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CrownSlayer’s Shadow

I didn’t like Sally and Khan as a couple—or at least the hinting of it. Mainly because I was a more of a SonicXSally guy over anyone else.

Mind you, it wasn’t a huge gripe and I just went along with it, but if you asked me what contributed to Iron Dominion being so long, that was one part that I would personally single out. Looking back, I can see the circumstances that linked them much better, but I was at the point where despite my preferred ship, I was beginning to become indifferent to them to the point I wondered if they were really necessary for the story.

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Monkey Destruction Switch

I didn't and don't have any strong feelings about Khanally one way or another, but one thing I will say in its favor is that I kind of like the idea of Sonic characters casually dating various characters even if they don't have an obvious reason to do so. It shows how romance can vary and isn't always comprised of intense relationships with close friends.

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Mobotropolis

Yep. 

That seems to work for the story better considering that these characters are teenagers and the idea that they're going to choose whoever they're going to spend the rest of their life with at 15/16 is absurd. It happens, but not at the rate that Archie Sonic implies that it happens. 

Even though I thought the romance got more time than it should've in an action book, one angle I wish they had time to address was how possessive Sonic was over Sally. He seemed to get agitated whenever someone even so much as flirted with Sally even though it took almost 100 issues (was that like a year in-series?) for him to even ask her out on a date. 

Did I like Khan/Sally? Nah. Just like Sonic/Fiona it felt forced for the sake of causing drama.

But I like the idea of characters having crushes and casually dating since that reflects life for a typical teenager. 

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SkyHorizon
1 hour ago, Mobotropolis said:

Yep. 

That seems to work for the story better considering that these characters are teenagers and the idea that they're going to choose whoever they're going to spend the rest of their life with at 15/16 is absurd. It happens, but not at the rate that Archie Sonic implies that it happens. 

Even though I thought the romance got more time than it should've in an action book, one angle I wish they had time to address was how possessive Sonic was over Sally. He seemed to get agitated whenever someone even so much as flirted with Sally even though it took almost 100 issues (was that like a year in-series?) for him to even ask her out on a date. 

Did I like Khan/Sally? Nah. Just like Sonic/Fiona it felt forced for the sake of causing drama.

But I like the idea of characters having crushes and casually dating since that reflects life for a typical teenager. 

Forced? Khan was interested in Sally since his first appearance, and Sally was attracted by Khan because he has some of the same traits as Sonic. How does that even feel forced?

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I've never particularly cared for the romance in this book, BUT I'd be lying if Flynn didn't try his best to do so since he knew how important Sonally was.

While I completely get being fed up and just getting rid of it all, I can understand fans being pretty pissed. That's the equivalent of breaking up Peter Parker and Mary Jane like in One More Day; you cannot just stop a two decade old relationship like that. 

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Honestly on every reread I think Sally should have stayed with Kahn. I feel like it was a good moving on story but of course had to go back to the status quo.

Honestly I like Sonally just fine but I find all the other relationships Sally has had (except Geoffrey obviously) to be way more interesting. 

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That's not too surprising given the sheer amount of outrage from people when the ending to #207 as such. 

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SkyHorizon
16 hours ago, Kuzu said:

That's not too surprising given the sheer amount of outrage from people when the ending to #207 as such. 

Eh, what can I say? People are stupid 😁

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Dr. Detective Mike

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog - Issue #209: Iron Dominion, Part Two

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The awesomeness of this cover speaks for itself mostly. Though, there is a part of me that kind of wishes to undermine it by bringing up that it reminds me a tad of Denzel Crocker’s head shaped viruses from that one special from the Fairly Odd Parents. I wonder how outdated that internet themed special episode is today. 

Spoiler

Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils: Tracy Yardley
Inks: Terry Austin
Colors: Matt Herms
Letters: John Workman
Assistant Editor: Paul Kaminski
Editor/Managing Editor: Mike Pellerito

The issue begins with a rundown of all the relevant locations like some sort of catalog for homes and vacationing spots. Two of them are very dangerous locations under direct control of horrible evil tyrants and villains and the last one is some ground hovel that used to be the clubhouse for some children.

That’s where Sonic and the other three that escaped are now.

Sally is freaking out and running down all the obvious things she knew and should have pieced together. Sonic, with a smile on his face, actually pushes for Ken to step in and comfort her. He does and says that NO ONE ELSE did either so she’s good.

Yeah, they’re all incompetent so it’s okay now. At least it wasn’t Sally’s fault.

I joke but am I alone in thinking that Nicole being made of nanities should have been the first thing that crossed their minds when they learned of her technomagic? Even back in the day, barely remembering nanites as a concept and not exactly knowing what they were, I was able to piece together pretty quickly that Nicole was vulnerable as an A.I. 

I dunno. Maybe everyone was too caught up in relationship drama.

Sally is having her self-pity party for a bit too long for Sonic’s tastes and throws out this wonderful statement.

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I feel like this is another one of those examples of Sonic’s cockiness not being written QUITE right for me. There are definite bits and pieces of his dialogue that stand out more as someone trying to write him as a bit more of a brazen jerk than necessary, even when he’s clearly trying to say and do the right thing.

The thing that got me here wasn’t the look on his face or the dismissal of her pity party. I think the thing that bothers me is more the line “Did you forget that WE escaped? More importantly, that I escaped?”

You know? It’s like… I feel like a regularly written Sonic would gladly say it the other way around. I think he’d definitely say that it’s more important that the four of them got out rather than just him. Reading him say that it’s more important that he escaped kind of twists me up the wrong way, if you know what I mean.

I get what he’s going for but I feel like this is one of those statements that skedaddles a little too far into the jerk territory. He can reel it in just a tad.

The rest of the scene works fine though. He tells her she’s wallowing in self-pity. Sally is about to deny it but stops when she realizes that she totally fucking is and then says he’s right and thanks Sonic.

Ken is confused by this interaction. I can’t exactly blame him but the two of them know each other so well. Even if they weren’t romantically affiliated with one another, I could see that interaction happening that way.

Sonic is proud to proclaim that it’s because they were an item though.

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Swiggity swooty, he’s coming for that booty.

Anyway, Tails as it turns out is NOT more machine than fox so he can’t exactly hack into Nicole or keep up with her code. He can just barely manage it in his head but he can’t type that fast. 

Sonic, hearing the word “speed” instantly has an idea and brings up that weird thing they used to go inside Gerald’s diary in that issue that single-handedly wrapped up the Shadow the Hedgehog plot line. So Sonic and Sally go and do that together.

Ken has his reservations about it. It’s clearly dangerous and even when told that Tails can help from where he is, he doesn’t feel this is a secure idea. He can’t computer so I can’t imagine he’d feel confident about it anyway. 

They reach the digital world and are presented with a perceived version of how Nicole’s defenses for the city are. After a pointless argument about perception and what not, Sonic decides he wants to spin-dash through the gate but Iron Nicole stops him.

After Iron Nicole gives an indirect compliment to Sonic’s plan that Sonic takes the time to congratulate himself for, Sally does the tried and true “FIGHT IT! YOU’RE STRONGER THAN THIS!” that’s been screamed at a couple of people lately. With a power like this going around it’s probably to be expected but still.

I’ll give Sally credit though, she does bring up some good points about how strong Nicole’s A.I is and has been against various threats like this before. At the same time, I’d assume magic would be a bit of a different beast. It shows signs of working a little bit but then an unwelcome visitor comes to interrupt our favorite cliché.

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Sonic rarely makes the “Pants to be Darkened” face but this instance was a good time to go for it. 

I mean Jesus Christ. Look at that.

Sonic grabs Sally and rushes off to get out of dodge. Sonic understands that the Iron Queen uses magic but figures that since there’s no digitizer in the city, he can’t understand why she’s here.

We then cut to the council room where Regina and Snively are. She’s using her crystal ball staff to interact with them from where she is.

In other words, magic.

Yeah, I’m not entirely sure why Sonic said “Yeah I get that she uses magic but also we’ve got no digitizer so HOW is she here?”

The answer is magic Sonic. The thing you just said you know she can use.

Anyway, Snively wants a closer look but Regina tells him not to bother her because she’s busy. Snively finally has a grumpy reaction to this rather than a sad one and marches off.

Man, if one failure was enough to trigger her into being completely done with Snively like this then there was no hope of this lasting.

Grandmaster Lien-Da makes fun of him for this but Snively reminds her that he’s still her superior and asks for a status report which gets her to comply. She says the Iron King is smashing places and people while the legion and the Yagyu are arresting whoever they want.

That one comment about Jun Kun attacking anyone who resists worries me. How many jelly piles are there about the place that used to be people I wonder…

Well, one scene in particular shows an instance of someone being arrested instead. Why, it’s our lovely Sir Charles. I bet you’re wondering how he’s doing today right? Well, so is our jaunty friend Eggman.

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Upon my first reading of this when the issue came out, a lot of these words went past me naturally. I didn’t know where the fuck the name “Julian” came from and I wasn’t sure why Eggman sounded so familiar with Uncle Chuck here. 

Having read everything up to this point, it makes perfect sense now but even then, looking back, the convoluted history of these books continues to be impossible to understate. Eggman has so many names and has been through so many different forms and a number of different cities that it got pretty comical.

The fact that the name of both the active cities in play are NEW Mobotropolis and NEW Megaopolis is a clear indicator that both cities used to have old versions before. The original Mobotropolis is no more. It was invaded by Eggman and turned into Robotropolis and then that was nuked and also during the Xorda thing, Eggman turned New York City or whatever into Megaopolis but then that got destroyed and now he’s in New Megaopolis.

Also, there was an overlander city that was called Megapolis NOT to be confused with Megaopolis. One doesn’t have an “O” in it you see.

It’s a bit much but because of that I do admire Ian’s continued attempts to work with all of it. I wish it were something the games felt more secure about doing.

Anyway, yeah, this scene is the first real hint that Eggman’s flicker of sanity is starting to reconstruct itself. Thanks to Charles snapping at the lunatic with no control of his actions anymore, he’ll now regain some control.

Thanks Uncle Chuck. Your continued help towards the advancement of the Eggman Empire is duly noted and appreciated.

Back with Sonic and Sally, Nicole is showing off just how cool she can in the datascape.

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That’s right guys. Iron Nicole can do the spin-dash.

Well, I assume regular Nicole can do so too, so long as they’re in this datascape but still. This is really cool and her outfit is awesome as well, if I haven't already praised it. 

Anyway, Ken and Tails are observing the coding flash across the screen. They can’t see any of what’s happening but it’s probably bad? Tails says it is after all.

Ken then outright just asks if there’s anything physical of Nicole’s that he can get to and smash and Tails tells him exactly where to go.

Ken then leaves the room and it takes a hot second for Tails to realize what just happened.

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These three panels are great. 

I only wish there was a fourth one in between the second and third one where Ken is just gone so I can imagine Tails sitting there typing for like an hour before he goes “Wait a minute”.

Apparently what Tails was doing wasn’t THAT important because things carry on in the digital world just fine when he leaves… well, “just fine” as in “the usual” really.

Tails follows after Ken and asks what he’s trying to do and Ken says he wishes to put her out of her misery. Apparently being controlled by the Iron Queen feels bad enough that you’d want to die. 

Whoa. None for me thanks.

Either that or Ken is just being a bit too practical. The “hope” and “faith” argument is a bit of hard pill to swallow for him. It’s interesting because Tails is the logical science kid and he’s the one who has to get into Ken’s way and try to push him back to argue in favor of having faith in their friends.

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He knows full well that he can’t beat him of course, which is why he feels the need to point out that Ken could just zap him and go and do what he wants to do. But Ken doesn’t wish to harm anyone. He’s just brazen and full of vinegar. 

We cut away before we see if Tails’ words have reached him to catch a rare glimpse of Sally attempting to do something... which of course needs to be immediately ruined on the very same page.

Sally tries to use Rotor’s fire wall coding like it was magic and it immediately gets blasted away by Regina.

Sally then sicks Sonic on her while she does it again.

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I hope this scene was meant to be as goofy as it actually is because it totally is. It’s kind of hilarious even.

Like, why would Regina shout the catchphrase like that? It’s weird whenever someone says it and he’s right there in front of you. It makes it sound like you’re referring to a different hedgehog.

Also, the “Here’s dirt in your eye” meme is flooding into my mind. 

No. Emo Peter stay away. Stay back you!

Anyway, Sally’s firewall thing has blocked out Regina’s technomagic somehow. Nicole is able to regain control of herself and she and Sally hatch a plan to have Nicole spy on the goings on in the city. She doesn’t have full control so she’s a bit too weak to retake everything herself.

The real problem truly is how much man power they have at their disposal. They’ve been having trouble dealing with only a fraction of the clans around here so if the Iron Dominion were to ever gather all they had here it’d be wraps.

So they make a plan and set out to go break them apart.

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It’s a solid plan and one that has quite a lot of steps to it. I can almost forgive the younger me for kind of just glazing over all of it at the time but not really.

Nicole is now in a position where she has to play coy about being on the heroes side so she pretends to purge them from the system. Tails’ use finally comes in to play as he’s needed to get them out and he almost doesn’t but… then he does. 

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Hurray!

Once they’re back home, everyone is happy. Tails denies there being anything exciting happening on their end. Ken asks about Nicole and Sally just nonchalantly says that she’s on their side again.

Like it weren’t no thang.

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That’s the look of a child who’s feeling 10 feet taller than a certain somebody right now.

It is almost funny how, in the perspective of Tails and Ken here, Sonic and Sally went in the computer, some coding flashed across the screen, and then they came out and said they were all good. 

It almost makes the scene with Ken and Tails feel a bit overdone, despite understanding why it’s there.

Well, either way, they’ve succeeded at the first step. Now they need to fly all the fucking way to the Dragon Kingdom and break apart the Four Houses from Regina’s rule.

Yeah, they’re going to fly a bi-plane all the way there and just do that.

Sheesh. These guys are the masters at making these crazy hard things sound simple to do. Fuck man.

Yeah, this issue was alright. It was fine.

We needed Nicole back so it was nice to cross that off the list of things to do. I will say that it’s a tad amusing that it happened a single issue after she was controlled but that’s fine. The damage was done and extending how much more control Regina has over the heroes isn’t really necessary. It’s obvious she’s sat firmly in the winner’s circle right now. There’s no need to extend things past the four issue Sonic Universe arc and the final three issues to close the arc as a whole. We’re in the thick of it and we’re on our way to the prelude before the home stretch.

