has 30 or so issues. Fuck.

Seriously, put this into perspective. I've covered 16 of these books since Issue 50 ended and I'm just now getting to Issue #56 of the main book. That's ridiculous.

 

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1 hour ago, Big Panda said:

No, the first two arcs of this very comic had them too.

So, looking back, I see it with the first arc now. The second one I had to look really hard at it to see what connected. It's so hard to tell but I managed to make out the connecting sky beams and... I think the city behind the characters is supposed to connect too. It really doesn't look like it does all that well. This might be the first time they managed it really well.

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Just now, Dr. Detective Mike said:

So, looking back, I see it with the first arc now. The second one I had to look really hard at it to see what connected. It's so hard to tell but I managed to make out the connecting sky beams and... I think the city behind the characters is supposed to connect too. It really doesn't look like it does all that well. This might be the first time they managed it really well.

It is true that it’s hard to see.

Every three-issue arc in the Knuckles series has connecting covers btw.

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Interrupting your scheduled Detective Mike Marathon for something unrelated:

"HOW TO MAKE SONIC UNIVERSE #50 TWICE AS AWESOME"

Step 1:  Re-read the issue cause it's good stuff.

Step 2: Listen to the "The Quick and the Blue" by Megas.

Step 3: Now listen to the song while looking at the panels from the comic, pretending it's about their duel.

Maybe someone who makes YouTube music videos could actually do it, but for now, just scroll in a way that action flows with music.

It goes more-less like this

Spoiler

Shard and Metal meeting in hospital (1,5 page, 1 verse)
"They say he appeared in a doorway
Boomerangs at his sides.
The fate that he would defy...
A mega man is coming to die!
Wait now, there's too much at stake now
There he goes..."

Stare down before the fight (1 page, 1 verse)
He looked to the distance and cried
"The man in blue has arrived!"
Quick on the draw
In this town, I am the law.
Is what they say true?
Does death wear blue?
Can he fall?"

Two Page Spread
(no lyrics, just music)

Metal using his Fight Records (3 pages, 3 verses)
It was then
That the crowd saw the quick man
He knew that he couldn't tell them
He was the quickest of all...
Would this be the day that he falls?

Wait now, there's too much at stake now
A cold wind blows...
He looked at the crowd and he cried
"The moment of truth has arrived!"

Quick on the draw
In this town, I am the law
Is what they say true?
Does death wear blue?
Can he fall?

Shard tries talking sense
(no lyrics, just music. Sudden change of pace is when Shard shoots from his canon)

Shard's last effort attack, till the explosion (4 pages, 6 verses)
My circuits slow
I'm not scared anymore
I see the faces of my brothers that have fallen before

My circuits slow
I'm not scared anymore
Reach for my weapon and in turn you're reaching for yours

My circuits slow
What they said is a lie
The shots are heard and the bullets scream death as they fly

My circuits slow
I'm not scared anymore
This is the moment that we have been created for

My circuits slow
My moment has come
Your speed means nothing if it's death that you're running from

My circuits slow
I'm not scared anymore
I join the ranks of my brothers that have fallen before

Shard laying on the ground
You're too quick on the draw...
Burn this town - there is no law
What they say's true -
Death does wear blue
He can't fall...

 

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Julie-Su, in these early stories, embodies the absolute worst kind of “girl power” character: the type where the aformentioned “girl power” is her only trait. The kind who just harps on and on about how she “don’t need no man” while not actually contributing anything of value to the stories she’s in.

She doesn’t get much better later on either in my honest opinion. In later issues she mostly just settles into just being “Knuckles love interest”. She’s one of the few characters who not even Ian was able to make me care about.

The only real positive thing I have to say about her is that I like her design.

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