Sonic The Hedgehog #73 Review by Rolland Thierren
"The Truth Is Out There"
"Tales Of The Great War - Part Two: The Big Bad One"

Karl Bollers And Ken Penders(W)
Steven Butler And Art Mawhinney(A)
Well, welcome to a new issue of Sonic. This issue ''The Truth is out There'' (Cue X-Files theme!), is mostly a builder that leads to Issue #75. But it's not too bad a builder at that.

The story starts at Sonic's parent's home in Knothole, where Bernice and Jules Hedgehog and holding their hands together up high, showing off a pair of Power rings bracelets attached to their respective forearms. Sonic is behind them, looking pretty proud. They thank him for the wedding bands, saying it's a wonderful wedding anniversary present. Sonic says most of the work was Nate and Chuck's, who made the rings. Nate and Chuck are talking about how credit for the invention of the rings all these years, when Nate actually did. Nate reveals it was King Max's decision to do so, instead of Nate being misremembered as a traitor. Well, that clears up that little mystery... Just as Nate is about to leave, Sonic gets a call on his 2-way wrist-watch radio (Dick Tracy surplus...). It's Sally, and she wants to see him at the castle. Now. So, Sonic decides to give Nate a ride in the process and says good to his folks, Uncle Chuck and Muttski. (This a plot point. Remember it.)

We arrive at Castle Acorn, some time before Sonic arrives, and see Sally on her bed (she has little hearts on her bedsheets? I never would've figured...), having Nicole analyse some stuff while she waits for everyone (save Rotor) to arrive. Nicole and Sally talk about maybe telling her father ('Da King) what she found out, when Elias walks in. Elias, wanting to talk, but not sure how Sally would react, decides on the ''third person in the room'' approach. He tells Nicole (with Sally within ear-shot), that he understands why Sally doesn't fully trust him, since they bearly know each other. It appears he thought she was dead, killed during the Great War. And now, ever since fate reunited them, they've been avoiding one another. He says he wishes his sister the best, not because he has to, but because he has a lot on his mind and King Max is too busy with the Queen's illness and affairs of state to talk. So he just wanted to say he's getting used to his new life in Mobotropolis and wanted someone to talk to.

At this point, Sally decides to go back to the ''Person-to-person'' approach, and admits just how much the changes in her life have taken her aback; one day, she's a only child, the next, she has a brother schedualed to claim to the throne in her place. Just then, Elias drops the bomb: He DOESNT want to rule the Kingdom of Acorn. It seems the young prince has lived all his life on the Floating Island, dreaming of curing his mother and finding adventure. He never wanted to be king. He wants to tell his dad, but would he listen? (I would say... No.)

Meanwhile, up above Mobius, we find Snively cowering in front of a bunch of monitors showing pictures Of Mobius and the various satellites, while a voice odd-panel ralks about how impressive the satellites are, with only one left to activate. Snively, meanwhile, is just stuttering in fear, until he asks "[...] what are you intending to do with those things, Sir?" Waitaminnit! "Sir?" The only guy I've ever heard Snively call "Sir" was... Oh boy. The Voice tells Snively that's classified, so Sniv can't start double-crossing him yet, but he's already forgiven him for something else. Instead of answering him vocally, he presses a button and the last satellite "I-Sat" goes on-line. Now, as we regular readers of Sonic know, whenever one of those things goes on-line, something bad happens down below. We'll find out more about that in a moment.

We meet up with Sonic, Sally, Antoine, Bunnie, Tails, Amy Rose, Elias and Nate Morgan sitting on the floor in Sally's room (She no-longer has access to the war room...), ready to talk about what it's all about. Sally pulls out Nicole and starts a holographic display showing Mobius in space, with a ton of small things up in orbit. When Sonic asks what they are, Sally says that's what they're hear to find out (Darnit! And I was hoping they'd play "Truth or Dare"...)

While this is happening, up above, the "R-sat" is linking up with the "O-sat".

Nicole says the first Satellite was activated 2 months ago (in continuity time), directly over the Devil's Gulag, and that the ID of whoever did so is still a mystery. She then says it was on the same day that the Gulag prisonners escaped, in Issues #62-63. Tails asks Sally (resuming that cute little "Aunt Sally" routine) if there's a connection. Sonic proposes in his usual hot-headed way that they all go there to find out now. Sally tells him to sit down, since they're not going anywhere until they've heard all the data.

