Sonic The Hedgehog #137 Review by True Red
|For the first time ever, Spaz is responsible for the entire cover, including the coloring. After getting over the absolute dread the appearance of a particular character on the cover had (I'll wait until the story to discuss him), I managed to give an okay to the cover. It has nothing to do with anything Spaz did exactly. The work is good, but after seeing the cover for #138 (I have a subscription as of #137 so I get issues earlier), it finally hit me what bugged me about this cover. It's too "cute." Granted, Sonic isn't supposed to be hardcore or something, but the style is a bit cutesy. That'll be fine for some, but cutesy stuff can annoy me. In an issue where there are many "new" things as Mike Pellerito emphasized in the editorial part, the cover was the first thing of note.
The frontpiece image by Axer, in complete contrast to the cover, is pretty dark. Robotnik (who will not appear anywhere else in the issue) in the background looks a bit menancing with the electric/lightning effect around him. The robotic Sonic is a hint to a plot point concerning the "fake" Tommy discovery last issue. Considering the cover, I liked the image even more. As for the text around the frontpiece, whoever did the writing needs to stop it with the puns. Puns are rarely funny and they weren't even close to funny this time.
Writer: Romy Chacon
Penciler: Steven Butler
Inker: Jim Amash
In the Freedom Fighter Special Mark 2 being piloted by Antoine, the aforementioned Antoine is with Sonic, Sally, Rotor, Bunnie, and Tails as they head for New Megaopolis in search of Tommy. The group snuck out of Knothole without King Max's permission to go on this rescue mission. Sonic and Sally have a mini-convo to explain why Sally (and to an extent, Rotor) have come along and Sonic hints that he has been missing Sally (awww). For some reason, Romy has decided to alter Bunnie's Southern accent a bit and has Antoine's French accent occur in full force (at least in the beginning, she toned it down on Antoine as the story continued thankfully). After Rotor & Sonic marvel at the size of the buildings and Sonic tells Tails that "ain't ain't a word" (you have to love corrections that feature the "incorrect" part), Sally plans the mission accentuated with holograms by Nicole. Since Antoine doesn't feel that both he and Tails need to watch the plane (as part of Sal's plan), Antoine says that he should be coming along the main mission and Sally says that he can. So, poor Tails has to stay with the plane as the others leave.
The group makes it inside the factory and find that there are a ton of robots being made "by the thousands" that once given fake furs will look like ordinary Mobians. As a result, Sally says that they have to change their priorities to taking down the factory before rescuing Tommy. Sonic objects since Tommy could get hurt, but they don't get to argue the point further since Swatbots discover them. Sonic, Bunnie, and Antoine take the Swatbots head on while Rotor & Sally work on another way--electrocution to be exact--to take them down. Since Sally grabbed Sonic out of the way before he could be electrocuted along with the Swatbots, the two go to rescue Tommy and leave Rotor, Bunnie, & Antoine to take out the factory.
While Rotor, Bunnie, & Antoine are sneaking about a Swatbot walks by saying that intruders have been seen, which makes Rotor wonder about Sonic & Sally until the duo appears right behind him. Sally walks over to Bunnie to discuss the plan, but Rotor notices that Nicole isn't with Sally. Meanwhile, in a cell, Tommy (why is he alive?) is about to be executed, but Sonic buzzsaws the swatbot to Tommy's delighted surprise. Back with the others, Rotor's question tips everyone off that the "Sally" and "Sonic" with them are fakes. Before "Sonic" can alert other Swatbots to their location, Antoine slices "Sonic's" head off and Bunnie destroys "Sally" by sending her into the ceiling. Back with Tommy, Tommy's chains are cut off and Sally & Tommy share a hug before Nicole informs them that they're wanted. While Bunnie & Antoine do the work of holding off the Swatbots on the roof, Rotor tells them that the bombs are ready and that they need to leave now. By the time Sonic, Sally, & Tommy reach the others, the roof is filled with Swatbots and they don't have a way out until Tails makes his timely arrival. The group gets on the plane, the factory is blown up and with the exception of having to tell King Max, everything is peachy.
Rating: 1/2 Rings
Actually, this story, particularly after #135 and #136, was in some ways a breath of fresh air. The problem with this story lies with the resurrection of Tommy Turtle. Why was he brought back? How does he survive being blown to bits? That "explanation" the fake Tommy made in #135 doesn't cut it as an explanation as it is filled with too many holes. Other than the question mark raised by the clones of Sonic & Sally (which also show that Robotnik doesn't need to have a particular mobian captured to make "perfect" robotic clones of them), the story flows well. I particularly love the detail to continuity in regards to events of Sonic #130-34. This was the first time this trilogy actually felt like it belonged here instead of as a possible "flashback" tale as to something to occurred prior to Sonic #124-25. Butler is eye-candy as usual, but it was things like the last panel on page 5 with Rotor showing his exasperation at Sonic & Sally arguing again that made this story so nice to view.
