With my computer lacking in internet and me being busy writing Crash Bandicoot and Jak fanfics, I honestly neglected my duty as one of the million and one Archie Sonic comic reviewers, so without further ado, the latest review I have up my sleeve, #143 of Archie Sonic.
The same ol’ same ol’ stuff that was used in last issue. Naturally, I feel the same way. Nicely done, but not awesome enough to keep me on the edge of my feet. I can only assume it’s my personal taste with the use of a white background. I hardly ever use white as a background color anymore because to me, it just feels plain, so it’s one of the reason why I think this cover is so plain. At least the character poses and reactions are nicely done, especially for Sonic, despite him not actually being there face to face.
The original FF team in all their glory. In truth, at the current moment, the giraffe looks more evil and uninspired by his own work then Snakey over there. And the giant bubbles behind Pecker seems to be created from him as if he passed gas...yea. Okay, I’ll stop there. It's still nice and seems to show more emotions and expression then then ones inside the main story.
THE ORIGINAL FREEDOM FIGHTERS
Writer: Romy Chacon
Artist: Art Mawhinney
Inker: Jim Amash
Colorist: J & A Ray
No name narrator pops out for the first page to give you a flashback to the previous issue on what the deal is with Hope and Sonic. Second page shows no named Lake Ring guardian old dog dude catching a ring while Sonic and Hope watches, the latter spouting cuter, bambi eyes then all the Powerpuff Girls combined. No named dog man disappears, never to be seen again while Sonic continues the story after three pages wasted of doing absolutely nothing relating to the actual story.
Flashback appears with paler colors to indicate it is a flashback. Col. Stripes is bouncing Sally on his knees and making little jokes and other cutesy-ness to make any macho-infested person puke their little lungs out. Pecker interrupts the cute fest with an important message or something. Sally, Julayla, and Rosie decides best to leave (not before Col. Stripes kisses Rosie’s hand which makes me go “hmmm” even though I shouldn’t care since the original FF will all be gone by the time this story ends). Of course, Pecker decides it’s too urgent to wait and immediately tells Col. Stripes that the mission team knows where the King was exiled to. Sally, hearing all this, immediately cries for Col. Stripe’s help to save her “daddy” which Col. Stripes swears he would, then he accuses Pecker for speaking this in front of Sally when he didn’t realize they were within earshot. With the way the panel was drawn when Sally listened, it certainly seemed she was within earshot, not to mention not all that hard to miss.
So, the original FF makes their plans and sneak into Robotnik’s headquarters. Everything seems honky dory, but of course, fate hates them and Robotnik is just two steps closer. Oh, yea and the traitor is the Snake dude. And Neo Yi is not surprised in the least. After all, it’s a snake, it’s in their nature, as poetically put by Snake man himself and all because he gets power and control. Dang, can’t get any cliché then that. Of course, more cliché comes when Robotnik not only traps the original FF, but Snake man himself. So, the betrayer ended up being betrayed himself. Well, I gotta love the irony because I like irony. Robotnik proves his genius once more by roboticizing the entire FF and blasting them away to the Zone of Silence or Exile Zone or whatever incase they do return. Smart. I bet anyone who’s a Robotnik fan is dancing in glee.
Now the question I’m sure everyone has is how Sonic knew all this? Simple plot point, Robotnik got then roboticized Uncle Chuck to watch over the Void sending machine. Uncle Chuck, seeing the whole thing has had it recorded and since it was years later before Chucky regained control of himself and showed that footage, everyone naturally assumed the original FF were dead. So they made with the memorial services and all. Man, that sucks. Even poor little Sonic was gravely upset and actually sheds some tears before running off and later forming his own band of FF.
Hope is satisfied enough and runs off to do her report, leaving Sonic to wait until old dog man comes back and we know what an impatient little blue fuzz ball he is. The next day, Hope gives her report and gets an A+. Oh, yea, and the narrator with no name turned out to be Mrs. Stripes, Hope’s teacher and obviously, Col. Stripes’ wife turned widow.