 

Sonic Universe - Issue #13: Journey to the East - Part 1 of 4: Endless Reach of Fate

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Welcome to Journey to the East. This is yet another arc where, back when I initially read it, I let most of what was being said go in one ear and out the other. My eyes were glazing over from all the talk about the brides and whatever and I’m a little ashamed to admit that I wasn’t even entirely sure I understood what the heroes were even trying to do. The one thing I’m sure of is that, at the time, I regarded the third issue of this arc to be one of the best issues of the Archie Comics I’d read at the time simply because of what it was setting up.

I do wonder what my feelings will be now that what it’s setting up will no longer be capitalized on. Abject sadness and regret most likely. I also remember really not recalling a thing about this first issue, thinking the second issue was okay, and really not liking the last issue. That’s all though.

I’m eager to actually let the words they’re saying stick in my brain this time.

Spoiler

Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils: Tracy Yardley
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Jason Jensen
Letters: Teresa Davidson
Assistant editor: Paul Kaminski
Editor & Managing Editor: Mike Pellerito

Immediately upon opening the book, I get hit with a wave of exhaustion for some reason. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of talking and information to digest here. I don’t quite know why I get that feeling from Sonic just kicking a spider ninja in the chest but there it is.

We’re in Stormtop Village in the Dragon Kingdom now. The flight with no food or movies has ended and now the Spider Ninja of the Gossamer Clan are attacking Sonic. Li Yuen, the lion dude from the Stormtop Village stories from waaaay back calls Sonic to the Temple of the Golden Lotus. It was once for welcoming people but now it shall provide SANCTUARY so that they can develop a plan.

We then flashback a couple of hours ago to when they first arrived here, because Ian loves starting stories in media res.

In this flashback, Mr. Li explains to the visiting Sonic and Tails that the temple dates back before recorded time and then proceeds to give a record of a time when dragons roamed this land and were a bunch of fucking assholes to each other. They attacked and burned each other until the place they were fighting over burned down and we see literal images of them hanging their heads in shame, which is hilarious. 

When I read the next caption that basically said they left forever and scattered around the world, I had a slight chuckle.

Sometimes legends are a little funny to me. I guess you really had to have been there.

He also talks about a PROPHECY (Uh-oh; not one of those again) about a time when turmoil would divide the land and the Great Lotus King would return to bring unity to the Dragon Kingdom. Shocker of all shocks, the Lotus King is Khan.

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Though, the inclusion of a prophecy element makes me want to call the guy who wrote this prophecy more of a Khan Artist. 

I love how that statue’s expression just says, “Yeah, I know I’m awesome. Now get out of my face.”

It’s really not all that indicative of how Ken sees himself. 

We also just casually find out that Sonic’s friends have been friend-napped. Sonic doesn’t really sweat it, even though he’s in a foreign land with customs he’s not aware of. It’s probably because he sees an immediate out when two Spider-Bros crawl through the window.

He immediately attacks one of them, ignoring Li’s cries that the temple isn’t a place for violence. He excuses it by saying they’re having a spirited chat or whatever… even though he literally is shown spin-dashing into the Spider person’s chest.

Sonic is smart enough to realize that they’re pulling their punches and does have a conversation. Apparently, their leader has been expecting them and wants to actually have a talk which is why they kidnapped their friends. It was an assurance that he’d come.

This is great seeing as how this is, I assume, what they came to do anyway so Sonic just goes off with them.

We see the others all tied up. Tails is adorably okay with this. He’s used to being held captive. 

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Ken and Sally are clearly not too happy about it though.

The moment here when Ken says that being beaten so easily is only half as embarrassing as being saved by Sonic was a moment where I realized just how many people in this book really don’t like being saved by Sonic, specifically. 

I mean, I get it. His personality in this book isn’t for everyone, not even the characters in the book. There was… even an infamous time where it became too much for Tails at one point but seeing it pointed out so much is truly intriguing. 

Sonic seriously tries to tell Ken to get over himself as if he wouldn’t have said something similar if it were the other way around.

Sally is very upset, clearly, and Ken asks Sonic to let him talk to her.

Sonic, whose been surprisingly okay with Ken up to this point (even urging Ken to comfort Sally last time) makes a face that looks like he just crossed some sort of threshold with allowing this relationship to blossom.

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Oh wow. I didn’t notice it at first but not only is Sonic making an angry face but the panel below the part where Ken rests his hand on Sonic’s arm in a bid to be docile is supposed to be showing Sonic yanking his arm away from Ken. I didn’t catch the little movement lines by Sonic’s arm there at first but yeah. He’s jerking away from Ken and stomping off with a little pouty face.

Aaaaaaaaugh. Great. NOW it feels like I’m reading a drama. We were doing so well too.

Even though I like talking about how the overreacting crowd back in the day handled the Sonic and Sally turmoil, I don’t know if I recall correctly what the normal crowd reading this thought. From what I’m gathering, hearing you guys speak, you all have your couple preferences but seem to be mostly against the idea of cheap drama.

I don’t give a shit about who ends up with who of course. As I’ve explained before, there isn’t a romantic bone in my body. In order for me to like a couple in fiction, the idea of the couple has to be interesting or weird or it just has to be really, really adorable. Sonic X Sally is neither to me so I don’t care about it but witnessing Sally X Ken is honestly STILL of the interesting variety to me at the moment.

Like, the scene that follows is Sally having her Shakespearian play, “Woe is me” moment where the music swells and the tears are flowing. She brings up a couple of good points about why she feels frustrated.

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This page of him trying to navigate her feelings and help out is interesting to look at. Looking at Ken’s expressions, I couldn’t help but wonder if Ian was going to use this as a means of showing the difference between Sonic and Sally’s relationship and Sally and Ken’s by maybe going for something where he can’t actually cheer up Sally where as Sonic very easily did by just telling her to get over it.

Though, I’d argue that didn’t seem to actually work as her getting captured here not only brought all those emotions back but they’re even worse now. Perhaps that's part of why Sonic got upset. He thought what he did worked and because she's upset even worse then before now, it means it didn't. Granted, he didn't say a whole lot, not like what Ken is about to do but still. It's likely Sonic just expected his thing to work more because he feels his words should hold more weight to Sally I suppose.

I was wondering if Ken was just not going to be able to do it any better when it was his turn at the end of this page.

Imagine my surprise when I turned the page and he actually gives a really good pep-talk.

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Now that was a good one. He’s being comforting and complimentary to her, sure, but he’s also clearly being very stern and very serious. You can tell by the look on his face and the way he’s pointing at her that he’s in a bit of a scolding position too. He’s not going too hard on her but he’s not taking it easy either. It’s a really nice balance and it gets the job done.

Sally, of course, is obligated to say it was lousy because… I dunno. Characters in this book feel the need to point out when things are cheesy and lousy, even when they work, I’m starting to notice. I feel like this isn’t the first time someone’s pointed out that something inspiring Ken or someone else has said was lame despite them liking it. 

Well, either way, they go inside to see the Bride of the Endless Reach and it’s here where we experience my favorite and most memorable moment of the issue.

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Fuck yeah.

Now that’s the shit I like. Not only is Sonic foregoing the formal bullshit but motherfucking Tails is doing it with him! Ah, it’s great. 

That’s supreme little brother energy right there. Following the lead of your big bro, even if it’s temporarily against your own personal etiquette is cute. 

However, a bomb gets dropped here… or rather, something I felt had to be true at the back of my mind gets revealed but it was something I didn’t care too much about so I didn’t mention it.

Uhm, Uma Arachnis was a part of this clan. The leader here asks about her in a scene that I literally could not have understood back in the day when I first read this because I had no knowledge of any of these events or these people.

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I don’t even remember this page honestly.

My mind must have blocked it out from the sheer confusion of what was being said.

Kodos was barely a character for the longest time back when I covered those issues and then he came across some nuclear waste, lost his mind, then fell off a cliff.

Sally tells The Bride of the Endless Reach that Uma Arachnis died of radiation poisoning which… shouldn’t be funny but it kind of is, saying it out loud.

She also had a bunch of children but they all died too after the Egg Grapes situation.

Arachnis has had the absolute worst fucking life.

This is all really, terribly tragic and sad. Sally, probably realizing just how fucked this all sounds, starts to apologize but then Ms. Endless Reach here puts a stop to it.

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And then no one was sad ANNNNNNNYMORE.

Yeah, when I first read this, I thought Sonic and Tails were shrugging because, like me, they didn’t understand what Sally and Ms. B.E.R here were going on about for the last two pages. There might still be a bit of that but it’s clearly more about the fact that they don’t really understand her reasoning for the lack of mourning here. 

Tails and Sonic are the best in this scene, by far. They’re just shrugging and going “I dunno. She’s going on about fate or some bullshit. Whatever man.”

Sonic asks what she means and uh… it takes a couple of gallivanting words but eventually, she leads them to the WEB OF FATE which has the power to see all… apparently.

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Yes, it looks like a generic spider-web but… … it’s not.

Y-y-y-you’ve just gotta be able to read it… properly... somehow. I dunno. The pattern looks the same everywhere so it’s probably super hard to read. 

It foretold that Uma would make sure that the last of the relics of the Source of All would be destroyed before they fell into the wrong hands and even showed them that the others would be coming here today. 

Ken is understandably upset by this and foregoes any pleasantries to try and call them out for not sharing any information with the rest of the Dragon Kingdom about the bad stuff that was about to go down.

Endless Reach for the Stars then says it’s OUR shit and we can do whatever we want with it. No touchy and no sharing.

Also, more understandably, she says that the web tells key moments to come but not the road to take so HOW they react to what’s to come in order to try and prevent it is still up in the air.

Her last point is purely a point of privilege.

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This would have been the part where I would be like “Fuck her up Ken! Who gives a shit about Gossamer and his bride or whatever!”

However, Sally chimes in and showcases why she’s actually useful, as a means of paying off what Ken said to her earlier.

She calms them both down by explaining that the Dragon Kingdom is fucking massive and the unorganized “free people” who aren’t apart of any of these clans simply want to live in peace. Sally also brings up that the web doesn’t tell them how to reach these conclusions so it’s possible there might be a peaceful path to take.

She also says that it might be worth the effort even if it isn’t the fastest route since one of the routes they took before saw to Uma and her six children fucking dying before they even got to see their homeland and the rest of their family.

The Reach of Endless Possibility Bride says this is true, looking a bit more appropriately upset then she did before when she heard all those children died.

She asks if they do go this route if the king of the free people would allow their clan to be what they are still. Ken says he will and gives his word of honor.

Sonic then says something that’s culturally insensitive on accident and it almost gets Ken to take his head off by the look of his face. He says to Ken that people’s words don’t mean jack-shit.

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“Ken, we come from a land where people lie, commit perjury, and engage in slander all the time. Peace is merely a suggestion; a suggestion that keeps being brought up but everyone chooses to ignore.”

Ms. Endless Reach for the Sky checks the web for what it can tell her while the others get ready for some shit to go down if the web says “KILL THEM ALL” or something. 

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I love Tails’ little “GULP” there. Something about Tails in this issue was especially cartoony and silly. It’s very endearing and it always stuck with me. He’s radiating extreme little brother energy right now.

Anyway, Endless Halo Reach agrees to denounce the Iron Dominion and throw their lot in with them. 

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Word of Honor being this powerful of a weapon is something I admire but also find a little dangerous. There has to be at least one person who said “Fuck being SACRED” and used the word of honor as a weapon to trick people into thinking he or she was going to do something that he or she totally wasn’t going to do.

As we’ll see later, it’s super-duper powerful, this word of honor thing.

We cut to the final scene of this issue. It’s pretty funny observing the behavior of these characters here.

Sonic and Ken are still cool with each other but the cheap shots and the mean looks are starting to creep in now and it really isn’t endearing… but it’s also funny witnessing how petty Sonic is being. 

Seriously, look at this.

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This scene began with Sonic telling the story of what happened in a way that was making it seem like Ken was doing things badly and that he was totally thinking that if things went wrong it’d be his fault.

Then the next panels below it are these ones. Not only is Sonic just completely ignored but Sally is literally feeding Ken.

Sonic is just staring at them with this really angry look on his face. The whole jealous ex-boyfriend look probably isn’t something he should want to wear. 

It’s a little funny because the break-up that happened was sort of a mutual thing… kind of. Like Sally gave him a ridiculous as fuck ultimatum (choosing between the world and her. Where have I heard that one before?) and Sonic chose the world so…?

But a long time has passed and Sally has reflected a lot on her conduct and the two of them are friends again… but you know, that means it’s time to move on. Sally is trying to but Sonic is finding it a lot harder.

Like it’s not in a way that’s making him sad and wanting to strum his guitar in front of the moon like that one time from before. No, he’s just getting more and more jealous and angry.

I won’t go so far as to suggest he’s being possessive of Sally or anything. He’s still treating them both with respect enough not to interfere and it’s also not like he’s treating either of them any worse. I mean, I guess the arm yanking from earlier when Ken was trying to do the comforting hand gesture might be it but still.

Meanwhile, Sonic still makes “Oh brother” faces when his brother gets all bashful around other fox ladies still.

But someone from the outside witnessed this and declared “TAILS SHANT NOT HAVE ANOTHER CRUSH!” and fired a dangerous kunai at the teapot to stop that shit.

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Turns out it wasn’t a romance killing kunai. It had a note attached to it from the Yagyu clan. Those are the bat looking ones that we’ve seen the most of. 

Sonic finally has something to let his aggression out on… although he says he’s ticked off because that was good tea. I don’t even like tea and I’d agree that’s a better thing to care about than romance drama.

The note is from the leader of the Yagyu encampment. He wants to meet with them because word travels around fast. So now we can go and break another clan away from the Iron Dominion… tomorrow. WHOO!

There is a part of me that does find it also really hilarious that our heroes here are sitting around, enjoying tea in the comfort of this house and the thing that catches Sonic’s ire is Ken and Sally being all lovey dovey when meanwhile everyone back home is probably being smashed by Jun Kun like a barrel of grapes.

I'm joking of course. It's just fun to think about.

So yeah, I was right. That entire issue was just a bunch of talking. The only difference is that I was able to actually follow it this time. As much as I liked making fun of jealous ex-boyfriend Sonic, he and Tails were the highlights of this issue. Watching their reactions to the things said here was a lot of fun, especially for Tails. However, I’m sorry to say that I’m getting a bit worried. Despite enjoying him here, there’s a little bit of that creeping feeling of annoyance starting to peer it’s way back in regarding Sonic. It was the same feeling I got reading this years ago. It’s been absent for a bit but for some reason the moments where Sonic’s attitude gets to be a bit much are happening more often for me lately. 

