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59 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

Honestly? I don't think they should get props for trying, because it was just such an awful attempt. Like yeah, they tried, but it was littered with problems, problems that is entirely unrelated to the fact that they had to work with a Japanese copy of Adventure translated by Pat Spaz. Like you can point out the rush job plot details, and some of the changes due to the game, but there's problems entirely unrelated that hurts it more.

The art is absolutely pathetic, and edging towards the point of near-unreadable. It is at best - presentable for the first few issues in the main series, and at worse - utterly unreadable with Ron Lim's atrociously bad art. I've said it before - Lim's art is one of the worst in all of Archie Sonic, but it's especially evident here. The characters are off model, showcase weird as hell expressions, and the action is affected by it. Super Special 13 IMO is one of the worst issues in the whole series for me because of it.

But the worst has to be how much Penders really badly affected the story. It's ironic that he did it again, but he did. And it's the same thing - unrelated bullshit that affects the rest of the story. In the middle of an Adventure adaption, we have fucking Locke running off to the weird misshapen Cat Country to fight them over tedious and boring bullshit that no one cares about. The Chaotix are also screwed over as well to showcase Locke. The point of absolute ridiculousness it gets has to be when it literally goes full on Star Trek fighting with Locke. 

Then you also have the climatic fight between Super Sonic and Chaos utterly wrecked because Penders just had to showcase Knuckles. Super Sonic is absolutely worthless in this arc. He still isn't capable of defeating Chaos. He is literally just used as a distraction for Chaos to knock about over and over again while Knuckles is underwater and fixing the actual thing that will defeat Chaos. And let's not forget the absolute silliness that is Knuckles literally just using chaos powers to get the extra strength to win in a really shit homage to Spider-Man #33 (If This Be My Destiny). 

There's a lot more problems with the arc that I'd need to re-read it again in order to get a full grasp of again, I used to have a massive rant about the Adventure arc either here or in the Penders topic, but I think it ended up getting wiped with the sever problems with SSMB a few years back.

I feel like the reason why I'm more forgiving of Archie is because SEGA if I remember correctly mandated the adaption and like you said didn't even give Archie a copy. The comic setting and the game setting just aren't meant to go together but if Archie is forced to adapt it by SEGA, that's more on SEGA.

As for Penders contributions, yeah I'm just gonna make this short and fully agree with you because we both know he's not a team player and probably just tweaked his scripts to reference the ancient Echidna tribe or something, I only skimmed what wasn't in the Sonic Super Special Magazine because I didn't have Archives 21 & 22 at the time.

As for Ron Lim and the art, If I remember correctly he didn't draw all of it, so I think the art's just subjective depending on who drew what though I do gotta agree, I'm not a fan of his Sonic art either.
Ultimately, yeah I didn't say it was a good adaption, just that the writers.. well most of the writers should get props for trying to adapt it despite how blatantly obvious it was that the game just won't mesh well.

 

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Yeah, that issue was rather forgettable if you ask me. I can barely remember much from it to matter in the long run when I go down memory lane—ironically, Endgame was a heck of a lot more memorable by comparison. Not that that’s a point in favor of it.

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Knuckles the Echidna - Issue #10: The Forgotten Tribe, Part 1 of 3: The Other Road Taken

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Very strange cover. Not necessarily badly drawn but strange. Knuckles has that weird looking tumor head again. Charmy’s performing some sort of uncomfortable bone snapping yoga pose for no reason. The other three Chaotix are just floating heads in the background. Espio’s got a weird cury line on his muzzle. I guess bone structure is being heavily considered here.

The image of Knuckles stepping out of the clouds is a bit of a funny one. I can only imagine he steps on them as he gets out.

Spoiler

 

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You know, for as much shit as the games in the mid-2000s got for being supposedly too serious, it’s striking just how much of it existed before Sonic Adventure came out. Athair is here meditating about… I dunno. He’s invoking the rapture on himself in his head I guess.

A concerned echidna wakes him up from this which leads to Athair galavanting about something he calls the Day of Fury. For some reason it reminded me of this old movie called Furry Vengeance. Remember the commercials for that? I didn’t see it cause it looked awful.

An echidna kid asks why his mother is crying and she says that she thought they’d finally reached Journey’s End. Then some asshole says that because Athair can speak to the Ancient Walkers, they can’t question them. But the kid wasn’t questioning them. He just asked why his mom was crying. Prick.

So the echidna dude who woke Athair up has a name and it’s Yanar. Out of the blue Athair just says it’s time for him to peace out so he does and that leaves Yanar in charge. Athair says he loves Yanar like a son and wishes Sabre could have been like him. I’m guessing that’s his son? I dunno. It’s monumental trying to keep track of all these echidnas. I’m not even that far in the book and already there’s SO many of them. I wonder if Penders will even care about Sonic Adventure clarifying even harder that Knuckles was supposed to be the last one and try to address it in some form.

Anyway, Athair speaks to himself about how he’d put Yanar in charge of this destiny bullshit but he can’t because the Ancient Walkers decided it’s not gonna be him. Why? I dunno. Because they picked Knuckles. Why? I dunno. They wanted it to be Knuckles.

We cut back to Knuckles’ mom as she’s praying and then she heads outside to talk to her son. They talk about all the things Locke has taught Knuckles up to this point which his mom sums up as “teaching him to be a guardian”. Knuckles asks if that’s wrong (because you can tell by this point that she’s got a lot of understandable disdain for this guardian hogwash) and she says YES, there is something wrong with that. He’s not allowed to be an actual boy. They enter a room and someone who overheard them is immediately like “KNUCKLES AIN’T LIKE NO OTHER BOY!”

Fuck.

We then cut to Julie-Su in an interrogation room with Remington. She’s not acting any different then normal. I would say that it’s normal for a person to be upset when under scrutiny from the law but Julie-Su has been 95% upset ever since she’s shown up.

Right now we’ve got no reason to really like her honestly. Stupid me thought she had a plan of attack when she gassed the Chaotix and left them stranded in the desert but nah. She just tried to run away on her own when she crashed Kragok’s vessel so… yeah, get screwed I guess.

The gist of this scene is to show that she’s fucked for helping out the Dark Legion and now she’s sad about it. I suppose. 

I’m showing this whole page because it’s an incredible display of laziness. You can clearly see that the image of Remington scowling in his seat was copy and pasted twice while the image of Julie-Su looking sad was copy and pasted for three times the use!

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If you don’t want to draw these characters then just don’t. It’s not like I’d miss them. I don’t hate Remington or anything but… I wouldn’t miss him.

Anyway, it turns out that the person that Knuckles and his mom walked in on was Athair. Maybe I’ll find out the reason he looks way younger than he did when he first showed up soon.

Anyway, Knuckles is less than pleased to see him and his mom snaps at him for this, demanding he give him respect. Like a little child, he has to embarrass himself by saying sowwy because his mommy yelled at him.

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It’s… kinda cute.

Anyway, Athair goes to immediately prove why Knuckles was correct in not being happy to see him by saying Knuckles has even more business to attend to. When Knuckles complains about being forced to deal with more problems on top of the ones he’s dealing with, Athair’s just like “Tough shit!” and warps the two of them away. 

Remington is busy speaking with a girl named Teri-Lu (Jesus, these names) about some dude who got out of their sight when he was out for parole when all of a sudden, Archimedes, the unwanted ant dude, poofs in desperate for Knuckles. He needs Knuckles cause without him he has no purpose. He needs to feel useful goddammit. Remington decides to make use of him by asking about Julie-Su.

Meanwhile, Knux and Athair are on the Eastern Hemisphere of the planet and there’s a line of echidnas walking along the ground and I really, really hope this isn’t some uncomfortable parallel to a real historical event like the Trail of Tears or something.

Athair explains that back when the two scientists saw the comet heading for their home (their names are said but I don’t care) there was a debate about whether to leave for the sky or search for a new home on land. The one who held up the side for those who wished to travel on land was a man named Arrakis. When he was outvoted, he pleaded for a chance for those who wished to come with him to be given the choice to do so and it was granted.

He and his group left along the ground while the ones who were tied to their homeland floated in the sky and had to later deal with all the bullshit that came after.

Honestly, I’m kind of happy there existed someone who proposed the idea that maybe just… you know, MOVING would be a viable course of action too. I understand being attached to their city but they’re so advanced that they probably could have made a new city. A better one with blackjack and hookers. 

I mean, for God’s sake, they made the island float.

But now, I’m betting that this story is going to make it seem like Arrakis’s idea was some sort of double edged sword.

Yes, it does. Although it’s a little more understandable here seeing as how they lost a lot of resources leaving in such a small tribe of people. Plus, the people down there were apparently also a bunch of dicks and everywhere they went the land was either occupied or full of people who just wanted to shoot arrows at them… for some reason.

Eventually, they left all their tech behind and just went on foot. Arrakis was then contacted by the Ancient Walkers and they said they’d help, I guess. The job of leading his tribe was passed down to his son soon after. Knuckles compares it to the Guardian bullshit but Athair is like “Nah man. That’s different because you can only be a guardian if you’re related by blood.”

Ever wonder how bad a system that is? What happens if two people can’t come together to agree to deal with this guardian bullshit and make a child? Knuckles’ mom already has a heavy dislike of it. I guess they just rely on the female partners being ignorant of what they’re getting into, which wouldn't shock me considering how awful these echidnas are.

I’ll admit to having a lot of sympathy for this Arrakis fellow and his people at the moment. I hope Penders doesn’t make him microwave his baby or something.

We cut to a bar where the Chaotix are seriously having a conversation about Julie-Su’s alliances. Vector, for once, kind of seems to be the only sane one here because unlike Mighty and Espio, he definitely doesn’t trust or like her. It’s the obvious right call NOT to trust her based on just what we’ve been shown of Julie-Su so far.

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Espio, what the fuck are you even talking about? She went against your plan, gassed you guys unconscious, and left you strapped to some ropes in the desert. The entire Dark Legion was there and saw her do it, meaning they were perfectly okay with what she was doing. If it could have been perceived as her saving you, then they wouldn’t have allowed it. Plus, the only reason you got saved was because the Ancient Walkers bullshat Knuckles away from being turned to atoms by Enerjak and then bullshat him right to where you all were.

You have NO reason to want to trust her. At all.

Charmy comes in and says that Remington’s got something for them to do. Finally. Maybe the Chaotix will finally do something instead of sit around talking until Knuckles needs to give them orders. Oh wait no. That’s literally what just happened, except, the Knuckles in this situation is Remington. God, how useless. The Chaotix are my favorite characters but they’re such worthless lackeys in this fucking book. I almost want to apologize for how harsh I was on their position in the book way down the line when I was getting mad about it being the case there too, during Ian’s run before the reboot. It used to be the same but actually way worse.

Back with Knuckles and Athair, before it can be explained how Athair got involved with these people, Athair talks about how he can sense the Day of Fury is at hand. Knuckles asks him why he doesn’t just KNOW when it’s gonna happen and we get this explanation.

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I mean… shouldn’t it though?

Literally why can’t it do that? 

I really don’t see why it can't. The only reason to throw out signs and breadcrumbs would only be to delight in watching people stumble about in confusion for our amusement. Only, as the reader, it’s more frustrating than anything. I’ve got so much misguided sympathy for Knuckles in these books. He’s barely an entity in any of his own stories and is just getting shit explained to him or kept from him. The only tidbits of actual character we’ve gotten is most of the stuff about him that’s tied to the Acorn Kingdom, honestly. At least there, his devotion to Sally is working off a friendship he has with a girl that was born through having something in common. Watching Knuckles stumble around in the dark with all these echidnas and being forced to do shit whenever a prophecy feels like rearing its head isn’t fun.

I want him to have his answers so his character can finally get some agency and be his own dude.

Anyway, the planet opens up and everyone starts falling into lava. Why is this happening? Athair says it’s because… the planet’s adjusting to environmental changes it undergoes…? Uhm… global warming?

Whatever, the planet just decides it wants to spew lava everywhere and do wicked weather changes and shit like that. Most didn’t survive it before and I guess they’re doomed now.

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Also, Athair said he found this out by studying the clues the prophecy left behind all his life. How sad is that?

Uh, yeah so… alright.

Nothing really to see here honestly. I liked the little backstory about the people who didn’t want to float in the sky and figured it was best to just move but didn’t account for the fact that their planet sucks. Other than that, nothing really happened until the end when the planet said “Fuck you!” and opened up. Guess we’ll see.

 

Knuckles the Echidna - Issue #11: The Forgotten Tribe, Part 2 of 3: Covenant

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Knuckles has more weird lines on his face, emphasising more bone structure, and I think Athair is having a ton of Nerds Rope growing along his dreadlocks and weird squiggly worms protruding from his chest. Also they’re about to get roasted alive.

Spoiler

 

So we begin with the leader of this tribe of echidnas hanging onto a spire of rock with his wife and child calling out for him from above. Knuckles is urging Athair to do something and instead of explaining what he’s got in mind he just says “Nope. No one’s dying today.”

The leader tells him that people die. Athair says no one’s dying today. The leader begins to fall into the lava… then is saved and made to float along with a bunch of other echidnas. Athair repeats that no one is dying today.

At this point, Knuckles needs to scream at Athair and ask him why he didn’t just say that he was gonna make the fucker float but he doesn’t. 

Knuckles then swoops down and saves a dude from getting caught in the lava. I don’t know why Athair couldn’t make that guy float but he’s able to do something else.

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At least saving people first is a good reason to say you’re going to answer questions later but I really wish that at some point someone would just hurry up and give a straight answer. Fucking hell.

Your stories shouldn’t need to rely THIS much on keeping shit secret if it’s a good one. Right now, shit’s just happening just because.

