Knuckles The Echidna #29 Review by Rolland Therrien
"My Special Friend"

We begin this issue, not on the Floating Island, but in Knothole, where Sally is chewing up Antoine for not telling her his part in the retrieval of Prince Elias, since he was under orders. Not getting any answers from him, she decides to take it up with her father. As she asks the king about his apparantly odd behavior (see issues like #55 and #60 for exemples), he tells her he's been trying to avert a horrible fate for everyone, but failed. He then sends Sally to perform an important mission, as the solution to many of their problems may be found on the Floating Island...

Which brings us there, as Knuckles is enjoying the scenery from the edge of the Island, away from Echidnapolis, for once. He meets up with an old bird buddy of his, Catweazle, with whom he starts chatting about his ajusting to family life with both his folks. Just as the discussion turns to Lara-Le wan Wynmacher possibly having a child of their own (thus giving Knux a sibling), a familiar hover-pod is seen over the Horizon. The hover-pod ship is piloted by Sally, who is having a conversation with Nicole about the king's behavior, going over his orders to dismantle the robians. It seems he saw them as a potential tool Robotnik Mach2 might us against them, and saw his order as a pragmatic way of elimenating that problem. (Of course, one might argue that Hitler had the same idea, but hey, whatever works...) as she approches the Island, we cut to Haven, where Sabre and Thunderhawk give her the A-Okay to land.

Knuckles greets her, but she gives her just as rough a treatement as she gave Antoine. When he tries to diffuse the situation with humor ("Having a bad hair day?"), she goes on to say how she's not one to primp and preen, even after falling into a bath of chemicals years ago, which threw he colors out of whack. That explains very well why the early issues of Sonic showed us a Sally with pink colored fur and black hair. But she goes on saying she didn't like having Knuckles keep the existence of her mother and brother a secret from her. Of course, he didn't know it either at the time.

At this point, Knuckles' ancestor teleports in, with help from Deo Volente the fireant. He greets the princess and leads her and Knux to Haven. Once there, she is introduced to all the Guardians and is given the grand tour, before she can tell them what her father requests of them.

Meanwhile, Knuckles and Locke have a side conversation about how Knux' family secrets seem to hurt his friendship with Sally. Locke argues that, as Sally is princess of her people, her agenda may not fit with his own agenda as a guardian. Her people have always been more open to other cultures, which Locke believes is why they are so often in conflicts with others. Of course, one can attribute this perception to Guardian paranoia.

Sally pleads her case before the assembled Brotherhood, asking for help with her mother's condition and against Robotnik (mach 2, as he likes to be called). Spectre says they've done all they could for the queen, but that they can't commit themselves against Robotnik unless her people are willing to use gun-type weapons, which is a major taboo in the kingdom of Acorn. So no help from the Guardians, it seems.

Later, Knuckles goes to the royal compound on the Island, where Sally has gone, so he could talk with her alone. He tells her he doesn't agree with his elders, but that he doesn't have the clout to make them change their minds. But he still wants to be her friend. The problem is, she's not sure she can stay friends with him anymore, as Knuckles doesn't seem to take any of the chances really needed to preserve that friendship. The fact is, he wouldn't help them fight against Robotnik before, and he won't do it now, most likely. This essentially drives them apart, as she leaves the Floating Island to go back to her people, leaving him to ponder: Sally has valid reasons to ask for support, just as the brotherhood had equally good reasons to deny it. If he had to choose one or the other, which would it be? Could he make that choice with a clear conscience? And if he couldn't, where would that leave him? These questions begin to leave a seed of doubt in Knuckles' mind, which may develop in future issues.

Rating: Rings

A good storyline, with decent art (Except Spectre looked to darned nice...), and a truly dramatic story. There was some good character growth here, as the Sally/Knuckles friendship is given the final tug that tears it apart to some extent. This leaves us to wonder how future character meet ups will go on, as Sally and Knux now have somewhat conflicting goals: She protects her people and fights Robotnik, and he protects the Island and it's people. These two goals may not always go well together, especially if they both end up competing for a same item that both needs for different purposes. One other element to remember is the old Sonic/Knuckles rivalry. It cooled down some after Robotnik died, but may heat up again, especially since Sally and Knuckles are no longer on such good terms. I guess this opens up possibilities for future issues.