Sonic The Hedgehog #71 Review by Rolland Thierren
"Tales Of The Great War - Prologue: In The Beginning"
"Retro Activity"

Ken Penders And Karl Bollers(W)
Art Mawhinney And Steven Butler(A)
Well here is the review for the latest issue of Sonic the Hedgehog. Labeled "the strangest issue ever", it lives up to it's hype. The basic structure is simple; the whole issue has been assembled backwards. It starts with the letter colomn section, followed by the fanart (check out John Calcaro; that guy's going places) and proart (Dick Ayers; not the best Sally I've seen), followed by what would normally be the backup story and then by the feature. Let's do this like they meant us to do and start by reviewing the "backup" story, shall we?

Titled In The Beginning, this story features Tails and Amy Rose visiting the old library she discovered with Dulcy in #68, and starts with Tails carrying her in flight over that section of the city. Now admit it; those two make one heck of a cute couple, don't they? While exploring the old library, they meet up with the mysterious stranger whose eyes were seen in #68's story. He happens to be Jeremiah, grand-son of Kirby, the writer/illustrator/Jack Kirby hommage mentionned in #68. He's been in hiding, working to preserve the works of his grand-father from Robotnik. One of those works, his last, to be precise, was the history of the people of Mobius, which Jeremiah lets Tails read aloud.

After the clichèd "In the beggining there was light" (and what WAS that light?), we find out that life evolved on Mobius at different rates, with the Echidnas being the most advanced, of course.

Many other species evolved as well, developping their own cultures individually, like the Echidnas did. They carried on like this for generations until this squirrel called Alexander noticed how one culture worked and figured out how pooling resources would be to everyone's benifit, and began gathering others who shared that dream. Just about everyone went along with that, except for the Echidnas (who didn't want to share their dangerous knowledge) and the Overlanders (now proven to be a native race of Mobius, who were too aggressive to join Alexander's new society). The new cooperation led to the foundation of Mobotropolis, the first cosmopolitan society on Mobius, with Alexander as it's King. The story ends there, saying that Mobius new peace until the Great War began, which we will discribe in the next story.

Rating: 1/2 Rings

Okay, now for my gripe. This story asked more questions then it answered. Now we know how life on Mobius started, but what existed before then? What WAS that strange light? Did it have anything to do with those "Days of Fury" we keep hearing about? We now know the Overlanders are Native to Mobius, but how did they evolve? How did Human-like creatures evolve when other ape-like beings evolved along side them (Humans are related to apes)? We now know how Mobotropolis got built, but how does the Source of All things (introduced in #59), force behind all the kings of Acorn, fit in this? Did Alex get his inspiration from it? How did some creatures evolve into speaking French, like Antoine and Sealia (from the Arctic FFs)? And more importantly, how did the Mobians go from Stone-age tech to tractors and fork-lifts (from pages 5-6, respectively) within a single generation? I think the authors should've spent a little more time working on this. Still, not bad for an introductory look into Mobian history. We can only hope they continue the now conventionnal flash-backs into the past to clear up some of those details.

Backup Story...or Front In This Case: Now, for our feature presentation! Titled Retro-Activity (The title's at the back, if you're looking for it), it seems very complexly built, but it's simple in it's intricasy; The story is broken into scenes, each one numbered buy it's place in the chronology of events, and arranged together in reverse chronological order. So the beggining of the story, numbered fifty-nine minutes earlier, the beggining of the story, is placed at the end of the book. But each scene is itself built normally. Each scene is read form left to right, like normally. So, to read this comic, you start at the end, look up the earliest scene, then read it from left to right, then move on to the one placed before it to read the rest of the story. You may have to read this paragraph again, to understand the instructions correctly. To make things simpler, I will review the story in chronological order.

Fifty-nine minutes earlier: Yet another Satellite awakens in orbit over Mobius, this one titled "O-Sat" (That's 2 O-Sats, one B-Sat, one T-Sat, one R-Sat, one K-Sat...I think we can see where this is going, can't you?), which detects a Temporal anomaly on the surface of Mobius, and begins emitting an energy beam straight at it.

Fifteen minutes earlier: King Max and his old buddy Nate reunite while Sonic and Prince Eilas congratulate each other for their job well done in the rescue. The King, however, is displeased at them both, at Elias because he put himself in danger in what should've been a secret service mission, and at Sonic because he disobeyed orders by joinging the renegade capture mission. While Sonic argues that the royal order only disbanded the FFs (Talking back to the King! Kid's got gumption!) Sally arrives, telling Sonic his folks have been looking for him. King Max tells her to escort Sonic back to Knothole.

Seven minutes earlier: Sonic and Sally are walking through the great forest, with Sonic relating what happened last issue and Sally being astonished. Sonic says that even though he lost his Bi-plane, stolen by Kodos, and that Sniv got Killed (oh yeah!? We'll see about that!), he has no regrets about his actions. Sally says he shouldn't worry about her dad, who's probably actually proud of what Elias and he did, but can't show it (Hey! It could happen!) And that's he's in a good mood these days, because of Queen Alicia's return; Dr Quack's declared her stable and is working on curing her. Sonic admits that he needs to work on his own relationship with his folks, and promises to make up for his distant behavior towards them (remember, he's left town for weeks, and the night he's back, he leaves again!), but as they arrive to the Great Oak Slide (only way in and out of Knothole now), they find it is emitting some strange bright light, which they rush to investigate (never mind warnig the authorities, they can do that later).