In the same way that Kill Bill 1 lacked enough story until it explained much more in Kill Bill 2, the same applied to the original FF. The first part was just “Original FF: A documentary as told through Sonic, now on Video and DVD for 14. 95!” Part 2 was more clear and actually HAD a storyline instead of random things put together. It made more sense and it was simple enough for kids the comic book is targeted to to understand (as well as simple minded losers like me as well). I wouldn’t say the storyline is still the best, the entire plot centering around what happen to the original FF was cliché at best. I mean, even shortly after part 1 came out, more then half of the people in this message board alone though it was the snake dude and they were right. What’s even more cliché is Robotnik betraying the one who betrayed in the first place. It’s a plot that’s been done before and have been seen so many times, so it’s nothing fairly new and exciting in my opinion. I would have honestly loved it if there was more of a twist, like maybe Col. Stripes ended up being a traitor. Ya know, he being all good and heartwarming, but BAM! Instead bad guys. I’d feel more convinced, more so then others who lack any real personality. Pecker could work as a spy for Robotnik, with him flying around pretending to be messenger and all, but no Romy, took the cliché route.
And I honestly think that Hope calling her Mrs. Stripe was evidence enough to support who she is, the wife of Col. Stripes. I didn’t think she kinda had to repeat or emphasize who she is, we kids aren’t THAT dumb. I think a more silent approach where she’s all calm and smiling would have worked best and gave it a more emotional support. Not to mention the whole Zone of Silence, while it explains their absence, it’s like what Mr. Drazen said, felt more like an easy way out and cheaply used. It seemed Romy is using that a lot, the cheap method way out.
But ya know what, despite all the cliché written here, despite it all, it still was a solid plot. It explained what happen to them from beginning to end, it showed Sonic’s inspirational and how much he looked up to them, and ultimately, it had enough heart to make it a solid effort. Even the cheap way out using the Zone of Silence is brilliantly handled. I mean, it does explain it and considering we might never see them again, it works. Kudos to Romy for writing a story, a filler story, that’s actually good.
Again, Art delievers SO well with his cute approach and the colorings aren’t so exotic and complicated. It’s simple and easy on the eye. Complicated can be good, but at times, it can be overdoing it which tires me out. Although I still don’t appreciate the use of the flashbacks’ inking and coloring. Still feels flat to me. And Art’s Hope isn’t all that convincing. I think he was trying to make her extra cute and it ended up causing her eyes to look insanely scary and doe’d up.
Writer/Artist/Inker: Ken Penders
Colorist: Jason Jenson
Ahh, the infamous Locke story. The sole reason why Penders didn’t wanted Locke to be killed off by any writers mainly because he kills him off himself. Such an irony.
The story starts with Lara-Su waking up and being greeted by Abby who’s NOT acting rather angry,but unusually pleasant...something’s definitely up. Lara asks the suspiciously sweet Abby where her parents are and she answers: the patio. Lara heads there and sees Julie and Sally speak up a storm. There, Lara asks for her father, but Julie replies what day it is and Lara soon gets her memory cap on as she remember.
Next scene shows Knuckles walking a golden wooden path filled with butterflies and pretty flowers and little leprechauns dancing on top of mushrooms. Suddenly, Disney’s Pocahontas shows up with John Smith and she sings the “Colors of the Wind” song before disappearing. Knuckles is officially weirded out and I’m getting off topic. Knuckles is heading for someplace and as he does, he gets a visit to flashback city starring him.
The flashback starts with Knuckles in his normal, teenage form we all know and love walking with Archemedias on his hand to the original site of where Angel Island once was. For some unknown reason, Archy is no longer the size of Knuckles’ hand as more as he’s the size of Tom Thumb. Easier to go squish now. Archy is expressing how much he’ll miss Knuckles considering he has decided the Guardianship will end with him and that’s final, so Archy packs his bag, because he’s out of a job. Archy expresses how proud he is of Knuckles before he BAMF! for what he thinks is the final time. Neo Yi just wishes Knuckles was a bit more sadder to see Archy leave and thinks when “Archy” was changed to “Archi?” Whatever.
