Sonic The Hedgehog #124 Review by True Red
'Zine-style cover #7: One bonus for this cover--No corny phrases at all! Thank you! Considering the style, I absolutely love this cover and I'm not a "Shadow is the coolest ever!" fan either--so no bias there. I just think Sonic's "I want to kick your butt" pose with Shadow's "Chill, I'm not interested in a fight" pose is just cool. I liked it in black and white and it's lovely with J.D. Ray's colors. My only nitpick is that since they only had one back-up story instead of two, the Knux circle pic should've been moved over and the print slightly enlarged to take up the space. All that wasted blank space is a bit silly. No frontpiece so unto...

"Sonic Adventure 2.5: Alpha"
Writer: Karl Bollers
Pencilers: J. Axer & Steven Butler
Inkers: Conor Tomas & Jim Amash
Super Shadow is in space and tells us that one ship is approaching, while another is leaving. He's a bit disoriented so he gathers his thoughts which gives us a rundown on Archie's version of SA2. Shadow was bioengineered by Professor Gerald Robotnik for Station Square. He made friends with Maria (Gerald's granddaughter), but he saw her killed. He was locked in statis until (Robo-)Robotnik freed him. He wanted to destroy the world because of Maria, but Sonic made him see the error of his ways. Key distinction from the real SA2 in which it was Amy who did that, though it would be a continuity error for Amy to have been involved. So while I'm sure some Amy fans aren't happy, if you hate plotholes then you should be happy. Shadow sacrificed himself to save Mobius, but just before he would have died, the Bem (the aliens from Sonic #118) teleported him onboard their ship and saved him. When the Bem noticed a ship coming, they gave Shadow enough energy to become Super Shadow so that he could fight the oncoming ship while they fled. Super Shadow precedes to fight the ship, but ends up being blasted toward Mobius. Just before he hits the atmosphere, he teleports.

Meanwhile, Sonic is waking up and Tails wants to go on an adventure. Sonic says that he has something else to do today, but they can go tomorrow as well as saying that they have the rest of their lives for adventure--standard comic book code for major trouble brewing. Uncle Chuck asks them to join the family for breakfast (which Tails does), but Bernie says that Sonic has a "royal date." Sonic runs off (normally clouds in the sky are white--here they're black) to the castle. He and Sally share a kiss when they meet and then decide it's time to "pop the question."

Elsewhere, the ship that blasted Super Shadow is now over the mountain where Station Square is located. In Station Square, the no-named President (well, Sega didn't name him and Archie is hesistant to give him one) is conversing with Robotnik, who wants an alliance. The President says "No way, Josť!" That's when Robotnik reveals that he has control over the President's limo. Just as Robotnik is about to send the limo over the bridge, Rouge comes and manages to pull the President out via the sun roof & lands him safely on top of a building. Before she can go back to attempt to rescue the driver, the sky-dome (a.k.a. "the fake sky") shatters and both the President and Rouge are shocked by what they see--we don't see it, but it's obviously the unknown ship.

Back at Castle Acorn, Sally announces to her parents that she would like Sonic to be her consort, who'll have her hand in marriage. The response: Yes. It took a month after Sally told Sonic "I love you" (last issue happened more than a month ago), but the two finally make their boyfriend/girlfriend status official. Immediately after the royal parents say yes, the ground shakes for a moment. Before Sally can even finish saying "What was that?" Sonic has run off. He's quickly joined by Tails & Bunnie (the only other two Freedom Fighters with "super speed") as the trio reach a crater in the ground. As the dust clears, the trio see Shadow, who Sonic comments that he thought was dead. As Sonic goes down to check (as the other FFs arrive), Shadow wakes up and clocks Sonic, who goes flying. As Shadow gets up, Sally tells him to cool it since they don't want any trouble. Shadow is still woozy but gets it together and apologizes for attacking. However, apology is not accepted as far as Sonic is concerned who's ready to throw down. Sally gets in the way, which stops Sonic, as Nicole's emergency beacon flashes. The group is wanted at the castle.

