Sonic The Hedgehog #155 Review by Dirk Amoeba
by Sanford Greene.

So far, Sanford has been doing fairly good work on these covers. This one depicts Sonic curled up in a ball and crying, in the corner of some dungeon-looking room, clutching a scroll bearing the words "Marriage of Princess Sally." Obviously, we get some idea of what this story involves.

"Line of Succession (Part One)"
Writer: Ken Penders
Penciler: James Fry
Inker: Jim Amash
Letterer: John Workman
Colorist: Jason Jensen
Editor: Mike Pellerito
Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-In-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Sega Reps: Robert Leffler and Dyna Lopez.

We open in a castle somewhere, presumably that of King Leonus, who King Max met with today. King Max discusses with "Antione" the difficulties he is having convincing Leonus to join his coalition. Regular readers will, of course, recall that Antoine has not been himself lately, which we recently found out was literally true: Antoine has been replaced with the Anti-Antoine from Anti-Mobius, a character that fans often call Patch. In any case, Patch gives Max something to drink which makes him fall asleep, while his speech bubbles reveal that he will soon rule the Kingdom of Acorn.

Meanwhile, in Knothole, Tails searches for Sonic and finds to his surprise that Sonic is making out with Fiona Fox, his crush, in the woods. Sonic looks slightly guilty, but Fiona wants to know what the big deal is. Tails finally reveals that he has a crush on Fiona, who shoots him down because of the five-year age difference. Tails becomes angry and shouts that he hates Sonic and runs off. Sonic says, "Tails," the only thing he's said so far in this issue, and then FIona tells him to let Tails go because there's nothing he could do.

Returning to the plot, we find Patch flying King Max and Queen Alicia home due to Max's illness. Max is examined by Dr. Quack, who tells him all he needs is sleep and to take his medicine with each meal. Quack puts "Antoine" in charge of the medicine. Oops.

In any case, Patch stands guard outside Max's door, which upsets Sally because she thinks it's unneccesary. After Sally is reunited with her parents after their twenty-issue world tour, Max drops the bomb: he's stepping down as king and Sally must Marry Antoine and take the throne. Sally's not too pleased with this, but her parents insist that it's tradition. Besides, Max reminds her, last time Sally tried to choose her own mate, she chose a "commoner" (ie, Sonic). Sally runs from the room crying as Patch looks on smugly.

Cut to Sonic's house, where he's playing guitar and trading Beatles references with his mother. Apparently, he's completely over the fact that he crushed his best friend's heart. Then, Bunnie shows up at the house in tears. She tells Sonic that Sally is marrying Patch (who she believes to be Antoine, her ex).

Naturally, Sonic is pissed at the fact that he wasnt' even told, so in true Sonic fashion he runs to Castle Acorn. He's met at the bridge by Patch, who tells him to get lost. Sonic insists on entering, so Patch comes at him with a sword. Naturally, Sonic is shocked by this, because it's completely out of character for Antoine. But, unbeknownst to Sonic, this is Patch rather than Ant, so there's a brief fight and Sonic lands in the water. Sonic simply gives up now.

Patch goes in to talk to Sally, who is still displeased with ther father's request. Patch puts on a fake air of sympathy and claims that he doesn't want to do it either, but he will anyway because it is his duty.

The next morning, King Max's condition has worsened: he's in a coma. With this in mind, Sally resolves to go through with the wedding and calls for the preparation to begin. Meanwhile, Sonic leaves his own parents without telling him where he's going and they barely worry about what he's up to. Apparently, Sonic has finally realized that something's seriously wrong here, but he's unsure of whether to crash the wedding or ask an as-yet-unnamed third party for help.

The issue ends with the wedding. Sally considers her future with Antoine, believing it might not be so bad, and that someday she'll get over Sonic. Sally says her "I do," and the story ends with a cliffhanger.

Play on, Playa, Indeed!
The big buzz generated by this issue is not Sally's marriage to the Anti-Antoine, because any reader can guess that this will be undone within a couple of issues if not sooner. No, the issue here is the Sonic/Fiona/Tails love triangle that has suddenly popped up.

From a fairly objective standpoint, this is a valid criticism. After all, this story isn't about Fiona or Tails, and neither character even appears in the story outside of the three pages on which that one scene occurs (okay, Tails's head appears on the final page, partially obscured by the flowers in the foreground). I think Ken knew when he wrote this scene that it woud shock some fans, and some of them would be displeased. Its a pity he went ahead and included it anyway, because this shock distracts the fans from the rest of the story, which is about the Sonic/Sally/Antoine love triangle (more on that later).

From a more subjective standpoint, I just dont' find the scene believable at all. The result of such a fragmented fandom is that every fan has an idea of who Sonic is and who he is not. It is Ken Penders's opinion that Sonic is the popular jock, the kind of guy who will make out with his best friend's crush on page two and then flirt with a teammate on page eight. My opinion is that Sonic is not that kind of guy at all. His utter lack of concern for Tails is believable, considering he has his own romantic issues to deal with, but even before that, he seems pretty unconcerned with it, jsut happily strumming a guitar.