So yeah, the echidnas just float away from danger. Someone is narrating how miraculous it all was. I assume it’s the leader of the tribe but I can’t tell because the guy they’re focusing on is wearing different clothes and he looks EXACTLY like Knuckles so… I’ll assume it’s the leader dude. Yanar, was his name... yeah.

We cut to Remington who has called the Chaotix in to be deputized to take over for Knuckles’ duties while he’s away. Also, even though he tried to veto this decision, they’re going to partner up with Julie-Su to do it. Why? Guess I’ll find out because the reason is not at all immediately obvious aside from the fact that Penders has decided she needs to be here.

Cutting back to Athair, Yanar, and Knuckles, we finally get some answers when Knuckles asks Athair why he made the smartest, best decision of his life and quit being a guardian.

Athair then hilariously recounts the story of when he was a kid and watched his mother walk into another wall of flame!

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BWHAHAHAHA~!

Then Knuckles asks if walking into fire in front of your child’s eyes is some sort of routine and Athair’s just like “Most have experienced it but some don’t.”

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It’s so fucking stupid. I can’t believe it.

Then the Ancient Walkers showed up in front of young Athair and poofed him to where this trail of wandering echidnas were and the guy leading the pack at the time said that Athair must be the Mitre. For you see, there’s like another prophecy happening at the same time as the guardian prophecy so Athair is ripped from that one and put into a different one.

He visits his mom at the Haven which shocks the hell out of her but the Ancient Walkers did it so it’s okay. Knuckles doesn’t get it. Athair explains that the Brotherhood is what everyone aspires to be and the Haven is where they go. He walked a different path though. It’s okay for him to give up being the guardian because the Ancient Walkers got his back.

So he takes over for this tribe and leads them places. He succumbs to the dreaded Soultouch, which hasn’t been talked about yet but it’s basically something that strips all agency from a relationship and just makes it something you’re destined (forced) to be into. The woman’s name is Crystal-La (fuck these names) and they have a boy named Sabre. Then he gets word that his mom is about to die and he refuses to go see her because he’s got to protect the tribe. 

Sabre gets mad at him because he kind of just abandoned his mom to her fate, goes off and trains with Archimedes, and still doesn’t speak to Athair to this day. Athair continues watching over these people cause it doesn’t feel right to abandon them after 600 years, yadda yadda.

All was going well, aside from the part where he didn’t visit his mom on her deathbed, but then everything changed when the Robotnik Nation attacked.

Echidnas were captured, roboticized (Crystal-La was roboticized because of course she was), and some retreated. Athair then devoted himself to just… doing whatever to help all around. Knuckles, for some reason, says he has more questions but he’s too TIRED and walks off to go to sleep.

Knuckles… you should know by now that when someone offers to answer your questions, you should take it. If not, you’ll wake up in the morning and they’ll be gone with nothing but a cryptic message for you left behind.

So Knuckles wakes up in the morning and Athair is gone, with nothing but a cryptic message for him that literally is just him saying that Knuckles has to take over and when Knuckles brings up that he doesn’t know the way, he’s told that Athair said “He’ll figure it out.”

Fuck me.

Where are these people even going by the way? They’ve been wandering this planet for 600 years? You think that’s enough walking? So much land has been traveled and so much time has passed, things have gotten to have changed by now. At the very least, they must realize that after 600 years of walking that they had to have made a couple of wrong turns right?

Where are they going? If there’s a destination in mind it hasn’t been stated yet. Apparently he was told to follow the Rising Sun? Well, what the hell does that mean? Are they supposed to walk into the sun? It can’t just mean go where the sun rises because it’s been 600 years. Why would that suddenly lead them to where they needed to be now? I don’t get it. 

This feels like a situation where Penders is just attaching a long number of years to things to make it seem more grandiose without mulling over how certain things are possible. If I’m gonna believe that this tribe has just been walking and wandering for that long I need a reason. Are they just traveling nomads for good now? Did they give up on finding a home? The book doesn’t say so and Knuckles is now tasked with leading them somewhere specific. Where? I dunno. Athair didn’t say. He just said he’ll “figure it out”. Cheese and crackers guys.

Anyway, two echidna boys go missing and an echidna woman tells Knuckles about it. Knuckles says he’ll go find them and she demands to go too. Knuckles says the apparently taboo words “You’ll be safer here” to her and gets fucking decked.

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Knuckles takes it in stride, not caring that she could have cracked his head open, and invites her along with a smile on his face, asking if she knows Julie-Su. Her response is “Who?” 

Haha. So I guess this is just a thing some echidna woman do. Show concern for their safety and they get mad and hit you. #Feminism?

She even says “I can take care of myself, thank you”. 

God, being Knuckles has got to be the worst, most annoying thing in the world. I just want him to run away from all this bullshit.

Hilariously, the instant Knuckles and this woman, Mari-an, leave, Yanar and the remaining echidnas immediately run into some robots and their lives are in danger. Literally, the instant Knuckles leaves this happens.

Yanar gets thrown in a cell with two of our favorite, happy-go-lucky, prisoners, Sonic and Tails. While Knuckles is about to get an arrow through the back from one Rob O’ the Hedge.

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I do believe I’ve seen these two in this position before.

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They've never stopped smiling about it.

 

Uh… I’m trying to think how best to summarize this issue and I can’t. I’m honestly not sure anything happened. Athair explained his backstory which was nice of him to do before he disappeared again. Although, it really was just “the Ancient Walkers had another prophecy for me to do so I peaced out on the other one I was doing to go lead an endless march to nowhere” and then Robotnik attacked. 

This book is also continuing to do that thing I hate where it’s making the main book needlessly reliant on this spin-off series. This is, again, something that Sonic Universe handled really well. I have no reason to doubt it couldn’t be handled well here either… aside from the fact that it’s Ken Penders so it won’t be.

All this echidna shit has gone from being wacky and crazy to boring and drawn out. At this point it feels like its the book’s main focus and that’s really not a good thing.

Sonic’s here now though. Remember him? Allegedly there’s a book out there that’s about him so let’s get back to it.

 

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog - Issue #58: Friendly Rogues and Foul Villains

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OMG. It’s Amy’s cousin, Cerulean Sonic the Robin-Hood. Wow. Rob O’ Hedge in the flesh. It’s Rob. Rob’s here everybody. Rob. 

I actually kind of liked him when I saw him in the later issues. I don’t know why I’m being so sarcastic here. I guess it’s just in my nature. That aside, this is an awesome cover. It’s the best looking one in the whole batch by far. Please keep things looking slick and well-drawn.

Spoiler

 

Right off the bat, I’m a little pissed off because just looking at this page, I can tell that this isn’t just some side romp explaining how Sonic and Tails got here. Now, this is literally a continuation from the last Knuckles issue. Don’t DO that! 

This is like swapping disks in a long as hell JRPG. 

Why? You don’t have to structure it like this. It’s so strange to have parts 1 and 2 of this Knuckles story, then Issue 58, and then part 3 of the Knuckles story. Did this story need four parts? Not a lot has happened so far but I guess we’ll see. 

Some robo-pig walks in and bullies Yanar out the door. Sonic, who along with Tails has no idea why or how they’re in prison, tries to put a stop to this but I guess he forgot he was stuck to the chains on the wall.

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Glad to see the tradition of Sonic knocking himself out has returned. I really missed it.

Meanwhile Rob attacks Knuckles and flips out when he’s called bub. In what seems to be the new tradition for hedgehogs, he talks a lot of smack and then immediately gets knocked on his butt.

However, unlike Sonic, he immediately relents and delights in making merry with what he hopes will be a new comrade, promising Merry Adventure and Boon Companionship.

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Yeah, I’m remembering why I liked Rob now. He’s a cool fellow.

The writing this issue is a duel effort from Ken Penders and a guy named Clayton Emery. I hope that averages out to a good issue. It might.

I will say that I’m really liking Manny Galan and Art Mawhinney's art this issue. It's all nice and bouncy.

Sonic suddenly remembers how he got to prison but is still confused on the why. Tails and him were taking off in the sky when the Day of Fury happened. As we all know from the Knuckles issue, the Day of Fury is when the planet decides it’s weather isn’t going to make any sense anymore and starts crashing planes. Tails managed to land them but when they woke up Sonic was confused for Rob and tossed in here.

Then Yanar explains that he’s from a tribe of echidnas that were traveling the land. Sonic is surprised because he thought they only lived on the floating island which is a pretty reasonable assessment to make considering how married to that place they all seem to be. 

The robot pig walks in and is about to punish Sonic, who he thinks is Rob, but Yanar gets in his way saying he’s more dangerous. He’s then carted off instead but not before he tosses the keys he stole from the incompetent guards to Sonic. It’s prison break time! He calls himself and Tails the Bully Boys for some reason. Not sure why.

Meanwhile, Rob is talking with Knuckles and explains that all his men were captured and roboticized by the High Sheriff, one of Robotnik’s former sub-bosses in Merica. He’s not fretting over it which… good on you for being able to. That’s some enviable optimism. Wish I had that.

They spot the other echidnas being forced to work for the High Sheriff’s robots and decide to work together to save them. Neat.

Meanwhile, the hog robot walks back into Sonic’s cell and says he’s gonna be taken next but Sonic is, of course, already free. He bashes them all down and leaves to go find Tails which confused me for a bit because I recalled them being in the same cell. I had to look back and spotted that Tails was actually taken to meet their boss first in one of the panels. So they took all three of them away one by one. Well, at least they were planning to do so had Sonic not been let go.

I guess the boss wanted one on one confrontations with them? I dunno.

Well, Sonic manages to find Tails thankfully and he’s being put through what’s considered some of the most heinous torture imaginable in most cartoons and anime.

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I love how instantly broken tickling will leave a person. Do it long enough and it does probably qualify as actual torture mayhaps. 

Oh, and the high sheriff is General D’ Coolette

Figures. Only someone related to Antoine could think of a torture session so… this.

The image of Tails being tied to a rack is one thing but it’s hard looking at this and not imagining it making someone with a particular love of feet happy. Whoever that person is, I wish them all the happiness in the world. Although, I also gotta say it’s odd seeing Tails with actual feet and not weird blobs.

So Sonic instantly saves Tails which prompts Tails to start speaking Spanish.

2alNSdyL0j724ARA4z2i814J987f-ktyQtU_K-V9HfFDSXv7xET8azvZJVokU6p8qngRLQBQ4CwFVQAx5qmq0vnM4QPQ99tsf-5HnN6SJRcgeJGwG49QqD-N417VLK4BMeQ8pwtm

It’s one of those things the comic likes to do at random for no reason. I dig it.

Honestly, it’s astonishing how much more entertaining this issue is than the last two I’ve read. I’m remembering how to have fun now.

I like the look of roboticized General D’ Coolette as well. He almost comes across like some kind of rat-like vampire robot or something, especially with that purple cape. I bet you he’d look badass and scary if he were in a comic coming out for today.

Anyway, Tails drops a chandelier on the guy and they escape.

Meanwhile, Knuckles and Rob come across Mari-an and the same thing happens to Rob that happened when he met Knuckles.

He goes to confront them, demanding something from them, gets his ass kicked and tossed in the water, and then says he’s charmed to meet them.

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Rob is such a nice dude. Can he come along for the rest of these issues instead?

Then something interesting happens.

b-7Ug-LaPfXiL7HarrkN5ZIwYZo-c7-6lKkK4WM2QIqp9cEp-KLRRs4TBHRao9TaHBFsR126OY6ceuo4pluHWprr-vwYLMZOKBXV5PHpUHqs1BAyWYSRN5ps0quoLxsERY4DbFyU

OH! 

I’ve SEEN her before! 

She’s the echidna I saw married to Rob in those issues way down the line! Well, that’s a nice surprise. Hedgehog boy and echidna girl get married and no bullshit Soultouch to get in the way. AWW! THAT’S CUTE!

So they head to the High Sheriff’s castle where they use a secret passage way to sneak inside a chapel. It’s there where they finally meet Sonic and Tails. Boy the exposition here comes fast and loose.

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Sonic’s really happy to have found someone who knows who Amy is. I guess it makes sense that NO ONE did but it's a little amusing to think about.

It is a little odd that this tidbit is blurted out like this but it’s fine. Sometimes it’s okay to throw in little expository things in as flavor text to be dealt with at a later date. It’s all good.

They then run outside to the balcony and see that Yanar is in danger of being…

… Hanged?!

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Yes, hanged. In danger of being hanged.

Neat.

I will say that the way this part of the issue ended surprised me. I was expecting this to be a bit of a self-contained story but I suppose it could still flow from the second Knuckles issue to the third one just fine if we skip to this part and say that… somehow Sonic and Tails escaped and somehow they met up with Knuckles and this new hedgehog that looked like he was trying to hurt Knuckles at the end of the second part of the story and… 

… No. There’s still no justifying that.

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog - Issue #58: The Living Crown

King Acorn is being examined continuously by Dr. Quack much to the king’s annoyance. He decides that instead of fretting over his health like a normal physician would concerning his bout with being crystal and then taken control of by creepy Ixis magic, he’s going to instead tell the doctor the story about why they decided to be a monarchy.

Oh, this oughta be good. Suffice to say, the existence of the council down the line is gonna see to it that whatever this is matters not.

Still, the king tells his tale of how carefree and innocent everything was… until one day his dad decided to ruin it on his 10th birthday.

Y75mF25RoUm3HuM2E-QGptf2HiJCxfrlsK30VwQeVU4F5VLoPhiCQLFpaX3FnnxxuPiu65P4ugGthwUP1jCvdj-GOjnT80DldlzuFgu4MXQRlQFKs1Deq1bGvTBAh9qSgbsmqOFI

hgU0sIhlzHIgf-pTpT1vBDvHf-qehehqWs7Aru5B8zP4H8tI94b6JQbD_B_d25KX7rc60BAHn6nmdFtajRMo96FkKSDs8T-nxR9Bdr83CE0l2NjouN3E0UB-xLDFGsm-txZlpsBg

Yes folks. It’s the infamous Pool of Tang.

