Sonic The Hedgehog #130 Review by True Red
I love this cover. The vegetation growth on Sonic's "grave" and Sally's longer hair are more than just show (as will be revealed in the story). However, it's Sonic's body language and expression that sell the cover for me the most. The sun setting in the background is another huge plus. No frontpiece in this issue as it's just text. No big deal as the cover is awesome enough.

"Home, Part 1: The Blue Blur Returns"
Writer: Karl Bollers
Pencilers: J. Axer & Steven Butler
Inkers: Michael Higgins & Jim Amash
Continuing from last issue, Sonic crash lands on Mobius. He's so happy to be back that he's kissing a tree, but then Sonic sees "thick black smoke" rising. So, he goes to check it out and finds a crowd of terrified Mobians. Two of them aren't showing any fear though--Hershey & Geoffrey. They're getting married! We soon find out that Robotnik is granting the two their final wish before executing them. Robotnik also had the homes of the other Mobians burned to the ground for hiding Hershey & Geoffrey. The two had discovered something that Robotnik doesn't want King Max to know (yet). Before the two can be killed, Sonic totals the Swatbot about to do the honors. This, of course, is met with complete utter disbelief by everyone present. As the other Swatbots now turn their attention to Sonic, Sonic makes short work of them all (loved the "blue lightning" effect). After Sonic is done, everyone is just staring at Sonic in complete silence. I loved seeing Sonic from the viewpoint of the Mobians here. It added to the "shocked" atmosphere and definitely sold it for me. Sonic breaks the silence by saying "I'm home!" Now everyone cheers, while Hersh hugs Sonic and Sonic & Geoff shake hands (geninuely too I must add--who'd of thought it possible long ago). Sonic says he'll explain his survival later as Geoff & Hersh explain that Robotnik declared war on all of the Kingdom of Acorn and has an atomic arsenal now. Sonic says that he'll go warn Knothole for them and runs off before he can be told anything else.

In "New Megaopolis--capital of the Eggman Empire," Robotnik wants to know what happened. A female robot (?) called "M" (most likely standing for Mecha based on spoilers for upcoming issues) states the obvious in terms of losing their video feed of Geoff & Hersh. A computer called "A.D.A.M." (I wonder what that means) informs them that the phalanx was destroyed and shows the last video image: Sonic standing on top of the first Swatbot he destroyed. Three guesses on how Robotnik took THAT image. If you don't think he took it well, go to the head of the class. ;) M asks who is the hedgehog and Robotnik tells her that he's Sonic. It turns out that Robotnik deleted all his records on Sonic since he thought he was dead and mentions how he hates Sonic more than anything.

Meanwhile, Sonic has finally reached Knothole and he is just as shocked at how the place looks as the Mobians he saved were to see him. Knothole is now a more modern-like city while still keeping its forest-like identity (it's also called Knothole City). Sonic now wonders how long he's been gone since he was in space for 6 weeks, but the way Knothole currently looks couldn't have been completed in 6 weeks. Sonic asks a random little girl (she's cute) how long it's been since the Xorda battle and finds out he's been gone a year. Sonic is surprised by this bit of info (so was I to be honest) and after being pointed in the direction of the castle by the girl, he runs off. I found it fitting actually that Sonic said "thanks."

Sonic reaches the castle (which looks the same on the outside) and the guards are surprised to see him (but we all know this would be the recurring theme of the issue :D), but they let him in with no problems. Inside, surprisingly, we find Knux, Julie, Espy, Vec, & Mighty talking to King Max & Queen Alicia. Knux wants to go to Angel Island to free it from Robotnik's forces (ooohh...interesting). The royals say that they can't allow it because they need their help, especially since they only know that Robotnik is up to something--not what the something happens to be yet. Sonic just says "Oh, yes we do" to interject into the conversation--and of course surprising everyone by being alive. Knux & the Chaotix run to greet Sonic. Sonic & Knux have a quick convo about hearing that the other was dead (that was funny). Next surprise, is that King Max can now walk as he & Queen Alicia approach Sonic in a stately manner--hey, they are royals. After the customary kneel, Sonic tells everyone that Robotnik has atomic weaponry, but has no idea how much (I wonder if Geoff & Hersh could've estimated it if Sonic had stuck around longer). This bit of news is interrupted as Uncle Chuck (who's got some new clothes) comes in to see if what the guards had said--that Sonic is alive--was true. The two hedgehogs hug and Sonic asks about his parents. Uncle Chuck says that he'll get them, so Sonic turns to the royals and asks them, "Where's Sal?" (we saw that coming right? ;D).

