Sonic The Hedgehog #126 Review by True Red
Cover = Amazing. I love the way Super Sonic in particular looks on this cover. Special effects look great. The small nitpick is Sonic's right ear. Something is off on it, but the cover looks great. This is a prime example of why the magazine style should not come back, IMO. The frontpiece by Axer is another pretty picture (I love the moons and the entire space environment--and Sonic's pose is very cool), but it would be better without the large text box blocking the faces of some of the Freedom Fighters.

"Tossed In Space"
Writers: Benny Lee (Part 1: Red Chaos) & Karl Bollers (Part 2: Hog & Superhog)
Penciler: Steven Butler
Inkers: Jim Amash (Part 1) and J.D. & Aimee Ray (Part 2)
Continuing from where #125 ended, Sonic is unconscious on an alien planet. The only sign that he's alive is his "snoring." Cute. Suddenly some bug-shaped vessel sends out a beam around Sonic and takes him aboard. As it leaves the area, Sonic finally wakes up and is wondering where he is when he then realizes he has company in the form of some dark redish bug creatures (6 arms, 2 legs, and 2 antennas) that are speaking some alien language. Sonic figures he better leave and runs off. The aliens go looking for Sonic, while Sonic wonders what those creatures are and why is he alive as he recalls what he last remembers doing (re: last issue). That's when something causes the vessel to shake. The aliens forget about finding Sonic then as they attempt to deal with their problem. Sonic takes that time to find a way out, when he notices that the aliens that captured him are being attacked by some yellow/gold flying aliens (think of flies with 2 arms and 2 legs). Sonic runs off saying that it's not his problem and he's got to figure out where he is and how to get home. But he doesn't go far before he stops and changes his mind. Sonic turns around and quickly takes out the flying aliens that were attacking the others. After he does that, the other aliens surround him and using some telepathy says "Thank you." Sonic comments that he can hear them in his head speaking in English and asks how did they do that. They explain that they read his mind to learn his language (they're fast learners) as they pick up Sonic as he's their hero now and take him to their city.

In the city, Sonic learns that he's on Thoraxia and the aliens he's currently with are called the Blodex and they don't have the ability to travel in space or air (and of course, they've never heard of Mobius). The flying aliens are called the Bzzzz (yes, that's their name) are the Blodex' mortal enemies and believe that they're the only ones who deserve to fly and live. Luck for Sonic, a "D'Novulan trading vessel" will come the next day and it can take him to a place that can go to other worlds so Sonic can probably get home. While Sonic is stuck on Thoraxia, he's given a tour of the city by Deeble (one of the Blodex). During the tour, Sonic sees a statue of a Blodex holding 6 red emeralds and wonders what that is all about. Deeble explains that it's a statue of Aypex, their ancient champion who used the 6 red emeralds that fell from the sky to destroy the ancient Bzzzz Queen. They had been safe for thousands of years, but the Bzzzz are back now. Deeble says that Sonic should stay and be their new defender. Sonic says to himself that he can't because he has to go back to Mobius since that's where everyone he cares about is (with pics of Sally, Tails, his family, and some of the FFs to emphasize the point in the background) and they all think he's dead.

Later, Sonic is overlooking the city and wondering how he got to Thoraxia and if he can really ever get home, but promises that he will find a way home or die trying. About to go to sleep, suddenly there's a "bzzzzz" sound (guess that's where they get their name). Seeing the Bzzzz coming to attack, Sonic knows that's the end of his sleep for now as the Queen (who's enormous in comparison to the rest) has joined the invasion this time. The Queen has a stinger that has toxin, which can melt anything, and is using it to destroy the city. Sonic knows there's too many of them and decides to try to use the 6 red emeralds since on Mobius he can turn into Super Sonic using the emeralds and hopes the same thing will happen here. "Seconds later" Super Sonic appears and destroys all of the Bzzzz in about 5 seconds. However, as Super Sonic lands on top of the dead Queen to the cheering of the Blodex, we see that Sonic and Super Sonic are not one and the same--and Sonic is stunned.

As Super Sonic begins to rise up into the air, Sonic comments that instead of making him "Super Sonic", the red emeralds here made Super Sonic a separate being. Sonic doesn't think that's a good idea and begins to follow Super Sonic, who starts laying waste to whatever part of the city the Bzzzz hadn't destroyed. Sonic helps the Blodex avoid being crushed as much as possible and is pulling some out trapped under rubble when Super Sonic leaves the city.

"Minutes later," Sonic finally catches up to Super Sonic who's currently blasting the ground and gets Super's attention by shouting "Yo--Stupid Sonic!" (this is called having a death wish--but it's funny all the same). Sonic basically asks him why is he doing bad things instead of good things. Super Sonic just laughs and responds that "There is no good. There is no evil. There is only power." That has to be my favorite exchange between the two in this comic (hint, make a plausible reason to bring this "evil" Super back--he rules). Then Super precedes to send a laser blast at Sonic, who just dodges it. Super continues on his power point and looking up at the two moons that Thoraxia has, figures that destroying them will cause "global chaos." Super thinks that would be fun and starts to send a laser blast at them, but at the last second Sonic tackles him--which causes the laser blasts to miss. Now, that made Super extremely angry and he precedes to kick Sonic's butt. When Super is about kill Sonic, he starts to disappear. Luckily for Sonic, the fact that his own "Super Sonic" state is temporary is also true for Thoraxia and is well-timed to save him. Sonic, getting up and seemingly checking himself out for injuries, says that he never wants to see that side of himself again.