Ten minutes earlier: while in the Great Oak Slide, they find some changes have been made to it: it's now a tunnel of blinding white light, now seems endless and has become a ride even Sonic finds wilder then usual! almost getting separated in mid-course, they go through... Well, we don;t see how the ride ends, actually; it just goes straight to...

Eight minutes earlier: Sonic and Sally, invelopped in a strange golden aura, are standing around in the middle of Konthole, where everything looks wierd. For one thing, no one notices them. then, they see Uncle Chuck walking past them. Backwards. Leaves are falling up. Sonic's parents are talking in a very strange way (actually backwards talk. Don't bother with mirrors, though. It's written with normal letters, the words are also arranged backwards, from top to bottom. You have to spend a few seconds to figure out what Bernie and Jules are saying to each other) They finally figure out that time is flowing backwards in Knothole, which isn't so bad, since it's already three hours in the future relative to the rest of Mobius. But who knows what might happen once Knothole and Mobius finally meet, time-wise? Who knows!? They decide to leave Knothole, since they can't do anything to help anyone in their state. Problem is, The Great Oak Slide, Konthole entrance, is in Knothole time, and they can't touch it! Sonic has an idea to escape, which he took from a comic book: By vibrating his and Sally's molecules to pass through the barrier (winner of the 1999 Rude Goldberg award for most tired speedster trick for escapes), which they try, fading away...

Ten minutes earlier: Sonic fades back outside of Knothole, but Sally is nowhere to be found! Sonic, puzzeled, thinks twice before going back to Knothole because the light from the Slide is even brighter then before! Sonic decides to go and get some help in Mobotropolis...

Thirty minutes earlier: Sonic, with the King and Nate, discovers (by way of Nate's explanations) that an energy beam from on high (from O-Sat) is the source of the reversed time-flow in Knothole, forcing it to resume it's proper place in space-time. But once Knothole is back where/when it belongs, time all over Mobius will start moving backwards and forwards simultaneously, which will probably wreck the planet! Of course, Nate has a brillant plan to save everybody! (you don't think the King named him an advisor because he got bounced on his knees as a kit, did you?) It involves drawning the beam away from Knothole at the precise moment of realignement, thanks to one of the few Super Emeralds left on the globe (where did nate get that?)

Forty minutes earlier: Sonic, now decked out in a Flashsuit imitation (complete with goggles) and with the Super-Emerald strapped to his back and all his friends and everybody in Mobotropolis cheering on, is ready to start doing what he does does best: running! And he's off! As he races away from Mobotropolis, he starts going at speeds even HE didn't he could reach! And progressively, the energies of the Super-Emerald start to flow into Sonic, turning him into Super-Sonic! But that's not all! As he goes through Deerwood Forest (Rob 'o the Hog's home) even faster, he begins to change into Ultra-Sonic (first and last seen in #66)! Then, as he goes right past Mount Stormtop (Monkey Kahn's present home, with him in his best appearance yet; short and quiet!), he goes faster and faster still, transforming into a whole new form as he reaches the Great Desert, a firey being named Solar Sonic!

And so it goes, with other forms following as Sonic goes through other lands, doing a brief recap of his world tour: Polar Sonic (pale blue) through the Southern Tundra (where he met Nate), and Eco-Sonic (bright green), going through the Great Rainforest. He runs around the the planet, along with it's rotation, and with the energies of the Super-Emerald, gets time itself to move at an accelarated rate, jus tlike Nate Morgan predicted (of course! Isn't he the new resident genius?) And, of course, the Time-beam does move away from Knothole village...And Hits Sonic straight in the back, causing him to fade into a blurry splash of explosion!

Twenty minutes earlier: The enrgy field around Knothole Village Valley fades away, letting it rejoin normal time/space. And in Mobotropolis, there is great rejoycing! (*monotone:* Yay.)

(Side note blooper: Nate starts out in the street checking some tech, then goes to the tower with Elias and the King, then is back on the streets to witness Sonic's succes on the machines. Fast elevators in that castle, huh? And who watched the equipement in the mean time?) In Knothole, everybody is coming too, along with Sally, who is now woozy, realizes Sonic has saved them all yet again! But begins to wonder what happened to him. As she asks, we see a pair of familiar looking shoes, now with golden buckles on them, walking towards Knothole.

Knothole Village, this very second: Sonic stands in his cabin, now with his Sonic Adventure Looks, with Sally and his parents looking at him, while Sally tells him that she understands how he used the Super-Emerald to fix time in Knothole, she still doesn't understand how come he appearance changed! Not your fault Sally. I've read the story a couple of times now, and I still don't understand it completly.

Rating: Rings

Overall Rating: Rings