Back at the castle, Robotnik is asking for help. A strange ship (3 guesses at the ship) came and destroyed Megaopolis (where he's currently setup shop) and "Poor Snively is missing." King Max doesn't believe him, but Shadow does since he recognized the ship. Then a holographic message from Rouge asking for help at Station Square arrives via Nicole. Sonic is wondering who's responsible and gets a rather immediate answer. The Xorda (who are the ones on the ship causing all the damage) send out a telepathic message to everyone on Mobius. The gist of the message: Over 3,000 years ago, they came to Earth offering a peaceful alliance. The humans dissected the Xorda ambassadors, so Xorda attempted to wipe-out all life on the planet. They just found out that they hadn't permanently stopped life on the planet and have return to correct the oversight. End of message. Robotnik is still on the line to King Max and as Robotnik tries to talk, King Max shuts off the connection on purpose to make Robotnik sweat. King Max earns some bonus points with me for that one. Rotor's working on a way to communicate with Xorda as Sonic comments that this is Mobius, not "Urf" (by far, one of the coolest lines in the comic). The Brotherhood call King Max (Castle Acorn is Grand Central Station for the issue) about the situation--as long as Xorda believes Mobius is Earth, they're all in trouble. Sonic asks for Knuckles and Locke tells him that Knux is dead. Beautiful reactions here. The sad surprise/shock on the FFs faces, along with Shadow's total indifference (hey, Shadow never met Knux in Archie), is just displayed well. King Max tells them all that they don't have time to grieve. Sally agrees though she's still shaken and goes off with Nicole to do some research to prove Xorda wrong. Locke says that they'll do the same on Angel Island (the other thing that the gang learn is that the Floating Island is now Angel Island) and cuts the call. Sonic wonders why it took Xorda 3,000 years to find out that they messed up anyway. That's when Hope (didn't even know she was there) hesitantly replies that she thinks she knows. When the overlanders were in space, their ships were attacked by Xorda's ship. The overlanders thought they had escaped, but it seems Xorda found them. When Hope is done, she notices the "strange black hedgehog" is staring at her. Shadow is thinking to himself that Hope reminds him of Maria. Just then, Sally returns with "bad news." Mobius and Earth are the same planet. To be concluded in #125.

Rating: Rings

Bollers is on a major roll here. The last time I was ever into Sonic this much was during Endgame. Beautiful issue and Axer & Butler only made sure it was executed well with their art. Jensen's miscoloring of Shadow's white fur (made it gold) was the only major thing that really bothered me. The feeling of the story was great. Though the Sonic/Sally admitting thing may seem soon to some because of last issue, but the two have had more than a month of good times between #123 and 124 as well as the fact that the two have been a "when will they admit it"-type of friends/couple throughout the entire comic book run of 10 years to make it more of an "it's about time"-thing than a surprise. Shadow's appearance was handled amazingly well. The only nitpick is that not everyone will pick up the difference between Shadow needing to be saved by the Bem (as he didn't have anymore power left) versus getting blasted by Xorda (where he still had enough power to use chaos control to teleport himself into Mobius--so that he wouldn't be incinerated). Sonic's declaration that the planet isn't "Urf" is the most memorable line. I still chuckle over that one. As for the Shadow/Hope/Maria connection, don't drop the ball Archie. It's been discussed for a long time by fans. Just don't drop the ball.

"Afterlife, Part Four"
Writer & Inker: Ken Penders
Penciler: Art Mawhinney
Continuing where we left off on the overview of Knux' life in the Archie series, Aurora explains that since Knux hit puberty that he was beginning to access his latent powers (clips of Knuckles #14, 16, 24 & 32 are used to drive home the point). When he finally completed "the process" in terms of power (Sonic #90), he turned green but it hurt because he had to get used to the power. A huge mistake as Jensen colored all the past scenes of Knux red that should've had Knux in his green--and again Gala-Na is red instead of purple. Anyway since Knux' powers rivaled the Ancient Walkers, he wants to know how he could die (may be someone should clue him in that the Ancient Walkers aren't immortal and that they hardly use their power). Aurora explains that he's mortal and therefore is limited in his abilities. Then she announces it's time for him to go and take his place in the cosmos. Knuckles wants to enjoy life (like dating Julie-Su), but Aurora tells him that everyone only gets one chance at life. So the portal opens for Knux to step through. Knux asks if he can be his normal self (translation: no more green Knux as of this issue). Aurora says that he can and that he'll see her from time to time. Knux goes into the portal and as he's out of sight, Athair comes mocking Aurora's comment about everyone only having one life. Athair says that she knew Knuckles was worthy of having a second shot at life and wonders why she didn't tell him outright (as if Athair should be talking about being purposely misleading). Aurora mentions that Athair was a "lost soul" until the Ancient Walkers helped him. She did the same for Knuckles--and she's rather confident that he'll choose his path correctly.

Rating: Rings

Not bad as the recap of the Knux storyline in Archie concludes. The main thing is Knuckles is coming back to life and he'll be red. I guess it really is a good thing that they didn't bury his body. The only question is, is Knuckles going to be alive in time to fight Xorda, or will he come back after it's all over? I hope for the former (despite the irony of coming back from the dead just to possibly be immediately killed again--heh), but we'll see in #125 what happens.
  

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