What happened here is that he bonded with the Source of All. He stepped out of it and when the liquid went off his body it was molded into his crown and the Sword of Acorns.

What is the Source of All? Cosmic matter… stuff that they all came from. I guess it’s like the Force or something.

He explains that the reason he got hurt by the Ixis magic before is because he only had the crown with him at the time. However, with both the crown and the sword, he’s rekindled his link to the Source of All and has been fully healed.

Then, with a peppy, happy look on his face, he says that things can’t stay the same even if his daughter wishes it so. I’m sure that’s not going to negatively affect Sally's self-esteem what's so ever.

Also, I'm not sure the explanation for why they became a Monarchy was there at all. Was his point that they decided to become a monarchy because they had special connections with the Force and therefore realized they were factually better than everyone else? I guess so.

 

WOW! What a breath of fresh air. That was FUN! Remember fun? I remember fun! That was fun. I really like good ol’ Rob. I don’t even care that he’s Robin Hood Sonic. He’s charming and kind of adorable. Plus, now that I know that Mari-an is that echidna wife I saw in the later issues when I was getting into the comics, I like her a fair bit more now.

Tune in next week for the finale of this unnecessarily long-winded Knuckles story that I'm sure will make me feel relieved to get back to the main issues... for a single issue before we're right back into the Knuckles shit AGAIN!

GRAH!

 

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00618-BD0-5-FC7-4-C36-ABA6-BC31852-B8-AE

Somebody try and find me a third example of Jason Jenson doing this so I can make a “Holy Trinity” plz.

Seriously though. The latter example I can kind of understand. Bernie only appears in this panel during that issue, and I suppose it’s plausible that Jenson saw her and thought she was a horrifically off-model Amy and decided to “fix” it by colouring accordingly.

As for the former... I can’t wrap my head around that in the slightest. I assume that Tracey goofed there and simply forgot to draw in Lara-Su’s hair. But, considering Lara appears in every other panel on this page, I find it hard to believe Jenson mistook her for (I assume) Tikal and added in the details that Tracey “missed”, especially since he still gave her the right colours.

Funnily enough, this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it Lara-Su blunder was fixed in the digital version and the Magazine reprint, while the Amy/Bernie one up there is still right there for all to see in every printing!

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I honestly thought that was an error introduced in the trade edition ("House of Cards") until I looked at the original print of #177 and discovered that was always the case.

I'm not sure if the colorist made such a mistake or if the production team was forced to crudely edit it in Amy for some reason.

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Special Announcement time.

Or rather, it's time to draw your attention to something fun and interesting. So on the recent episode of the Bumblekast, Ian was gone and it was just Kyle and special guest Aleah Baker. I thought this might have been a less interesting one because of it but far from it. Ian being gone kind of meant it was okay to have a discussion on all the really crap things that Ken Penders has done on a lot of these older comics I'm currently reviewing. 

It was a Q&A session and the instant they got to the question for Aleah that was "What are your thoughts on Ken Penders' writing style" the entire rest of the podcast was about that one question. It's asked at 52:29 into the Podcast and it goes on until the thing ends at 1:58:50. The vast majority of it is Aleah venting her frustrations with a lot of the stuff that happened in a lot of that early Penders era comics, even highlighting issues that I've brought up about them almost exactly. It's kind of amazing. It was such a cathartic listen.

I think the best thing was she began with talking about how much she loved the Chaotix and how fucking useless they were at the start of the book.

I'll provide time stamps where I can.

52:29 - The Start, "What are your thoughts on Ken Penders' writing style?" - Talks about how his dialogue doesn't sound like something written by a human being and the weird bolding in all of his sentences to start with. Also goes into how his narrative tricks you into believing there's a long term pay-off and there isn't.

56: 00 - Aleah Baker on The Chaotix during Penders' Run - Almost mirrors everything I've been saying about them, including Vector's only discernible trait concerning his weird manner of speech. 

57:37 - Aleah Baker on The Princess Sally Mini-Series - Not a fan of Geoffrey, especially with recent revelations from Penders about him...

59:04 - Aleah Baker on Julie-Su - Again, says almost everything I've been saying about her so far. It feels GREAT hearing it here.

1:06:09 - Aleah Baker on Knuckles - A talk about how characters often have no agency and it starts with Knuckles and how Locke and the Ancient Walkers undermine Knuckles as a character.

1:07:46 - Aleah Baker on Endgame -Talks about how awful Sally's "death" was handled and the reasons for why Ken did it. Also talks about the heroes lack of agency and how they only won because of Snively. Also points out all the dumb shit with Sonic knowing about Drago and the nonsense with lie-detector Dulcy, etc.

1:15:16 - Aleah Baker on The Brotherhood - Talks for a good while about a story arc I haven't gotten to yet about Penders tackling Politics. It sounds horrible. Especially the parallels to the Holocaust and the stolen quotes from that era, which I DID hear about. Good God, Penders...

1:42:45 - Wrapping Up some final points - "Knuckles is constantly running around with his ant companion, wondering why no one will answer his questions" I know right? It sucks doesn't it? 

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23 hours ago, Big Panda said:

*glances at image and initially keeps scrolling*
 

...WHATAFUCKINMINUTE.

56-EB2-AEE-48-E2-43-EE-A85-F-FF96-A0-E77

...I genuinely never noticed that before holy crap! 

Anyway only thing I really got say is it makes total since Clayton Emery was brought in to help write a Robin Hood story since the majority of his body of work near as I can tell is Dungeons and Dragons. I mean that's totally like Robin Hood right. 😛

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16 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Special Announcement time.

Or rather, it's time to draw your attention to something fun and interesting. So on the recent episode of the Bumblekast, Ian was gone and it was just Kyle and special guest Aleah Baker. I thought this might have been a less interesting one because of it but far from it. Ian being gone kind of meant it was okay to have a discussion on all the really crap things that Ken Penders has done on a lot of these older comics I'm currently reviewing. 

It was a Q&A session and the instant they got to the question for Aleah that was "What are your thoughts on Ken Penders' writing style" the entire rest of the podcast was about that one question. It's asked at 52:29 into the Podcast and it goes on until the thing ends at 1:58:50. The vast majority of it is Aleah venting her frustrations with a lot of the stuff that happened in a lot of that early Penders era comics, even highlighting issues that I've brought up about them almost exactly. It's kind of amazing. It was such a cathartic listen.

I think the best thing was she began with talking about how much she loved the Chaotix and how fucking useless they were at the start of the book.

I'll provide time stamps where I can.

52:29 - The Start, "What are your thoughts on Ken Penders' writing style?" - Talks about how his dialogue doesn't sound like something written by a human being and the weird bolding in all of his sentences to start with. Also goes into how his narrative tricks you into believing there's a long term pay-off and there isn't.

56: 00 - Aleah Baker on The Chaotix during Penders' Run - Almost mirrors everything I've been saying about them, including Vector's only discernible trait concerning his weird manner of speech. 

57:37 - Aleah Baker on The Princess Sally Mini-Series - Not a fan of Geoffrey, especially with recent revelations from Penders about him...

59:04 - Aleah Baker on Julie-Su - Again, says almost everything I've been saying about her so far. It feels GREAT hearing it here.

1:06:09 - Aleah Baker on Knuckles - A talk about how characters often have no agency and it starts with Knuckles and how Locke and the Ancient Walkers undermine Knuckles as a character.

1:07:46 - Aleah Baker on Endgame -Talks about how awful Sally's "death" was handled and the reasons for why Ken did it. Also talks about the heroes lack of agency and how they only won because of Snively. Also points out all the dumb shit with Sonic knowing about Drago and the nonsense with lie-detector Dulcy, etc.

1:15:16 - Aleah Baker on The Brotherhood - Talks for a good while about a story arc I haven't gotten to yet about Penders tackling Politics. It sounds horrible. Especially the parallels to the Holocaust and the stolen quotes from that era, which I DID hear about. Good God, Penders...

1:42:45 - Wrapping Up some final points - "Knuckles is constantly running around with his ant companion, wondering why no one will answer his questions" I know right? It sucks doesn't it? 

I don't listen to Bumblekast, but hot damn I'm watching this.

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On 3/6/2020 at 2:36 PM, Big Panda said:

*glances at image and initially keeps scrolling*
 

...WHATAFUCKINMINUTE.

56-EB2-AEE-48-E2-43-EE-A85-F-FF96-A0-E77

Ah yes, somehow this is the picture used instead of the actual book. This is from a user named Ameth12 on DeviantArt, who basically MS Painted over Sally and Julie with Amy and Tikal and did minimal edits to the kids. He also painted over Mina but I forget who with. He has... issues let's say, and leave it at that.

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12 minutes ago, therealfalconpawnch777 said:

Ah yes, somehow this is the picture used instead of the actual book. This is from a user named Ameth12 on DeviantArt, who basically MS Painted over Sally and Julie with Amy and Tikal and did minimal edits to the kids. He also painted over Mina but I forget who with. He has... issues let's say, and leave it at that.

That rings a bell. I do vaguely recall seeing edited M25YL pages on dA a few years back.

Can’t say I remember them looking as convincing as that.

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42 minutes ago, Big Panda said:

That rings a bell. I do vaguely recall seeing edited M25YL pages on dA a few years back.

Can’t say I remember them looking as convincing as that.

It's all in how big Lara is. Since she's further away, any edits will look relatively normal without really deep scrutiny. 

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Knuckles the Echidna - Issue #12: The Forgotten Tribe, Part 3 of 3: Journey’s End

PXwQjIsape13fxEXfyVsqCR3bLWc0uzTUMG3XNHS77V0rmhVgwmpwRCF90FIMIJA1KtkYnFNETAWN-mA8Goz9j0_358DywEP0CESozsGX2XuXfVC9-jsR0K7gV0W1p-lGoQETwCk

_G_924UsGdhFhVUFZNikoRyf1ttXvc4T-hw_y19sxDojXhokIaz-aE3pxyn9PW-yLC0I75AEURhhX8xjqa914M44JNNPO-rD4BEF9AyhfAtKbHqKHRo8KJwEcZ1bK_chHdr6D7AU

This is probably the best cover of the three Knuckles issues, though, it’s not as cool as the one from Issue 58 of the main book. I do like the connecting covers here, showing the group walking into danger, in the thick of horrible trouble, then walking out. The only off-putting thing here is Mr. Sourface at the back of the line and his weird, gross looking feet. And Hands. And shirt. And face.

Spoiler

Reading the synopsis, I just found out that the High Sheriffs full name is the High Sheriff of S’Nottingham.

I mean… ...sure.

We begin literally where Issue 58 of the main book left off. The characters are discussing how to free Yanar from the most intense game of Hangman yet. The High Sheriff literally calls out to his Hangman by calling him Hangman too. It’s interesting how hangings and the game of hangman used to be so prevalent in my childhood entertainment. I like seeing such casual morbid stuff in my children’s media.

What I will say, once again, is how disappointed I am that this is a very sloppily done way to extend the story between 4 issues.

ZrAhu6_mEPIXON5uIENS711Y7_Ek6x7nduxofR183t5ozZJWYwiAA8i92EQBCI-FQ687Eb4E2935JUA4fb_kUcOCTg7nfHimG2d0PhYi9xD0gVhNsg0tujUX800DNO09L38inRUh

This is how the issue begins. If you were just reading the Knuckles series in order, this would make no sense. Why even bother with the connected cover here? This story literally doesn’t connect anymore. You’re missing a piece. 

So anyway, they devise a plan that’s basically just to rush in and demolish everything at once. Sonic saves Yanar before he’s hanged while Knuckles and Tails attack the High Sheriff and his Hangman. Rob helps out with his arrows from above and it’s all good.

TC7Oc7V_VoBGMIa9iwR-JGdLbUu4jQmBrYYZk8jwbqFuQhFCRpBumvJtuvd0iyD02R5OgqU8ooCLTE65_6fiYTGickKt1FDe2h3pITpnckOUHnqvVlexdvRp6bOCz8dB6UZbg_a1

See? Easy peasy. 

Rebellion and revolution is so quick to do. We should try it more often.

Rob and Knuckles decide they need to get everyone out so Rob fires a flaming arrow to separate both sides and lead the people to the exit.

However, Sonic is currently fighting a bad guy at the exit and protests this.

Then Rob shoots a cuff arrow at Sonic and the bad guy… confusingly.

H0lIY3ot03dpr9FLK7eBicm-K83gjiHns1LIf3w4m1j7oRlh-7ChThXaZzmZ7TRgfd3OOa8QKkGV9R-EBiD58IqCnz6hBvFseJ41wpMou-5hMJ68T5iJ7oLDzcXdgHKrS2mkicy0

I’m not really sure why Rob did this. I guess it was to stop the two of them from fighting but you only need to stop one of them to do that and you’d think that would be the giant metal wolf attacking Sonic. I mean, he takes the cuff arrow off of Sonic’s arm in the next panel and they talk about how Sonic made a good point so… why did he fire an arrow at Sonic???

They all run away from the castle while Rob stays behind to ensure that the villains don’t follow. Everyone is protesting and asking about different things as they run off. They talk about leaving Rob behind, to which Knuckles says that they aren’t; Rob just made a choice. Echidna lady is asking about her two brothers, which Knuckles says he hasn’t forgotten but first thing’s first. Tails is asking Sonic about General D’Coolette and what they should tell Antoine.

