Knuckles The Echidna #30 Review by Rolland Therrien
King of the Hill, Part One: "Bad to the Bone"

This story starts of with a zinger: We see an overlander pull out what seems to be a rifle, assemble it, kiss it (this guy needs a life) and shoot a harmless bird! What a shocking scene!

Well, after that teaser, we shift to the ground of Mobius Prime, on a mountain top in the eastern hemisphere, where a purple ape in a diaper is revveing up a lasso while the Floating Island approaches. He lassos part of the Island's underbelly, then climbs all the way up to the edge of the Island (Impressive feat, seeing how big the darn thing is), where he proceeds to do a "Kong" number, boasting of how he's gonna get even with Knuckles.

Our boy Knuckles, meanwhile, is catching up on some ancient Echinda litterature his father gave him. It's about the past accomplishments of the Echidna culture, when their people explored space, with far-off worlds like Saturn and Europa. When he wonders why an Echidna would be named Dave, and what happened to a monolith (for those who are really clueless, he's reading an Echidna version of 2001: A Space Odessy), Catweazle the rude bird from last issue flies in! He warns Knux about the hunter from the beggining, and Knux flies out.

In mid-glide, Knux is hit by a rock and falls. He finds himself confronted by the Gorilla, who's name is Monk. We get a brief flash-back showing us some history between the two. Turns out Monk is an old childhood bully who took advantage of a young Knuckles (must've been before he learned to fight). One night, Monk was caught by the Brotherhood, tied up and, in a display of cold-bloodedness on their part, kicked off the Island, litterally! He landed in the ocean far below, and barely survived. Without so much as an explanation, Monk attacks Knuckles, who fights back. They scuffle a bit, but while they do, the Hunter is approaching...

To Be Continued...

Rating: Rings

For the last story arc this title's gonna get, (Knuckles ends with #32) It seems like Ken Penders isn't trying very hard... The set-up is somewhat sketchy, the characterisation is a bit off: The Brotherhood, whom we've been told are wise and good, just perform what is essentially a sommary execution! If Ken is trying to show us a new side of the Guardians, I think it's a bit late in the series. The art is also a bit questionnable, as Monk, who is supposed to be a Gorilla, seems only like a very ugly and hairy human. All in all, not really what I'd call the best storyline...

Espio the Chameleon Chapter One:
"Hiding in Plain Sight"

Well, if that wasn't the most obvious titles for a chameleon story... Julie-Su, looking for Knuckles (who's been off in the wilds since Issue #29), rides her Pasha to the outskirts of Echidnapolis and meets up with Espio, Mighty and Ray, who's joined the Chaotix. They haven't seen him either. Mighty takes Ray to check out Echidnapolis, while Espio hops along with Julie to help her look.

After a while, Espio grabs the reins and stops the Pasha. It turns out they were gonna trample an aged hidden chameleon, but Espio knew what to look for (maybe Knuckles knows too). Espio runs to him, and sees it's someone he knows, called Barney (if anyone has a purple reptile joke, us it know...). Barney's hurt, so Julie decides to take Barney to the Echidnapolis Med-center, while Espio stays behind to check things out. After Julie-Su is gone, we learn the Chameleons don't interact much with outsiders, and Espio gets some grief about his friendships. He meets up with some other chameleons, including a femme called Liza.

Liza greets him, then she and the others lead him to see someone who was looking for him: Valdez, who's been Roboticized, with a pair of Swatbots behind him! To Be Continued... (annoying, ain't it?)

Rating: Rings

This story wasn't BAD, but it wasn't exactly GOOD either. The art was good, and the writing was believable. But it's going so fast, you have trouble keeping track of it all. Maybe if Ken had skipped the set-up with the Chaotix and skipped to having Espio pay a visit to his Chameleon friends, with some internal dialogue telling us about Chameleon Xenophobia... Oh well. This is better then the last few back-ups, at least.

Overall Rating: Rings