It’s often hard to explain my personal perspective in a way that doesn’t get a reply trying to explain to me why something is written the way it is as if I don’t know that. I do. If I say I don’t like it, it’s only because I don’t like it. Hopefully, that’ll come through one day.


Sonic Universe - Issue #14: Journey to the East - Part 2 of 4: High Price for Rich Nights

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Sonic feels extra tall on this cover for whatever reason. His arms seem extra spindly too. Maybe it’s just me though. This cover in general, honestly, doesn’t seem to be all that unique. Sonic stands determined while his buddies fight some nameless goons in the air space behind him while dude’s face takes up the rest of it. I’m not sure what I’d have done differently though. I guess it gets the job done so whatever, right?

Spoiler

Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils: Tracy Yardley
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Jason Jensen
Letters: Teresa Davidson
Assistant editor: Paul Kaminski
Editor & Managing editor: Mike Pellerito

The one thing I remember about this issue is that Tails gets mad and I think an ambush of some kind happens. Let’s see what this is about again.

This issue begins exactly like the last one, except this time Sonic’s friends aren’t captured. They’re all being ambushed by the Yagyu in some kind of pond.

The reason given is basically what’s been made apparent this whole time; the Yagyu suck.

They were ambushed but they can’t even land a hit on any of them. Sally points out that the spider people caught them in seconds too. They’re so awful, that the heroes are making casual conversation about how much they suck while fighting. Tails stomps both his feet on one rising out of the water behind Sally and it just flops into the water all spread out. I certainly hope that what I come to find out explains who these guys are a bit better.

Tails wonders why they were sent over to help the Dark Egg Legion if four random motherfuckers, one of whom is a kid, can just beat them up even after being taken by surprise by them and suggests it was because the Dominion felt sorry for them.

Sally, funnily enough, says for Tails to be nice since they’ve been through a lot. Weird thing to say after they attacked you and you just had to kick all their asses but alright.

Eventually things get cleared up though.

Ken grabs one of them and is about to threaten him with more violence and pain unless they make good on their summons promise. At first, the guy he grabbed starts to hiss but then he realizes that they’re the ones the leader asked to see.

Turns out, it was all one big misunderstanding. They thought they were just normal travelers.

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Yeah, you know. It was just some good, honest robbery and thieving. Honest. 

That makes this all okay.

So on their way there, Sally brings up the fact that the Yagyu clan has no bride because she was killed. Reading that I instantly went “OOOOOHHH… NOW I get it.” 

For the longest time I was wondering why one of the leaders was just a dude. That clears it up nicely. All these words really did just make alphabet soup in my brain when I first read this but it remains hard being too down on myself for it since this is an insane amount of talking and connections to be thrust into. I’m amazed Ian had the wherewithal to create this whole system.

Imagine what he could do for the world building of the series if the powers at be just let him do his thing… in the games. That would be nice. 

It doesn’t even necessarily have to be him. Just someone who can write satisfactory narratives and not make Tails so insanely lame.

Anyway, the point of Sally bringing this up is due to how there’s a bit of a weirdness with regards to this clan since there’s a chance they won’t fall back on tradition or want to give up their lot with the Iron Queen. 

I remember the dude they meet being a piece of work but I don’t recall what he said other than something that pissed Tails off. Also, I remember him eating grapes.

His introductory caption box introduces him as “Current Yagyu Lord” which I remember finding strange at the time. Now, I realize it’s because none of the Brides have names really. He’s not a bride but it does follow a bit of a theme to not call him Darrel or some shit.

I also like the use of the word “Current”. Makes it seem as though the manner in which the Yagyu operates could very easily see this guy kicked off his throne one day.

So, they enter the weird looking old temple they’re led to and after Ken gets upset at the Current Yagyu Lord for not informing his men that he had guests, this guy just takes aim with a verbal pistol and goes to town on Ken like nobody’s business.

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Oh, bringing up the fact that he came back because of abject failure. That’s already a heavy blow to the knee.

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Oh shit. He just hit him with a chair to the head. That there ego has been demolished. I’d be surprised if it got back up.

What’s Ken’s response going to be?

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Yeah, he ain’t happy folks.

There’s going to be more than just grape juice spilling from this man’s mouth in a second I reckon… or not. Sally steps in and places a hand on him to get him to calm his butt down. He doesn’t retaliate and simply says that he wishes to discuss brokering peace between the free people of the Dragon Kingdom and his clan of robbers.

He says he’ll talk with the crown princess of the republic of Acorn (spoken as though he considers it an actual title with some weight behind it) and he’ll even meet with the “King of the Free People” (spoken with a laugh at the start to indicate he doesn’t consider the title all that official and written with quotes around it to emphasis that even more). 

However, he doesn’t feel comfortable speaking with THE Sonic the Hedgehog in his lair, which Sonic isn’t surprised to hear. He’ll take literally anything as a boon to his ego.

Then he says he also doesn’t want to discuss things in front of mere children. That’s the thing that gets Tails’ tighty whities in a bunch.

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It’s often hard for me to get super mad at a well-written asshole but I think this might be one of those times where even he managed to strike a nerve with me. It reminded me too much of being young and being thought of as insignificant because of my age. Like, there’s keeping children in line and then there’s just not considering them people. 

Granted, despite him being a jerk, what’s funny is that his request here isn’t unreasonable at all.

Fact of the matter is, he doesn’t know who Tails is. He also is still a child. Yeah, he beat up his men but he didn’t see that and Tails throwing a tantrum about how cool he totally is won’t convince him of anything.

“I’ll have you know that I had a mini-series and I’m gonna get my own Sonic Universe arc! Two video games were named after me and they both had blackjack and hookers!”

Although, on the flip-side, this does bring me back around to how weird it is that Sonic is so well known and hated by his enemies but Tails is almost never acknowledged in any star-struck manner. It makes sense for the others who don’t hang with Sonic as often but I’d imagine Sonic’s best friend and partner on all these adventures would have a little fan club dedicated to him somewhere in the world, right?

Even if it’s niche, it must exist in some capacity… right?

When the hero everyone knows about and the “mere child” that no one knows who the fuck he is leaves, Sally and Ken ask if he’s happy and he says no, which made me chuckle a little.

He explains that back in the good old days, “Yagyu” meant something different. The days of old saw them as assassins who were experts with the blade. Apparently, it’s the old Bride’s fault that’s no longer true and he desires to go back to those times when they didn’t have to take orders from anybody.

He says this as his men surround Sally and Ken so… another set-up maybe? Looks like it.

I’m guessing the explanation for why the Yagyu suck so much is because the Old Bride was more consolidating… so they had to stoop to thievery to feed the traditional treasure horde. That wouldn’t necessarily stop you from being masters of the blade though. You’re certainly not coming off as that anymore so I can’t help but feel there’s more to attribute to laziness than you’re letting on my lord. 

Anyway, Tails is outside still screaming at the temple about how many asses he’s kicked and how many Tornados he’s built as if the Yagyu leader is even going to know what that last thing he said even means. Without context, it makes as much sense as saying you fixed a bi-plane with dishwashing detergent and a toothpick.

God, that line. Yeah, let’s just have Tails just say he can fix stuff using whatever random things we can throw at this here dart board. That’ll make him seem smart without us needing to show it.

Eventually, Sonic has had enough. He asks why Tails gives a shit about what that random asshole has to say. Tails explains that he’s done a whole lot to be recognized as a Freedom Fighter and that guy knowing who the rest of them are but not him triggered him.

Understandable. He’s never been a character with the best self-esteem but Sonic has a nice little chat with him to get his mind in the right place again. Him pointing out that Tails has done more in his life ALREADY than that guy probably ever will in the entirety of his is such a good burn and I wish that guy could have heard it. Honestly.

Of course, there are doubts that linger in the minds of a few others. Take Fiona Fox for instance.

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She’s here!

She hasn’t been seen since the whole Moebius thing. She got out while the getting was good and now she’s here in the Dragon Kingdom. Why? She’ll tell us if Sonic and Tails can catch her.

They try their damndest but are very easily made a fool of thanks to Fiona’s flexibility and competent use of bending trees and surprise ambushes from the Destructix.

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Yeah, you know, I truly didn’t give the villains enough credit. They really were pretty good at beating on the heroes from time to time.

Then again, the Destructix didn’t make this easy, seeing as how that one issue with Casino Night just saw them all get demolished in a single room in a fight that happened mostly off screen.

Maybe it’s a bit late but I love that he’s finally getting around to developing them and establishing them more as a threat.

So, yeah, Fiona is back and she’s rejoined the Destructix. Oh but why are they here in the Dragon Kingdom? The answer may shock you… or not. 

Anyway, the next two pages are just one HUGE conversation with the Yagyu lord. No fight happens here. They just talk while his men have them surrounded.

Sally begins by saying that if they reject the Iron Queen then they’ll be free to choose a new Bride and get recognized by the King of the Free People.

That sentence is quite the strange one, honestly.

The Yagyu has to point out to her again that they’re not interested in having people tell them what to do. I assume this means they’re not interested in having a new Bride nor being told what to do by the ironically named “King” of the “Free” people. It’s such a strange sounding title but in my head I think the reason it works might be because Ken isn’t ACTUALLY what some would traditionally call a king. Not really. He comes off more like a servant of the Free People to me. The people who aren’t attached to any of these clans or brides have him as their leader mostly for protection rather than ruling or kingly duties. That’s why his position is so admirable and also why his title probably makes this Yagyu dude laugh.

He doesn’t believe the hype.

Or if he does, he doesn’t respect it.

The Yagyu lord also says that with the Iron Dominion, AT LEAST they can stand up to the other clans now. With all of them on equal footing underneath the Iron Queen, it’s no longer a worry being dominated by them.

Sally then tries to appeal to their people being used for evil. The Yagyu lord says “evil” is subjective, which… sure, whatever. He basically means that he doesn’t give a shit.

Sally then says that Regina is the only one profiting from the arrangement. The Yagyu lord says so was the Bride of Rich Nights. Wow, they really must not have cared when she was murdered then. Best thing to happen to them probably.

Sally’s diplomacy isn’t working so Ken does the only thing that stands a chance at working; appealing to their desire to just be a band of thieves again. That’s not a thought that would have ever crossed Sally’s mind but it’s what works.

Ken tells them to reject the Iron Dominion AND the brides system. The Yagyu lord is about to give up on this talk because the other clans would tear them apart if they did that but Ken asks them why they would if they were no longer a threat to them. If they just stopped being a clan they wouldn’t have to worry about what the other clans thought of them and they could just move about the Dragon Kingdom wherever they wanted.

The Yagyu lord says that would make them “free people” and there’s no way he’d accept Ken as their king. Ken points out that his title isn’t literal. He’s just a protector. Plus, he’d be too busy keeping peace with the clans to deal with a group of unorganized thieves.

The Yagyu lord finds this incredibly tantalizing.

No more regional lords?

No more ceremony?

No more codes of conduct?

No more going to church?

No more being told to take off your hat when you enter a building?

No more being scolded for falling asleep during some asshole's boring acceptance speech?

FUCK YEAH!

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So that’s the long and short of it. As they leave the temple, Sally is wondering if that was the best decision considering he just gave them carte blanche to spread their thieving and robbing ways around the kingdom.

Ken says that he was worried about that at first but he came up with a three-way hypothetical in his head about how that clan will react. Some will want to go back to the old ways, some will stay behind because they actually like this cushy lifestyle, and some will just skip to step 4: Profit.

They’ll be too divided to have enough manpower to be a huge threat. Well, he says “to bother anyone else” but regardless of what happens, they’re totally going to keep bothering other people. A lot of the stuff Ken lists off here sounds like it could still end up going very badly. Even if they all split three ways they have no way of knowing how many of them will choose to do what.

That said, this was still the best course of action. It’s better that they’re not a part of the Iron Dominion because those numbers make the fact that they’re weak and incompetent moot. 

Secondly, the Yagyu kinda of suck so who cares where they go? I’m sure the next person they try to rob will have a baby that knows kung-fu better than they do.

Ken says he managed to come up with that diplomatic solution thanks to inspiration from Sally. Sally says that she’s diplomatic but not devious. 

Ken begins to playfully dismiss that. She’s been plenty devious. 

Sally, in what I must assume is a playful banter sort of deal, says that she’s a perfect little angel.

Ken sees this as his opportunity to be smooth.

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No Sally, you’re not supposed to swoon. You’re supposed to say that his lines are all lame like you usually do.

Ah man. Your relationship is advancing. It can’t be.

It… feels like were this allowed to continue, it’d end up being something approaching healthy and even kind of adorable.

It can’t because of the nature of expectation. People expect Sonic and Sally or Sonic and Amy. Sally and anyone other than Sonic? Well then EVERYONE LOSES THEIR MINDS… because it’s not part of the plan.

The last two clans are going to be the hardest ones to handle. The Raijin Clan is way tougher and more violent than the Yagyu ever were (not hard to believe) and finding a Shinobi clan member is a hard task let alone seeing their leader.

Anyway, they step out of the woods and see the scene that leads into the awesome third issue. 

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Sonic and Tails are on the ground as the Destructix assert dominance over them. Finally.

You know, despite these two issues being mostly conversations, I have to admit… they’re interesting conversations. The first issue of this arc took a bit too long to get to the point for me but when it got there it was fun witnessing Arachnis being relevant for the first time ever. Now in this issue we see that the deal with these Yagyu fuckers is that they’re a bunch of thieves and thugs that are basically pretending at being a part of these clans and when the opportunity to leave law and order behind and be safe presented itself, the Yagyu Lord jumped at the chance to do it. It also helps that the Destructix stuff was introduced in this issue rather than shoved haphazardly into the next one. It makes a good set-up not only for what’s going to happen next time but also for what Fiona and the Destructix plan to do later for their revenge.

We don’t REALLY get to see it come to fruition but there will be a time for mourning later.
 

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You know, I probably used to feel the same as you about Sonic's attitude, but in recent years I actually really appreciate when he's just allowed to be an asshole.

His personality is just so sanitized nowadays; I completely understand it from corporate perspective, you want your mascot to be generally likable, but I always prefer him being able to play into his ego.

 

It makes people finding him obnoxious better. And moments like Jun smacking him around feel so much better when he's talking shit.

