Knuckles The Echidna #23 Review by Rolland Theirren
Dark Alliance - Part Two: "Election Night"

Well, This issue is the continuation of the story started in Knux #22.

First off, We get a special broadcast by counciller Pravda, from last issue, saying he will announce his successor for Councilor in a rally in Guardian's Park. From there, we go to the reactions. General Stryker suspects Echidna treachery (Sharp guy!), While Constable Remington starts planning some extra troops just in case (you can never have enough soldiers in a rally). Knux and the gang, however, are mixed on the subject. Vector says all politicians are liers (True), while Espio says it doesn't matter who gets elected. Knuckles says none of this involves him, but he still goes to the rally along with Julie-Su and the Chaotix, saying he goes wherever he's needed when Vector teases him about it. Remington comes up and has a conversation with Knux about keeping in touch and the reasons for the rally ( he doesn't know why it's held either). Just then, Pravda and company show up in a fancy car, authorized for High Councilors. Knux remarks how strange it is for the leader of a culture that renounced technology to have such a fancy car. Good Point, Knux! I guess we shouldn't mind the fact that Echidnas generations ago made a vow to give up tech, huh? Prvada comes up to the stage, followed by a guy no body knows. To give you a clue, it's the guy we saw next to brainwashed Pravda at the end of last issue. Pravda makes a short speech to introduce his replacement for High Councillor, Benedict! (The name you can trust!)

Benedict starts on a speech of his own, glorifying the Echindas who saved Echidnapolis by raising it above the clouds, and then makes Dimitri and his brother martyrs of science oppressed by a demonized Council of Science. Just as a squad of Dark Legionnaires Goose step in to the park, he then offers the people (read Echidnas) a choice: Continue to follow the corrupt old regime, or following the new path made by Dimitri, the Technology Now party. He pounctuate his speech with a thinly veiled Reich salute, immitated by many Echidnas, but not by any other creatures. (Nope, no nazi references here).

Cut to Haven. The Brotherhood (present: Thunderhead, Sojourner and Sabre) are monitoring the speech (You kinda knew they would. Gardians know everything...). They are presently engaged in a debate on wheter or not Echidnas where right in going back on their vow of rejecting technology. Sojourner is against the use of tech, Sabre is all for getting all the advantages needed, and Thunderhawk is playing mediator. Their debate is suddenly interrupted By an invasion force of Dark Legionnaires, who plug all the brethren with sedative darts (they know everthing...except when there's company at the door...).

Back to the rally. Benedict has finished his speech, and Remington now confronts him about how he's linked to several known criminals. Pravda orders him not to press charges on the DLs and to join him in the car to discuss this in private. I suspect Remington's next on the lobotomy club list. Knux and Co. come up form behind, curious as to why Remington hasn't already ordered the mass arrest of all those Dark Legionnaires, seeing as they tried to take over Echidnapolis recently. The puzzled crew leaves the park, wondering on the DL's plan this time, while Vector and Julie-Su go into their ritual "You're still a DL."-"No I'm not!" tirade.

We cut to the Dingo Ghettos, where General Stryker is evaluating how to best use the present infighting amongst the Echdnas to better his people's situation. General Stryker seems to be a novel idea in the Segaverse: A character who is neither a hero or a villain, but a shade of grey. He is willing to do anything to help his people, which is both his quality and his flaw. His conversation with Gerbil, his second in command (Gerbil? This guy had a cruel mother!) is interrupted by spotlight and an order to surrender, to which Stryker responds with a threat of his own. This Cyber-enhanced Echidna called Xenin pops-up and clobbers Stryker before ordering his DL stooges to take him away to the commander center.

Later, Knux and Co. are walking to his Mom's apartment (doesn't he have his own place?), and Espio starts feeling nostalgia about the "simpler times", before the DL and Echidnapolis. Knux answers he doesn't feel anything like that. Vector suddenly notices a truckload of Dingoes having been rounded up and hog-tied in the back. Before they can act, however, the gang is ordered to surrender by a few memebers of the DL retreival force, flying squad (litteraly), led by Xenin, the Echidna-borg we saw earlier. He tells Julie-Su she'll come back with them, wheter dead or alive. Knux, the ever chivalrous guardian, takes off an rushes to take down Xenin, who shrugs off Knux's best punch, then takes out our hero with a single punch! (Knuckles is slipping...First off, he couldn't take on Mecha-Sonic without getting Robotisized, then he needs his daddy's help in taking Down Dimitri, then the Dark Legion, and now he gets nocked out by a single punch, while it took two to take down Stryker...shame, Knux, shame)

Back to Haven. Our three elders are tied-up, with Thunderhawk wondering how the DL got into Haven. Sojourner answers that only one could have done this, of course. Moritori Rex, everybody's favorite deep cover mole. (You'd think the brotherhood would have did a security update after they learned they ahd been breached. go fig.) He shows up just then, after getting an intro by the female Dark Legionnaire who resembles so much a Dark Lara-Le. Once there, he uses Haven tech to contact his own grand-dad, Dimitri, who is pleased with the report, but wants Locke and Spectre located. Just as Dimitri hangs up, we hear some one tell him in a familiar defiant tone that he'll never get away with this new scheme. That's our guardian for you. He doesn't beat up the badguys often, but he stays optimistic and confident. We then see Knux, Julie-Su and Gen. Stryker hanging up-side down in the middle of another Dark Legion HQ. Dimitri is astounded by Knux's defiance (So am I, honestly; with his track record, you'd think he'd be more afraid) Knux then says if this up-side down thing is his worst, he'll be sleeping for a while. Dimitri answers that this only the beginning, and that he's looking forward to some screaming.

Rating: Rings

Well, I personally thought that this was a pretty decent issue of Knuckles. Just not one of the best. The Dark Legion as Nazi-like characters was pretty predictable, but justly so. I Personally suspect that Echidna culture as a whole is somewhat chauvinistic as a whole, with Knux and close company as the notable exceptions. That Echidna in good neighborhoods and Dingoes in ghettoes does mirror some present situations in America today, doesn't it? The art is getting better, but not by much. All in all, the episode lacked a little something... It was VERY plot heavy, without much action in it. To compare it to a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode type, it was a character development episode, but without the character development. In my opinion, the fight between Xenin and Knux could have lasted longer, especially if we're to believe that Knux really IS some sort of special Guardian. Spectre's sudden disappearance leads me to believe that he will pull a "Batman" (referring to the fashion now used in DC's JLA of having Batman save the whole JLA single handedly) and save all of Haven all by himself. Other fixtures were as espected, but not a lot of development there. Even Vector and Julie-Su's argument seemed tacked-on to fill in a panel. All I have to say about this is the climax had better be good! In conclusion, I give Knuckles #23 3 out of 5 rings. They really need to shape up by next issue, or at least by Knux #25. That's it.