Sonic The Hedgehog #144 Review by Neo Yi
After a brief short wave of SegaSonic-ish art from SPAZ (a direction getting a handful of mixed opinions on by the fans), we get a little bit of an original art piece coming from Mr. Butler of Sonic either coming towards us or being thrown back from a bubby, fizzy soda pink lemonade background. Sally is squeezed into the bottom right corner bathe in neon green colors while Knuckles is pushed back even further to the point where his only recognizably trait is his freaky metal eye and dreadlocks, and Lara-Su is completely red just below Sonic’s right show. The red border located on the top and bottom of the comic cover doesn’t exactly fit well with the overall color. Then again, neither does the neon green with Sonic’s blue. The cover would have been better with some color changes that actually doesn’t make it so horribly ugly. I can only cringe with the characters being the only appeal, notably ONLY Sonic as the rest are squished out anyways. An ugly cover, that’s all I can say.
Ingenious use of shattering glass with some of the main characters of M25YL dwelling in it. Butler does an impressive job with the glass, but the coloring feels flat and not as vibrant as I had hope for. The blue/violet BG is only an “eh” addition, possibly because I’ve been seeing one too many blue/violent-ish colors surrounding this comic series for some time now.
M25YL: THE DIE IS CAST
WRITER: Ken Penders
ARTIST: Steven Butler
INKER: Jim Amash
COLORIST: Jason Jenson
LETTERER: John E. Workman
As Knuckles repositions his discolored hat (a full year and nobody has yet to fix this error?!), he gets a visit from a rather nervous Lara whom Knuckles was expecting. Knuckles decides to give his ego a rest and finally give Lara the ultimate present that’ll last till her next birthday and Christmas: a chance for her to be a Guardian. Lara shows her expression and gratitude by leaping into her father’s arms and quickly berates him with questions (Archimedes is still alive and kickin’, but possibly insanely old now). Knuckles tells her to calm down and be patient as he has a mission to fulfill first. Incase he doesn’t make it back, Knuckles already has Julie-Su handle all the Guardianship stuff. Lara is a bit concerned about her perfect plan to be a guardian that she doesn’t seem to give a damn that her father might possibly die. She does want to go, but Julie-Su seemingly pops out of nowhere, having heard of what Knuckles would be doing. Julie is pretty durn pissed on his leaving, but he works that ol’ echidna charm and she falls for it, hook, line, and sinker. Oh, Julie-Su, what happen to ya, girl? You used to be so resistance.
Julie points out to Harry who’s conveniently parked out near the house. As we pass a Spyro ad, Sally tells Knuckles to keep an eye on Sonic and Knuckles can only give an “I’ll try” attitude. Knuckles then wonders where his daughter split off to. She pulled a Houdini and split, possibly upset she isn’t coming along for the ride. If anyone should have figured out from all the previews of a “stowaway” and clichés with the adults' kids always tagging along for the adventure by hiding out in secret, then you know where she’d be.
Knuckles boards Harry’s ride, Harry complains, and they make it to an airport where we see some thunder and lightning as the heroes leave Angel Island (about time we gots some bad weather!). They have a talk with the old timers of science before Knuckles interrupts, gasping that they’re in the Mobius Badlands which took a major bad turn for the worst. Donning space age radiation suits, the heroes go down a tunnel and into another video game ad, this time for Sly 2 (I recently played a demo and the game exceeds my expectations, considering the first game was so good, I’ll be buying this sometime in my life), and to a neon colored shelter Eggy built some years back from enemies/weapons. Convenient. Does it come with free cable TV and the internet? Eggman never seem to have the chance to use the device the heroes will use to travel back in time. Shame, he could have done some real damage. Rotor makes it clear that he’s 99.9% sure that the machine will work, but points out that the heroes might not have a chance to return back. Sonic doesn’t give a crap and being the usual act-before-think type, decides to go, no question. That’s an order, soldier!
Meanwhile, back in the airship, someone climbs out of a futuristic box that looks like it could be good use for a time capsule...or storing house cleaning mops and brooms, either ones. So, any guesses who should pop out of that capsule? If you didn’t say Lara-Su, you obviously haven’t seen many TV shows, read many comic books, etc. One of the oldest cliché where the heroes’ children come along for the ride in secret. She gets out of the time capsule box and starts to disappear much like her pops did in Knuckles #8. Sucks.
Meanwhile, Sonic is also disappearing as the machine goes haywire. Sucks once more. We get the traditional big flash of light and soon cut to the present...er...past with teenager Sonic skipping stones with Tails with another panel for Knuckles and the Chaotix, all of them predictably thinking of the future.
When I read this entire story, the entire time the word “cliché” floated in my head to the point where I wondered if I had to shoot it in order to make it sink to the bottom of the sea. Let’s recap:
*Daughter unable to go on parent’s expedition.
*Daughter sneaking and ending up on parent’s expedition.
*Giant flashing light before hero end up in destined area
*Scene of heroes in their past form, added bonus: talking about the future.
