Sonic The Hedgehog #70 Review by Rolland Thierren
"Saving Nate Morgan"
"Statue Of Limitations"

Karl Bollers And Paul Castiglia(W)
Steven Butler And Chris Allan(A)
Saving Nate Morgan (guess where they got That title idea?)

Opening scene: Straight were we left off in #69, a gratuitous Explosion, following the grenade falling at Sonic's feet. Turn the page, and you see a full page image showing the whole crew, safe and (relatively) sound. Sonic had time enough to throw that grenade into the skylight, but it still did some damage. After checking up on everyone, Sonic starts vowing to avenge this assault and save Nate, but is interrupted when the bar owner's wife complains about what happened, with the panda from last issue smirking right beside her. Sonic tries hard to defend Nate, but gets the brush off, and the FFs go to warn the king.

Quoting Sally:"Next stop, Castle Acorn". Geoffery St-John starts reporting before the court that the Gulag escapees are gone for good. Gee, doesn't this guy EVER get tired of being wrong? The FFs barge in, telling the King Nate's been kidnapped; Sonic goes on naming all the culprits, but St-John says it's impossible. Yet he knows he never found the bodies, and you know "If the bodies aren't there, they ain't dead!" But go telling Wise-Tail that. Sonic lets loose with the biting sarcasm we've all been missing, but gets interrupted by the king who tells him the ships they escaped in where found near the Gulag, and that no-one could make the trip back on foot. Enter DR Quack, who informs everyone that the Gulag guards have recovered and told him the escapees took of in a third ship. Now, I know I'm no secret service agent, but you'd think Geoffery would have checked the ship roster log before saying such number of ships are missing. Now, when Sonic asks where those crooks are, Prince Elias states quite humbly that they may hiding right next door to the gulag. Brains seem to run in that royal family's kids, doesn't it?

Just before Sonic and the FFs start revving up for another adventure, the King stops them in their tracks, saying that, with Robotnik gone, the young are no longer called upon to fight for the kingdom, and that the Freedom Fighters are officially disbanded. King Max seems to do everything possible to get on our good side, hun? He then sends Geoffery, (the overlander hater) to go and save Nate. I'm staring to think brains skip a generation in this family.

Later on, at night, we see a royal submarine made form scrap (Budget cuts, don't you hate them?) comes up of the coast of Big Kahuna Island, location of West Robotropolis and present home of the escapees. St-John and his crew raft up and start climbing the shore, St-John explaining to his people that ol'Ivo used this base for some secret experiments. Fight the urge to skip ahead, this is a plot point. Up to cliff, St-John sees...Guess who? Come on! make a guess! Our favorite hero, Sonic, doing his waiting thing. Geoffery tries to order him away, saying he's just a kid (what, and he's middle aged?), but Sonic hears nothing of it, saying he's here as a free agent. Meanwhile, Snively tries to get Nate to work for him, with little succes. Let's face it, he's no Ivo. Sonic has hooked up with the commandos, with St-John ordering him to be a team player, and Sonic saying he'll play nice (snicker, yeah, right!); Sonic thinks he hears something (we all do, in fact; more foreshadowing).

As they approach the badguys, St-John tells his plan: surround the place and order them to surrender. It doesn't show, but it took him three hours to think of that! Sonic immediatly points out the flaw in that plan: Nate'll get killed! St-John says he doesn't like overlanders much, and that Sonic shouldn't either, pointing out what they did in the great war, and to Queen Alicia, Sally's mom. Now, he doesn't say it, but it's clear he also blames them for his father's death. Sonic (again) starts defending Nate, saying he wasn't even IN the great War. This starts the fight (wish Sally was here; now she'd see it's not always Sonic's fault), which gets broken off by a soldier, who is revealed to be... Prince Elias!

Back inside. Nate persists in refusing the badguys, Even while being threatened by Kodos. (Brave guy. If I had an axe held over my head, I'd ask what benefits I get.) But before getting his head chopped off (he doesn't even flinch!) Bomb pups up and hops to the middle of the room, couting down to explosion...3-2-1...fizzle. The poor little guy's butt is saved by the sudden arrival of Sonic, St-John and co.

Next scene, we're back in a familiar satellite control chamber, with a computer saying R-Sat is back on line, while a VERY familiar hand is putting down a can of Robo-Cola. Could it Be??? Naaaah! Nonetheless more forshadowing follows as a new target is chosen. By now, we know nothing good occurs when that happens.

Back at Big Kahuna Island, a general melee has occured. Sonic rescues Nate and gets the prince and Nate to go to safety. Before that occur, however, an earthquake hits! (what did I tell you?) From beneath the Island rises a huge Bionic squid which smashes West Robotropolis and grabs Snively and Bomb (not the choices I'd make, but...). Just before Sonic can save them both (heroic duties) Bomb explodes, taking Squidzilla and Snively with him. But don't worry folks! Bomb's alright!

All that's left is for the troopers to round up the prisoners, minus a few that escaped in the confusion. Sonic then says he has an added trophy for the Gulag: Crocbot's remains (he hasen't had that thing recycled yet?). He left them in his Bi-Plane, Which, as everyone now sees, has just been stolen by the left-over escapees. Geoffery (unfortunelty) gets the last word: "Ouch. That's got to hurt!" Yeah. Like YOU did any better.

Rating: Rings

One of the better action stories I've read in Sonic in a while, it's clear Archie has finally arrived at a winning combo. Sonic dominates the feature, but the FFs are there. The fast paced action is there, but the plot doesn't take a back seat to it. There's some foreshadowing, but the sub-plots aren't getting tiresome...yet. The St-John/Sonic rivalery is still going strong, dispite the fact that Sally no longer seems to be a factor. Elias, I must admit, has grown in my esteem, yet stills remains an enigma. All in all, a good issue.

Backup Story: Sonic has a reoccuring dream, where he flies his bi-plane over SandBlast City and suddenly falls down, into the open and laughing mouth of the very statue he destroyed. Now, normally, he keeps waking up at that very moment, but this night, he sticks around, falling threw the mouth, and lands in a park where his face is plastered everywhere. Some critter walks up to him, offering him a Sonic T-shirt, suddenly noticing who he is. Before Sonic can find out where he is, a crowd of Sonic fanatics rushes him. Fleeing with the T-shirt fan, Sonic arrives at the home of the Sonic Adventure Archivsts (a horse, a walrus and a gorilla; what, no bar?). When they notice Sonic, they start praising him, asking about the meaning of his adventures; the gorilla says he and Sally should be together (amen, DR Zeus), while the horse says Sally should have remained suspended, a martyr to freedom and the walrus splits it down the middle. They then start praising him again, saying he can do no wrong. At that point, Sonic wakes up screaming. Later on, Tails arrives, and asks Sonic what's wrong. Sonic starts saying he's not sure about his place as a hero, what with what he did in SandBlast city, and starts doubting himself. In his own words:"[He's] not perfect--[he's] only flesh and blood." Tails starts saying how Sonic HAS done a lot of good, touched a lot of people's lives, and generally caring enough to be where he's needed. He then tells him he proud to have Sonic as his hero/brother/best friend rolled into one, and that nothing is all black and white. Sonic, cheered up, tells him he can get used to being gray.

Rating: Rings

Sonic's having doubts about his role as a hero. A classical story element, I'm somewhat disappointed Archie authors are dealing with it in such a short matter. That story could have made a great issue, not just a back-up story! Oh well. I just hope they talk about it again.

Overall Rating: Rings