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Dr. Detective Mike
2 hours ago, Kuzu said:

You know, I probably used to feel the same as you about Sonic's attitude, but in recent years I actually really appreciate when he's just allowed to be an asshole.

His personality is just so sanitized nowadays; I completely understand it from corporate perspective, you want your mascot to be generally likable, but I always prefer him being able to play into his ego.

 

It makes people finding him obnoxious better. And moments like Jun smacking him around feel so much better when he's talking shit.

I prefer his attitude to be like it is today honestly. My problem is more so that the writing itself is bland in these current games. If he were more of an asshole he'd just be a bland asshole, which is even worse.

I obviously don't have a problem with him playing to his ego. He's Sonic. He always does that, even nowadays. My issue is just the moments where I feel it goes too far. I just prefer something more balanced.

You know, I don't even think it's an issue with time either. I thought he was a pretty cool guy in SA2 and Heroes but right now IDW is my favorite interpretation of him. Both those things are on opposite spectrums as far as time but they both feel perfect to me. He's confident, cocky, and jokey but not an asshole. I prefer it that way. He seems like someone I'd actually want to hang out with there. He's muh hero!

Being frustrated with his attitude isn't worth it to maybe feel some catharsis when he gets smacked around by the bad guys. It feels nice when it happens but if that's the kind of relationship I'm starting to form with the main character then I'd rather not, personally.

Although, I like seeing it happen regardless. Even to characters like Tails and Charmy. Slapstick is just funny to me.

I don't think I was making too huge a deal about the attitude though. Not yet. I do still point out when I feel the ego is written at a level I feel I'm confortable with at least.

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Naw I get it, I'm just generally receptive to characters that I don't necessarily think are likable but are still compelling nonetheless. Like Shadow is generally an asshole, but I still think he's fine....when they let him be.

Its definitely a hard balance to strike though and I understand when writers occasionally fumble it; Sonic tends to either be too obnoxious or too boring depending on the story at any given time depending on your preferences.

 

Was mostly commenting that I used to feel the same, but I grew to appreciate it over time when I understood the circumstances better; in most media, mainly the games and I guess IDW, Sonic is generally the one that holds everything together and the one that inspires everyone.

 

But in Archie, that's Sally's role primarily. So Sonic is kind of allowed to be a bit more obnoxious despite being the hero. It doesn't necessarily make him the most LIKABLE I admit, but I do think it allows him to be a bit more of a character personally and less of a mouthpiece personally.

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SkyHorizon
On 10/18/2021 at 7:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Thanks Uncle Chuck. Your continued help towards the advancement of the Eggman Empire is duly noted and appreciated.

 

  That one killed me 🤣

On 10/18/2021 at 7:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Immediately upon opening the book, I get hit with a wave of exhaustion for some reason. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of talking and information to digest here.

I found amazing the difference between American comics and other comics. Compared to the first, the latter are way more verbose. It's sad, because I got the feeling that Comics publishers consider American people unable to focus on text for too long and have to stun them with fight, fights and fights. I'm sure that a lot of potential is burned this way. Luckily, Flynn has never been that kind of guy, despite working for a licensed comic. Probably that's why I like it so much: his style is kind of atypical from your generic American comic.

On 10/18/2021 at 7:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

It’s often hard to explain my personal perspective in a way that doesn’t get a reply trying to explain to me why something is written the way it is as if I don’t know that. I do. If I say I don’t like it, it’s only because I don’t like it. Hopefully, that’ll come through one day.

Note: In reference to Sonic sometimes reacting to Ken and Sally relationship.

Honest advice: you can just say: "I understand that it's done to give Sonic more humanity, but I just don't like it."

Don't take it as a critic, but sometimes, the reason people feel the need to explain some stuff, it's just because you explain your POV without acknowledging the other one. You can disagree with it, but if you don't recognize it, you simply open yourself up to criticism.

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Dr. Detective Mike
23 hours ago, Kuzu said:

Was mostly commenting that I used to feel the same, but I grew to appreciate it over time when I understood the circumstances better; in most media, mainly the games and I guess IDW, Sonic is generally the one that holds everything together and the one that inspires everyone.

 

But in Archie, that's Sally's role primarily. So Sonic is kind of allowed to be a bit more obnoxious despite being the hero. It doesn't necessarily make him the most LIKABLE I admit, but I do think it allows him to be a bit more of a character personally and less of a mouthpiece personally.

I get the idea behind this. I'm more of the opinion that he can be more of a character without being a mouthpiece or an asshole so I tend to not be able to compartmentalize that in my head. Like, I definitely wouldn't say that's an issue with IDW Sonic so far. In the Zombot arc he definitely wasn't holding anything together or inspiring anyone. Quite the opposite in fact. 

However, that really lame stuff in Forces? That I totally get not wanting to see more of. It's just... not as endearing as it thinks it is there. When the Avatar is imagining Sonic saying encouraging words he never said, it's gone too far in the other direction. 

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On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

I joke but am I alone in thinking that Nicole being made of nanities should have been the first thing that crossed their minds when they learned of her technomagic

Honestly that's one of my biggest issues with this arc. The length is one thing but there's so many instances of the characters being dumbasses. Including the Iron Queen because like she didn't think of doing this until now!

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Sonic is proud to proclaim that it’s because they were an item though.

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Guys just have a threesome and leave this love triangle bullshit behind. God!

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Sonic, hearing the word “speed” instantly has an idea and brings up that weird thing they used to go inside Gerald’s diary in that issue that single-handedly wrapped up the Shadow the Hedgehog plot line. So Sonic and Sally go and do that together.

This scene has one of my favorite subtle gags. The initials of the device is literally "the PLOT device". XD

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Yeah, I’m not entirely sure why Sonic said “Yeah I get that she uses magic but also we’ve got no digitizer so HOW is she here?”

The answer is magic Sonic. The thing you just said you know she can use.

Pretty sure he's just underestimating how powerful she actually is.

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Eggman turned New York City or whatever into Megaopolis

Not...exactly. Old Megaopolis was just the Post Apocalyptic name of New York. It had nothing to do with Eggman. I mean he lived there because it was the Overlander main city but he's not why it's called that.

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Also, the “Here’s dirt in your eye” meme is flooding into my mind. 

No. Emo Peter stay away. Stay back you!

I mean technically "Here's dirt in your eye" is a super old expression. Granted nobody says it anymore because it's dumb.

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Anyway, Sally’s firewall thing has blocked out Regina’s technomagic somehow. Nicole is able to regain control of herself and she and Sally hatch a plan to have Nicole spy on the goings on in the city. She doesn’t have full control so she’s a bit too weak to retake everything herself.

The real problem truly is how much man power they have at their disposal. They’ve been having trouble dealing with only a fraction of the clans around here so if the Iron Dominion were to ever gather all they had here it’d be wraps.

So they make a plan and set out to go break them apart.

I'm sure this plan will go perfectly with zero unfortunate ramifications for Nicole in the near future.

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Journey to the East 

Oh, boy Journey to the East! My fav ZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!! Yeah I'm not overly fond of this arc.

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Immediately upon opening the book, I get hit with a wave of exhaustion for some reason. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of talking and information to digest here. 

Yuuuuup. And dude even as someone who loves all the crazy bullshit lore in these comics this arc hits you with too much. It's honestly one of the few times I agree with people on the 4 issue limit being bad because there's so much lore dumping and not enough of anything actually happening in this arc.

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

But someone from the outside witnessed this and declared “TAILS SHANT NOT HAVE ANOTHER CRUSH!” 

"ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! We've been through Fiona here and Cosmo in X before you know it hell be in love with some bland fix girl with no personality or be hit on by a purple Bandicoot."

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Sally, funnily enough, says for Tails to be nice since they’ve been through a lot. Weird thing to say after they attacked you and you just had to kick all their asses but alright.

She's talking about the Echidna Dark Egg Legion.

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

His introductory caption box introduces him as “Current Yagyu Lord” which I remember finding strange at the time. Now, I realize it’s because none of the Brides have names really. He’s not a bride but it does follow a bit of a theme to not call him Darrel or some shit.

I also like the use of the word “Current”. 

Interestingly he's not the only Yagyu Lord. Ian's idea is that there's several lords on fact there's one that'll appear in #211 too.

 

On 10/18/2021 at 12:41 AM, Dr. Detective Mike said:

It… feels like were this allowed to continue, it’d end up being something approaching healthy and even kind of adorable

Yeah but why have that when we can have more Moonlighting BS where Sonic and Sally just keep trading barbs with each other? OK in fairness Ian writes their relationship way better than SatAM or the older comics did because they aren't constantly snipping at each other but still that's beem the majority of their relationship.

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Dr. Detective Mike
4 hours ago, SBR2 said:

Honestly that's one of my biggest issues with this arc. The length is one thing but there's so many instances of the characters being dumbasses. Including the Iron Queen because like she didn't think of doing this until now!

Yeah. It's a big oversight and I know Sally brings it up as something she should have seen but like... that doesn't excuse the fact that nobody else did either. It can't be excused as an oversight that only certain people should have seen. They all should have instantly seen this. Including the villains.

4 hours ago, SBR2 said:

Guys just have a threesome and leave this love triangle bullshit behind. God!

Yeah! Sonic, Ken, and Silver! Let's go.

Oh wait, you meant with Sally?

... Nah. I prefer Sonic and Ken have it with Silver. 

4 hours ago, SBR2 said:

Not...exactly. Old Megaopolis was just the Post Apocalyptic name of New York. It had nothing to do with Eggman. I mean he lived there because it was the Overlander main city but he's not why it's called that.

You know, I'm just not going to make jokes about past issues anymore. It's always taken so seriously. 

I say that, but I totally am though. Who am I kidding?

4 hours ago, SBR2 said:

Oh, boy Journey to the East! My fav ZZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!! Yeah I'm not overly fond of this arc.

I understand the sentiment. I wasn't too fond of it back in the day but it was literally only because I had no idea what any one was talking about. I really loved the third issue but that was it. Now, I'm getting the sense that I'm going to leave this arc with a ... mostly positive impression but with an asterisk. I don't mind mostly conversational arcs if the conversations are interesting and aside from the slow start of the first issue, I've found what these characters have had to say interesting at least.

That said, I feel like at the end, all this will have amounted to is just world building for the other side of the world which, while not a bad thing to get out in a 4 issue story arc, isn't necessarily where everyone's attention is going to be after this arc is done. Finding the point in all this aside from "We gotta break up the band" is probably going to be a lot harder for some.

I'll reserve my new personal verdict for when I'm finished of course. After all, I remember really not liking the last issue of this arc...

4 hours ago, SBR2 said:

Yeah but why have that when we can have more Moonlighting BS where Sonic and Sally just keep trading barbs with each other? OK in fairness Ian writes their relationship way better than SatAM or the older comics did because they aren't constantly snipping at each other but still that's beem the majority of their relationship.

*Looks around the room whistling before secretly fist bumping you behind your back.*

 

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CrownSlayer’s Shadow
5 hours ago, SBR2 said:

Honestly that's one of my biggest issues with this arc. The length is one thing but there's so many instances of the characters being dumbasses. Including the Iron Queen because like she didn't think of doing this until now!

Did the Iron Queen know she could even do that at the time tho? I hear this criticism of Regina a lot, but nowhere until the moment she takes control of Nicole does it show that she was aware she could even manipulate the nanomachines, much less know that the whole city was made of it until Snively brought it up.

So I don’t see how the Iron Queen was stupid here for a lack of knowledge—she could tell Bunnie was cybernetic by looking at her, and she has enough history with Khan to know he was already cybernetic. But it’s not like she could look at the city and tell she could just yoink it under the heroes feet anymore than she knew the Egg Dome she occupied was secretly the second Death Egg.

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Dr. Detective Mike
3 hours ago, CrownSlayer’s Shadow said:

Did the Iron Queen know she could even do that at the time tho? I hear this criticism of Regina a lot, but nowhere until the moment she takes control of Nicole does it show that she was aware she could even manipulate the nanomachines, much less know that the whole city was made of it until Snively brought it up.

So I don’t see how the Iron Queen was stupid here for a lack of knowledge—she could tell Bunnie was cybernetic by looking at her, and she has enough history with Khan to know he was already cybernetic. But it’s not like she could look at the city and tell she could just yoink it under the heroes feet anymore than she knew the Egg Dome she occupied was secretly the second Death Egg.

My criticism was mostly leveled at Snively for not saying something sooner. I excused it as him being too lovestruck to care but that's a headcannon thing. 

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Regarding Khanally, I honestly don't care about the pairing (if only because I'm apathetic to Monkey Khan while more-or-less hating Sally). But I absolutely despise Sonally, so anything that keeps those two separated is automatically a better alternative for me. ...But of course Khanally ended up not doing that, so I don't know what to think anymore other than "fuck that chipmunk" in general. 

And sorry for my lack of comments recently. Work has been seriously occupying my time recently and Civilization V being an addictive drug, so I haven't had the time to seriously read the latest posts and subsequently type out responses. And, being honest, I have no interest in the Iron Dominion Arc lol I tried to read the beginning of the arc and immediately went "Eeeehh...". Though maybe I'll have something to say about that one main series issue with Amy at the front, since I can't ignore anything involving her. But all in all, I'll only really have much to say once Cream is finally introduced.

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Monkey Destruction Switch

The Iron Dominion arc was a pretty good one, though certainly flawed. I do think taking so long to take control over Nicole is a pretty huge plot hole. It also was a bit too long and I feel like things changed from the heroes being in a bad position to being in a good one too quickly (freeing Nicole so easily is a good example of that).

I think Khan wanting to end Nicole's life and Tails having to prevent him was a really interesting plot point. I was going to say it was also pretty mature even by Archie Sonic standards, but then I remembered that just a few story arcs ago, Locke wanted to kill his own son, one of the main characters from the games. So I guess it's really nothing new for Archie xp There could have been a really dramatic moment if Sally ever learned that her new romantic interest almost killed one of her best friends. I'm almost surprised they didn't take that opportunity. I'm pretty fond of how the story concludes as well, even though again, it feels like things flip over to being in the hero's favor too fast.

Something I realized about this arc is that it's taking a very old concept from Sonic Western media, that being Snively taking over Eggman's empire with some help, which was first teased at the end of SatAM, and finally bringing it to fruition. Which is kind of awesome. I like seeing Snively's character explored. He's clever and conniving, but ultimately emotionally weak, which is interesting to see as the story concludes. Iron Queen is a cool character and villain concept too, with a good design and abilities that interact with what Eggman does in interesting ways, and I wish she could be a continuing presence in the Sonic series.