Sonic’s response is interesting.

hOu1kpnMCUn2JwPJXiWuKjFoDsCNkfhYg0WyDREG2c7gwtJCjX9lTZaUYFIpavU08YM5rC9epE9mff570AT7R7zrUnerh0NDK6s8aQ6B6-E0dvPyCxenmbntOdo7YSHzwTQszdjZ

Now, I’m not yet ready to call Sonic a hypocrite. He may just be taking what happened to him as a learning experience of sorts… maybe? Either way, it is hard to get over the fact that Mr. “Why Didn’t You Tell Me My Parents Were Alive, I Feel Betrayed By You Uncle Chuck” is now planning to keep quiet about the literal same thing with regards to Antoine. Plus, it’s a bit mean to push Tails to go along with it. Although, Chuck’s reluctance to tell Sonic was also due to them being in the midst of a war and that’s very much not the case now. Sonic and Tails are on a duo journey together while the rest of the Freedom Fighters are focusing on reconstruction. There’s honestly very little reason not to tell Antoine at this point…

… But… you know… benefit of the doubt?

Oh wait. This was written by Ken Penders. That man doesn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt though… hmm… there’s way more going against this decision than for it, I’m starting to realize. 

So how does Rob deal with the High Sheriff? He fires an arrow and the castle explodes. Somehow.

I guess it runs on the logic of Sealab 2021.

“Talk about a Sonic Blast!” Sonic says in reaction to seeing Rob probably burst into flames due to the castle’s explosion. He’s got jokes for days. Wakka wakka. 

Sonic does reiterate that he doesn’t believe Rob died from that though. He’s right too. Rob just walks out of the bushes and says he’s a bit shaken but not stirred (I guess he’s no longer Robin Hood but James Bond now?) while also revealing that he’s found the two lost echidna boys.

UX4tBUfUr9VUthEfzJtlKItfwIpMj8fH-TyE2DGjuS-OQbo4IJK7zb-SXl-W46iSzQ-QIwE_B2KsbZGzf2jdw8nP7LN63U8E-az4SYDXs7FbmoBxMQZlxpCMsG8LTlWlX1FoP00-

I’d say that’s convenient but honestly it isn’t too far-fetched that Rob just found them wandering the woods. They were in the area after all. As for why they wandered off in the first place? Yeah, I still have no clue. I guess it's just because that's something children do.

We cut back to the boring echidnas I don’t care about going on about the boring stuff you shouldn’t care about either. There’s so many different echidnas with so many different names and family connections that have marked themselves as important to this story that’s going nowhere. 

Locke and nameless echidna who probably has a name but I don’t care are talking about Grandfather Hawking (yeah, remember him?) as he lay comatose in bed. They wax philosophical about how ironic it is that there was a war fought over the use of technology and now they need it to save Hawking’s life. Then the ant that isn’t Archimedes says this horseshit.

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You’re all terrible. Don’t try to claim otherwise.

Locke gets a call from Remington who explains that the Chaotix have accepted their mission, somewhat reluctantly, because of Julie-Su, and Remington shares that reluctance because he’s not an idiot. Locke says it’ll be all hunky dory. He’s also told that his wife REALLY wants to speak with him and Locke just says he’ll be available soon. Why is he not available now? Nobody knows.

Back with the heroes, Sonic and Tails decide to exit the story, leaving on an almost surreal good note between Knuckles.

XfoPOopBOz5b7fdpqn847SpR2davY5VM-HDg27Sd69q-2fUbHr-ded9uEBZPWhl8O4LZdOMG8YFTQRUnmB-ThwQNJFW3rKs3Jmkm-a88ZRdEJEc1oeIGrKtrClX7qeDEEh4IbJa4

Honestly, it’s crazy how super friendly they are with each other now. It doesn’t even really feel like it was properly built up to. I kind of remember them just fizzling out on the fighting immediately after Endgame. Like, Knuckles punched Dulcy in the face for approaching his island and here he is saying that he’s welcome on the island anytime. 

It’s odd. Not unappreciated but odd.

It’s about to get even stranger though.

Yanar approaches Knuckles and says that he had a vision about their future or whatever. He talks about how Rob is the other Knuckles (???) and about how he knows of Journey’s End. His vision showed a white cliff overlooking a beach and he asks Knuckles to ask Rob about that.

So, Knuckles goes up to Rob and asks him about that and…

eklDLjxMojLGhr73SN5xOuIJ0y8DRETGsG4nLhbEAOY-pI5gfdFyOISILC_1CpvXyxYNCHdvxzItru4tWJd90pGLpRX04vuTrzS13u6WRwEQC2wmJVFDEbRxuKpAoD0tHbVT7wnz

Rob looks like he just shat his pants and then he just wanders off into the forest without saying anything.

He walks through the grass and towards the edge of a cliff. Mari-An thinks he’s going to jump but Knuckles holds her back and says that he isn’t, which is pretty funny.

Rob just stops and stares ahead, lost in thought.

pj70_CxJtWtbRKyIKw3LedJ7QH1iET6hbPXtb3DwvMrM_FULKmwfEQ4pKhNIDoA5e5LOrYdt6uMOLe20ALFX19NMax4eMAVrwvVwzClRdmmhrphXuBx7rApP0St_GVDughGPppkC

I’ll tell you why it calls to you Rob.

Cause some destiny malarkey or something.

I dunno. It’s probably because the Ancient Walkers said so. 

There’s a short scene where Knuckles’ mom is sitting alone, looking miserable, before being told by her aid that Locke will be available shortly. This upsets her, as it would anyone, being given such a small response to something she feels is highly important. The fact that it’s taking so long just to speak with her goddamn husband is unbearable.

Back with the others, they’re going on about a really confusing bunch of nonsense concerning this legend. They’re using phrases like “You’re a sentry?” and “The tomes told me” and whatever the hell. Basically, the premise is that fate wants Knuckles to walk on water so he can reach the Destiny Islands where Sora is.

The page where Yanar asks if Knuckles is ready is hilarious though. Knuckles says he can’t even swim which makes this scene look more like he’s being pushed to try to swim by some very peppy and supportive instructors. Like a child.

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Knuckles manages to walk on water though, officially making him Jesus according to Ken Penders.

He asks if anyone wants to come and the other echidnas that were saved say that it’s time for them to go home. Mari-An wants to stay with Rob, which is what I expected, but I don’t think I realized just how FAST this relationship went. She talks about staying with the one she loves, which, okay… I mean, they made googly eyes at each other once. I guess that counts as being in love?

Then as they’re saying goodbye, one of the echidnas asks for them to inform them on the wedding. 

Now… I’ve never been in a relationship and I don’t plan to but I’m fairly certain it doesn’t work like this. You don’t meet with someone and then talk about marrying them on the same day. If you do that, Hanz will let your frozen heart kill you or some shit.

I’m not upset by this. I do think this couple is adorable and I really like the fact that Rob married an echidna girl. Plus, there was no bullshit Soultouch nonsense here either. It’s the most wholesome and cute any of these echidna relationships has been and the other half of it is with a hedgehog. It’s a wonderful idea. It’s just strange it’s been accelerated so quickly.

With the best characters now left behind, Knuckles and the gallery of nameless, samey echidnas all walk on water (so I guess, in a way, the very concept of being an echidna makes you Jesus according to Penders) and reach the Island of Albion

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This is Gala-Na. She’s got an awful name but a very striking and different design. Thank goodness it’s not another Knuckles. 

I like to think that this woman was just standing here, for centuries, waiting for these guys to show up while trying to figure out what pose to greet them with. What tremendous whiplash that would cause, being alone for so long and suddenly tons of echidnas show up at your doorstep. I'm just assuming she's ancient. The comic never says that she is. She's just here and she knows a lot of stuff, somehow.

She explains that all echidnas way back in the past were super smart, nay geniuses, and WAY better than literally all the other species on the planet. They had advanced beyond what we humans are capable of today before the entire rest of the world stopped being savages and cavemen… or cavehogs.

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That’s right Sonic. While your kind was off being a primitive cave person with a club and a Klingon forehead, the echidnas, who are just SO much BETTER than everyone else, were building cities, pouring shit into test tubes, and going to space. Your kind were a bunch of fucking losers Sonic. We were smarter and therefore more special than you for far longer than you could ever comprehend.

The echidnas aren’t just a collective assortment of Jesus. They are in fact better than Jesus. Prostrate yourself before them and their highly advanced ways.

So, you thought Echidnapolis was the origin of the echidna civilization right? Not true! It goes even further back than that. Turns out it was Albion, the whole time. They all lived there but then some echidnas left to strive for higher achievements and created Echidnapolis. Then the two factions from Echidnapolis split when the meteor was coming and the one group that stayed on the island dealt with a war over technology (despite it apparently ALWAYS being with them since fucking ancient times) and the other just wandered the Earth until finally finding their way back to Albion.

Albion is the Sanctuary for the echidnas now. You thought it was Sky Sanctuary? Well you’re fucking wrong! We needed to make the echidna history even more unnecessarily convoluted and old as fuck. It’s even older than the oldest of old thing you can think of. That makes it more important and special.

Gala-Na, to her credit, talks about how she’s watched (somehow) with sadness at how much the echidnas have made fools of themselves throughout history. 

So yeah, this is Journey’s End. The group of echidnas that split away from the city instead of deciding to float off into the sky have made it to the Sanctuary while the other half has to deal with war and the Dark Brotherhood and all that Guardian garbage. Sweet deal.

This revelation does make the entire point behind the technology war even dumber than it already was though. Someone seriously thought that they needed to reconnect with their roots because they had been relying too much on technology when their roots are literally baked in nothing but technology since the days of hedgehogs being cave-hogs. Then they immediately just blow up their city and start taking devices from people. What a bunch of fucking morons.

I’m glad this group seems to have reached their happy ending though. Just look at Knuckles, he’s so happy.

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Yanar asks why Knuckles looks so gloom and doom. Knuckles sadly says that this isn’t his home and that he belongs on the Floating Island.

How sad. I’d be like “Oh shit. I do live in that Hell hole don’t I?” and probably would look sad too.

The best part of this, however, is that you could just say “Fuck the Floating Island” and live here. Almost nothing is stopping you. Just go grab your mom, and the Chaotix if you want, and stay here. If Locke and Archimedes get mad at you for not wanting to put up with their absolute nonsense anymore than tell them to fuck off. If a catastrophe comes, drop him a line and he’ll act then if he wants to.

But no, Knuckles apparently wants to head back. Yanar pulls out a Guiding Star Gem and gives it to Knuckles, saying that Athair predicted he’d feel this way and gave it to him for safe keeping. With that, Yanar runs off to go be with his people, having finally found their Journey’s End while Knuckles heads on back to his horrible life.

So the question of where these echidnas were going has been answered. I feel like the comic could have done a much better job at communicating that they were looking for a specific place instead of just having them wander about for centuries. It seemed to me that they just kind of got tossed into a situation that they weren’t prepared for and then the Ancient Walkers just told them, “Nah fam. Keep going. We won’t tell you anything specific but be sure to keep walking.”

I hate the Ancient Walkers. The comic shows them and Athair hovering over Knuckles in the night sky as if they’re his protecting overseers but it just comes off more like they’re guiding him back to the bullshit. 

The history of these echidnas continues to be the most unnecessarily convoluted nonsense to ever be put to print as far as Sonic the Hedgehog is concerned. I don’t know what the point of extending their history even further back is aside from desperately trying to make them seem more important by virtue of being so incredibly ancient. Also, the gross implications behind them being so advanced, even during the time of cave people, and having them walk on water to reach a Sanctuary is terrible.

This Jesus allegory stuff isn’t a making of my own doing. I feel like it’s almost deliberate now. I don’t even know if Ken really even cares about Sonic anymore. That might just be me, drowning is so much echidna crap that I need some time to breathe though. Also, the structure of this story, again, doesn’t work as being sold as a three issue tale. At the very least, the comic could have made the Rob thing a solo-adventure but it’s integral to the plot here. You have to swap disks to get the full story and it’s really not cool.

Sigh. Let’s move on then.

 

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog - Issue #59: Opposites Detract

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Holy, Sega Saturn, it’s Horizont-Al and Verti-Cal. They do shit that messes things up and then they get dicked over by Scourge in prison. Are they like the Mr. Myxlplyxs of the Sonic world? I dunno. Maybe. Anyway, neat cover. I like how zany it is as well as how Tails continues to be a brighter yellow-orange.

Spoiler

 

The story begins with Sonic and Tails on an adventure by themselves and immediately my heart fluttered with happiness. Yes, finally. I’ve waited so long.

Sonic and Tails are off running to see what’s messed up about the world when they just happen to come across a weakened wall between their world and an unknown zone. 

As you do.

They try to get away, barely, but they end up getting sucked into it.

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Roll credits.

It actually took me a bit to remember that Sally had a meeting with a bunch of people telling them to beware the zones. Robotnik’s Ultimate Annihilator really did just fuck everything up eh?

Sonic and Tails end up inside the backdrop to the PBS show ZOOM and everything’s all topsy turvy, inside out, upside down, and wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong!

It’s time to get our Mad Mod on. It’s time we brought the Mad Hatter up in this bitch. It’s time we go Alice in Wonderland on these fools!

I say this with as much awareness to the fact that it’s probably going to be a world of generic shapes they’re staying in through most of this…

Oh, but hey, here are our heroes, Horizont-Al and Verti-Cal.

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Oh my. They don’t look like Mr. Myxlplyx at all.

I remember these forms though! I saw them transform into these forms during Scourge: Lockdown. They seemed pretty scared about having to return to these forms too. I can’t help but wonder if they don’t like being this way but can’t help it because of some split-personality disorder.

