Issue 145

Editor in Chief: Richard Goldwater; Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick; Editor: Mike Pellerito.

Cover

By Spaz.

"Shadow Returns... And Sonic doesn't stand a chance!" Right...

Sonic and Tails look up (Tails in shock) as the shadow of Shadow looms over them.

The color on the grass is really pretty... but the "Shadow's shadow" thing doesn't work very well.

4/10

Frontis

By Ken Penders and Amber Greenlee.

Very nice art -- the pencils/inking are good, and the colors are great. However, whose bright idea was it to refer to Shadow as an "it"?!

8/10

"Shadows of Hope"

Written by Ken Penders, penciled by Ron Lim, Inked by Al Milgrom, lettered by John Workman, colored by Jason Jensen. Special thanks to Robert Leffler and Dyna Lopez at Sega Licensing.

Summary: Shadow's stalking of Hope is interrupted when he's kidnapped by Locke. Hope follows them, and stops them from fighting. "Realizing" thanks to this that she isn't Maria, Shadow leaves.

Critique: A waste of paper. Although, the art is surprisingly good for Lim. 5/10

"Training Day"

Written by Karl Bollers, penciled by Al Bigley, inked and lettered by Michael Higgins, colored by Jason Jensen.

Summary: Eggman gives a primer on the main heroes from the Sonic Games -- Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy.

Critique: The only people who would be in need of the info in this story is people new to the Sonic fandom in general. Pointless. As for the art, I stand by my earlier statement that Al Bigley has potential. The art in this one is far more bearable than that in "One Part Treachery", but it still leaves a lot to be desired... Maybe after a few more issues... 4/10.

"Harbringer"

Written by Ken Penders, penciled by Dawn Best, inked by jim Amash, lettered by Jeff Powell, colored by Jason Jensen

Summary: Everybody's hanging out, until Rotor detects a seismic disturbance. The Freedom Fighters head off to investigate.

Critique: It's been too long since Best drew the cast -- they're "a little" off model. Other than that, the art's pretty good, although I have to wonder how that shot of Bunnie's rear made it past the editors... :p

The story was a general "what the characters are up to between adventures" story. This wasn't the best of those I've seen, but it's still nice to see a bit of their ordinary lives... (Of course, there is such a thing as too much ordinary life, as M25YL proved...)

7/10

Sonic-Grams

Letters: Blah, blah, blah...

Start: Shadow returns, in "GBU", and Sonic doesn't know something in Sonic X.

Off Panel, written by Mike Gallagher, drawn by Dave Manak, colored by "Henri Ratisse": Celebrating the letterers.

Final thoughts:

They're trying, but frankly, I got more enjoyment out of (and got more "into") a Sonic fan-fic I was reading the other day...

Final Score: 5.5/10
  

COVER:
My gosh, what an ugly, lazy cover. 2005ís first Archie Sonic ainít exactly the icing on the cake. Sonic and Tails is nicely designed enough, itís the giant Shadow...er...shadow which more resembles a freakiní palm tree and the craptacular ugly, 3D grass with plain white BG that doesnít match color wise that makes this cover look like Spaz ran out of creative juice. The caption ďShadow returns and Sonic doesnít stand a chanceĒ is misleading at best since neither Sonic nor Tails fights Shadow in this issue...AT ALL. So fans expecting an all out brawl with Sonic and Shadow will only cry in disappointment. Ugly cover. I definitely have a candidate for worse cover of 2005.
3/10

FRONTISPIECE:

Shadow in a glass rube looking back at something like heís suspecting someone is watching him. From what I remember, it was done by a fan and colored and inked by Penders (which explains the bump below his mouth which is pure Penders, something I donít like of his artwork). It also basically explains what any angst based character is: deep philosophical thinking involving life and death and all that jazz. Impressive coloring, overall.
8/10