It turns out that Sally is sitting by Sonic's memorial/grave. Sonic approaches her from behind and we "see" from Sonic's perspective. I really liked that aspect of this. Sonic hesitates to touch her (you could actually treat the cover as a "cut" panel from this scene), but eventually Sally turns around. The two share a kiss. The moment gets ruined by paparazzi (that's right, there's paparazzi in the comic now) snapping a ton load of pictures. Eventually, some guards stop the photographers, who are from the "Knothole Associated Press" according to Sally. While the duo walk back to the castle, Sonic asks Sally if she's going to ask how he survived or say how she thought he was dead. Sal tells him that she won't because she knew that he'd come back eventually no matter how long it took. Arriving at the castle, Sonic is pounced by Tails while Amy, Rotor, and Bunnie surround them. Jules helps Sonic up after Tails' "attack" and Bernie hugs him. Rotor and Bunnie have new outfits as both have brown jackets (Rotor's has a white collar unlike Bunnie's and has shorter sleeves). Rotor also has glasses (shades of Mobius: 25 Years Later appearing...) and Bunnie has an Indiana Jones-like hat. Antoine gives Sonic a salute and to Sonic's surprise has a scar by his left eye and is EXTREMELY serious. Ant's uniform looks slightly more official, too.

After reuniting with the FFs, everyone goes to Command Central, which has Rotor's Technolo-Tree. It's a tree that has global video communication capabilities. As the group assembles, King Max talks with the President of Station Square (I wish he'd get a name other than "President"). Anyway, G.U.N. wants the Pres to do a pre-emptive strike against Robotnik, which Queen Alicia comments is "unacceptable" due to thousands dying (I'm liking her more and more as she's gotten back into the loop). The Pres says that G.U.N. is calling them "collateral damage" and Sonic says that there has to be another way. The Pres welcomes Sonic back to the action, but says that Sonic is "out of the loop" and since Robotnik is "playing hardball" that they should do the same. On that note, the Pres' signal is overridden by Robotnik. Robotnik says that he's happy to see Sonic alive so that he can kill him (someone needs a new hobby ^^). Robotnik's message: 1) He's sending a horde of robots (one of them looks like a E-1000 series bot) to destroy the force field around Robotropolis to release the radiation it contains (which would make the Great Forest & Knothole in particular uninhabitable); 2) he has an atomic missile aimed at Knothole City; 3) he has another atomic missile aimed at Station Square--a.k.a. "Operation: Triple Threat." The issue ends with Robotnik saying, "Can you tackle it?"

Rating: 1/2 Rings

Awesome beginning to this storyline and similar to how Sonic #68 (at least for me) was a pick me up after Sonic & Tails touring Mobius, this issue does surpass the recent ones--though some of the stories were good during the space trip. There are tons of questions after this glimpse into the "changes." The most intriguing one is Antoine's change and it does have me wondering if something has happened to his father perhaps? The other big question is how did Robotnik get Angel Island? Considering the group (Knux & the Chaotix) are in Knothole, I wonder if they were even on the island when it happened. I still haven't figured out if Knux' comments in the issue were due to extreme optimism or if it was a recent takeover. Of course, there's also the Brotherhood to wonder about as well on the matter. They aren't chop liver in battle, nor is the Dark Legion--unless the Dark Legion and Robotnik have an alliance going, which would put the island takeover into a totally different perspective. Many more questions need to be answered and within the coming year, hopefully we'll get some (if not most) of them answered.

Seeing King Max walking was an interesting surprise. Save for the Sega characters (and Julie-Su), seemingly every main character has a make-over in some way. The make-overs look good to me, though I'd like a better look at Bunnie's new look. With Axer & Butler splitting the art chores, there's no question about how good the art quality was in this issue. I did love the decision to include those dramatic effect scenes and Butler pulled them off well. I still miss the days when Hershey had a bushy tail, but as long as she and Geoffrey aren't made to look like identical twins, it's all good in the end. Can't wait until part two.

Miles "Per" Hour