Then there's Fiona's attitude. It was only two issues ago that Fiona established that she and Sonic were even on okay terms, but here she is making out with him and referring to him as her "boyfriend." She's downright cruel to Tails and seems to do nothing but antagonize him because of his age.

Which brings us to Tails, of course. Tails is fairly in-character until he exdplodes at Sonic. Okay, yeah, he's an eleven-year-old fox and he has horomones and emotions and whatnot, but he's still Tails and it surprises me that he would behave in such a way.

Sally isn't Sally!
Okay, I know that "Tails isn't Tails" and "Antoine isn't Antoine" were enough for you, but Sally is simply behaving ridiculous in this issue. Of course, it's hard to say what would be in character for Sally, because Sally has been consistently out of character for the past twenty issues or so, but this is a little too much.

Sally's portrayal is pretty good until she learns that she's to marry Antoine. Then, she cycles through moral outrage, adolescent belligerence, and sobbing hysterics. And that's only on one page. Next appearance, she's a damsel in distress, before a return to dutiful determination that is more like the Sally we know.

Fry's Return
No buts about it.. seeing the return of Fry as a major penciller on the book does a lot of good. Just opening the book and seeing the first page, Fry's drawings are on-model and often plain old cute. The scenes of Tails' explosion on page four are... well, scary. But it's an odd thing to have to draw. Sally is rendered particularly well, particularly her "moral outrage" pose on page seven, panel two. I look forward to seeing more of Fry's work in the future, particularly as I'm still sore at the book losing Jon Gray.

The Ultimatum
This story doesn't even refer to the events of #60's "The Ultimatum," by the same author, but we can clearly tell that Kenders had that story in mind while writing this story. In that story, King Max told Sally that the Source of All had showed him a vision of a future in which she was mayying Antoine, and King Max seems to fall back on that vision in his desperation.

Of course, it isn't Antoine at all, but Patch. Kenders is using this Antoine-isn't-Antoine plot to resolve the Ultimatum plot point. He made it clear in a recent post on his message board that the Sally/Patch wedding was what he saw and he misinterpreted it as a wedding between Sally and Antoine. More on this in the review of #156, I htink.

Overall Score: 8/10
A decent story that seriously suffers from the inclusion of an unnecesary scene.

"The Price of Flame (Part One)"
Writes: Mike Gallagher
Draws: Art Mawhinney
Inks/Letters: Mike Higgins
Colors: Jason Jensen

Apparently, this story takes place prior to "Tossed in Space," owing to Antoine's cheerful demeanor and Sally's short hair. In any case, the freedom fighters are throwing Dulcy the Dragon a pep rally to thank her for all she's helped them in the past. Dulcy appreciates the gesture, but she's distressed that she can't light the bonfire with her breath, so she leaves. Sonic then realizes that her flame breath hasn't been seen in quite a while. Dulcy confirms this, and cue flashback.

When Dulcy was a youngling, with a black nose ring instead of a gold one, her dragon colony was attacked by SWATbots and mostly roboticized, including her mother. The few survivors, led by the dragon elder Glint, escaped to find Vesuvio, the ancient dragon city beneath a mountain, because we don't have enough ancient cities beneath mountains in this continuity. According to legend, the original magic golden rings were created in Vesuvio by the Ancient Walkers. never mind that we positively established some ninety issues ago that Nate Morgan invented the rings.

Glint forbade anyone to leave Vesuvio, but Dulcy snuck out once in a while. On one such visit, she happeend upon a group of SWATbots attacking Sonic and Sally, so she saved them with her fire breath and then joined the Freedom Figters, sneaking out of Vesuvio whenever possible to help out.

Of course, she was eventually caught by Glint, who replaced her nose ring with a power ring that deprived her of her fire breath and marked her as exiled from Vesuvio. She continued to aid the Freedom Fighters, but was unable to breathe fire.

After the flashback is over, Duly decides that she ought to go back to Vesuvio and request a pardon. However, when she reaches the mountain, she is knocked unconcious by a group of Robotnik's mecha-dragons, who had been tailing her in hopes that she would give them just such an opportunity to find Vesuvio. Cliffhanger!

Potto Ponderings
Those of you who keep up with the news regarding this book are probably aware that this issue was to include "See Ya Later, Chao," the debut of new writer Ian Flynn. Or Ian Potto, if you know him online. It's a major disappointment that instead of seeing a story by a writer who many fans are familiar with and have been wanting to see on the book, we get an inventory story that was apparently written for the pre-TiS continuity.

Silly Knuckles. I fell in a vat. That's why I'm colored strangely. (Again)
It's funny that, in my recent review of Archie-SX #1, I mentioned that rather than admit a goof, the folks at Archie made a Knuckles #29 plot point about a coloration mistake in early Archie-StH issues. Well, here they go again. They tried to make up an explanation for why Dulcy's nose ring was miscolored on the cover of SSS #2. Honestly, do we care?

Art's Art
I'm a fan of Art Mawhinney, usually. And in this story, he does his job quite well. The dragons look like something out of a kiddie movie, but that's probably appropriate. However, the coloring leaves a lot to be desired. Everything looks far too shiny and happy for a story dealing with dragons.

Overall Score: 6/10
It's a story worth telling: Dulcy's background. But the plot inconsitencies and rushed storytelling make it less than satisfying.