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18 hours ago, Monkey Destruction Switch said:

Iron Queen is a cool character and villain concept too, with a good design and abilities that interact with what Eggman does in interesting ways, and I wish she could be a continuing presence in the Sonic series.

It's even more interesting when you think how bland and generic she was in her introduction "arc" back in Issue 50-something :)

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Dr. Detective Mike

Sonic Universe - Issue #15: Journey to the East - Part 3 of 4: No Love in a Conquering Storm

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Ah. Here it is, folks. The big one. At least for me, this issue ended up being the one that made this arc fairly memorable in the end despite more or less brushing off all the talking. I recall what happens here being so mean that it got me hyped for that revenge hype train. That train never arrived sadly but what this issue did for the Destructix, I’ll always remember.

Spoiler

Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils: Tracy Yardley
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Jason Jensen
Letters: Teresa Davidson
Assistant editor: Paul Kaminski
Editor & Managing Editor: Mike Pellerito

Hey, this is the first issue (I think) where the texture of the pages changes to something more smooth and less grainy. Hurray. 

The stare down between the heroes and the Destructix turns ugly fast when the heroes decide to attack, not the other way around.

The Destructix really do just want to talk but Sally is SUPER eager for a fight, which Ken makes note of. He’s still in a bit of a confused state right now. He doesn’t know who these people are so attacking them when they haven’t attacked him probably seems rather weird.

I do like how he just goes up to Simian and is like “Uh… let us commence to fighting then, cousin.”

Then, like Drax, Simian is all “Nothing goes over my head. My reflexes are too fast. I would catch it.”

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They don’t fight after this. Simian is the only one who doesn’t engage in any “fun” here so the two of them likely stood there waiting before Fiona finally managed to convince Sally that they really are just here to talk… and cause trouble, but they want the heroes to be in on said trouble this time.

She tells them to cool it and begins her explanation.

Before we get to that though, in these little flashes of character interactions, there are more tidbits to the Destructix and their personality traits to take note of. Not much was there and what little was there was hard to differentiate from any other random so-and-so villain. Plus, it was hard to care when they could be handled off-screen in a story that didn’t matter that much.

Here, Sergeant Simian’s no nonsense, stoic, military-esque personality kind of leaps off the page at you from him just standing there thanks to the art and the fact that it’s way easier to notice that he typically doesn’t move unless he deems it necessary. All of that I’ve gleamed in just these first couple of pages and the few we saw of him from the last issue.

Predator Hawk is taking to the “Predator” moniker a bit more with him jumping at the chance to take on Tails. He also refers to him as prey.

Then there’s Flying Frog whom, at the time, I basically just thought was being made into another Bean. He didn’t… REALLY have any personality to speak of before this so, I guess, just deciding that he’s crazy and says one word sentences that sound similar to one another like “Stop! Desist! Yield! No more noogie-boogie-woogie!” might as well be what he does.

It’ll become more apparent the more I see of him that, unlike Bean, his shtick isn’t to be a random cartoon character. He’s supposed to be legitimately creepy and insane. Initially, it can be hard to see the difference but I recall a sequence coming in the future that helped make the distinction as clear as day.

Anyway, Fiona talks about how after that fiasco where the Anti-Freedom Fighters betrayed Scourge, she snuck off to get more muscle and found the Destructix in a bar. 

They’ve all got mugs in their hands so I assume they were drowning their woes in coffee. 

Either that or they’re seriously drinking alcohol from mugs which… damn. Really down on their luck there aren’t they?

But, yeah, the point is that they’re all kind of washed up here. In-universe, it's more of a sadness about the band breaking up but it’s hard not to view this as a meta commentary thing.

Especially when it comes to Sleuth Doggy Dog here. 

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Even back then, despite being way dumber and less inclined to pay attention, I knew that this was basically Ian having Sleuth explain in-universe that he’s being written out of the comic.

Sleuth was a character that I was familiar with at the time so this did actually manage to have a bit of an impact on me. He was one of the characters that Ian actually continued to utilize a bit after he came onto the book at Issue #160. He wasn’t killed off unceremoniously in Darkest Storm, the Egg Grapes scenario, or during the big Enerjak purge. 

However, we’ve reached this point where the Destructix have come back into the story and what Ian plans to use them for doesn’t really need Sleuth. He wasn’t a member of the original Fearsome Foursome and his personal motivations don’t stretch that far. I mean, he originally betrayed the Freedom Fighters because he was promised some T-Bone steaks if I recall correctly.

Despite being the guy with the best name there wasn’t a ton left to do with him and exploring his past to fabricate something most likely wasn’t worth it. The original Fearsome Foursome had enough intrigue behind them due to their connection with Mogul and even in their designs to justify that but Sleuth was barely connected to them and only really got in out of convenience.

Now we’re here where he’s led the Destructix to a point where there’s not much to do. 

So when Fiona comes in claiming she wants them, he gives them to her. He doesn’t want anything in return because he doesn’t need anything.

He’s got way more than enough money to survive for the remainder of his days and with the heat picking up between this fucking war between empires, a guy like him who just wants some money and a decent t-bone steak doesn’t really need to stick around to throw his lot in with either cause.

Not to talk down to the other goodbyes that some of the other villains and characters Ian has given but this one feels the most… complete. 

Almost, kind of cosmic in a strange way?

I dunno. Just seeing him smiling back at Fiona, his face by the crescent moon, wishing her luck while saying his goodbye hits me in a weird way. He’s not dying or anything. He’s going into permanent retirement mode and… that’s it.

Honestly, out of all the bad guys, it feels like he’s the only one who made it out of this mess a winner. He has what he wants and he doesn’t need any more so he’s out.

It feels weird being so much more saddened by the final panel of Sleuth Doggy Dog than it does Dr. Finitevus but I think that’s just the nature of the obvious difference between the two; Finitevus’ actual last scene wasn’t supposed to be his final scene. This one for Sleuth definitely was.

So, that’s it. 

See ya Dogg. Thanks for never being annoying, even when the book was at its worst.

Sally asks Fiona if they just LET her be the leader but Fiona says that she had to promise them to get Lightning back on the team. Sonic is seemingly skeptical of the idea behind people who are antagonistic towards him and his friends caring about each other but Simian explains it succinctly enough.

“Mogul, Kodos, Snively, Sleuth… leaders come and go. He is our comrade. We know he is being used.”

It’s interesting to think about but that is how it all shook out isn’t it? 

Once that’s explained, Sonic seems to accept that from the three of them… but takes a nice pot shot at Fiona.

If I were Fiona and I had a shred of decency left within me, I’d bring up how betrayed I felt by Sonic leaving me behind and link that back to the idea of being “loyal” to counter his argument. 

No, instead, Fiona decides to buckle down on being horrible by turning to Tails and trying to wring out whatever drop of care he had for her left that wasn’t squeezed out from her smacking him across the face before she left with Scourge.

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In a moment that I think was supposed to be cool, Sally walks over and slugs Fiona in the gut. 

Not only is she eager for a fight but she’s not taking any shit today eh? I can only assume this part of her activated upon just seeing Fiona again. Maybe there’s some underlying personal resentment? I usually only think of Fiona’s betrayal in how it affected Tails since I never really bought her “relationship” with Sonic. However, it IS true that the two of them used to date, as WEIRD is that still is to think about. Maybe this is a subtle way of getting across that Sally has some affection for Sonic here and doesn’t like that she betrayed his trust?

Maybe that’s going too deep into it since the book never once says this or even really hints at it… at all…

… But, it’s the only thing I can think of for why Sally would be this insanely angry aside from it just being for Tails' sake. She wasn’t this mad at the end of the last issue but as soon as Fiona shows up Ken notices a change in her demeanor.

Anyway, Sally tells Fiona to stop being a bitch and make the goddamn deal. Since she’s doubled over, trying to keep her guts from gurgling, Simian just calmly and professionally says it for her.

He says they want Lightning returned.

Ken says they want the clan to renounce the Iron Queen.

There. The terms are agreed upon.

Sonic agrees with this, saying he’s flexible in matters like this, but wonders about how they’re going to get Lightning to leave the clan he wants to be with. 

That’s when Fiona, still in pain and in a bow-legged stance, proclaims that she has a brilliant Yzma plan to accomplish the task.

So, all eight of them head to the fortress where the Raiju Clan currently reside. It is the Iron Fortress; the former home of the Iron King and Queen.

These guys have some serious balls just moving in like that. Either that’s what they did or Regina let them have the place which I seriously doubt.

There’s an extended sequence of them splitting into two teams and breaking in. One scene shows Sally and Fiona spinning a crank together. Fiona takes a chance at making small talk and saying this little excursion is like old times, back when she was a Freedom Fighter.

I don’t quite know what she was expecting or hoping for as a response to her bringing that up but Sally doesn’t display any remorse for the way things turned out. She just says that Fiona may have been on the team but she was never a Freedom Fighter.

It’s a deservedly harsh retort but I can’t help but wonder how Fiona is going to take that. Would she consider that an admission on Sally’s part that they never thought she was one of the team, thus confirming for her that it was the right move to betray them… or would she take it the way I think it was supposed to actually be taken, in that, she was never a Freedom Fighter because she’s not a good person and they just didn’t know it yet?

Well, that’s not dwelled on of course. Instead we see them reach the throne room where Conquering Storm, the Bride of the Raiju Clan, her honor-restored recruit Lightning Lynx, and a bunch of Raiju ninja await. 

Conquering Storm tells them that they are fools to try and challenge them to which Ken hurriedly explains that they aren’t here to do that. They just want to talk. 

The Raiju Clan doesn’t talk through their problems though. Conquering Storm makes that pretty clear. She even admits that she wasn’t planning on having an audience with them had they not invaded her fortress, despite her being upset that they did.

Ken’s proposal also wouldn’t sound appealing to her clan regardless. He says as King of the Free People, he’d let them keep the rights to their lands and even this old Iron Fortress.

The words “let us” are re-stated by Conquering Storm in a smarmy manner. They can’t be bought.

So, Ken proposes a wager upon a duel of honor.

Ken says that if their champion wins, they’ll surrender and be her prisoners but if they win, they renounce the Iron Queen and they still get all that shit Ken promised them. So either way they win.

Conquering Storm accepts and immediately, without a second thought, sicks Lightning on them. She says it’s so he can prove his CONTINUED worth to the clan but… I can’t help but feel like she chose him because she doesn’t… REALLY give a shit about him. 

I mean, that’s obvious though, right? The only reason his honor was restored was because he lived out in the West and was a convenient person to rely upon for handling stuff over there now that they were with the Iron Dominion.

If they renounce the Iron Dominion, then who gives a shit about the territory she occupies and what knowledge Lightning has of it? That’s probably why she made mention of him needing to have continued worth to the clan.

Ken asks Sonic to fight for him and Sonic accepts in a very Sonic manner of speaking.

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This scene amused me a bit, although I did have to roll my eyes a bit at Sonic saying “I’m the hero of this adventure” to Lightning Lynx when he’s shocked that he has to fight Sonic and not the monkey. Perhaps it’s the fault of the last 10 years of games, but my tolerance for meta stuff in Sonic is a bit in the dumps I guess.

Also, Lightning is horrified that Sonic is the one he has to fight. I find it interesting that he wanted to fight Ken though. He thought he could take Ken? Really? 

Well, maybe he could have lasted a bit longer. Who knows? Maybe his fighting style does wonders against Ken in ways that don’t matter against someone like Sonic. 

We’ll never know.

Still, we’ve reached the pivotal moment of the issue. What’s about to happen is, in my opinion, one of the saddest and cruelest things done to a character in these books. 

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Yeah, Sonic demolishes him.

Lightning is down but, unlike the main character, a self-motivating speech about the things he cares about and what he’s fighting for doesn’t magically give him the strength to overcome the odds. As meta as it sounded before, Sonic was correct. He IS the hero of this story… even when he has to do things he doesn’t want to do in order to win the day.

That little “I’m sorry” at the end did always stick with me. You can tell he doesn’t take pleasure in this and it just kind of… immediately gets worse.

Honestly, this next part is still really hard to read but damn if it isn’t effective.

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I think the thing that makes this hurt so much worse than stuff like a simple character death or whatever is not only is this guy being disowned from what was essentially his family but it was done in such an observed, humiliating way too. It’s even worse considering that despite not being thought of as worth anything he still WANTED to be with them.

Then you add on a botched love confession on top of that and it truly is like the “Stop, he’s already dead” meme.

I mean Jesus. 

Kick a guy while he’s down and then toss him into the dumpster why don’tcha? What choice are you giving him BUT to become a vengeful villain at this point.

As Lighting stumbles away, being glared at by the clan that kicked him out twice, Sonic goes up to Fiona and is basically just like, “Girl… WHAT EVEN?”

At this point, there’s little about Fiona that’s worth feeling sorry for. Her line of thinking seems to be “I got hurt and therefore that means it’s okay to emotionally manipulate whoever the fuck I want”. It’s extremely well-written but she's assured that there's no room for sympathy anymore.

These Destructix guys, however, have never been so endearing or sympathetic before. I can totally get behind them now.

Back when I read this, I wasn’t sure what to think about them going along with Fiona’s plan but it feels pretty clear that their line of thinking and Fiona's were completely different.

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Those eyes man.

That’s the look of someone who’s snapped. I can’t tell you how much looking at this invigorated me. I mean, I’ve definitely tried a couple of times now. Ever since Lightning first showed up in these books, I’ve made mention of what goes down in this particular issue and now that we’re here, I find myself tantalized by it all over again.

Even if he and the Destructix were to eventually be defeated by the heroes, I wanted to see the fruits of their labor reach the people they wanted initial revenge against first. I wanted to see the Raiju clan get their comeuppance. I wanted to see this fortress get demolished and for everything in it to get burned to ashes.

I look into this man’s eyes and I just feel the fire well-up inside me. 

I don’t necessarily know if it would have turned out that way for him. Perhaps this was meant to be another futile thing where he just kept getting the worst hand dealt to him throughout his life until he eventually couldn’t take it anymore and took that CEO dive out of the window of his office. 

I don’t know because after Scourge: Lockdown, the plan of action wasn’t given a chance to be set in motion. When mulling over all the things we lost pre-reboot, the instant I realized this was never going to see a conclusion wasn’t a happy instant. 

I just can’t look at something like this and be okay leaving it there. He’s got such intense rage in his eyes but he’s also been beaten and rendered to tears over this. He really wanted to stay home.