Well, turns out that the situation here is a bit different right now. These two lived happily in their own zone before the Ultimate Annihilator happened and smushed them into protoplasmic beings. They then reformed into the metal monsters you see above and blamed the other for the collapse of their former existence. Now they spend their time in constant war with one another, trying to blast the other to bits.

So yeah, they’re not here specifically for Sonic and Tails. They hate each other and are fighting… but I guess they also decided, why not blast the two intruders? Sure. They seem violent enough for it.

This is some pretty scary stuff though. Can you imagine being crushed and reformed into something else, at random, because some fat asshole decided he didn’t give a shit anymore and wanted to ram his fist through reality?

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Yeesh.

Well, Sonic is more concerned by how different this place is from when he was last here. It used to be a lot less violent and way more cartoony. I’m not going to say “friendly” cause those guys were fucking with him if I recall correctly but its definitely a far cry from wanting to kill him like they do now.

Tails isn’t enjoying his time here either.

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Oh no. It’s quicksand. I’m gonna die. Help! 

It’s fine. Don’t panic. Just get out slowly and you’ll be okay.

See? Even you can learn something from a sloth.

I kid of course. What’s actually happening is that both Sonic and Tails are transforming into brainwashed minions of Verti-Cal and Horizont-Al. 

Literally, the next page, they’ve transformed all the way and are at each other’s throats with attacks and transformed bodies.

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Now this is the kind of stuff I really like to see when I think of the Adventures of Sonic and Tails. Let’s have an episode where they fall into some warp zone and turn into slightly robotic abominations so we can have an excuse for them to fight each other.

It just sounds like something that would go on the docket. 

As this happens, both Horizont-Al and Verti-Cal start talking as if their minions have always been theirs and start crapping on the other about how bad their minion is at being a minion.

This happens after Tails cracks Sonic in the chin with his weird metal shovel. Sonic goes in for another hit though, ready to burst open the skull of his former best friend. Tails no sells that and thwacks Sonic again. 

However, Sonic gets Tails’ tails up in a twist and is about to go in for the kill… but then… they just become friends again.

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Yeah. I guess Tails’ fight or flight response kicked in and his brain just defaulted to “friendship” in order to save himself from being gored through by his best friend.

I’ll admit, it’s a bit hard being upset by this obvious deus ex machina because it’s honestly really cute seeing them hug.

Horitzont-Al and Verti-Cal are confused by the lack of wanton murder. Sonic is also confused by them. He somehow figures out that these two are the small men who used to be really funny and weird around him and wonders why they turned into violent Demi-Gods. It’s astonishing that Sonic figured this out. They couldn’t look anymore different from those older forms, but I suppose he recognized the zone and recognized their names and put two and two together. 

These two are very confused by this concept known as “friendship”.

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We’re getting ready to break out into a PBS kids musical number. I can feel it.

The joyous wonder of friendship is explained to them and Tails brings up that fighting is pointless and being neighborly is great, especially if one wishes to have established rules in such a crazy environment. Lifting one another up in support can only help light the way.

The two of them contemplate this, recalling the time when they were friends who used to smile and play baseball with each other.

Then they say fuck that shit.

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Sonic and Tails race out of there and get blown out of the open space of the zone they entered. The Zone then closes up behind them, which Sonic couldn’t be happier about. They really got lucky there. It didn’t seem like the entrance or exit to this place was something that was even remotely possible to find. It certainly wasn’t talked about.

That’s how our story ends. They just stand and talk about how that was weird before Sonic brushes it off and says he wants a chili-dog.

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I really, really love the way these two are drawn here. It looks like I’m watching the cartoon leap across the page as I’m reading this. It doesn’t feel like a lot of the earlier issues where they specifically were hiring people who just couldn’t draw Sonic the Hedgehog for whatever reason.

It’s Art Mawhinney yet again and I must say, this one’s a keeper. Draw all the stories for me please. At least until Tracy comes aboard. I know that’s not going to happen so I’m gonna need to enjoy it while I can. This also wasn’t the worst Mike Gallagher has written either.

Next is a Ken Penders side story. I can already feel the temperature drop.

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog - Issue #59: Tales of the Freedom Fighters - The People’s Princess

This story was illustrated by Manny Galan and Jim Amash. You can tell it’s not the same art as before because it’s gone slightly more realistic but it doesn’t look bad at all.

So anyway, Sally and the other Freedom Fighters are skydiving together. Friends don’t let friends skydive alone am I right?

To be more accurate, it’s Sally and an assortment of Freedom Fighters from different teams. She’s here with Hershey, Lupe, Hamlin, Rotor, and Horse-Face the Motherfucking Horse. 

You can also tell it’s a story with Penders' involvement because of the copy and pasting.

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Computers are so convenient aren’t they?

Her dialogue is awful too. It’s written as though it’s only here so that she has something to say to fill up the pages so that we don’t waste a page with just art of her landing.

“Floating in the air and not a care in the world.” She says as she’s floating in the air.

Next panel.

“I wish I could stay up here forever” she says, getting close to the ground.

Next panel.

“Unfortunately, I have to come down to Earth sometime! Oomph!” she says as she lands on the ground.

Next panel.

“No soft landings either” she says as she stands up straight.

To be fair, these are all thoughts she’s thinking in her head. She’s not doing that thing where she’s talking to no one but that doesn’t really make this any better. It’s the master of mundane dialogue back to make characters no longer talk like actual people would talk. She really needs to walk you through the steps of how she’s feeling as she’s parachuting to the ground guys. It’s integral to the plot. One line of dialogue about how good it felt would have sufficed for most normal people but not the grand poobah, his ye old majesty, Ken Penders himself.

It gets better. We’re treated to several pages of Sally just… gathering the people she was with together. She gets her name called by a kid in some overalls who invites her to dinner. Sally says she needs to find her group.

Rotor and Hamlin just show up. Then Hershey does as well, doing another nine lives joke. However, Lupe and Horse-Face the Horse are gone. 

So they look for them. Sally finds Horseface and throws a knife at his strap, keeping him stuck to the tree and instead of stabbing him in the horseface, he drops and lands fine on his feet. Lupe is still missing and they hear a scream. They find Lupe whose… fine. I guess she stumbled over a branch or something…

And then they just go to the house nearby and sit down to eat.

Riveting stuff. That was the first five pages of this six page short story. Really making good use of our time.

The very next page, they all just return home where Rosy is waiting for them.

Yeah, it’s night time and they’re back from…? I dunno. What was their mission? They did a skydive and then had dinner at a stranger’s house. Why did we need to see that? Maybe they’ll explain…

… Nope. They don’t. I don’t know what that mission was or what was being accomplished…

Did they… just go Skydiving for the hell of it? I mean… I suppose that’s possible but isn’t this the same girl who forbade Rotor from going to see his family because she needed him here to help with rebuilding civilization? They didn’t just decide to go skydiving for fun and then eat at a barn and then return home hours later after accomplishing nothing right?

And if they did, fine but why the fuck do I need to read about that?

The story ends with Sally noticing Rosy looking at her and asking if something’s wrong. Turns out nothing is wrong and she’s just happy she’s happy. She offers her some hot cocoa.

Uh… great???

Conflict? A Point? Is something gonna happen? Why are we here?

The very last panel of this “““story””” ends with King Max promising to the audience that he's about to be a tremendous asshole.

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Nothing happened but here at the end we get the promise that next-time something might happen. Great. How about, instead of that, you just tell the story where the thing actually happens eh?

 

I enjoyed the first story for being a nice, weird duo adventure with just Sonic and Tails facing some strange and random encounter. It was a nice change of pace. Yeah, it sounds weird to say but Sonic and Tails going on some whacky, misadventure together was actually a change of pace for the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book. Go figure.

That second story wasn’t even a story. I don’t even know what that was to be honest. Might as well have left a post-it note that said “Your story is in another issue”. It wasn’t enough to sour me on the experience but it’s astonishing how obvious it is that they had nothing to tell there. I mean, for as enjoyable as the first story was to me, nothing of any real consequence happened. We just found out the current state of two obscure characters who haven’t been seen or heard from since the second issue of the book for seemingly no reason. 

I’m almost compelled to call this filler but the idea that this is filler and the Knuckles shit isn’t fills me with dread. There is no filler in this book, only the good, the bad, and the farcical.

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11 hours ago, thumbs13 said:

I wonder if Al and Cal becoming dark and edgy versions of themselves was supposed to be symbolic of something.

I think it was just a commentary on Comics making silly characters darker and edgier. Gallagher loves poking fun at trends in comics.

Also I probably shouldn't spoil this but I kinda want to mention it because it's a good example of how differently Ken and Karl write Sonic. You know that part where Sonic says they won't tell Antoine about his dad? Yeah Karl ignores it and has Sonic break the news to him. Because Karl actually realized that being a smart ass=/=being a complete and total dick. 

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9 hours ago, SBR2 said:

I think it was just a commentary on Comics making silly characters darker and edgier. Gallagher loves poking fun at trends in comics.

Also I probably shouldn't spoil this but I kinda want to mention it because it's a good example of how differently Ken and Karl write Sonic. You know that part where Sonic says they won't tell Antoine about his dad? Yeah Karl ignores it and has Sonic break the news to him. Because Karl actually realized that being a smart ass=/=being a complete and total dick. 

Ah. So Penders' plan was to just have Sonic be a massive hypocrite and a dick. 

So business as usual.

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Knuckles the Echidna - Issue #13: The Chaotix Caper, Part One of Three: The Unsuspecting

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*Deep Sigh*

You know, I honestly didn’t expect to get to this point so quickly. I thought this infamous little story was a little more far off into the future. Now that it’s here though, I guess it’s time to hopefully not overdose and die on some good ol’ LSD. 

If you had told kid me at the time of him playing Sonic Heroes that there existed, at that same time, a comic where… this shit happened, I’d have probably been too confused to properly reply. 

This is a good cover though… I guess. Not sure I’m a fan of what it’s depicting. The worst thing about this cover is ironically the best thing about it, which is the happy, smiling Sonic face projected on some lights saying “Buy Sonic Comics” right over the scene of Charmy hovering over the corpse of his best friend.

How delightfully inappropriate. How expected of Ken Penders.

Spoiler

 

We open with a title page showing off the Chaotix along with Knuckles and Julie-Su… 

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It’s drawn very strangely. 

I will say that the title, Great Chaotix Caper, reminds me of the Sonic Universe story, Great Chaos Caper and how I was 100% certain that story was going to be called the Great Chaotix Caper when the original solicits came out for it but was changed a bit later because they remembered they already had a comic that was titled that. It would make sense since Great Chaos Caper doesn’t really make as much sense as a title for that Sonic Universe story. 

So anyway, Penders is on writing duty and Manny Galan is the penciler. Manny’s pencils are in the middle for me as far as what I’ve seen in this book. Not as bad as Penders but not as good as Art Mawhinney. You all know what I think of Penders by now.

I do like how the title crawl ensures us that Knuckles cannot disobey the laws of physics and be in two places at the same time. I don’t believe that but it’s nice that at some point Penders felt it necessary to point out.

So we get introduced to Harry, a dingo who drives a cab at the graveyard shift at night instead of following Stryker’s orders to be out on patrol. 

Already, I have several questions. 

I’m guessing he chose this job as a means of living off the land in Echidnaopolis soon after their cities merged? I dunno, he’s talking like he’s been at this for a while… then again, he did say that as a cabby no one talks to him and no one bothers him which I have an intensely hard time believing. I do kind of believe that he only gets one or two rides a night though. 

He hears a cry for help and steps out of his cab. He repeatedly calls himself stupid for doing this because despite what the echidnas say about their city, it’s just like any other city. Also, he says they’re a bunch of idiotic hypocrites for fighting over technology and that they either use it or they don’t. 

This is where I started to like this guy. 

He comes across Charmy Bee, cradling his passed out friend on the ground. This is a bee character whom I’m sure I’ve never seen or heard of before in my readings. Since I know of this story, I’m aware of his name but if this is his introduction, the story where he… well, you know, then his character was literally introduced to suffer this fate and that feels shitty. 

Either way, the Dingo man decides to help the young ones out. 

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Patched up? There’s no cuts on his body.

Harry drives them to the hospital and they cart away Charmy’s bee friend on a stretcher. At this point, with his good deed done, the dingo cab driver REALLY wants to fucking bolt. He tries to leave but then Remington bursts in and starts asking Charmy if he’s alright. The dingo tries to leave again but Vector pushes the door open and smacks the dude in the face.

Nope. Sorry my dude. The universe wants you here.

Vector asks who the scrub in the Charmy costume is and Charmy is understandably confused by that question. Then something that I didn’t even notice gets pointed out when Charmy realizes that Vector is talking to him. Charmy is a completely different size!

Yeah, Charmy’s size has increased to that of his normal game self. Oddly enough, this comic was released in April of 1998 so it's about 5 years off from Sonic Heroes’ release. I’m not entirely sure why the size difference and size rebalancing was an issue that was dealt with this early but here it is, the first of what’s to be many character transformations to come. You gotta love the explanation for it to.

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Yeah, what he said.

Super tiny Charmy is just his flight mode guys. Don’t think about it. I was this size all the time and you’ve just NEVER seen me in my NORMAL size before. Ever. Don’t think about it.

Mighty, being a charitable son of a gun, actually notices the dude that Vector knocked on his butt when he burst the door into his nose and lends a helping hand to get him up…

… At that moment, the doctor bursts on into the room and delivers the bad news. Charmy, smitten by grief, goes in for comfort from the nearest person around him, which just happens to be the dingo that got them to the hospital.

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I’m feeling an emotion rise within me. I’m not sure which emotion it is just yet.

We then cut away to a dingo delivering supplies to a rhino dude… I’m guessing we’re still on Echidnaopolis? I think?

