Sonic The Hedgehog #63 Review by Jonathan Gray
"Icon - Part Two: Cult Of Personality"
On His Majesty's Secret Service - Part Three"

Karl Bollers And Ken Penders(W)
Steven Butler And Art Mawhinney(A)
Lets get to the point, "Icon" was a decent story, but the GREAT premise of last issue was ruined by some obvious plotholes.

It's not that this story was bad - BUT plotholes run aplenty....It all starts with The Devils Gulag - where the inmates have gone buckwild and Sgt. Simian has lost The Donkey Kong look - showing bare chest, bigger muscles and a new face design courtesy of The Devils Gulag Plastic Surgery unit....In SBC Sonic is busy lapping the luxury as Tails is getting mighty suspicious - Telling Sonic this leads into an argument as Jack Rabbitt - listening outside Sonics door - insists that Sonic is staying as a guest - FOREVER. meanwhile Snively is confronted by the Devils Island Gang and made - LEADER !!!! Snively takes the credit for something that was not his doing ( Namely the hand that pressed the button last issue releasing everybody ) and from here on in Drago says The Snivster calls all the shots....To clarify MUCH confusion from those who read the book last issue - At the same time Snively dropped the nail file was the same time the hand hit the button opening the cells - The file didnt do it but the inmates thought it did thus Snively got the credit. that should hopefully clear that up. now here is the confusing part - Sonic wakes Tails to leave - HOW DID HE KNOW THEY WERE PRISONERS??? HOW DID SONIC KNOW THE SAND BLASTERS INTENTIONS AND WHERE AND WHEN DID HE SUSPECT THAT JACK WAS UP TO SOMETHING???????? HOW DID THEY GET THE DOOR OPEN IF ITS SUPPOSED TO BE LOCKED TO THE DUO FROM OUTSIDE??? Needless to say that was a major plothole - It didnt ruin the story but it REALLY did make it feel rushed and came awful close. Not only that but the chili dog line was WAY WAY WAY WAY out of character. Its pretty good as Sonic and Tails split up as these are the most redeeming of the pages. Sonic must deactivate the field as Tails gets the biplane. Butlers art on pages 9 up got better and Bollers at least manages to keep this part of the plot together - but I wish Butler wouldnt do that heavy blue thing with Tails' eyes...and the final panel on Page 11 was worthy of a place in DC's Flash book - pretty cool with several Sonics zooming around the city at the same time....Realizing that the controls are embedded in the statue. Sonic must put ego aside, bowl over the remaining FF's and destroy the staue in a big full page boom! (Obvious but cool drawing though) The roboticised Mobians from before now finally get thier chance to wreak havoc as Sonic is caught between a psychotic Jack Rabbitt (complete with red eyes) - Sonic has ruined a good set up and jack is NOT happy! And as Sonic is in the middle of a war zone thinking that he'll never see family agin, Tails swoops in and grabs him courtesy of the Winged Victory! Elsewhere - Snively and the gang have succeded in escaping - grabbing a shuttle and hotfooting it to - Robotropolis !!! Oh the surprises they shall see....Now for Plothole 2 and I didnt realize this until Dan Drazen pointed it out - It makes sense that the "impenetrable fortress" can only be escapable via air - But who was in the other shuttle that took flight - It seems everyone who participated in the escape was already present in Snively's shuttle! PLUS for an impenetrable fortress they sure did get out easily.....And what purpose did the roboticised mobians serve? Why was Jack so adamant about keeping them out? - We never know.....All in all the story was OK, not Grade A but OK - The biggest plothole being on Page 8 - the coloring on Sonics arms was off - minute but very noticable to longtime readers. It certainly picked up after Page 9 but the plotholes that were there stuck out like sore thumbs

"On His Majesty's Secret Service" was a big improvement from last issue IMHO. Namely because a character we actually like was in it - Sally - and the situation between her and her father is worsening as now she's been restricted from freedoms she previously did not have - And when Geoffrey St. John has more clout than the daughter of a king you KNOW someone is NOT happy....Geoff is taking his recruits through a bunker - And now that I look at it closer - he's taking them through a simulation of Haven. It cant be anything BUT that of course but thats what it DEFINETELY is. This has been Art Mawhinney's best in a while and it shows. Characters dont look all plain and dull with more line features and better detailed backgrounds and good use of perspective - A DEFINITE Plus for the book! Overall this issue was a wee bit better than 62 but like I said before - It still has a ways to go.....

Rating: Rings

I hated to do that rating, but it was needed. I really wanted that main story to work and while I thought the story had nice premise, it just had too many inconsistencies to NOT look over. Even the ending - as Dan Drazen pointed out - made Sonic the anti-hero. For his veteran effort as writer Karl Bollers raised my hopes and then dropped me kicking and screaming off a cliff. Lets hope his future endeavors in this book won't do the same thing. As for the backup story - it was another case of the backup taking precedence over the front - and to tell you the truth. It wasn't all that interesting. **SIGH** The Freedom Fighters need to come back guys....



Pepper J. Zeal