Shadows of Hope
Writer:
Ken Penders
Artist/Inker: Ron Lim/Al Milgrom
Colorist: Jason Jenso
Letterer: John Workman
The scene starts off with Shadow stalking...er...spying on Maria...er...Hope (anybody notice Rosie and Chuck talking with each other?) whoís rather happy with the book she has. Heís obsession towards that dead girl (you know who) is cut short when a hooded figure distracts him. Shadow demands to know who the hell said robed person is or being considered a foe. Neither friend or foe, the hooded man merely wants the black hedgehogís skills while the first person narrative plays out. It took me until the end of this story to figure out who that first person narrative was (more which I explain in my review).
Hope witnesses the entire hooded figure/Shadow squabble, remembering the black hedgehog. Shadow declines whatever offer the hooded figure gives, but mysterious man gives him no choice and lassoes his feet. Shadow merely snaps the rope, thinking the hooded guy is a joke for pulling off something like that. Just as heís about to lay the smack on hooded dude, a blue energy field of some sort causes both Shadow and hooded man to be teleported. Hope is displeased with Shadow disappearing out of nowhere and ends up getting teleported from the reminding blue mists. She ends up in some technology influenced...well...place where she meets an advertisement with the Teen Titans ďLost EpisodeĒ for Postopia. It also reminds me I must buy some postopia product just to see that TT episode. Hmmm, Iíll give in and go for the Fruity Pebbles. Then she goes past a W.I.T.C.H ad and ends up seeing Shadow strangling hooded man. Of course hooded man does his own thang against Shadow and pushes a button when Shadow is down for the count.
Shadow is shocked heís in a chamber similar to the one Gerald had him on, just without the warmth, he sez. Now he has memories of the death of his beloved Maria which makes me groan once again. As if Iíve seen that enough times already on video games/fanfics/comics/etc. based on Shadow. He also briefly mentions the Bem that anyone whoís read Archie Sonic from that far back will know.
Locke reveals himself as the hooded man when Shadow asks who he is. If you guys couldnít figure out he was Locke, let alone an echidna, then you obviously ignored the credits where it states Penders as a writer. That man canít help keep his hands off of echidnas. Looking burly and sporting monotone eyes (GAH!), Locke asks him the question if heís lost anything. Shadow lies and sez he hadnít had anything. Oh, suddenly Maria is not important to you?!
Locke explains that Shadow is the key to finding his family whom he believes as dead. Just how Shadow can be of any help isnít explained and I doubt weíll get a chance to know now that Hope has decided to interrupt. Locke is rather shocked and we get answers that heís responsible for the teleportation. I assume itís a Guardian power thing. Hope merely just argues for Shadow while the black wonder starts to have memories of Maria arguing with, I assume, A GUN member. Shadow takes this memory as motivation and breaks the glass, knocking Locke and starting to beat the crap outta him. Gosh, Shadow, didnít Maria tell you to respect your elders?! So, we basically get a battle with Shadow and Locke as the first person narrative starts up again where it finally has one evidence that it is, indeed, Locke, who is speaking (last I check, Shadow has no son).
Hope decides to act more Maria-like and stop Shadow from killing Locke, saying heís better then that. As she poetically puts it, ďRight now, Iím more scared of you then I am of him!Ē
Shadow retorts with a ďYouíre not MariaĒ (which with his face expression either could mean that Hope isnít Maria and never will be or Shadow thinks she was Maria, but finds out she isnít, which would contradict the earlier part of this story) and flies off saying typical angst crap, ďI donít need any friendsĒ. Locke explains how things didnít go well (well, duh), and decides for now to get Hope home.

STORY:
I really dislike Shadow. I dislike all these angst crap that has taken the world by storm nowadays. They usually just whine and talk about their pathetically sad life in order for us to feel sorry for them. Some works more so then others. Shadowís past worked well enough that heís entire storyline began in SA2 and could have ended with SA2. For some reason, however, people decided that Shadow should come back, whether heís a robot, clone, real dude, etc. to fulfill whatever purpose he has left. In this issue, all he did was fight and mumble on further of Maria. Despite her being dead for a good 50 years, he canít help but think of her. Poor guy has yet to move on and I have no clue if I should pity him or think heís some pathetic git. In the end, Shadow was merely acting the way he was suppose to act: angry, obsessive over Maria, angst, and all that other antihero business. So, Iíll give Penders a plus for keeping Shadowís personality intact, although thatís also bad news for me.
Hope in generally was pretty durn useless for a while, but Penders finally decided to make her do something, which is much better then standing like some useless statue. By putting an end to Shadow bickering over his fight with Locke, the old echidna survived another day, but the Shadow saga has much to go.
The main flaw I have with this story is mostly the first person narrative. I had major trouble deciding who was speaking in first person: Locke or Shadow. It was written in that it could be either of them and only when it was near the ending did I figure out Locke was the one narrating. Itís a serious problem if a first person narrative doesnít work out. Itís right up there at making things look too obvious as was the case in #143 when Hopeís teacher was revealed as Stripeís wife when we could have figured it out ourselves.
The story also didnít help out why Locke needed Shadow. He never explained what Shadow has that would help him find whoever heís looking for. We can generally assume itís his chaos power, but thatís only an assumption. Iíd like an answer.
In short, a rather surprisingly solid story with flaws.
7/10

ART:

Lim has VASTLY improved in so many areas. His characters are more on model and they no longer look stick figured. The only major flaw he still needs to work out is his tendency to mono-eye the echidnas. Not to mention his drawing of Lockeís face is a bit off and burly. The mono-eyes REALLY donít help. Hope is drawn fine, but several scenes looked as though she possessed a womanís face on a childís body. Making her hair look fugly 80ís style doesnít help either.
7/10

Training Day
Writer:
Karl Bollers
Artist/Inker: Al Bigley/Michael Higgins
Colorist: Jason Jenson
Letterer: Michael Higgins

Well, we all knew someday Mr. Bollers would make a terribly bad story. What we have here is Eggman generally depicting the four main heroes of SegaSonic to his robot minions. Thatís it...thatís all there is. Oh, and thereís an ad for Ty the Tasmanian Tiger, one of the worst mascot designs Iíve ever seen in video game history (his games ainít that hot either).