"Mobius: 25 Years Later -- Trouble In Paradise"
Writer: Ken Penders
Penciler: Steven Butler
Inker: Jim Amash
The day of the dinner meeting that was set up in Sonic #131 by Espio has finally arrived (which means that for the first time that there has actually been a skipping of days between two installments of M:25YL). King Sonic (take Sonic from the main story and add a crown to his head) and Queen Sally are walking toward the plane with Sonic making a last ditch effort to convince Sally to not have him come along. Sally won't agree to it even though Sonic says they can make it up to Julie-Su and Lara-Su later. The admission of Knuckles' name doesn't escape Sally who thinks Sonic's still mad about "last year" (something that keeps being mentioned yet never explained). As the two board the plane, we see Manik for the first time (think Sonic, missing a tooth, and wearing sneakers similar to Sonic's SA2-style sneakers). As the plane takes off and the ride continues, Manik asks the age old "are we there yet" question to Sonic who pretty much bemoans that this will be a long trip. As the ride continues, Sally finally asks Sonic what's wrong since Sonic has been a little distant. Anyway, Sonic tells her that he doesn't think he should be King as he hates politics and loves adventuring. Sonic clarifies himself to point out that he actually likes being a father, just not being King which he has found out is different from even what he thought from seeing the politics in action prior to joining it. Sally says that Sonic has picked the wrong time to worry about this since the kingdom needs him now and tells him that Knuckles will have to tell him why (and the way it's phrased, I'll assume that Knuckles hasn't told Sally any specifics either).
On Angel Island, Julie-Su is awake and asking a clearly sleeping Knuckles if he's asleep (no, I think he's snoring because he's awake :P). So Julie screams to wake Knuckles and when Knuckles asks what's wrong, the first thing she says is that she couldn't sleep to which Knuckles basically says, so? Julie feels that something is wrong and that Knuckles won't tell her what it is. Knuckles says that nothing is wrong and Julie asks him who does he think he's fooling. A little later, Julie-Su is drying herself off from bathing as she tells Knuckles that their "guests will be here soon." Knuckles points out that he wouldn't spend time with Sonic if he didn't have to do it, which causes Julie-Su to reiterate her earlier point that she feels Knuckles is keeping something from her, not that she's worried about "last time" repeating itself. So finally, Knuckles tells Julie-Su that Rotor & Cobar think that the weird weather is the sign of something terrible about to happen and Knux doesn't believe that Rotor & Cobar know exactly and aren't giving the full story either.
A little later, Sonic rings the doorbell to Knuckles & co. home. and the story ends to be continued next issue.
Though I didn't summarize it in the manner it was presented, this story featured a dual layout with the Sonic/Sally stuff going on the left-side of each page while the Knuckles/Julie-Su stuff occurred on the right-side. Story-wise, this was fine. Nothing was stellar, but it wasn't bad either. Manik isn't 13 yet being the only bit of new information outside of the Sonic/Sally situation. Poor Sonia was barely in the story at all. I still wish Sally had a different dress as it screams "Queen Alicia" too much to me, particularly with the lack of changes to Sonic's attire, which I'm hoping is due to some sort of contract restraint instead of laziness. Artwise, Butler's work is good, it's just the Sonic/Sally scenes that are pretty much all heads that help creates the boring mood, particularly in comparison to the "animated" Knuckles/Julie-Su scenes.
"One Part Ooh-La-La, and Two Parts Treachery!"
Writer: Romy Chacon
Penciler: Al Bigley
Inker: Michael Higgins
Antoine is preparing a speech about accepting his assignment as head of King Max's security force (mentioned in #134). As Antoine is putting things away while thinking about his speech, a piece of paper falls out of book and as Antoine looks at it, he realizes that it's a letter from Bunnie...and the flashback begins...
Antoine had received a letter from a girl much to his surprise as Bunnie walked in, which surprised Antoine who jumped up and then tries to convince Bunnie that he's only doing pull-ups as exercise. Bunnie isn't fooled by that and wants to know what's up but Antoine panics and pulls the "look over there & run away" trick to try to hide. Anyway, finding out very quickly that he can't hide from Bunnie who finds him almost instantly, Antoine calms down and finally says what's bothering him. He just received a letter from Tatiana, who was the first girl he ever liked back when he was a kid. After telling Tatiana a story about an adventure as a Freedom Fighter, Sonic came and re-told Ant's story making it seem like Sonic "was the hero and [Antoine] the coward." Anyway, Antoine still arranged to meet up with her later, but ended up finding her hanging out with Sonic. Tatiana moved away and Antoine hadn't seen her since. Tatiana is planning on visiting Knothole today and Antoine was afraid that Bunnie might be upset since he'd liked Tatiana before her. At that moment, Tatiana appears and asks Antoine if he'd like to "reminisce" about the past. Antoine tells her that he doesn't because his heart "no longer belongs to [her] to trample as [she wishes]" and that he rather take a walk with his "girlfriend" (re: Bunnie) as he leaves with Bunnie. Antione mentions to Bunnie that Tatiana didn't care about him and he had been scared to really fall in love until Bunnie gave him the strength to conquer his fears since she accepts him the way he is.
The letter ends with Bunnie saying that though she was afraid to say that she loves him at the moment like Antoine did, that she really does love him. As Antoine finishes reading it, Bunnie actually happens to walk by the window. Antoine rips the letter up and then goes back to thinking about his speech.
Rating: 1/2 Rings
Other than the artistic mistake with Bunnie having her post-SSS#11 look instead of her pre-SSS#11 look, this story was very nice. This gave a clear indication as to Antoine's take on the split with Bunnie and added something for Antoine's character to me. I can't help but feel for him right now.
Al Bigley made his debut and definitely wasn't very impressive. I also question his source material since his work reminded me of Lim's work in the Sonic #90s in particular. The rest just seemed a bit of making the characters look like animals as their appearances were rougher on the edges than Sonic characters usually are. Since the characters are definitely recognizable and the emotional expressions were drawn well, Bigley has a shot of getting much better.
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