I mean, I was made aware that there are a ton of inhabitants on the Floating Island, some issues before, that weren’t echidnas but we see so many echidnas exclusively that it’s hard to keep in mind.

Turns out the job of a delivery man is shady as fuck too because we cut to a room and see who the delivery is for. 

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Renfield the Rodent is a character I’ve seen before too. Not just in relation to this story, though that toothy grin is an image that’s been passed around in association with it, but also he’s appeared in this book before. There was a story about Happyland and its shady business practices in association with Robotnik, I think. In fact, that might be the first Chaotix story I can recall… I dunno. Drawing on memory when it comes to the undocumented earlier issues I read isn’t a faithful practice. I do remember seeing Renfield among the group of animals running from the open fire when Kragok’s men attacked the Floating Island though so… yeah, I guess they’re just on the Floating Island.

Also, Downtown Ebony Hare is a kick ass name. I really like that name. I don’t know about this character just yet but he’s got a really good goddamn name.

Downtown Ebony Hare finishes his statement in comedic timing fashion by saying that this plan is “a real way to make a killing”

Ba dum tiss.

Back with the Chaotix, Remington is about to ask Charmy some questions. Oh but they can’t start without Julie-Su. Thank goodness Julie-Su enters the room at that exact moment. Vector attempts to engage in another fight by saying they didn’t know which rock to look under to find her, which amuses me, and they have a verbal scrap before Remington tells them both to shut the fuck up.

Then Charmy recounts the story of what happened the night before. Charmy and his best friend Mello Bee, which is a name that’s most likely going off of Charmy’s name as a different kind of emotional state, came back from Happyland and suddenly Mello felt really strange. 

Vector pumps the brakes on the story to ask why they would go there? Espio is shocked as well because he heard it got shut down but Charmy’s explanation is a sound, child-like one. 

The place said it was open under new management and he figured they wouldn’t open it unless it was safe. Mello had never gone before so he wanted to check it out…

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I can’t fault him for it really. An adult probably still wouldn’t have chanced it considering what happened in the past but the place being under new management and ALLOWED to be open on the fucking island says a lot about what the perception is supposed to be.

Remington wants to know exactly what happened when Mello got ill.

So Charmy tells him what happened and it’s… basically an acid trip.

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If that weren’t strange enough, Remington stands up and outright confirms that there have been several cases of this happening all over and he believes that they’re all related…!

Oh really?! NO SHIT they’re all related! What?!

Charmy expresses surprise at hearing this as do all the other Chaotix members. Mighty asks why the fuck they weren’t informed about this…

… A question that gets fucking ignored! They don’t answer it!

Hey asshole, answer the question! Why didn’t you tell the Chaotix that there were cases of people collapsing from a poisoning with a mysterious origin. Hello?!

Yeah, he just goes on about how a ton of people have been collapsing from… sigh… Lemon Sundrop Dandelion poisoning. 

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You’ve laced my Sonic the Hedgehog comic with LSD.

That’s literally what this is by the way. It has the same acronym and the same effects when ingested, it’s just that the acronym spells out a different name which… honestly doesn’t do much at all to hide what it is. You might as well have kept it the same, really.

What a dignified way of telling this story though, am I right?

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Remington’s team of scientists theorize that it was the cause of something they ate which…  must have taken your scientists a long time to reach that conclusion.

Remington eventually says he kept things quiet to avoid a panic, which explains why you wouldn’t tell the general public (although there are issues with keeping that a secret as well. ESPECIALLY since this guy just said that it’s mostly targeting YOUNG people and children. That’s horrible. If I were a parent, I’d probably wanna know SOMETHING) but this explanation doesn’t explain why you didn’t tell the Chaotix until now. 

Like, seriously, these guys are here discussing this issue with you now because it got the friend of one of their members fucking killed! One of them had to die before this information reached them?

It’s starting to hit me how close to current events this issue is starting to feel. 

Remington is usually portrayed as a lot more tactical and smarter than this. Maybe he’s ingested a bit of the LSD himself.

He says he’s been inspecting Youth halls, schools, and malls to find out where this may be originating from and Espio asks if they have any idea of where to start… and I’m sat here wondering if they’ve all just suddenly forgotten that Charmy said he and Mello went to Happyland and right after leaving, he fucking died.

Just… go there?

Charmy asks why Mello didn’t survive if a ton of others did. Remington's only response is that he doesn’t know and that they’ll have to wait for the medical report to find out. I’m inclined to believe it killed Mello because he’s got a connection with one of the main characters but I’m sure there will be some sort of pseudo sciencey explanation as to why…

(P.S: There isn't)

After Remington finally gives the order to check out the obviously fucking shady Happyland, we cut to Knuckles’ father in his hidey hole with the pervy television monitors.

They see Knuckles trekking by himself across the badlands and get really concerned by this. Knuckles hears a terribly loud sound and rushes off to try and avoid it. Then Locke and his father get impressed with Knuckles when he does something and they react to it in a way that doesn’t show us what’s happening. No doubt Penders wants me to wonder what’s happening but he didn’t account for the fact that I don’t care.

Back with the Chaotix, they exit the building and Vector brings up how far away Happyland is. Charmy tells Vector to stop whining and that he may have an idea for how to get there quickly. 

Of course, he spots the cabby, Harry,  that helped the night before and gives him his thanks. 

Then not so subtly implies that he needs another favor.

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Yes, it’s extremely adorable and as the world’s self-proclaimed number #1 Charmy fan my heart did indeed melt.

So Harry agrees to take them, bringing with him his narration that began at the beginning of the book… then disappeared when he exited the story for a bit only for it to come back now that he’s here. I have a sneaking suspicion that this isn’t really how narration is supposed to be utilized in a story. Maybe if you’re trying to do a Goodfellas thing where you switch between who's doing the narration so as to make sure it’s always through the point of view of somebody, I’d find this more acceptable but it just… stops when he’s not there and starts up again when he is. If it’s not actually HIS story then don’t do the narration troupe.

I mean it’s NOT his story anyway. It’s Charmy’s.

So Harry drives them there, points out the sign at the entrance, and says it means he’s not his headache anymore. He drops them off at Happyland and goes off. Julie-Su says, sarcastically, “That was friendly” and Charmy responds by saying “Would you rather have walked? Harry got us here didn’t he?”

Thank you Charmy. Mr. Harry was under no obligation to take you all here so just be grateful for the ride.

Also, we see Charmy shrink down to his small size when they get there, doing so for the first time in front of the others… which is still really silly but sure. 

Harry is driving off, with narration boxes saying that he’s got a pit in his stomach. He’s worried about something and is totally going to involve himself again. It’s the folly of being a good dude with a conscience. 

The Chaotix check out the park. Chamy doesn’t remember Mello buying anything to eat, though we’re shown a flashback of Mello asking for a chili-dog while Charmy is being distracted by a juggling clown. So that’s the big hint to the issue being the chili-dogs.

So of course, when the Chaotix don’t find anyone freaking out Mighty’s just like “Guess that means the food’s safe” and orders a chili-dog and chows down on it. 

… WHAT?!

NO!

WHAT????!!!!

Julie-Su says something smart for once and asks if maybe they should… NOT do that just to be safe.

Just because you didn’t find anyone freaking out in public, doesn’t mean something isn’t shifty about this place. For God’s sake, Mello collapsed right as they LEFT this place. He didn’t freak out INSIDE the park my dudes. For fuck’s sake.

We cut back to Renfield the Rodent, who's happy that business is good… still don’t know why business can’t be good without chili-dogs laced with LSD but I suppose we’ll find out… later…?

The door bursts open and Downtown Ebony Hare, some Sally looking fox chick, and a bulldog named Blackjack waltz in and claim that they’re his new business partners whether he likes it or not. Reinfeld agrees, not wanting to be turned into rat paste by these intruders whom he’s never seen or met before.

I’m a little intrigued. I’m not sure what the story intends to do by having two separate criminal fractions rather than one complete one just working together to sell LSD to the children but… again, I guess I’ll find out…?

As the Chaotix are about to leave, having chowed down on the chili-dogs, Charmy’s head starts to hurt…

Then ALL of their heads start to hurt…

Then the most fucking hilarious scene ever happens.

They all go on an acid trip at once. 

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Except for Julie-Su because apparently she’s the only one who packed her brain for the mission.

I’m sorry but I can’t get over how fucking contrived this is. These guys were sent here on a literal mission to investigate this place because there was a chance it was connected to the LSD trips that all the young people were suffering from recently and instead of taking that job seriously, they search the place specifically to see if anyone is CURRENTLY in the middle of a freak out, find nothing, and then eat the food, in turn, becoming the ones who are freaking out.

Is that what you do when you’re on a mission? Eat the thing that’s suspected of being connected to these Acid Trips? Even Espio did? I mean, I know he’s not yet the Espio I’m familiar with but it’s still surreal seeing him vomit into a trash can because he did something this insanely idiotic. 

Penders needed this to happen so he just decided to make all the characters idiots. Even more egregious is the fact that Charmy had one. 

Charmy’s friend died after they left this park together. Even if, for some reason, they weren’t convinced this was the place where the LSD comes from, I don’t see him taking that chance. It’s too immediately connected with that awful memory and they’re here, on top of that, because it’s definitely the most suspicious place. 

No, just eat the food when we’re here investigating to see if it’s POISONED.  It’ll be fine.

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HAHAHA! Do you get it? And what a strange TRIP its gonna be? Like acid trip? The thing that can happen when you partake in the good ol’ LSD? AHAHAHAHA! It’s funny because this child is going through that right now! AHAHAHA!

What the FUCK?!

Christy Christ Christ Christ!

I mean good GOD almighty, what the fucking hell?!

This is a Sonic the Hedgehog comic book where the premise is that Charmy Bee, a child, visits a theme park with his best friend and said friend dies because he ate a chili-dog laced with LSD. Now he’s gone BACK to that same park and is somehow not scared enough, suspicious enough, and sad enough to refuse to partake in the food being served at this place… a place that was once shut down for being run by a criminal and is now being investigated by them under suspicion of poisoning children.

I don’t even need to illustrate why this is bad. It’s all right there. I’m still having trouble processing the fact that this exists. Just… how? Was quality control really THIS fucking bad back in ‘98?

The characters are all idiots and the subject matter is not only ridiculously out of place but it’s being treated with an insanely inappropriate lack of agency. The ending caption even made an acid trip joke. It’s not funny, it's just weird and creepy. UGH!

Like, it hurts worse because this is a story centered on my favorite character. I don’t even know what I could possibly say to express just how uncomfortable I’m feeling right now, despite knowing the details of this story already. 

There’s no excusing decision making like this. Ever. I remain baffled that Ken Penders was allowed to not only write on the book for so long but that the book survived for as long as it did under him. Sonic’s name carries a strong and powerful urge to survive along with it, as we all know, but Jesus.

 

Knuckles the Echidna - Issue #14: The Chaotix Caper, Part Two of Three: A Tenuous Grip on Reality

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This cover isn’t as good as the last one. It just doesn’t look as well drawn. The dark atmosphere definitely is coming through though. I’m definitely feeling the dark grip of the book as the day turns to night over a shady, underground criminal front disguised as a happy-go-lucky amusement park for children. It… succeeds at that at least, though, I don’t think it would have had I not just finished reading something that is currently only increasingly making me more and more uncomfortable the more I think about it.

Spoiler

So when Charmy said he wanted Julie-Su to take a journey to the center of his mind, I guess he meant it. Although, I don’t think Julie-Su can see what he’s trying to show her. Thankfully, we can and it’s… a backstory.

Yeah. Charmy’s got himself a backstory, ironically, before any of the other Chaotix members have had theirs fleshed out too it seems.

He was supposed to be the king of his colony one day but when his father goes to put the crown on his head, and Charmy sees what he looks like with it on, he tosses it to the ground rather violently…

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His father is just like “SON, HAVE YOU GONE MAD!” and in a two page spread we see Charmy running off, or flying off rather, crying about how he didn’t want to be a prince anyway.

Ah yes. The stunning reveal. Charmy is a prince and he ran away from his destiny because of the pressure. 

Charmy’s mind is clearly fucking with him. Red words are strung across the inside panels of the pages and he crashes into his drunken, perverted looking butler as his mind shatters around him.

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Normally, I’d be really enjoying this. I think a part of me still does. I like seeing characters I like go through harsh conflict and turmoil as a means of giving them something horrible and tough to overcome. I should be grateful but considering how we got here, there’s a darkness clouding my thoughts that makes the intensity of the situation weigh down upon me in a slightly different manner than it's supposed to.

We see that Charmy is indeed in a hospital bed and for some reason his body is fighting off the antibiotics, which means he needs a complete transfusion. Poor kid doesn’t deserve this. Apparently the rest of the Chaotix are going to pull through just fine, even though they’re also in bed too.

When the doctor informs them of this, Julie-Su wonders why it was just them and not anyone else. Apparently, cases have come in from those who’ve had it that just saw them recovered after sleeping it off. So at the very least, the oddity of why it’s affecting certain people is being addressed here, which I appreciate.

The prevailing theory is that it's reacting differently depending on how different the individual is, which is a sound theory I suppose. There are a ton of different species of animal living here on top of the physical makeup of people’s bodies being different even if they’re of the same race. Remington, seemingly having gotten his brain back (for now) heads straight for Happyland, no questions asked. Oh, and Julie-Su is with him.

I’ve got to say as an aside, the way Julie-Su has been handled in this book so far is VERY weird. It doesn’t make any sense. She has a heart-to-heart with Knuckles about betraying her people because one day she just felt like it… but then talks smack to Knuckles endlessly, straps the Chaotix to the sand in the desert and leaves them to get baked, and then tries to run away from the cops when the getting is good only to be captured anyway… then she’s just let go for, what is right now, an unexplained reason and made a member of the Chaotix? 