It’s a been there, done that, so there’s nothing new to report sans the overall story. So, after an entire year of M25YL, the entire arc could have easily been done in about 6 issues time then some 13+ plus issues with over 50 zillion chapters. The sleepovers, the little kids arguing, the table manner, and other bouts of emotions that wasn’t “Father’s Day” still remained pointless. If this was a stand alone paperback, it would have worked fine, but even then, if they followed that same story pattern, the entire thing would have been too jumbled up and dragged on. It seems now they’re actually getting to the point and by that time, the saga ends briefly and goes on hiatus. If they hadn’t done those pointless little sleepovers or dinner manners, the M25YL saga up to this point could have possibly finished, but Penders seems to enjoy dragging on plots that doesn’t relate to the overall story. Overall, M25YL was an insane disappointed only worth reading when it was still speculated and overrated by fans who was hungry for more. And this story alone, with it’s cliché filled plots and general discontinuity because of the extended pointless plot makes this a cliffhanger I don’t care for at all.
Butler delivers the good as usual, but Jenson’s puke green neon colors hurts my eyes. Oh, and there’s just too much blue around. I like blue, but dang, I’m getting so sick and tired of it, it makes me want to actually read more black and white comic books.
LOVE AND LOSS
WRITER: Romy Chacon
ARTIST: John Gray
INKER: Michael Higgins
COLORIST: Josh Ray
LETTERER:...Ummm, I’m not so sure
After much waiting, we FINALYY get an issue that substantially ends the love triangle/square/googolplex, if not temporarily for a long time. I’ll talk further down the review.
Dusk settles in Knothole City and the bear in the local newspaper stand is having a nice warm drink until he gets the latest batch of newspaper. Shouting like a newsies member, the newspaper sell like hotcakes from screaming fan girls who has nothing better to do then obsess over the love column. The poor bear man is scarred for life and questions why the newspaper is so damn popular. Little cute kid Sasha explains how the newspaper is famous for the “Love and Loss” section made by a girl named Aly. She then makes her leave, skipping a beat with lollipop and cute dress and all (while the bear talks behind her back as the bird on top of his hat might be building a nest or pooping on it as I type), making her way to Rosie who also has her hand on a “Love and Loss” Column.
Inside, she asks Rosie about the love column and she makes it a “woman’s night” and read the column together, and so they do.
First letter comes from Bunnie Rabbot who basically explains how much pain she’s in. The poor girl is literally in pain, true pain. The picture emphasizes a lot of what she’s feeling. Right now, she’s bursting in hysterical tears and she just can’t seem to pull herself together. It’s insanely understandably as her relationship with Antoine was one of the tightest and strongest bond in the Archie Sonic comic. A successful couple now taken up the lead so far with Knuckles and Julie-Su (although I wouldn’t be surprised if she wrote a letter about being slightly jealous whenever Rouge is around him). Aly responds by doing the opposite of what both Bunnie and Antoine are doing: Talk, if not by force. Although it’s a moot point for the time being considering Anty is away with the King and Queen on their world tour. Aly ultimately in the end tells her to be strong, but the way Bunnie is handling it, not even her physical strengths can help her now.
Next letter is Songbird Mina. Her basic problem is that while she tries to move on with life, her mind still is stuck with Sonic. It seems she was with Ash mainly as a sort of gap to feel her broken wound when Sonic and Sal kissed all the way back in #123, but with Sonic single, Mina would like to try and win him back, but of course, she can’t because guilt is holding her back, Yea, that guilt, always holds us back. And common sense and decent morals, etc. Aly basically responds back by saying be honest and give Ash more chance to grow and develop. Barring that in mind, Mina calls Ash (interrupting his sleep, the nerve!), and asks for a night out with the two. Ash, NOT looking like he wants to kill somebody and actually looking quite cute (every time I see Ash, I either see the Remington I always draw or my friend at school, Ryan who looks exactly like him, it’s scary) and content.
Third letter is none other then Amy Rose who talks of her crush on Sonic and how she has matured greatly, possible enough to try and win his heart, Aly sez, “You still needs to do some growin’, kiddo.” Amy takes this with a grain of salt and basketball shoots the newspaper after crumbling it. A reaction I’d expect Amy to do.
The fourth letter has all the previous girls reading it and instantly knowing it’s Sally’s letter. Her basic problem is how Sonic and her jobs are too different, different to the point that they broke up as a result. She wonders who’s more selfish, Sonic or herself. Aly responds by merely saying she doesn’t have the answer, both with valid points. Just have fun, be strong, and live, talk, etc.
We now cut to Sally inside her castle home where she chats with Nicole who explains that no more decoy letters be used. Sal merely used it as a cover up of some sorts. If you haven’t figured it out, Aly is Sally, the started of the “Love and Loss” column. And apparently very good at keeping her identity a secret. I was stumped on who Aly was until the end, thinking she was some random Archie character we’d never see again despite that Aly and Sally rhymes. Yes, I’m either too dumb or just getting bad at noticing the little stuff anymore.
Sally, chatting with Nicole explains of her love for Sonic. She loves him, yes, but she ultimately decides to move on forth as she loves her people more. And that’s the end of that story. Oh, yea, and that last letter for those who don’t know is Rosie talking about Uncle Chuck. Awwww.