God, and the love confession. It’s like getting on bended knee at a basketball game with it projected on the jumbotron and the girl you proposed to says no and leaves. 

Not seeing how this all shakes out is still eating me up inside, even after all these years!

Course, the Destructix themselves also have a point. It wasn’t the best of ways to go about this but like I said earlier, the Raiju clan only took him back because it was convenient to have him at the time. The fact that Conquering Storm immediately sicked him on the heroes as their “champion” just kind of shows that the thread he was hanging by was barely there.

Also, it’s pretty obvious that she’s by far the worst of the leaders we’ve met. The Yagyu sucked but at least their thing was about being free to be common Batman thugs.

Conquering Storm, like her namesake suggests, has the urge to conquer.

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Looks like a STORM is going to be brewing in the Dragon Kingdom once Regina is taken care of. 

One that conquers things…

… like a… CONQUERING ST--okay. I apologize for that.

I love how disgusted Sonic and the others are. They definitely don’t want to stick around for tea with these jerks. Although, when Tails points out that the Destructix bailed, Sonic sarcastically says that it’s a pity, obviously not TOO sad that they just dipped. 

They’re obviously never going to be friends but I could see more cordial things happening between them in the future… at least, if it were just the Fearsome Foursome. Not so with Fiona there and ESPECIALLY not with Scourge coming in hot later.

Anyway, we get confirmation from Sally that the reason she punched Fiona WAS entirely on behalf of Tails so… I guess there goes my theory that she cared that Sonic was slighted too. Oh well. 

It’s funny because that’s totally the reason Amy was mad at Fiona when she found out she was cheating on Sonic. Her grievance was entirely focused on the fact that Fiona was betraying Sonic’s trust. I figured it’d be kind of natural for Sally to feel the same but it doesn’t get brought up in that capacity at all. 

I can’t even really say it’s because she’s falling for Ken. The entire point behind why that was such a rockin’ move for Amy is because she wasn’t the object of affection, just like Sally wasn’t.

I guess as someone who already doesn’t see much merit in Sonic and Sally’s relationship, a missed opportunity to have something like that happen doesn’t change much. 

No, instead the scene is all about Tails thanking Sally for punching Fiona earlier from “teasing me… or whatever that was.”

It’s a little cute how Sally ruffles Tails’ hair and says he’s welcome. I like the look on her face as she does it. I also like how she says she was worried she was overstepping her bounds because it was such a personal thing for Tails and she should have at least consulted him.

Again, it’s a little weird seeing as how Fiona, at the time, owed Tails nothing. The only thing she SPECIFICALLY did to hurt HIM was smack him across the face. The betrayal was something she did to everyone. Other than that, she can date whoever she wants. Tails was definitely being a little creeper back then, even if Sonic handled that whole thing like shit. 

Then uh… Sally says she felt a bit brutish doing that and the uh… boys start talking about how they thought her punching Fiona was hot. And then Tails gets excited too and Sonic and Ken high five and Sally has this really cringey testosterone line…

I hate this part of the scene.

I don’t… I don’t even feel like properly explaining why I don’t like it. I just don’t.

Anyway, there’s only one clan left to cut from the Iron Dominion; the Shinobi Clan.

Sonic asks how to find them. Ken says he has no idea.

Sonic then gets immediately upset but Ken defends himself saying that it’s just the nature of their clan. All they know is that they’re chameleons and that they love being super secret about everything. Everything else is rumor and legends.

They mull around the idea of bringing Knuckles here to have him sniff out chameleons. That obviously isn’t going to work but not to worry.

A light shines through the parted clouds as a voice rings in their ears that in order to find the Shinobi clan, they’ll need a guide…

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I understand what that ending passage about trusting the “traitor to the Chaotix” is going for but they just teamed up with the Destructix and fucking Fiona Fox. I’m sure Espio isn’t going to be seen as a downgrade in the trust department here. At least, not by the readers.

Fantastic, brilliant, and up and down and all-around excellent. Not only was this easily the best issue of this arc, I currently feel like this is the best issue of Sonic Universe we’ve had so far. Yeah, I really dug this one. I think I made it clear what my feelings were regarding wanting to see what was next for the Lightning Lynx and Conquering Storm but even having explained it all, it feels like it’s never enough. I was charmed by how quickly this single issue managed to make me care about the Destructix. We haven’t even gotten to the arc that fully explores who they are yet but the chills when Lightning’s eyes hungered for revenge… I felt it. 

I felt it so hard and my feels will be repaid with disappointment… for a future where I see the fallout to these events does not and will not exist. Still, that doesn’t take away from what this issue succeeded at doing. Regardless of whatever I have to say about this arc’s final issue or this arc as a whole, it’ll always feel worth it because of this issue to me.

Pour another one out for good ol’ Sleuth Doggy Dog too.


Sonic Universe - Issue #16: Journey to the East - Part 4 of 4: A World Under Constant Vigil

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So we go from my favorite of this arc to what was, at the time, my least favorite issue of the arc and sadly the grand finale because hey, it’s heavily focused on Espio. Word of warning, this’ll most likely be another one of those situations where the verdict, regardless of how much I try, will be rendered with some personal bias attached most likely. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and my biggest buttons to push revolve around anything to do with the Chaotix. More specifically, the three modern Chaotix that I care about from Sonic Heroes. Giving Espio any kind of background was always going to be something I’d hold up to heavy scrutiny if I didn’t like it. 

No matter what, like always, I plan to be as fair as I can while also pointing out, whenever I can, the difference between personal opinion and preferences versus just things I’m criticizing from a story-telling perspective. 

Design wise, this might be the best cover of this bunch. Though, I’m probably more partial to the cover of the previous issue still.

Spoiler

Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils: Tracy Yardley
Inks: Jim Amash
Colors: Jason Jensen
Letters: Teresa Davidson
Assistant editor: Paul Kaminski
Editor & Managing Editor: Mike Pellerito

Espio has appeared before the heroes.

Ken, seeing this as a new challenger approaching, stomps towards Espio in an effort to Smash. 

Sonic zips in front of him to vouch for the guy, of course. Ken saying that he attacked Sonic and punched him in the face doesn’t stand as very powerful testimony. Especially considering that Sonic is correct when he brings up the fights the two of them have gotten into.

Ken eventually backs down, his speech bubble dripping venom. He mutters in defiance in the background as an understanding Sonic now rests HIS hand on Ken’s shoulder.

Sonic’s mood when it comes to Ken seems to go up and down but I’m glad he’s more of a willing friend than a rival.

Sally, of course, approaches Espio with the fact that Ken raises a good point. She, for some reason, thinks he’s made it clear that he’s in with the Iron Dominion. 

It’s a bit of a strange thing that Espio has to clarify that he’s with the Shinobi Clan and the clan itself are the ones who are with the Iron Dominion. I mean, I guess finding out why the Constant Vigil joined is still necessary but still. At this point they should have better knowledge of how the politics of this thing can force people into positions they don’t want to be in.

Granted, this is part of the reason why I don’t really like the idea of Espio (or Sonic) being tied to clans and republics and whatever. I guess it’s good for squeezing out some drama but Espio’s tenure as an agent for the Iron Dominion, despite how long this arc has been, has been exceedingly brief. The only ammo Ken had was the fact that Espio punched Sonic in the face. Big deal. The Destructix did far worse literally one issue earlier right before they teamed up.

Espio volunteered to be their guide to Constant Vigil, of course. Any other random chameleon wouldn’t do. 

Sally says Espio’s word isn’t good enough.

Hmm.

Interesting. 

So, they’ll follow a random spider ninja to their clan. They’ll follow the summons of a Yagyu that fired a kunai into a tea pot and then ambushed them for their valuables on a trail. They’ll team up with the Destructix and follow them to Conquering Storm.

… But they won’t follow Espio.

… I get what they’re trying to do here but… it doesn’t QUITE work because of what I saw in the last three issues. Maybe if this were the first issue of this arc I could see the hesitation but this HAS to be the last issue of the arc because it’s Espio. He’s the dude we care about.

I’m looking for the angle where I can see Sally saying Espio’s word isn’t good enough but the word of the others they’ve met is and I can’t. 

So instead of dwelling on that, I’ll get to the scene where Espio offers to reveal all he knows about them. He’s spied on them all and invaded their privacy… because, I guess, Constant Vigil… told… him to???

Sonic says they don’t have anything to hide because they’re heroes and shit but Sonic of all people should know that’s bunk.

Then we get this scene where Espio reveals their secrets and it’s… well, some of it’s amusing but there’s a massive swing and a miss that happens with Sally. 

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“When Elias came back, I had to verify his claim so I had to crawl all the way up your…” WHAT?!

What is this? Huh? I don’t… ugh.

Is it... supposed to be funny that Espio potentially... looked at Sally in an unmentionable spot without her consent?

This being the version of Sally who's already constantly naked also doesn't help. 

It’s at least nice reading this and actually knowing what “The Sneak” and “Captain Super Fox-Man” actually are this time. Tails having made an adorable, embarrassing comic is a nice thing to look back on.

As for Ken, Espio tells him there are other Khans. Ken tries to suggest that it’s not possible for it to be what Espio MEANS for this to be but Espio keeps insisting that it’s true. Eggman apparently had more than one success when it came to Ken’s creation.

Will we discover what that entails? HAHA! FUCK NO!

Anyway, even though they agreed to this, Sonic decides that isn’t enough because he realizes that Espio letting on that he knows stuff about them doesn’t really mean anything positive. Espio explains that for his clan, information is everything and because he just gave them some he’s left himself prone to them.

I don’t exactly know how letting out the tantalizing secret of Captain Super Fox-Man has left Espio prone to them of course. He’s like “Shit! They know I know about some child’s shitty comic he drew in crayon. I’m vulnerable now!”

Of course, I understand what he means. If the information he had was actually something of worth, what he just did would have left him and his clan without a leg to stand on should they have needed that info to retaliate against someone. So in his mind, he just took a huge gamble.

He also mentions having a job to do. Sally asks what that job is and Espio reiterates, yet again, that his clan plans to reveal it… and then asks them to put on some blind-folds so that they don’t see where he takes them.

This is where they finally agree.

Espio blindfolds them and leads them to a underground cavern area.

He then leaves and forces them to cross the “Way of the Blind”.

Sally asks what that is and Espio says “Sorry. Can’t hear ya.”

No, he actually says “This is our way” which isn’t an explanation. He basically used the “tradition” card and I, in response, would have pulled the “Tradition is bullshit. I need an actual explanation” card.

Tails says he’s going to fly them across but Ken stops him and reveals all the hidden traps above.

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Tails is understandably freaked out that he almost flew into that and I’m equally as amused that Espio totally would have let him do it, had Ken not been there to light the way for him. 

This trial is basically the invisible walkway from Hang Castle.

Sally tosses some dirt in front of her and says that it’s most likely a maze filled with traps or something.

Sonic, upon seeing that there’s an invisible walkway, just completely ignores Sally’s warning and goes for it.

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I can't wait for the marriage and then the immediate divorce.

As for this place; a maze, maybe, but I don’t know if there were any traps here. That might have been a bit much. 

Sally understandably tells them that they need to be ready for anything but when they step into the next room, Constant Vigil says their trepidation is unnecessary and that they can speak plainly.

I dunno. Espio said that trepidation would have been unnecessary earlier as well but then the Way of the Blind path showed up. Maybe we shouldn’t trust him…

Seriously, this “Way of the Blind” thing is still occupying my mind. So much about it is bothering me right now. There’s a huge, pitch black pit below them so… does that mean that whenever they “invite” someone here they force them to cross it regardless of what they’re here for? 

What if they fall? Do they just go, “Oh… well, that guy is dead. Quite a shame. He came here to sign a peace treaty with us. Guess the war will continue.”

The more I think about it the less sense it makes. Why invite someone here and then make them cross this pathway? What’s the point? I can see this being a trap for people who’ve made it here without consent from the Shinobi clan but she WANTS to have an audience with them right? Why almost let Tails fly into a bunch of bear traps and buzzsaws or risk them falling into a pit of darkness?

I guess… to see if they’re tough enough to do business with? But like... why? What does Tails flying into some traps he didn't even see going to prove? That he was blind to something literally invisible? I racked my brain and that’s the only thing that makes sense. Why is this your way, Espio?

These guys must be really hardcore then. I suppose it would make sense if they’re as unwelcome to people outside of their clan as this book is leading us to believe…

...But then again, if you’re already inviting them to your hidden lair, it would already be assumed that they have merit, otherwise they wouldn’t bother with the invitation.

I’m sorry. I’m dwelling on this too much. I’m trying to make sense of those last four pages and it’s not happening. 

Maybe they just needed something to fill up space. Let’s lay it on even thicker just how much the Shinobi clan are hardasses for secrecy. Even when they invite you to their lair, they’ll fucking kill you… for seemingly no reason.

Espio offered no reason other than, “This is our way” so I have to assume it’s because they like attempting to kill their guests. It’s tradition. 

So they walk up to Constant Vigil, as Espio is pouring tea for her, and Sally and Ken try to speak but she keeps stopping them to show off just how much info she already knows. Then Sonic asks if they’ll drop the Iron Dominion and she immediately says yes.

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PFFT.

Sonic is a bit miffed that Ken here won’t let this be easy but no. I’m on Ken’s side here. I really would like an explanation as to what the fuck… just what the fuck?

I remember back in the day, this lady talked and talked and it all was just white noise to me. I had no idea what she was blabbing about and I really didn’t care. However, I find myself waiting with baited breath to hear what she has to say today.

Ken almost blows up at this though. Dude’s been through a lot and his empathy is making him mad for Sally and the others as well. So when Sally tells him to take a breather, his ability to do so is impressive.

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Role model.

I’m envious of that skill. Goddamn would it have been great to have this ability back in High School.

Anyway, Constant Vigil’s explanation is sound. Apparently the Shinobi Clan is small. Had they stood up against the Iron Dominion, they would have been wiped out. The destruction of Ken’s Freedom Fighters proved that to have been true. Back in the day, they tried a tactic that was more physical and it nearly got them all killed. Hiding in the shadows and gathering information allowed them to do more with less.

It makes sense. I can see the how it was easy to adopt the approach of watching and waiting, though, it’d be hard to still call yourself a protector if it ended up failing.

Espio has shown her that sometimes action must be taken, as shown by the way he’s deviated from his mission.

There they go, mentioning that “mission” again. Sonic asks what the fuck they’re talking about and Espio drops the bomb-shell that I didn’t even know was a bomb-shell back when I read this.