I don’t really understand what the point is or why she’s here. A lot of the Chaotix members have, so far, not really done a good job of justifying their existence but at least their continued presence is explained away by them being game characters. I mean, I KNOW she’s just here because he wants a female Knuckles around for the sake of pretending he gives a shit about female empowerment so that he can use it as a bullet point for why you should praise and respect him but… I’m still searching for a reason OTHER than that because I want to hold out hope for an answer that doesn’t exist.

Meanwhile, back with Renfield, a business meeting is going down between the criminals. Downtown Ebony Hare is telling Mr. Ratburn that the slime he’s using on his chili-dogs is an overdose of very potent stuff. He’s not concerned for their well-being, of course, he just realizes that killing off the customers instead of giving them a nice soft dosage of neat little acid trips isn’t good for business.

For some reason, Reinfeld disagrees with this, saying that the only complaint they got happened the day before and presses a button under his desk that gets a big, bulky, red-orange, wrestler rat to walk in. His name is Ripper.

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Ripper gets knocked out in a single punch from Blackjack. Ripper is very bad at his job.

Ebony decides to cut the crap and grabs Renfield by the collar, laying down the law. He ships him the sauce and only puts a LITTLE on. Yes, he does threaten to kill him if he doesn’t comply, which honestly, I’m having trouble deducing why he wouldn’t comply. Why wouldn’t he already be doing that? Is his intention to kill people or to run a business? Reinfeld seems pretty bad at this, all around. He’s got a shit way of making these dogs and he’s got shit bodyguards.

We take a trip back to the acid trip that is Charmy’s mind where we see our first glimpse of Saffron Bee. 

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She looks NOTHING like she does later in the book. In fact, I’m told she goes through quite a ton of design changes that, unlike Amy later, aren’t given any manner of explanation aside from the whims of artists and colorists who didn’t care.

I mean, I probably wouldn’t either. She was created to be Charmy’s girlfriend and… I guess she does that well?

Charmy runs away from her because girls are nothing but trouble. He calls her a nudge, whatever that means. She’s clearly just concerned for him but Charmy just ran from his castle after tossing his crown on the floor so he’s very much not in the mood for conversation. He just wants to be left alone.

So of course, his best buddy does a wrestling tackle from the sky on him.

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“Charms, M’Budsman! How’s it flyin’?”

Now that’s a charming image… and it does an effective job of making me feel sorry for Charmy’s loss. It doesn’t take much besides a display of affection like this. 

I wonder if I submitted a story about Charmy getting his memory back by witnessing Mello come back as a zombie to haunt him, It would be accepted by the Archie Sonic comic revival team. Probably not but it seems like an appropriately cruel idea considering how awful Charmy’s life turns out. Call me. I've got ideas for days!

Charmy and Mello have a heart to heart about being free to do whatever they wish. Charmy talks about how he never asked to be made king, it’s just something that’s expected of him. Mello can relate because his dad is on his case about how much freedom he’s allowed too. Mello asks where he can meet up with him and Charmy says he’s gonna run away to the Floating Island that passes by sometimes. Mello promises to keep his lips sealed and like a true friend, turns out to have actually done that. 

There, Charmy meets his first new friend, Mighty the Armadillo… which transitions us to Mighty being the first to properly wake up in the hospital.

The doctor rushes in when he gets contacted on his beeper and sees Mighty.

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He’s fine.

LSD laced chili-dog? No problem a good nap couldn’t fix.

This is so weird.

I’d like to extend my confusion to this story not being rejected to the editor, J. Freddy Gabrie. What are you doing man?

Back with Renfield, he spots Remington and Julie-Su on his security monitor. Funnily enough, he says “We” got trouble but Ebony Hare says that it’s not “We” but “He” who's in trouble. Renfield is on his own here so he rushes out to greet the officer with a happy smile. 

“GREETINGS! GREETINGS! WELCOME TO HAPPYLAND!” He says, smiling brightly with his hands out to this officer.

The more this story goes on, the more I’m starting to see potential in the idea behind a shady amusement park doing something underhanded. It’s a very creepy, dark idea that could work within the context of a Sonic the Hedgehog comic… but not in THIS context. You needed something a little more… fantastical in its messed up nature. Just straight up going for LSD is just… blegh.

Renfield gives his corporate spiel about how he wishes to make sure everyone has a good time. If their ride was uncomfortable or their food wasn’t just right, then let him know. So they let him know that the food has seen reports of food poisoning and he denies that. His proof is that there’s no one currently collapsing around them.

Julie-Su says he’s got a point.

… NO! HE DOESN’T!

YOU LITERALLY SAW THE CHAOTIX EAT THE FOOD AND GO ON AN ACID TRIP! ALL OF THEM AT ONCE!

You should know by now that people not currently freaking out isn’t proof of anything. He doesn’t have a point!

Ebony Hare is watching this on the screen and he tells Blackjack that once the “test run” is complete, see to it that the Rodent is deep-sixed.

So, they’re just gonna kill him anyway. Ebony’s not fucking around.

Now we cut to the most confusing page of the comic. Locke and his father are observing Knuckles on THEIR security camera footage and are talking out loud, once again, about the super impressive thing Knuckles did or is doing… but it’s not being shown to us or outright stated to us what that thing is he’s done. We’re just given a bunch of confusing, needless platitude about how impressed they are by Knuckles and wondering if he’s tapped into his new latent abilities…

But on the screen, all that’s being shown to us is Knuckles standing there, looking angry, as Bears on bikes race around him.

What the hell are they talking about? I dunno. It NEVER tells us.

We are shown a scene of Knuckles beating the Bear gang up in what looks like a whirlwind of punches but that’s it. Locke and his father just go on about how he’s too uber powerful and… I’m really not sure what I’m supposed to see is so different about him. It would be nice if the book could properly illustrate it but of course it’s not going to do that so fuck it.

Locke’s father does get in a nice crack at Locke when he brings up that Knuckles could use a good teacher to help him wield his supposedly newfound power. Locke says Archimedes will do it and Locke’s father says Locke would see a better candidate if he looked in the bathroom mirror.

Basically, just saying that Locke should hurry up and reveal himself to his son already. Stop saying, "Well this old ant is gonna do it". If Locke’s father is TELLING him that there’s no reason why he shouldn’t just do that now then clearly there’s no super important reason why he can’t. At this point he’s being an assoholic dad for the sake of it.

Vector wakes up next, yawning and talking about food. This causes the nurse to just run out of the room, hating how Mighty lifted her and how this croc is apparently talking about biting her, which isn’t what he said. It’s not even remotely close to what he said but alright.

It’s also kind of funny since the instant she leaves is the same instant, Charmy’s body starts to freak the fuck out.

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Thankfully, the doctors come in and get to work performing surgery on him.

We cut to a nighttime scene where good ol’ General Stryker hitches a ride with Harry. Interestingly enough, they have a conversation that suggests that Harry may be currently more than just a cab driver… or rather is trying to stick to just being a cab driver when Stryker won’t let him. He’s a dingo so like it or not he’s gotta be like all the other dingos. Harry clearly doesn’t like the idea of that and you can totally tell by the way he speaks to Stryker. He doesn’t use honorifics and he makes little cracks at him on the side, all while wearing that same tired expression on his face.

I like Harry.

Remington and Julie-Su approach Harry and hitch a ride with him next, with Remington under the suspicion that Harry knows more than he lets on. Luckily, he does, and he agrees to drive them to where the folks who are most likely connected to this situation are. I don’t really like how Remington starts the conversation by saying they “struck out” at Happyland.

That’s entirely your fault. You accused Renfield of selling poisoned food and Renfield was like “Nuh-uh” and then you left. 

So then they set up this plan, see? 

They have Julie-Su pretend to be someone who wants in on whatever plan Ebony Hare has going. Ebony Hare meets up with Julie-Su in a secluded room with a blindfold over her eyes. However, what’s actually happening is that she’s volunteered to go in with a wire on her to find out what they’re up to while Remington and Harry stake out the situation from his cab.

Ebony Hare immediately sees through this and has Julie-Su tossed off a building.

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I really like Ebony Hare.

 

Well, this issue wasn’t as big an assault to my senses as the last one was. The Knuckles stuff is pointless and it doesn’t need to be here, at all. It’s literally only here so that the book can justify calling itself Knuckles the Echidna when it really doesn’t have to. We know the Chaotix are basically Knuckles’ servants or whatever so stories focused on them would stand to be developed fine within the Knuckles book.

Everything else was fine though. The bits with Charmy are kind of heartbreaking to me, as someone who really likes the character, but also informative in a way that’s rare for the book as far as any of the Chaotix are concerned. It doesn’t make this situation any less weird and uncomfortable but I’ll admit to it helping to sell the dire situation a lot more. This does feel rather dark.

The way these criminals are being handled is shockingly kind of… good? Downtown Ebony Hare and Blackjack are really competent and intimidating, which is shocking to me. I also kind of like how Renfield is clearly just a lesser criminal who's being used to push an agenda, even if he’s under the delusion that he’s got some modicum of control. He doesn’t, which makes how incompetent he is work a lot more.

So yeah, a better issue than the first by a country mile at least.

 

Knuckles the Echidna - Issue #15: The Chaotix Caper, Part Three of Three: Picking Up the Pieces

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So the last cover isn’t much better than the cover before. These covers peaked at the first one, which was easily the best drawn and had the best dynamics of them all. Now, knowing the full context, the image of Mello dead on the ground with Charmy crying over him has admittedly started to tug a bit at the heart-strings, if only because it’s such an easy thing to empathize with. The third cover has such a weirdly drawn Knuckles. The area on his mouth looks like a bloated tumor.

As a connected cover image, however, it doesn’t work that well. It’s really hard to tell without squinting what’s supposed to connect and what isn’t. I know the sky is trying to transition from night to day but it would probably work a bit better if it was a more consistent color. Stuff like the purple tent and the building that Mello is laid against do connect but in a way that’s strangely easy to miss. I feel like these early comics weren’t very good at this.

Spoiler

 

We open on a doctor having a conversation with himself as he operates on Charmy… and we see the operation in more graphic detail than expected. The doctor cuts into Charmy and Charmy’s blood just spurts out of him and onto the doctor’s face. 

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Okay, gross.

Also, apparently, Charmy’s blood is actually grape flavored Smuckers jelly. 

Why the fuck does Charmy bleed purple gak? Eugh…!

The doctor leaves to go throw up and the two who were left behind talk about how much of a goober he is. Cute.

Julie-Su, meanwhile, has just been thrown off a building. The villains leave, hop into a car, and drive off. Julie-Su doesn’t die, of course. She grapples her way into someone’s house, spooks them, runs into Remington, escapes, and the two of them hop into Harry’s cab and use it to chase the villain’s car down.

Inside the cab, Ebony Hare is taking precautions. He calls up his professor to let him know they’re shutting the business down for now so they can lay low. He’s a very cautious criminal too. I really like it. 

They managed to get this far because of careful planning and what not but Julie-Su’s appearance spooked him into realizing that the operation is getting too hot and needs to cool off for a bit. It’s no wonder why he was planning on killing Renfield, the incompetent tit.

The Chaotix take way too long to leave the hospital because Vector is having trouble getting his walkman to work but eventually leads the way to where he thinks Julie-Su and Remington are based on a signal he found. Despite his usefulness here, I continue to not understand why the decision was made to make Vector such an unlikeable dickbag in this book.

Julie-Su and Remington manage to finally break into the area where the Secret Sauce for the chili-dogs is being made, spotting Ebony Hare having a very clear cut conversation with his professor.

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The Chaotix arrive on the scene and spot Harry’s cab. Harry pulls a gun on Espio when he sneaks in while invisible, which is kind of badass. Harry then tells the Chaotix that their friends went into the Chemical Plant (oh wow) a while ago and haven’t come out yet.

So they go in.

The purple water Sonic races around in are the chemicals used in LSD laced chili-dogs. Put that into your pipe and smoke it.

Back inside, the doctor wants to finish his work but Ebony doubles down on shutting it down right as he hears a noise. The INSTANT he does, he pulls his gun out and tells whoever made the sound to come out. Blackjack goes to investigate and gets a board smacked over his head by Remington for his troubles… which does nothing. Blackjack no sells it and pushes Remington into some crates.

Ebony goes mad and starts firing off random shots above him to try and get whoever else is with him to come out. That’s when Julie-Su swings down and surprises him. Ebony says his first dumb line of the story, “Your dead! I saw you die!”

No, you didn’t. You tossed her off a building and walked away, assuming that she would hit the ground and die. You didn’t even happen upon her corpse on the pavement when you exited the building. There’s no way you could assert that you saw her die. I was wondering when the cracks would start to show in his character. Penders can’t keep a villain competent for too long.

At the very least WATCH her plummet onto the street. Why look away? You can't also be squeamish like the villain in Kingsman right?

He gets his gun stolen by an invisible Espio and punched out by Julie-Su.

Blackjack is trying to demolish Remington but Mighty shows up and demonstrates why he’s got his name.

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So for those keeping score: Mighty > Blackjack > Ripper.

Also, the fox lady who hasn’t had a single spoken word throughout this entire story finally speaks up to say that she’s running away. Vector grabs her to keep her from leaving though.

The cops arrive and arrest everyone.

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Bah. You went and got my hopes up, you mook. What a disappointment you turned out to be.

What’s interesting is that, the more competent and careful of the two villains, who specifically came here to shut things down and lay low in a bid to be cautious, ended up going to prison while the idiot who just carelessly slopped that secret sauce all over his food is free to go…

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This dude was responsible for a horrible event that happened in an early story involving this same exact amusement park. Why is it still allowed to stay open? I mean, even if they thought it was fine to keep open, why is he still allowed to be in charge?

