Knuckles The Echidna #32 Review by Rolland Therrien
King of the Hill, Part Three: "To The Death"

Well, time for the conclusion of the last Knuckles comic storyline. Ho hum...

Well, we catch up with Knuckles and Monk, the reluctant duo, as they decide to go into Hydro City, a hidden city known to few that supposedly predates Echidnapolis. They hope to evade Hunter this way. On the surface, however, Hunter follows their trail to the Hydro City entrance and follows them down.

Back to Locke and Archimedes, they find what one can assume is Hunter's ship (the art of it isn't very good, and no clue is left to identify what it is). They poke around, trigger the ship's security systems (which blow it up) and barely escape, unwittingly stranding Hunter on the Island with them. And so ends chapter one.

Chapter two begins with Hunter closing in on Knux and Monk, unaware his ship has been destroyed. After he takes a few pot shots, they elude him again and try to set a trap. He catches up with them and shoots again, making Knux duck down a level, causing the pain-collars to activate. While Hunter is dumb-founded at missing a target for the first time, Monk decides to attack him, tackling him to the floor. After a short struggle, Monk becomes the latest casualty of Archie's more "Mature" storytelling and gets killed by Hunter. This pisses Knux to no end, and he unleashes his "Inner Chaotic Energies" to strip Hunter of all his equipment and knocking him out, solving the problem "Deus Ex Machina" style.

When Locke and Archy finally arrive, they find the unconscious Hunter and Knuckles grieving over Monk's still form. The next scene, we see Hunter held imprisoned within Haven, in a prison pod (a large, life support connected bubble held in a large vat of water), where he'll stay until he's either dead, or until the writers need him for another storyline.

Rating: Ring

Well, for the storyline that concludes the Knuckles comic series, I must say I am tremendously disappointed. The storyline was thin, badly executed and poorly drawn. They introduce a character like Monk, who obviously has a rich history with Knuckles and the other Guardians, only to kill him off now. That is a poor writing decision, since it eliminates potential stories. Then again, since the title is getting cancelled, I guess it's unimportant... Still, It probably would have been nice if Monk had lived. Who knows, he could've been a good character in the future. Oh well. Let's hope Knuckles gets a better treatement once he returns to the Sonic comic.

Espio the Chameleon
Chapter Three: "The Worst of Enemies"

Well, this final chapter of Espio's story ends on a very sad note: Liza, Espio's friend, has been roboticized by Valdez, former Secret Service agent, another old other friend of Espio's, and now a reprogrammed robotic minion of Robotnik's. Espio, who looks suicidally depressed, agrees to lead Valdez to the Chaos Emerald, or Valdez will Roboticize the rest of the Chameleons.

As Espio leads his captors through the forest, he tries again to appeal to Valdez' memories of who he is, but Vald just responds that if Espio pulls any tricks, he'll use a radio signal to blow up the ship where the Chameleons are held. Espio still leads them to a set of underground canal ruins that he claims are the sewer systems (though it could just be Hydro-City, as featured in the main story).

Once there, he fades into the shadows, and before Vald can react, he falls down a trap door to a level below where Espio wrestles him into the water. After they fade from view, we see Liza and the Shadowbots, wondering what happens now that they've disappeared.

As we wonder that ourselves, we cut back to Valdez' ship, where Espio shows up and frees all the others, before the ship blows up. He then says Valdez was a warning shot to the otuside world, and that those outsiders can't be allowed to drag the Floating Island into their mess.

Rating: 0 Rings

Truth be told, this story was badly drawn, badly written and a bad idea on its own. Espio looked terrible, was written as being a completly passive fool most of the times, and his "dealing" with Valdez had "cliched ending" written in neon letters all over it. If this was a sign of things to come, it may be just as well that this title is being cancelled. Let's hope the future Sonic issues deal with things much better.