I just didn't like it. That's all I knew.

This entire thing, as it connects to Espio’s character, I’m not a huge fan of.

The explanation is a little hard to swallow for starters. I’m willing to buy that they did put a system in place to monitor these dangerous as fuck echidnas… though, learning that Valdez was also a member of this clan and was supposed to be keeping an eye on Locke kind of makes me think the man was a massive failure. I guess the reason he joined Geoffrey's group was because Espio was there to handle it now. But that's still an example of him deviating from the mission I guess. 

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There’s almost too much to say about this page. I feel overwhelmed.

Seeing Modern Espio in those old Knuckles’ Chaotix shoes is weird. Seeing these two dead chameleons again in this style is also a little odd. 

The idea that this clan had a different organization set-up, similar to the echidna organization, that was meant to specifically monitor the echidna organization is wild. 

It’s shockingly hard putting to words how I feel about this. 

This doesn’t feel planned, obviously, because it totally wasn’t. If we buy that Espio and some of these chameleons were spying on these echidnas for generations… then what story backtracking do we have to do to validate this decision aside from providing a reason for Espio to have a strange backstory now?

Because, I gotta be honest, I’m not sure I can see this fitting well considering there’s no real examples of these chameleons interfering with the echidnas in any meaningful way presented within the story up to this point at all. I know Constant Vigil's motto is "sit and wait" but Espio mentions that he was only allowed to reveal himself during emergencies.

Hate to break it to you chameleons but those echidnas went through a lot of shit that I would call emergencies. They got into TOO MUCH bullshit, I would say. You're telling me that all this time, ALL that shit was being monitored and the chameleons did nothing?

If that's true, these chameleons aren't much better than the echidnas in some respects.

If this has been going on for generations then… what exactly is it that you guys DO with this information? I know you sit and wait but... there has to be something else right? 

I guess not. Constant Vigil is outright saying that she learned from Espio’s deviation from the mission that sometimes action must be taken.

Somehow.

I don’t quite know how, since Espio didn’t do much of anything when he was with the Chaotix. I’ve ranted about this a lot but it feels far more relevant here when I say THE CHAOTIX DIDN’T DO SHIT under Pender’s reign. They were accessories to Knuckles and that was it.

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I wish I could admire them going for the Knuckles' Chaotix designs here but it looks off to me for some reason. Like it's trying to go for this middle ground between the two-designs. I guess it's a neat attempt.

As for Espio's tale here... 

I get what this is going for. I do. In some respects, I may even like a tiny bit of this as an “idea” but it just… doesn’t feel right.

Something about it feels way too slotted in…. which, you know, of course it was but usually it feels a lot more like it’s answering for something that was being questioned or fixing something that was broken. That's not really true here.

I guess what this was supposed to fix was… the fact that Espio had no backstory? I think? 

Well, here it is. He’s from a clan of ninjas and they spied on the echidnas for generations so that they could do nothing with the info they gathered. Espio somehow proved that his actions were the correct ones to take seeing as how he…

… well, she gives no examples of what exactly he did but you know… he helped out. He was there fighting the good fight.

I need something a little more than that. They're an ensemble group. If Espio weren't there, maybe they would have lost some of those fights but I don't know that. I need something more specific but something more specific doesn't exist because Penders didn't do jack shit with the Chaotix. They sucked.

Mehhh…

Back then, my problem with this issue wasn’t the fact that this all feels so edited in but more so just the fact that I didn’t like that this was Espio’s backstory.

You know, I don’t mind finding a little more about the past of some of these characters but I think the thing that hit me about this is that, in the same vain as Vector and Charmy, it’s kind of the first thing that would come to mind when you see these characters. 

Charmy is a bee so he has to be a prince to a Honey Bee Colony because of the whole Queen Bee thing and whatever. Fine, I guess...

Vector, instead of being a sewer croc from the city, is instead from Downunda… because he’s a crocodile and they’re from the outback right? He’s going to shout “crikey” in surprise in Issue #212 when this gets revealed to the others by Espio. That's so much less interesting to me.

So what’s the first thing you think of when you see Espio? Well, he’s a ninja so obviously his backstory has to have something to do with ninjas. That's completely fine as a starting point. Is it going to go beyond him being a ninja from a secret clan of ninjas?

I mean… a little, I guess? The idea that they were spying on the echidnas is supposedly an interesting tidbit but, as I said, it feels like it holds so little water because of Constant Vigil’s insistence that he was supposed to do nothing.

Plus, who they were tasked with spying on doesn’t necessarily change things. Take that mildly interesting tidbit away and he’s just a ninja from a clan of ninjas. 

It’s… exactly what you’d think. The first thing that comes to mind is that and there’s not much more to it.

This is purely a personal thing I imagine. What my imagination cooked up as possible backstories for these three and stories concerning how they met stretched beyond this so seeing it be so boring and expected didn’t jive with me.

On top of that, there was also that usual Archie Sonic feeling of weirdness that I couldn’t help but associate with it. The Chaotix are already so different from the games but seeing this just divorced him further from the Espio I knew, which at the time, I absolutely didn’t want to happen.

I was really hungry for a Sonic comic book that felt like I was reading the adventures of the characters I loved from the games. It’s not Archie’s fault it wasn’t that and I had no way of knowing I was going to get that in 2018 so… I wasn’t sure what to do.

I was following these comics issue to issue by this point and my adjustment period to how new and weird this all was probably wasn’t long enough. Coming to grips that these characters shared similar designs but underneath were completely different was just too hard for me to do.

It’s easy with something like Sonic Boom. The designs, setting, tone, and focus being so different and so it’s own thing made it easy to see them as their own variations on characters I was familiar with.

These comics felt different. They were somehow wildly different from what I was used to while, at the same time, emulating something I was familiar with. 

Like, look at this scene for instance.

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This is Espio’s design from what I remember of him from Heroes and he’s high fiving a Sonic that also looks like the one I remember from SA2:B and Heroes as well… but what he’s doing, what he’s saying, and how he’s acting are all so different.

My brain wasn’t able to compute it.

Even worse was the stuff that happened at the top of the panels. I don’t mind Espio being all child-like but the mom thing really got to me.

Also, yeah, the leader of the super secret ninja clan just so happens to be his mom. Big shock.

Sonic characters with parents was still a new thing to wrap my head around. Vanilla was barely around so seeing Espio get scolded with a look from his mommy was WEIRD.

God, it was SO WEIRD!

It’s honestly STILL WEIRD!

I… feel like there’s an avenue that exists where Sonic characters can make mention of having parents or even, maybe one where they could be seen in some capacity… like in a flashback or something… but I dunno man.

I’m trying not to sound like a purist but, to be fair to me, this retrospective has proven that there are a ton of new things that I can handle and even fall in love with (like Scourge, Finitevus, the Destructix, and etc.) while on the other hand there are just somethings that I was okay not seeing and not finding out about. You know, I didn’t need to know that this woman was Espio’s mom. I didn’t need to hear Vector moan about how he could never please "the old man". I just don’t want this from them I guess. 

It's a personal thing. Some changes I like, some I don't like but am okay with... and some I just don't jive with. 

I guess that’s the best I can do to explain myself. I apologize if that’s not a satisfactory explanation but it’s how I feel.

They thank Constant Vigil and then Sonic asks her if she’s sure she can spare the extra muscle of having some of them see their way back home.

She then reveals that they’ve been watched the entire time.

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Not really. Aside from the one girl, they all look like Espio but colored in differently. There’s like three of them on that wall that look exactly like Espio in fact. One of them has a broken horn. I guess someone thought there needed to be some sort of variation I guess. That one must not be good at doing nothing though.

With that, we end the issue on everyone saying their goodbye’s to lion man and his daughter before taking to the skies to head back to New Mobotropolis to free everyone.

The team morale is up with their mission successful and with that, we tie a bow on Journey to the East.

Even setting aside that hard to explain personal stuff concerning my feelings about not liking Espio’s backstory or finding out that he’s got a stuck-up mom, I still feel confident that this is easily the worst of these four issues. It doesn’t make me feel as mad as it did back in the day upon revisit, thank God. The same feelings I had back then still linger but they’re less prominent due to the book having been, unfortunately, cancelled and with me now having a Sonic comic that’s exactly what I wished for all those years ago. Funnily enough, what I’ve just learned here won’t even matter once we get to the reboot. Like, the Chaotix will be immediately ret-conned into being exactly what I want them to be and I’ll end up enjoying them a lot more for it. As funny as that is, it makes it stand out all the more how much effort Ian put into this and how it’s all just going to go to waste.

But no, the real reason this is the weakest of the four issues is because it feels like it easily accomplished the least. I mean, we literally dealt with a woman who’s motto for her clan was “We will do nothing” and surprisingly enough, that didn’t lead to anything all that riveting. The only thing the book could think to do by way of an “action set-piece” was that pointless and confusing invisible walk-way thing. 

The rest was just another long winded conversation, though, unlike the others, the politics discussed here weren’t as interesting. Constant Vigil was just like “We do nothing… but Espio showed us that we must do something” and that was it. Espio’s method of getting them to trust him took WAY too long in comparison to the other clans. Seriously it was like 6-7 pages of him just explaining to them why they could trust him. 

The only other thing of note would be the revised reason for why Espio was with the Chaotix. That’ll be good for some drama down the line but the way it was incorporated still FEELS off to me. 

So yeah, this was a fairly underwhelming finale. The arc as a whole, I liked. The first issue was a bit slow but the ending made up for it. Issue two was solid. Issue three was fantastic. This last one kind of sucked. It was a good arc full of a lot of interesting conversations… however, it is an arc that relies on those conversations being interesting in order to work. If you didn’t find all the talking interesting, your mileage may vary.

Back in the day, my opinion on this arc was one of pure ambivalence. I didn’t say much bad about it aside from the last issue because my experience with it was just me being confused about what was even going on. I didn’t even fully understand what had been accomplished when it was over. 

Now that I understand it, I can appreciate what it was doing a bit more but I feel this is the kind of experiment you really should only try once. It doesn’t feel worth it risking another one of these unless you have some REALLY juicy conversations to show us.

 

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog - Issue #210: Home Invasion, Part One: Breaking and Entering

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It’s the “Amy in Big-Head Mode” cover. I remember people on the dead SEGA Forums having a lot of complaints about this cover. The big head was taken as some sort of slight against her because this book felt as though it delighted in taking the piss out of her for some.

This was during the time where her character was being viewed as an incredibly disrespected lass by these books. I understood and even agreed a bit with the sentiment to a certain extent, if only because the main drive behind Amy at the time, that being her affection for Sonic, was pretty obviously worthless and doomed to failure. There’s just no question that Sonic and Sally were the item as far as the book was concerned, regardless of their complications. Her advances towards Sonic or mention of liking him were seen more as pathetic due to the insane futility of it. At least in the games, it felt more open ended and with her maturing as of late, it feels way more plausible. 

As for me, despite agreeing with the sentiment that the futile nature of Amy’s desire is rather sad, I prefer to take the cover as her just being a badass here. The cover looks cool. Although, I do wish her head was a bit smaller. She looks like she’s about to do the Wario bite move in Smash Bros. on me.

Spoiler

Writer: Ian Flynn
Pencils: Steven Butler
Inks: Terry Austin
Colors: Matt Herms
Letters: John Workman
Assistant Editor: Paul Kaminski
Editor/Managing Editor: Mike Pellerito

So the first six pages of this issue are all set-up. It's natural to wonder what exactly has been going on back at New Mobotropolis since all this junk went down. Is everyone just dead or has the city turned into Mad Max?

Well, not really. Things are said to have been wild here but things haven’t completely fallen apart.

We catch up with Commander Amy and Antoine taking a few random Dark Egg Legionaries to task before retreating and not really accomplishing anything I can make note of. The two of them mostly just talk about how they wish Sonic, Tails, and Sally were here. Ken too but Antoine admits to still being a bit cross with him.

I feel too much sympathy for what Ken has gone through to take his side but I do understand.

They’re later rejoined by Geoffrey St. John, who has returned from a (mysterious and unmentioned) mission to find the city has gone to hell and they later escape to a secret base via an unassuming tree stump.

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Because this is Steven Butler’s art, everything is more detailed but the characters are also way taller than usual yet again. 

It’s, unfortunately, still rather inconsistent to me. There will be times where they’ll look their normal size but then on the next page they’ll just grow some extra inches in their legs that gives the Sonic Boom version of Sonic a run for his money.

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Seeing Geoffrey blush at his little blunder there was kind of endearing. I’ll say that at this time, I was still not privy to who exactly this character was or what his significance in the book was supposed to be. I literally only had that little excursion at Mogul’s casino to go off of. 

So when Geoffrey showed up here, decked out in full military garb, and without having been seen for so long, I got the impression that he was someone important but like Batman or some shit, rarely shows himself to the Justice League.

That was the best I could gather. I imagine if that hole the heroes blew through in the dome hasn’t been patched up yet by the villains, that would explain how he got back in here.

As for everyone else in the city, apparently that scene of Vector getting people out through the warp ring wasn’t just a couple lucky few. They’ve managed to do that with a lot of the citizens and they’re chilling on Angel Island right now.

I can only imagine how terrifying this must be for a non-combatant. They probably have a lot of time to sit there and think about how fucked up their lives are. It’s scary imagining that something like this can just happen on any given day. Eggman just shows up and destroys their home. Then the Iron Queen takes it over some other day. Hell, even the A.I that created their new home (and can warp to any part of the city whenever she wants) isn’t prone to turning on you.

It’s getting close to Gotham City levels of “why would you live here?”

Unfortunately, the answer to that usually boils down to not being able to guarantee a successful move somewhere else. The funds to just pack up and leave and land a stable enough job is something that most are just handed to on a silver platter. I feel sorry for anyone who does want to go but just can’t. Lord knows I wouldn’t want to be reigned over by the Acorn Kingdom or this council.

Regina isn’t a much better choice though, seeing as how she’s gathered the prisoners she’s managed to detain into “the coliseum” for a public legionization.

Oh hey! The coliseum is returning. When Amy said that, I at first was like “WHAT?! They were doing Gladiator and Ben Hur shit this whole time and the comic didn’t TELL ME?!”

But then I remembered that this arc started with Mina doing a concert in a big stadium. That’s what she’s referring to.

We’re bringing it back around. That’s where it started and that’s where it’ll end.

We’re also given a brief explanation of what being legionized is for Geoffrey here.