STORY:
Did anyone smell Sega shameless plug everywhere? Itís insanely obvious that something similar like this was given when writing this story. Anyone who knows their way around Sonic will immediately know everything that Eggman wrote and since the majority of who reads the Sonic comic are fans, Iím pretty durn sure they do know.
Itís funny he never mentioned Bunnie or Rotor who are both members of the fightiní team which also leads me to see this as a Sega shameless plug. The most interesting part, however, is the mention of Amyís tarot card abilities which was a no go in the comic before. Quite a shock, Iíd say. One wonders if itíll actually turn up in the comic, however. With that said, while a quite a bit of info for newbies of the Sonic world, for majority of use, itís just useless filler that could have been better spent on something else.
2/10

ART:

Bigleyís improving, but he still has problems with keeping most of the characters on model. The anthrosí legs are small and saggy, Knuxís dreads are too long, and Amy lacks mono-eyes. On the plus side, I do like how he draws the characters personal side, mainly Sonic and Tails hugging each other and Amyís love for shopping.
7/10

Harbinger
Writer:
Ken Penders
Artist/Inker: Dawn Best/Jim Amash
Colorist: Jason Jenson
Letterer: Keff Powell

Itís a nice day in Knothole, but Tails takes this time to read instead of playing out in the sun like other little boys do.
ďThat boy ainít rightĒ sez Hank Hill. Elsewhere, at the same time, however, occurs an explosion of some sort. But that doesnít matter right now. Right now, we get to a scene switch with Sonic, Bunnie, Mina, and Ash.
Ash thinks Sonic wouldnít be able to hit the dart board which holds a pic of Eggman and naturally, it doesnít. Sonicís dart ricochets of the board causing a shocked blue hedgehog. He immediately pisses off to Ash and declares if heís any better. Ash decides to show off his skills while Mina looks like she needs to go potty. Ash misses instead and the two are pretty much even.
Tails, meanwhile, seems to have gotten a spider sense feel and quickly flies over to Rotor and Tommy freakiní Turtle whoís busy cleaning up Rotorís beakers and whatnot. Rotor is busy explaining how something caused a grand amount of energy to possibly hurt Knothole. Tails suggest the Tornado, but Rotor dismisses it and ultimately explains that they need Sonic and Bunnie. Tails gets angry, thinking they (as in Rotor, himself, and Tommy) could handle it on their own, and even brings up the Freedom Fighters which is a term that Iím still confused with (I thought they were Acornís army), but Rotor explains theyíre the Brain Trust, people who think logically for the more action-y team.
He soon notices Ash and Mina. Ash is quite upset and angry over arrogant Sonic while Mina tries to calm him down. Tails enters to see Bunnie still playing pool and Sally with her who seemed to have appeared outta nowhere. Sonic explains where Tails was, as he kept knocking on his door with Tails guessing he was too into his book to answer. Tails then gets ready to explain to Sonic on their next mission.
Sonic is seen packing up in the next scene, including his A-Pod (definitely an I-Pod wannabe, a device I still don't know much about and how it's used). They then head to their airship with Sally ready to bring about a wave of good-bye to him. Both Sonic and Sallyís thought, however, indicate their mutual feelings for each other which sorta contradicts (sorta) Sallyís love for her people more then Sonic. Then as Sonic leaves, Sallyís love for Sonic remains intact which REALLY contradicts (sorta) #144ís Love and Loss.
In the airship, Tails ask if something is wrong to his best buddy, but Sonic doesnít really let it be a big deal and thinks a bit.
Meanwhile, in the place where Sonic and friends are heading for, we see Shadow (which is obviously him) who found a prototype of Geraldís data file, but heís confused on what to do next.

STORY:
I like this story. For once, it centers on Tails whoís been shoved back in the back more times then Tails of the Sonic X world. The story is very nicely paced and instead of actions, we get the heroes acting like regular kids. Itís rather relaxing and I enjoyed it immensely. My only flaw with it generally with Sally still showing signs of her love for Sonic which slightly contradicts (sorta) #144ís Love and Loss. Although Sally DID say she will always love Sonic and we are talking two separate writers, so itís not too big a deal. Brilliant story, overall. Nicely handled.
10/10

ART:

Itís nice to see Dawn Bestís work again. Her characterís pose adds a definite level of charisma the comic lacks. There isnít too much of a flaw except one scene in the beginning panel where Ash doesnít look cocky like his words imply, and Dawn adding muscles and proper anatomy to characters like Sonic who only looks weird with it and Princes ďThunder ThighsĒ in page 7, second panel. But generally, she is on-model, makes hair look good, and like I said, general feel of charisma to make her the best artist of this issue.
8/10

General letters and editorials which explains more Shadow and Sonic X comic. Oh, and another off-panel which is pretty funny.
~Neo