Rating: Rings

Solid story. I was very pleased with the bits of humor and many, many thanks to Benny Lee for the lack of puns, which is generally my fear about reading a story he has written. It's possible to be funny without them. I don't know who's decision it was, but they shouldn't have said the "6 green chaos emeralds" stuff. It's 7 in the games and it's been 7 in the comics. Granted, Sonic has gone "super" via other means (Sonic #56 with only getting chaos energy from Mammoth Mogul or Sonic #71 with a Super Emerald--though he went above Super into Ultra/Solar/Polar/Eco forms in that particular instance), but saying it the way it was done was confusing for those who know continuity as well as the video games. But the "evil Super Sonic" was great. The attitude he had was great and the whole no good or evil thing was priceless, especially the way Butler drew everything (loved the panels dedicated to Super's laugh and his explanations). The art all the way down to the coloring--no mistakes from Jensen this time--was just beautiful. The only thing that could've really made this story better would've been to give it more pages to expound on some things--particularly why the Blodex picked up Sonic, Super Sonic's rampage on the Blodex' city, and possibly even the thrashing (that was no fight) at the end there.

"Better Read Than Dead"
Writer: Mike Gallagher
Penciler: Dave Manak
Inker: Jim Amash

The story starts with JG (re: Justin Gabrie) talking about how they've finally gotten a chance at their own story. Sonic starts to say that it is their chance to shine, but the end of the bubble is messed up. JG wonders what's wrong with Sonic's word balloon, and the same thing happens to his (the lettering fades away). Then Sonic realizes that he's not fully inked. In the next panel, Sonic is just a pencil drawing and the next panel, JG nearly falls off the page since the borders aren't complete. JG asks who's responsible for all of this and the "villain" of the strip appears. He's Deadline (think Grim Reaper carrying an hour glass as well as a sycthe--but of course, no bones ^_^) and has the ability to mainipulate "creative time and scheduled space" with his "horror glass" to make comics become incomplete and therefore can't be sold. Sonic has become a blue pencil scribble and says to stop him. Deadline says that he can't be stopped and reverses time so that the story is nothing more than a submitted idea. Deadline then returns JG & Sonic back to normal. Sonic's had enough and goes to take out Deadline, but Deadline has Sonic be erased. Deadline then goes on to explain to JG that he's taking over because he's been sending in story ideas and drawings and has never gotten a response. JG explains that it's the common policy of comic book companies to trash things like that as it was written in crayon on cardboard and didn't have a return address. Deadline takes offense to his ideas being called common. The ideas include Mammoth Mogul joining a flea circus, Knuckles finding out his dad is Elvis, and Robotnik dancing in a tutu while Knothole burns. JG says that the ideas are awful and has finally figured out a way to defeat Deadline. Deadline doesn't understand as he hasn't had a chance to talk about his origins or how he discovered his "horror glass." JG says that h's the editor and is in control of what happens and precedes to call every person who's worked on the comic (re: a panel with the names of everyone who's worked on the comic at some point coming down on top of Deadline). This overtakes Deadline who "can't withstand the onslaught of talent" and disappears--and Sonic reappears. JG says it's time to handle the letters page and the story ends with them saying they want to know if there should be another Off-Panel story. Oh, I'll give my 2 cents on that matter...

Rating: Rings

I'll go on record for dreading this story once I heard about it--and it ended up being almost everything I feared. It actually got a few chuckles out of me and I liked the list of seemingly everyone--I don't own every single issue to check for a possible forgotten name--who's ever worked at Archie, or else this would've gotten a lower score. As for Off-Panel, it's okay, but NOT as anything other than as part of the editorial at the end of the issue. Besides the fact that I would've LOVED it if the main story had the full issue (though it was great without extra pages), the biggest reason this should not have been here is the only problem I've seen with the events of Sonic #125 (and the "spoilers" released going up to Sonic #131): the possible lack of concentration on what's going on Mobius while Sonic is in space. The whole everyone thinks Sonic is dead is a gold mine for stories to be told. It's too early to say that it won't get proper coverage like the whole incident with the inhabitants of Angel Island being sent to another zone by the Dark Legion never did on the Knuckles-side of the Archie storyline (particularly since the dingoes were on the verge of rebelling and not one word has been brought up about that fact--and it's been awhile). However, I'd have preferred a filler story similar to the Sally-centered story in Sonic #59 in which she went sky-diving with Rotor, Hamlin (hint, bring back the Substitute FFs), Hershey, Lupe, and Eric (possibly forgetting another as I'm going from memory and not looking at the issue) and ended up having dinner with some family in the forest at the request of a boy and his mother. Not much happened in the story (though I liked the exchanges between Sally and the boy), but it gave some insight as to what the Freedom Fighters were doing while Sonic & Tails were chasing Ixis Naugus. That's the kind of filler that should be done if need be; not stuff like Off-Panel.

ZoneZ The Hedgehog