Knuckles The Echidna #26 Review by Rolland Therrien
The First Date - Part One: "She Loves You (And You Know That Can't be Bad...)"

Well, after Knuckle's Big silver anniversary, we were left to ponder how they authors would top that off. Here we have their attempt. Knux #26 starts a new stoyline that is completly unlike the last few issues: A romantic comedy! It might work... Let's start reading it.

We join up with the Chaotix eating in the restaurant area of a mall, discussing the absence of Charmy. (Seems they're not too shaken up by whatever the Dark Legion did back in #24, if anything happened) Vector seems to miss the little guy, but wouldn't want the guy to give up the luxuries he's being given with the throne: Status, money, babes... But when Espio mentions Charmy's been betrothed to Safron (Last seen in K#14), the concept seems to turn Vector off. I guess he doesn't want to lose his precious bachelorhood. The conversation soon turns to a discussion of women, which brings up Julie-Su.

Speaking of her, she's presently venting her rage at beeing left behind last issue, by shooting pictures of Knux, generally feeling sorry for herself and blaming Knuckles for everything. Knuckles, on the other hand, has just gotten up in Haven, and his father is making him breakfast (Seeing how the Chaotix just ate burgers, one can wonder if it's the Chaotix who don't have proper diets, or the folks at haven who just get up late). Knux doesn't seem to have slept well, and when his father asks him what's wrong, he says he wants to know why Boys and Girls get together (Locke seems to be Waaaaayy overdo with that talk, it appears). After the coffee drinking Locke does the appropriate spit-take, he starts doing the old Q&A routine with Knux, helping his son realise he's presently feeling the Soultouch with Julie-Su. The Soultouch is the Echidna version of "Love at Frist Sight", a way for nature to make sure the intellectual Echidnas know when to mate with a compatible partner from the opposite sex. When Knux asks the delicate question of why Locke and Lara-Le aren't still together, Locke answers he still isn't quite sure about that. When Knux says he still can't figure out this Guy/Girl thing out, Locke tells him he should talk to Julie-Su before discussing matters any further with him. Gee, what great timing! Maybe when Knux meets up with her, she won't blow his head off just yet!

We catch up with the Chaotix, who are walking down an avenue, chatting about girls (If age questions are consistent, they should all be about 15-16, so it's natural for teenage boys to talk about girls :-P). Vector says he's a Real Casanova, and Espio dares him to put his money where his mouth is. Vector, P.O.d, goes off to find a date. After scoping out some potential dates, he tries to make the moves on one ("Doing anything this weekend?"), who brushes him off (I'm studying to become a missionary"). Ouch! Oh well, better luck next time, Vector.

Back at her place, Julie-Su decides to take a walk. She stops in front of a store where she eyes a nice dress and hat. This Echidna guy walks over to her, and says the hat would look good on her. Intrigued, she walks into the shop with him, and lets him buy her the hat. He then asks her out for lunch. Uh oh... Looks like Knuckles might have a few more problems in store when he decides to go talk to her.

Speaking of Knux, we catch up with him back at Haven, apparantly Sulking. Archimedes 'ports in, and says he wants to talk, while his dad is doing his morning routine. He wants to know how Knux is doing, and Knux says he doesn't know. Knux is glad to be with his father, but keeps thinking of Julie-Su. He tells Archy he's talked about it with his father, who didn't seem thrilled. Archy says it's because he doesn't want his son exposed to the harsh realities of love (understandable, since his own marriage went the way of the Dodo...); he then tells him this ain't an easy matter, and that only by taking chances will he make progress. Knux makes a decision, and has Archy teleport him away, most likely where Julie-Su is, just as his father is about to walk in. Knuckles needs to work on his timing, or at least take time to say "I'm leaving, see you later!"

Before learning where Knux and Archt end up, we find Vector at a Diner counter, sulking. Seems he's been striking out regularly, by the looks of it. Then, this nice Swan waitress asks him what he wants. Vector, apparantly charmed (the hearts around the character never lie), decides to try his luck. We'll have to wait until next issue to see if he succeeds, however. We catch up with Julie-Su, who seems to be having a nice time, dining out with the male echidna, who's named Raynor. Raynor asks him if she's seeing anyone at the moment, and just as she says she doesn't know, Knuckles and Archy pop in! To be continued!

Rating: Rings

Personally, I liked this issue. It had a great storyline, and believable character portrayals of each character. Despite the continuity flaws (What DID happen to the Chaotix after the DL attacked?), this is one of the better issues of Knuckles in a while. The heavy issues of K#22-24 have been left behind for a light-hearted storyline. Let's hope things go right for Knuckles. One thing that spoiled my reading of this issue was the inconsistant art of Chris Allan, especially when it came to the Julie-Su's proportions. Half the time, it looked as if Julie was flat-chested and with a huge beer-gut! Pretty lame, seeing as almost all the other females in the issue were shaped like super-models! Let's hope Allan gets his act together by next issue (why does it seem that every new artist on the book takes a while before getting the art right, and then, only just before they're done with the story arc?)

Mighty The Armadillo - Part One: "Friend in Need"

Mighty the Armadillo has an unexpected visitor at his place. Nic the Weasel, a female weasel who bears some resmemblance to Nack the Weasel (aka Fang the Sniper). In fact, she claims to be his sister, and is a bouty hunter as well (Guess it runs in the family). It seems she needs Mighty's muscles to perform a specific task, which seems to have something to do with an egg-shaped object. When Mighty asks why he should cooperate, she shows him a red collar, which Mighty recognises as belonging to Ray the Squirrel, an old friend of his and Sonic's (from Sonic Arcade, as I've been told).

As Nic flys Mighty to the mainland in her plane, he begins to remember how he, Ray and Sonic first met, about 6 or 7 years ago. He and Ray were prisonners aboard a slave barge, beeing brought to Robotropolis. Sonic was aboard the same barge, but he wasn't a prisonner. he was a spy, sent by Sally to infiltrate the slave camp to gather info. After saying what he was doing there, Sonic split, saying they'd only cramp his style if he brought them along. Mighty then remembers that they would meet again soon, but that's where the Flash-back sequences ends.

Nic lands in an area Mighty find familiar, and they begin to look around, when suddenly, they find they have company: Fiona Fox, last seen in ''Growing Pains'', in Sonic issues # 28-29, paralysed by rust in a desert island. And yet, when Mighty sees her, he screams out her name, as if knew her from somewhere. What gives?

Rating: Rings

This story is very well done. It fufills a continuity need by exploring the shared past of Sonic, Mighty and Ray (rumored to join the Chaotix in a few issues), and does a nice job of tying together the game continuity of Sonic Arcade to that of the comics. Nic seems like an interesting Char, for as much as we've seen. Further more, if you like mysteries, you've just been given reasons to tune in next time with Fiona alone! What past could she have with Mighty? Could it be her construction actually predates "Growing Pains"? And what is she doing up and about in the first place? I can't wait for next issue to find out!

Overall Rating: Rings