Sonic The Hedgehog #156 Review by Dirk Amoeba
by Sanford Greene.

I know what I said last month, but I seriously don't like this cover. Everything looks all... I can't even describe it. Drugged up. Sally looks ridiculous and the rest of the people don't look much better.

"Line of Succession (Part Two)"
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

You may recall that last issue concluded with the wedding of Princess Sally and Antoine D'Coolette. This picks up at the very end of the wedding, and the two have been married. Recall also that this isn't really Antoine, but Anti-Antoine, also known as "Patch." The couple fakes a smile as they walk away from the altar, although Sally is depressed and Patch is looking forward to becoming king.

Sonic, at that moment, stands in a house that appears to have been decorated by the Mobian equivalent of a Navajo Indian, talking to a figure in shadows, asking for help. Shadowy guy won't help, however, so Sonic leaves, breifly meeting an old couple who inform him that the wedding is over.

Sonic goes to crash the afterparty, but Patch has him thrown in the dungeon. To Sonic's dismay, Sally supports him in this. Patch then goes to quietly off King Max. Meanwhile, a cloakied figure is riding a horse with considerable urgency, and he's wearing a fancy ring. The figure arrives at the palace and reveals himself to be none other than Prince Elias, Sally's brother.

Sonic is as surprised as anyone, because he had asked the shadowy Elias to help before, but at the urging of his wife, Meg, he decided to come forward. Elias and Meg seem to suspect Antoine of disloyalty (no, really?). Elias and Sonic walk in on Patch who is about to deliver a needle of poison to the king. He quickly hides it and makes up a story about how he's there to attend to the sick king's needs. Elias reveals that he intends to take the throne, causing Patch to make him the primary target. Patch leads Sonic and Elias to the banquet hall.

Sally and her mother, Alicia, discuss the upcoming coronation, but that's when Elias walks in and asserts his right to the throne. Alicia informs him that his step-child isn't elligible in the line of succession (as Dan Drazen puts it, "typical mother-and-child reunion stuff"). Regardless, Elias is instantly elevated to king. Antoine goes to shake his hand.

However, Sonic spots what's going on-- Antoine has the needle in his hand, and he's ready to kill Elias. Sonic tackles him to the ground and they fight, leading to Sonic's final realization that Patch is Patch and not Antoine (about time). Sonic knocks him out and reveals that he just happens to have the Zone-Link Generator last seen in issue 150, I believe. Never mind how or why. Sonic pulls the switcheroo, returning the real Antoine to the continuity once and for all.

All's well that ends well: Sally gets an annulment, Sonic reunites Bunnie and Antoine, and Sonic and Fiona walk off holding hands as Sally and Tails wach watch, each less than pleased.

Fry Guy
Once again, James Fry more than gets the job done with his excellent pencil work. Particularly impressive are the depictions of Elias on hoseback as well as the fight scene between Sonic and Antoine. Check out page eleven, panel five.... that's gotta hurt.

Let there be Elias
Elias's return to the comic is welcome, particularly if it's going to be taking some of the stress off of Sally, leading to a possible reconciliation of Sonic and Sally. However, all this aside, it was slightly abrupt. I think it would have been a little bit better if his return had been set up in the last issue. From Sonic's passing mention last issue of the possibility of asking for help, some fans guessed Elias might be the guy to go to, but a little more buildup would have been nice.

When Elias does return, however, nobody seems all too pleased to see him, notably Sally and Alicia. Apparently, he hadn't been living nearby for a while, so shouldn't there be something of a reunion rather than Instant King, Just Add Water?

More on the Ultimatum
As mentioned in the review of #155, this story finally closes the door on the Ultimatum plot point and the likelihood of a Sally/Antoine relationship. One of the most common arguments against the "SonSal" pairing and the validity of "Mobius: 25 Years Later" is that in #60's "The Ultimatum," the king reported a Source-given vision of Sally marrying Antoine. Ken has essentially confirmed that that plot is now resolved.

Is this good? Well, yes, I think. Becuase it does other things. It opens up Sally to be with whoever she wants (read: Sonic) and opens up Antoine to be with whover he chooses (read: Bunnie). In this way, it also effectively kills the ill-conceived SonBunnie pairing by giving her her guy back, and everything's okay.

Well, not really. I mean, Sonic walks off with Fiona, leaving Tails miserable, and Sally probably less than pleased as well. But you win some, you lose some.

Overall Score: 8.5/10
A pretty good story with some issues such as Elias's reunion with his family and the depressing final scene. However, the story is tense and exciting.

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

A small drawing of Sonic brings us up to speed with the events of last issue and informs us that it is magic that has allowed the dragons to stay roboticized. Yeah, that's some nifty magic. Why couldn't that magic have... you know, stopped them from being roboticized in the first place, or at least allowed them to pull a "Mecha Madness" style deroboticization?

Anyway, the mecha-dragons are wrecking havoc on the dragons of Vesuvio, thanks to Dulcy's carelessness. Ducly regians conciousness just in time to rescue a young dragon named Sparky. However, Glint (the head dragon elder) spies her and has her imprisoned for returning, despite Sparky's protests.

Dulcy is chained to a pillar by her nose ring, but a defeated mecha-dragon slams into her, crushing the pillar and destroying her ring. This returns her ability of fire breath, and she uses it to great effect, drawing praise even from Glint.

The battle is won, and Glint explains that the defeated mecha-dragons, who were once regular dragons, will be reborn as new dragons, so Dulcy is not saddened by the defeat of the dragons, including her own mother. Later, Dulcy's citizenship and black nose ring are restored, and she is made ambassador to the surface. The end.

Timeline Woes
Personally, I'm going to consider this story as having happened prior to issue 123's "The Last Robian," becuase that would simply make more sense. I'm sure that was the way it was originally intended, to. The only references to the Post-"Tossed in Space" continuity seem thrown in at the last minute.

It's cool that they're finally giving Dulcy some screen time, but we have to wonder how long it'll be until she next appears. She hasn't appeared since issue 107 (or did she have a cameo in 125? I dont' recall). Anyway, I hope we see a little more of her in the future.

The Art of Mawhinney
As last month, the art looks more like something out of the show Dragon Tales as opposed to the works of Tolkien. That may be what they were aiming for, but it could have benefited from a little bit more darkness in the coloring.

Overall Score: 8/10
Unlike last month's installment, this one doesn't suffer from flashback syndrome. If only Archie could admit the truth about its timeline placement rather than offering weak explanations.