N-Not me of course. I-I know what the definition of legionization is… totally…

But you know, Geoffrey doesn’t know so let’s hear the explanation...

So yeah, Amy tells him that it’s worse then roboticization because people get turned into cyborgs, brainwashed, and sent to other lands to do Eggman’s bidding. 

It’s hard to tell what’s worse. The original roboticization was permanent and the conditions of that were a full robot body and brainwashing. Legionization seems to do to you what the Dark Egg Legion does. It fixes you with robot parts (sometimes in the cranium) and brainwashes you. Since roboticization seems to be reversible now, legionization sounds like it’d be a bitch to fix. 

Like, if it didn’t happen via a roboticizer, that sounds assuredly permanent to me… unless they have a hidden Enerjak on hand. 

Either way, it’s all supremely messed up.

Amy and the others head off to the coliseum to save everyone as quickly as they can.

Meanwhile, we cut to Snively who has, yet again apparently, answered Eggman’s summons. He babbles nonsense so the only reason Snively does it is to see his uncle all crazy and shit. 

However, this time, things are different as the brilliance in the detail of Steven Butler’s art helps to elucidate.

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JEEEEE-HOLY FOOK!

It’s clear that the comic is making sure to establish the difference between being lucid and being crazy.

Whether lucid or not, Eggman IS crazy. He just is.

This man is absolutely Disney Afternoon Bonkers.

Eggman has a very handy explanation for why it is that he can’t defeat Sonic. He’s admitting to the fact that he’s been defeated by Sonic countless times now. There’s no longer an avenue to consider this a game. It wouldn’t fly at this point. Not even Eggman would buy that were he to tell himself that.

No, the real reason Sonic constantly wins is because he’s the embodiment of CHAOS!

Not the water monster. 

Apparently not the concept either. 

Well, sort of.

Eggman says Sonic has been exposed to a ton of chaos energy and that makes him the variable he can’t prepare for. He’s a hiccup on the quantum level that alludes him. 

Heaven forbid the other characters ever defeat Eggman and prove that hypothesis wrong but hey, you do what you can to find reason within the chaos.

On top of that, if what Eggman says is true, faced with that knowledge, a lesser man would throw up his hands and concede that it’s impossible to win.

Eggman says that he can plan around fate and he’ll be back to work by Christmas.

Or until Snively let’s him out… which he tells him to do…which of course Snively totally will--!

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Oh geez.

I guess he’s not. Who could have seen that coming?

I love Eggman's sad pouty face.

Nah man. Snively is under the impression that he’s got it made. He’s living through the best time of his life (he thinks) and it doesn’t matter that Eggman’s managed to work his way back from the brink. He’s not letting him out of there.

He’s got everything he could ever want. He’s got power (he thinks), he’s got authority (he thinks) and he’s found love (eeehhhh…) so there’s no reason for him to want to go back to being Eggman’s toady.

This is where Eggman responds by laughing in Snively’s face.

The doctor, upon hearing Regina’s name, instantly knows what the current reactions to Snively seem to be implying…

He also works in a little character building for Snively that even the man himself may not have been aware of.

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Eggman is basically saying that, despite Regina having more outward disdain for Snively lately, the two of them have been playing each other. The reason Snively isn’t showing any anger towards her in response to her lashing out is because he’s convinced himself that he’s actually in love with her… because it’s what he really, actually wants.

Eggman is making the proclamation that Snively is incapable of actually loving someone. 

It’s basically another reason why Snively will never be on Eggman’s level. Eggman is a complete and total bastard and he knows it. Snively is a complete and total bastard and he knows it… under certain circumstances.

When variables like Hope Kintobor or Regina enter and exit his life, you’ll see tears crawl into his eyes because the man has a heart that hasn’t been completely blackened like his uncles. It’s just mostly black. Were he to snuff out whatever remains within him that seeks love and human companionship, that might give him the edge he needs to finally be on Eggman’s level.

He won’t do it though. He can’t. He can’t beat Eggman because he can’t fully commit to being as big a monster as Eggman is.

Eggman would never proclaim to be in love with anyone and should a family member betray him, his reaction would likely be a toss up between “HOW DARE--!” or “OH! WHAT FUN! THE GAME IS AFOOT!” 

The man is a monster.

At the coliseum, Snively is about to get to work on his little demonstration. Jun Kun and Regina are watching from their thrones. Jun Kun is really pissy about being here to see this cause he wants to go maim people. Regina has to explain to him that the heroes and their attacks have been a little too precise lately so she’s snuffing them out in a way that they can’t ignore. Jun Kun smiles at this, now knowing that it’s a trap.

Which means there WILL be maiming after all. Yay! How delightful.

The person Snively chooses first is Rotor.

Rotor asks Snively if he remembers being on his team. Snively waves it off and jokingly calls it “good times” but Rotor was just bringing it up to shout that it was back when he was a FREEDOM FIGHTER!

Then he breaks free of the people holding him and goes after Snively.

Then the bane of everyone’s existence (sooner or later) comes into play.

His back.

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Agh. You just can’t help but feel for the guy. Stuck representing the council and also stuck with a horrid bad back. It’s almost too cruel for words. Especially the council part.

That’s when Amy, Antoine, and Geoffrey rush in. Geoffrey is about to make an appeal for strategy but they’re literally about to ruin Rotor and they don’t want to entertain the idea. It’s always kind of funny whenever someone suggests something like this, the immediate response is angry tenacity. It’s just an instant “FUCK YOU IF YOU WANT TO DO IT THAT WAY!” before they charge in.

Anyway, they DO charge in together immediately. Geoffrey goes in and has himself a good ol’ time beating on the Yagyu and what not before Jun Kun waltzes on up to him to disturb his fun.

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This dude is absolutely the best. We need someone like this in the games, I’m tellin’ ya.

Geoffrey gets swatted away and Jun Kun approaches him with the desire to squish him. He does ask about Geoffrey’s get-up, which interested me too at the time, but he doesn’t REALLY care so he goes for turning him to paste… but then his mace is blocked by Amy!

The two of them go at it once more. Jun Kun’s arch nemesis is a little pink girl with a hammer. It’s beautiful. 

While she’s busy smashing his head, Geoffrey gets up, really woozy from that one hit. 

“My head’s still swimming from that hit… what IS that guy?” he asks. The answer is invincible.

Antoine gets smacked from behind by some Yagyu and then some technomagic hands sprout from the grounds to grab people thanks to Regina.

Then she goes on her, “I’m the Queen of the world” speech where she lays out all the power she’s got at her disposal.

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Truly, she’s made quite the impressive impact. All her planning, all her power, the magic she commands and the moves she’s made have all been extremely well-done. She’s definitely landed herself a grand position as one really effective enemy in this book. The impression she leaves now, long after her first underwhelming introduction into the book couldn’t be more different.

However, as the dome gets busted once again, we see the fruits of the last Sonic Universe arc coming to fruition.

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The heroes have returned and with their return comes the final battle. 

The Iron Dominion Arc comes to an end next week.

This was just a really solid issue, through and through. I loved seeing the book carry itself here without Sonic for a short time. It’s funny how much of a tight fit that Sonic Universe arc is as far as real world time goes. This issue takes place after Journey to the East but it came out before it was even half-way finished. They hadn’t even changed the type of pages they were using yet. The back of this book advertises Issue #14 of Sonic Universe which is the second issue of Journey to the East. The end of Issue #16 of Journey to the East advertises Issue #213 of the main book which is two issues after Regina’s defeat. Having only one issue be the buffer between a four issue arc probably wasn’t the best idea but I’ll be honest, I don’t recall at all how that felt reading it as it came out. I couldn’t have been more confused about the talking than I already had been by that point so maybe it didn’t matter to me.

Either way, we’re finally here. It’s going to really suck saying goodbye to Jun Kun but I gotta say, I remember Issue #211 being fucking fantastic so I honestly can’t wait to revisit it.

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13 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Hey, this is the first issue (I think) where the texture of the pages changes to something more smooth and less grainy. Hurray

Yup this is the firstissue to have Glossy stock. It doesn't start in the main book until #212 though. 

13 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Before we get to that though, in these little flashes of character interactions, there are more tidbits to the Destructix and their personality traits to take note of. 

After a million years they finally actually have personalities. Also my reaction when Sonic finally started having an attitude in the games. Fight me.

 

13 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Either that or they’re seriously drinking alcohol from mugs which… damn. Really down on their luck there aren’t they?

I mean there precedent. Lien-Da was drinking wine in Ian's Mobius 25 Years Later and we aren't that far off from Eggman popping a bottle of the bubbly.

 

13 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Not to talk down to the other goodbyes that some of the other villains and characters Ian has given but this one feels the most… complete. 

And that's by design. IIRC Ian straight up said that in his mind Sleuth got too smart at the danger of breaking the fourth wall and ruining a story. So he decided it was time to see him off in a way that benefited him and being smart enough to realize it's time for him to go off the grid was the perfect way for him to go.

 

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Not only is she eager for a fight but she’s not taking any shit today eh? I can only assume this part of her activated upon just seeing Fiona again. Maybe there’s some underlying personal resentment? I usually only think of Fiona’s betrayal in how it affected Tails since I never really bought her “relationship” with Sonic. However, it IS true that the two of them used to date, as WEIRD is that still is to think about. Maybe this is a subtle way of getting across that Sally has some affection for Sonic here and doesn’t like that she betrayed his trust?

I don't think that's quite what Ian was going for. While it wasn't much of a thing in the comics in SatAM Sally and Tails had an adoptive Aunt and Nephew relationship with Tails regularly calling her Aunt Sally (same with Bunnie) so this is probably supposed to be more on how she hurt Tails. Plus y'know the fact she was currently attempting to manipulate Tails.

 

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

These guys have some serious balls just moving in like that. Either that’s what they did or Regina let them have the place which I seriously doubt.

She told them to watch the Fortress when they left in the main book.

 

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Perhaps it’s the fault of the last 10 years of games, but my tolerance for meta stuff in Sonic

UGH! Sorry it's not you but I just fucking hate that people constantly say how "Meta" the games are because they're not. Like at all. And it just feels like people are complaining about there being any humor at all.

 

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Then uh… Sally says she felt a bit brutish doing that and the uh… boys start talking about how they thought her punching Fiona was hot

You want your day ruined? Imagine the "Actually I thought it was kinda hot" line in Jason Griffith's voice. It's the worst.

 

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Anyway, there’s only one clan left to cut from the Iron Dominion; the Shinobi Clan.

Also known as the Ninja clan.

 

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Sonic Universe - Issue #16: Journey to the East - Part 4 of 4: A World Under Constant Vigil

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Ok do fun fact all of the covers are based off Kung-Fu movie posters. I have no idea what the first 3 are but this one is Way of the Dragon.

 

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Sonic, upon seeing that there’s an invisible walkway, just completely ignores Sally’s warning and goes for it.

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"Careful? So many foreign words today" always cracks me up. 

 

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

 

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If nothing else Tracy Yardley is a master of facial expressions. 

 

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Seeing these two dead chameleons again in this style is also a little odd. 

I don't think the girl is dead. There's a pink Chameleon later who I think is supposed to be her.

 

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

It’s easy with something like Sonic Boom. The designs, setting, tone, and focus being so different and so it’s own thing made it easy to see them as their own variations on characters I was familiar with.

These comics felt different. They were somehow wildly different from what I was used to while, at the same time, emulating something I was familiar with. 

I don't know maybe I'm just weird but it's really easy for me. Hell not just because I read comics and watch shows based on comics so I'm used to similar yet different portrayals of the same character but just in this franchise alone. AOSTH Sonic is different from the games and SatAM is also extremely different. I don't know a lot of this series feels extremely different in each version. 

 

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

It's the “Amy in Big-Head Mode” cover. I remember people on the dead SEGA Forums having a lot of complaints about this cover

I don't get it but people fucking hated how over the top Tracy drew Amy. There's a few panels after Antoine goes boom where her mouth is big and someone on Bumbleking edited it to a much more boring looking mouth.

14 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

 

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It's so funny seeing Geoffrey being treated heroically here knowing what's coming. It's actually pretty brilliant. Bring him back remind kids who he is and then fucking turn that all upside down in a few issues. 

 

15 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

We’re also given a brief explanation of what being legionized is for Geoffrey here.

N-Not me of course. I-I know what the definition of legionization is… totally…

Another cool thing for mr. It's actually really smart to tell Geoffrey of the concept to explain what it is to the audience and then you click that "Oh, like the Platypuses...Platypi...Platypeople."

 

15 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

However, this time, things are different as the brilliance in the detail of Steven Butler’s art helps to elucidate.

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Can't sleep...Eggman will eat me. Can't sleep...Eggman will eat me.

 

15 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

but then his mace is blocked by Amy

I forget if I mentioned this but ai love of all the characters it's Amy who can stand toe to toe with Jun Kun. It works for both lore reasonsof him being weak to magic and Amy being full of magic and as a joke because the big manly man is getting his ass kicked by a little girl.

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Dr. Detective Mike
2 hours ago, SBR2 said:

UGH! Sorry it's not you but I just fucking hate that people constantly say how "Meta" the games are because they're not. Like at all. And it just feels like people are complaining about there being any humor at all.

Well, I can't speak for other people, but I certainly hope me using that word doesn't mean you think my issue is with there being humor in Sonic. That's a bit of a different thing.

As for it's presence within the series... I feel it's definitely there. It certainly was a bit overpowering between 2010 and 2014 with Colors, Generations, and all the Boom stuff. 

For clarification, I enjoyed the Boom TV show and even the cutscenes of Rise of Lyric.

As of Forces and TSR it seems to have chilled out a bit (although playing Colors Ultimate definitely didn't help my perception). I didn't imagine that one word would elicit such an intense reaction so clarifying this didn't seem like it would be necessary. Sorry if you got the wrong idea.

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CrownSlayer’s Shadow

I’m not the only one who would trade the Iron Queen for the Deadly Six, am I?

I’ve defended the D6 numerous times in the past, but I’ve also made it they’re among my least liked. Really looking back makes me wonder how the Metal Virus arc could go if Regina were still around.

18 hours ago, Dr. Detective Mike said:

Especially when it comes to Sleuth Doggy Dog here. 

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Even back then, despite being way dumber and less inclined to pay attention, I knew that this was basically Ian having Sleuth explain in-universe that he’s being written out of the comic.

Even if you didn’t, this is still a graceful exit.

Really makes you appreciate the planning when things actually come to fruition without the interruptions later arcs would get.
 

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