Knuckles uses the Guidng Star Gem which he got a LOOOOOOOOONG time ago in the comic to where Lara-le, his mom is. Instead of worrying over his own mom, he wonders where his brother is. He starts to notice, however, his ma ain’t doing so good and he asks. She answers that poor Locke is “not doing so well” with Knuckles FINALLY with a worried look repeats what she said in a questionable manner. Lara can’t seem to bring herself up to answer said question, so Wyn gets his butt in gear, calls a taxi, and drives all three of them to the hopsital. While riding the taxi, Wyn explains the whole deal and ultimately explains that no one knows what’s wrong with him. Knuckles retaliates saying his pop was fine the last time he saw him…and WHEN was that last time Knuckles?
In the hopsital, they meet Doctor Shockra who’s impossibly terrible name is making me laugh when I’m not surppose to concerning this story. After a rather lengthy, if not slightly pointless explantation, Doc Shock...ra explains that Locke is dying. The Locke fans cry now. In the end, it was up to Knuckles to decide on the fate of Locke: Surgery or more tests to see what will happen. Oh, yea, and Locke has carcinogenic pancreas which, judging by Locke dying, ain’t a good thing. He has about 9 months left at best. Knuckles is now wondering how this came to be and the doctor’s only theory is that he was exposed to toxic substance sometime ago. Geez, Locke, how many times have we told you not to play in the nuclear power plant?! I keep getting a call from Mr. Burns on you.
Knuckles asks to see his pop and they do. Once inside, Lara would leave him and Knuckles alone, but Locke prefers her company as well. Mainly because he explains the guilt he’s felt on what he did to Knuckles. In short, he’s basically apologizing for what he has done, no matter how much Knuckles denies it. This is the turning point in the entire comic and despite Locke and his belief in the Brotherhoods, in the end, he does what he wants to do, he repents to both Lara and Knuckles. Now, he could rest in peace.
We cut back to older Knuckles who is visiting his father’s grave located far from city civilization. He understands how he was acting the same that his pop did in forcing Lara-Su not to be a Guardian as Locke forced Knuckles into accepting his duties. In the end, he decides to let Lara-Su decide what she truly wants. And with that said, the soul of Locke (with Aurora next to him) watches over his on. And we see Ken Penders making his wishes to his own father in a similar manner with Karl Boller’s Grandma.
...Wow...Just...wow. The ENTIRE M25YL took a GIANT leap with this story alone. In all honestly, this story could easily have worked as a stand along without the help of M25YL dangling along. The story is pure emotions, so action not be needed and it does well in the emotional department. Perhaps the most important aspect of this story is Locke speaking his mind before dying. Like I said above, he’s basically apologizing to Lara, Knuckles, and ultimately himself. The important lesson dealt in this entire story is how Knuckles has learned from his father’s mistake and realize he was basically repeating what he’s father did to him: The use of Force. Because of this force, Knuckles ended up as a Guardian at an extremely young age and because of this force, Knuckles forbad his own child to become a Guardian. In the end, he learned his lesson and realized how wrong he was to used the power of force. A powerful lesson and ultimately convincing. In ways I don’t like how M25YL is being dragged on, but this story is strong enough to have been handled alone and well made, I don’t mind.
The downside is the art. I was never a fan of Pender’s style; he draws the characters eyes too round and wide, his mouth placements seem awkward at best and feels like he’s added a lump in the chin area, some few bits of anatomy on characters that don’t really require otherwise they’d look weird. I was cringing as I turned each page and while he was very appriorate in many scenes, in the end, some just didn’t do it for me. Example would be the last page where older Knuckles said he cried hard after the funeral. A scene showing that I would have liked, would have added more emotions or I would have loved Knuckles to be a bit sadder when saying his good-bye to Archy then look kinda serious and angry. Solid effort, but not enough to make me convinced.
Lots of Sonic fanart, more “I’m Sonic’s #1 fan” letters, and a talk of the new Sonic X comic (God save us all from Chris Thorndyke), off-panel, and shameless plugs on other Sonic merchandises. Oh, yea and a preview of Sonic #144. Well, on to review #144.