I’m actually willing to grant the benefit of the doubt when it comes to not outright arresting him. When you think about it, there’s no actual proof that Renfield was in cahoots with the guys who were selling him the secret sauce as far as how it was created. Renfield didn’t even know who Downtown Ebony Hare and Blackjack were until they burst into his office at random that day. Not knowing who his supplier was doesn’t mean he didn’t know what was in the secret sauce of course. He would have had to have known for this story to have even happened but technically, there’s no proof that he did…

… But even then, I can’t even fully grant them that because it’s just so obviously a front. This dude is dangerous and he absolutely should not be allowed to run free.

Back with Knuckles, he’s getting frustrated because all he wants to do is go home. Just then a magical portal opens up and he walks through it. Locke’s father says they should bring him before the Brotherhood and Locke is surprised because Knuckles hasn’t shown any evil intent. However, Locke’s dad says he has powers similar to Dimitri now and that’s enough of a concern for him.

So, I dunno. Knuckles is just getting more powers from somewhere. It may be the Master Emerald or something else. Who knows? I have no reason to care right now. How’s Charmy doing?

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Sigh. 

Goddamnit.

Yeah, he'll be in your heart always... even when you suffer from memory loss and forget him in the future...

It’s not even like I have a problem with the idea behind Charmy having to witness the funeral of his best friend or anything like this. It’s done an effective job of getting to me despite knowing so little about Mello and his relationship to Charmy just because of my own general empathy for relationships like this… I just wish the circumstances behind the why and how it happened were a bit different. 

One of the people directly responsible for Mello’s death is not only not in prison but is still running his fucking amusement park. But oh no, his sales are gonna take a hit without the sauce. Who gives a fuck?

Charmy’s back in his kingdom now and has decided he’s going to be sticking around to take up the duty that was forced onto him without a choice by the lineage he was born into, effectively writing him out of the story for now.

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“Playtime is over” he says with tears in his eyes. 

I don’t think he wants to do this but the final page says he did anyway.

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Charmy never wanted to be the prince or to be the next king of his colony. He ran away from home to avoid that “responsibility” forced upon him by a ritual that was artificially created by his lineage some undetermined number of years ago.

Ken Penders is illustrating him returning home as him finally “growing up” and accepting his responsibility.

However, I view it in a different sense. This isn’t a happy, triumphant moment. 

What’s happening here isn't that Charmy is growing up. Charmy is giving up. 

He left in search of freedom and his friend supported him in that desire. The dangers of the outside world hit in a way that neither of them were prepared for and it resulted in the death of his best friend. Even though it isn’t his fault, he’s stated that he’s currently unable to forgive himself for this, thus making it so that he feels he’s at fault for trying to run away from the life he didn’t want to live.

Trying to be happy and live life the way he wanted to is the WRONG thing to do, according to this final page and it’s something he shouldn’t have done. That sad, broken expression he has on his face as he proclaims that his “playtime” is over and relinquishes himself to his fate as punishment for something that wasn’t his fault kills me.

I know that’s not what Penders is going for. He wants this to be a moment where Charmy has stepped up and taken upon something bigger than his own, supposedly selfish desire and for this to be a happy end to his tale… but when that desire is to just live HIS one and only life the way he wants and not the way his parents and lineage decided he was going to live it the instant he was born, it doesn’t come off as a happy conclusion.

His friend died and he blamed himself. As punishment, he gave up on his own happiness and returned home. That’s what I’m choosing to view this as. 

Ironically, I feel like this has to have been the best story arc out of all the Knuckles issues I’ve read so far, simply because I could actually follow what was happening a lot easier than normal. The situation was clear. The villain was competent (until it was time for him to lose) and the character’s actions and due diligence wasn’t stripped from them in favor of more mystical, magical bullshit. Plus, there was a significantly lesser amount of explaining things and boring history lessons. What history we did get was shown through appropriate flashbacks that got the point across without paragraphs of frivolous talking.

Yet, despite that, I still can’t shake off how uncomfortable this all is. The LSD thing is one thing but the “lesson” it ends on is so tacitly sad that, intentional or not, it just leaves this story as one of, if not the most, dark and depressing of the tales I’ve read so far. 

Maybe I’d feel different if the characters who suffered the most weren’t so young or if Charmy wasn’t my favorite character but I can only speak on this from my own perspective. Yes, I'm aware that back in the day, Charmy may have been older than he is now. That changes nothing. 

I’m looking forward to not thinking about this one for a while.

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Spoiler

Reading your review @Dr. Detective Mike, I find it kinda funny how your points make it clear that even in a story focused on the game characters, Penders still has to find a contrived way to make his characters look better at the expense of everyone else.

Like you said, if it makes any kind of sense for characters to be suspicious about the food here, it should've at least been Charmy. Espio definitely would've suspected it too, but that's besides the point. From a narrative point of view, Charmy is the one with the pieces to the puzzle to put them together here. If anyone should be cautious about eating the food, it should be him since he knows what happened with his best friend.

The story's narrative to that point had been focused on Charmy. He was the one who was involved in the events, the one who convinced Harry to help, the one who gets the focus for a good chunk of the issue, but Penders just forced all of them to hold the idiot ball at the last minute solely for the sake of making Julie-Su the only one with half a brain. It goes to show just how much he'll dick over the game cast if it means making his creator pets look better than them.

 

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Man, don't you wish the Chaotix got to Star in stories about the Chaotix?

Like, this story is supoosed to be about Charmy, but all he gets out of it is written off.

Also, we're three for three in characters being obedient to their parents no matter what and being treated as in the right in Archie Sonic, huh.

But the comic gave us this classic.

IMG_20200117_100133.jpg

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1 hour ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

I mean good GOD almighty, what the fucking hell?!

This is a Sonic the Hedgehog comic book where the premise is that Charmy Bee, a child, visits a theme park with his best friend and said friend dies because he ate a chili-dog laced with LSD. Now he’s gone BACK to that same park and is somehow not scared enough, suspicious enough, and sad enough to refuse to partake in the food being served at this place… a place that was once shut down for being run by a criminal and is now being investigated by them under suspicion of poisoning children.

I don’t even need to illustrate why this is bad. It’s all right there. I’m still having trouble processing the fact that this exists. Just… how? Was quality control really THIS fucking bad back in ‘98?

In all fairness, Sonic wasn’t the only one that had this kind of stuff in it.

If I were to go back in memory lane, the mid-to-late 90s was heavy with anti-drug advertising even in children’s media whenever they had the chance to touch to subject, and there was an idea to make that known to kids. For us in America, the D.A.R.E. program comes to mind of making kids “say ‘NO’ to drugs,” so it makes sense in hindsight why you’d see that even in Sonic.

Kinda brings the whole Sonic Sez post-credits of AoSTH to mind. So yeah.

Definitely silly looking back, but it wasn’t without reason. So not something to really knock against the comic for outside its delivery on the subject.

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1 hour ago, CrownSlayer’s Shadow said:

In all fairness, Sonic wasn’t the only one that had this kind of stuff in it.

If I were to go back in memory lane, the mid-to-late 90s was heavy with anti-drug advertising even in children’s media whenever they had the chance to touch to subject, and there was an idea to make that known to kids. For us in America, the D.A.R.E. program comes to mind of making kids “say ‘NO’ to drugs,” so it makes sense in hindsight why you’d see that even in Sonic.

Kinda brings the whole Sonic Sez post-credits of AoSTH to mind. So yeah.

Definitely silly looking back, but it wasn’t without reason. So not something to really knock against the comic for outside its delivery on the subject.

If this were an anti-drug advertising thing than that'd be one thing... but it's clearly not. This story has absolutely no interest or desire to be an educational tale about how the children shouldn't do drugs. This story is about a criminal organization setting up an illegal operation under the gaze of an amusement park to push a supposedly, adult and dramatic story to the masses. It fancies itself on the level of something like one of those cop dramas like Law and Order, but with talking animals.

It's subject matter isn't being put forth as some sort of PSA. It's not at all written like that. The reason this story is here is because Penders wants to be taken seriously as a writer by touching upon what he considers to be adult storylines and themes of the like. He's done shit like this plenty of times before and will continue to do it in similar and more egregious ways going forward, based on tidbits gleaned from other, more uncomfortable infamous stories down the line.

This one just happened to be about criminals lacing chili-dogs with LSD to induct lethal food poisoning on the general public. Next time it'll be about something else that ignores the fantastical elements of the series for the sake of being more in tune with the realness of our world, rather than Sonic's. We've got a ton of unnecessary holocaust alogories and misguided handlings of parental abuse coming up as well. Penders just wants you to take his shit seriously and he's willing to make it as gritty as possible to do it, regardless of intended audience.

Say what you will about those PSA's of old, you could tell they were being made for their intended audience by the way they were written. Even commercials that got a bit too dark or took things too far were very obviously doing so for the sake of getting a message out there. 

There's NO message attached to this that has anything to do with drugs. The focus at the end was about how Charmy ran away from being royalty, went through something horrible, and then went back to doing the thing he didn't want to do because he "learned" that trying to be free is apparently the wrong thing to do. All the while barely focusing on him because he was in bed for most of it. Unequivocally listening to your parents regardless of how controlling they are to you is what he's saying is the correct thing to do.

He's going to have Locke and his horrible actions as a father vindicated. He's going to have King Max and his horrible actions as a father be vindicated (because to Penders, Sally was redundant with the King back in action). And now he's made it so Charmy HAS to accept his role as a prince because its what his parents want from him.

This is more than just being "a bit silly" and there's definitely no acceptable reason for this. Anyone reading this could spot from a mile away that a drug PSA was not the intention behind this story. Penders is so nakedly obvious in the way he writes that any assertion that he didn't want you to think this was the coolest, most adult tackling of this specific subject matter would be considered an insult to him. 

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I agree with a lot of your thoughts on that story arc, Mike, except that I was mostly able to laugh off the LSD thing for how utterly ridiculous it was, rather than it making me uncomfortable. I have to admit I oddly enjoyed the story in part and I think you explained why - unlike most of the other Knuckles arcs, it wasn't loaded down with two tons of boring exposition and convoluted lore, and there wasn't as much "deus ex machina".

Something about the ending did make me rather uncomfortable, and I think you captured why. Maybe it would've worked better if there was actually a really clear and compelling reason for Charmy to return to his royal position, like some major problem that would've happened if he hadn't. But there isn't anything like that, so it just comes across as Charmy leaving his friends and his position in the Chaotix to do...who even knows. Maybe if they had bothered to explore the bee society and made us care about it more, it could've worked. Maybe if they had shown actual important things Charmy would've been doing as prince, it could've worked. But they didn't.

Unfortunately, from what I've read (I've only read what the Archives cover), the Knuckles series only gets worse from here. Honestly, I actually was able to get a reasonable amount of enjoyment out of the Knuckles comics that you've read thus far, even though they're very heavily flawed. Probably partially because I love Knuckles and love the idea of expanding his lore and world, even if the specific way they went about doing that was obviously non-optimal, and partially because my standards for these old comics are pretty low. But even so, sometimes the excessive exposition and boring backstory dumps can be a bit of a struggle, and unfortunately, that problem doesn't improve.

And as the stories go on, the usage and portrayal of women by Ken Penders the self-proclaimed feminist becomes more and more irksome. It's painfully obvious that in Ken's stories, almost all females are defined by their relationships by men almost completely and have little agency of their own. Plus, the society he created puts the spouses of Guardians (who, for NO REASON, are almost exclusively male, and the ONE woman is deceased) in a very underprivileged position. The Guardian has the right to do whatever they want with raising their child and the wife just has to deal with it. Which is horrible in and of itself, but it gets worse when you realize what every Guardian does with their child, which is basically raise them in the wilderness and lie to them.

This sequence of pages (in the spoiler tag) is honestly pretty distressing:
 

Spoiler

 

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The final "I'd be lost without my darling Sabre!" really gets me. And the more I think about it, the more sad it gets. Based on the fact that she didn't say "yes", she's evidently not really happy with how things turned out. But she subjects herself to this anyway because of her husband. She doesn't believe she could go on without him. That's just plain sad.

What's amazing is, Lara (who I somehow only just now realized literally has the same name as Superman's biological mom, amazing) apparently seems to believe she was in the wrong about this?? That she wished she'd been able to submit to the unfair system better?? Seriously?????

What's also sad about all this is that it could've been good. I like the idea of exploring these concepts and themes. In a sense, I actually like the sequence of events above... what I don't like is the takeaway. If the narrative had actually been about the women reclaiming their rights in society, this could've been great. Where this goes horribly awry is that that's not the point of the story at all. The Guardians pretty much aren't even condemned for their awful policies. All this almost comes across as a side note. It feels like the rights of the Guardians' wives are ultimately not considered important.

And obviously, this is sadly only the beginning of how rotten the Brotherhood of Guardians turn out to be in general. Which is obviously a problem considering they're supposed to be good guys.

Plus, on a lighter note, so much of Penders' lore and concepts literally don't make sense! For example, information on how the Dark Legion were actually able to live in the Twilight Zone and have a society there, or some explanation for the absolute absurdity of Monitori Rex being able to pretend to be a Guardian for a huge length of time, or (as you've already discovered) the fact that the Dark Legion rebelled because they rejected Echidna society's anti-technology stance, even though there seems to be no shortage of technology in Echidnaopolis and the Guardians' possession.

So yeah. Basically what I'm saying is, I wish the Knuckles comics were better, less boring, less nonsensical, and frankly, less sexist and offensive. Because I really do want to like them, and I do actually like bits of them. This whole thing with Lara-Le and Jenna could've been great, if the takeaway was VERY different.

Ironically, is it just me, or are the female echidnas' designs noticeably better than the males'?

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