Wow...just...wow. I was amazed at this story. First off, Romy herself risked life and limb to create a story based on something the fans are tearing apart like no tomorrow, and WB takes it one step further with the many rewrites. Yes, for those who don’t know, Job Gray has taken it upon himself to add on to the story and helped create what you see today. I recommend you go to his website and hear from the horse’s...er...artist’s mouth himself and might I say, quite a story indeed. For such a story like this with four leading ladies, I give each of them a review of what I think concerning their love life:
For Bunnie, she’s the character I’m least interested in out of the four, but when it comes to the power of love, I honestly saw nothing more stronger then the bond between Antoine and her, so it came to be a GIANT shock when she and Ant split and turned sour like last week’s milk. I truly felt upset for Bunnie, just seeing her lie down, breaking down, not able to handle herself. I doubt Sally should send her on any missions anytime soon. The poor girl is devastated and the letter expresses well. Unfortunately, out of the three letters, this one is the one least solved. Not a definite answer is given on what Bunnie will do with Ant. She could take Aly’s advice, but I felt more questioned on how Bunnie’s romance will be then anyone else’s. So, I guess to me, it’s only a matter of waiting and finding out.
With Mina’s letter, I got a satisfying answer. Mina is a superbly designed character and wonderful personality. She certainly has gotten popular over the short time she’s been in the comic. Her love was defined greatly. She’s getting over Sonic and giving Ash a better chance.
Amy Rose is the only letter in which I have to disagree with Aly. This is coming from a girl who started off as a 10 year stuck in a 12 year old body and acted in that manner. Throughout the appearance of her comic, however, I’ve seen her mature greatly and handle things in a sensible, mature manner while still retaining that cute charm. For Aly to say she still has more growing up to do is kinda upsetting, especially since Amy has tried SO hard, too. I’d praise her then ask her to grow up. True, she’s still only 12 and thusly not as mature as Sonic and Sally is, but she’s struggled a lot to get what she has and I have to give credit where it’s due. Likewise, her reaction on Aly’s letter was perfect. Just what I’d expect her to do. I’d be pretty offended if someone thought I wasn’t mature enough, no matter how hard I tried. In a sense, I don’t see Amy being with Sonic in this comic, if not at all. Their bond romantically isn’t as well expressed as it is in the games and current anime, and unless Archie Sonic plays out a potential Sonic/Amy, I honestly do not see a relationship between the two at all, which is what the comic seems to be implying at the moment.
As for Sally’s letter...well, I must say, this was pretty darn clever approach. Make Sal write a decoy letter so no one suspects that Aly is the princess herself. I don’t know if it fooled many, but dang, it sure fooled me. I mean, Aly rhymed with Sally, that should have been a dead give away there, but I didn’t even see it. This is coming from someone who thought the first story in this issue was a dead cliché right off the bat. How I never manage to figure it out could partially be because of a video game called Jak II.
Now, I must remain you that the following paragraphs WILL contain spoilers for Jak II, do please skip it or turn back for those not wishing to be spoiled:
There are several scenes in the game where the leading male meets with an old man and a young boy. The young boy is an important character, he’s the prince of his kingdom and needs to be protected from the evil trying to get him. What I didn’t know at the time was that the young boy was the younger self of the main leading male. It took me nearly 2/3 of the way before I started to have suspicious and ALL the way to the final boss before I finally found out (and gasped) that the young boy and the leading hero was the same. Yes, I didn’t figure it out and this is cliché that’s actually been in use before. I guess because the story is captivating. “Love and Loss” does exactly that. It kept me on the edge of my seat and even surprised me in the end with Aly’s true identity. Not to mention the story does what I’ve been waiting for since nearly 50 issues back: The end of that darn love triangle. We got the sensible thing: Neither girls, by which I mean Mina and Sally, gets Sonic. None. He’s single. For that matter, Amy doesn’t get him either. It’s both a lose/lose situation and win/win. I doubt the love issue will go away, but considering this story, I doubt we’ll be seeing it for some time. After so many empty promises of the love triangle ending, I am finally and officially convinced that we won’t be seeing it for some time and for that, I’m grateful. I shall now do the dance of happiness.
Gray delivers solid work here. His Amy Rose and Ash are the top highlights of the issue. The emotions are perfectly used as well and while I think his cry happy Bunnie is a bit on the ugly side, it gets the job done. I’m extremely grateful that Josh Ray colored this then Jenson. Considering Gray’s artwork mixed with Jenson creates eye candy, but enough details to make me dizzy, I enjoyed the simplistic approach. The coloring is still vibrant, spot-on, and nice. It’s simple, but sports great lighting and vibrant feel and that makes me happy to look at this artwork from time to time.
We get a Data File of the Acorn family first (eh), some bunch of fan arts (the only one I like is the last one with the four leading Sonic characters from the video game), bunches of letters (not much of “I’m Sonic’s #1 fan”, thank goodness), and a preview of the next issue Sonic with Shadow (Don’t care). That’s it, good night folks.
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