While Sonic shuts up and sits down, up above, the "B-sat" is connecting to the "O-sat" (start singing ''Them bones, them bones, them...dry bones" anytime, folks)

Nicole continues, saying the second Sat activated above The Southern Tundra, setting off seismic quakes acrss the continent, which caused many avalanches, like the one that nearly buried Sonic, Tails and Eddy the Snowborg, in Issue #64. Nate seems sad when Eddy is brought up.

In Orbit, "T-sat" links up with "N-sat".

The next sat, according to Nicole, activated above the Great Rainforest three days after the Tundra incident, just about the time Sonic was attacked by a bunch of Hostile Robians in that temple (Issue #67). Sonic and Tails make the connection, and Nate wonders if the SAtellite could've been controlling them. Nicole then says a fourth satellite activated above Mobotropolis and used a tractor beam to pull a bunch of meteorites towards the city, in #68.

Meanwhile, the "I-sat" connects to the "K-sat", while Sonic and Elias realise the meteor shower was just in time for their combined return to the kingdom.

(Minor Blooper to note here: The ''I-sat unit linking with K-sat unit'' panel is used twice, once, interrupting Nicole's caption concerning the meteorites.)

Nicole then says the fifth satellite activated four days later, right above West Robotropolis, on Big Kahuna Island. Sonic then sarcastically asks her if it was on the same day he fought the escaped Devil's Island cons, and the same day Snively bit the dust. (#70) It was.

Nate says he's sorry Snively was as bad as his uncle, but the lad suffered a similar fate. Elias then contradicts him, saying that may not be so. According to him, Snively was repordetly the master-mind behind the Gulag break-out, and wonders if, when the giant squid pulled him underwater, it wasn't just a clever way to cover his escape. Right plan, wrong mastermind, Elias.

At this time, in Mobian orbit, the now paired satellites are preparing for the final phase of the link-up.

Nicole continues, saying that 24-hours after the fifth satellite came on-line, a sixth one did so as well above Knothole village valley. Sonic and Sally remark that it was right when Knothole got hit by that wierd energy beam that almost destroyed reality. Nicole then says the seventh satellite activated last night, above Mobotropolis, while the eight one remained inactive at the time her files were downloaded. Antoine and Bunnie notice it was that that same evening that King Max's adress got pre-empted by a broadcast of Dr Robotnik's biography.

Up above, all the satellites are connecting, two by two (I feel an urge to start a square dance here...)

Sally wraps up the meeting, by saying she smells something fishy about those satellites, that they seem to be a threat to the kingdom and the whole planet, and that they have to tell her father about it. Right on cue, King Max (flanked by the royal goon squad), walks in, asking what's up. Before he can learn, however, Nicole gives everyone an update: The eight satellite activated 45 minutes ago, over Knothole village.

Up above, all the satellites have linked up to form: R-O-B-O-T-N-I-K... the Robotnik-orbital platform.

Sonic rushes off to Knothole, but when he arrives there, finds everyone is gone. he goes to his house, but finds no-one there; not his parents, not his Uncle Chuck, not even his dog, Muttski. Sonic just frowns and thinks: ''This isn't funny."

It may not be funny to Sonic, but high above, in the Orbital platform, Dr. Robotnik is Laughing maniacally, with Snively cowerign for all he's worth, as if he was in the Devil's own presence....

Rating: Rings

Okay, time for the comments: This Issue was GREAT! The "Back in Business" caption on the cover didn't mean the Freedom Fighters were back in business, but Robotnik was. And, while we're on the Subject of Robotnik being back, let me just say: YES! YES YES YES! Finally, the one villain worthy of Sonic has returned! Now, some have said that Dr Robotnik is tired as a villain, and that they should get a new villain. I say, it's good to have the ultimate Evil mastermind back in business. Let's hope Archie handles him like he should be handled: Like a truly grand and vicious villain, not as comic relief. People, he's Archie Comic's Doctor Doom here. He should be handled as such.

The Art was well done, I must say. Steven Butler has definetly gotten the hang of drawing the denisens of the Kingdom of Acorn. I especially like how he's given Sonic body a more elliptic shape, rather then the usual circle. It makes him look more anthropomorphic, a little more like the other Freedom Fighters. (One perticularly good scene was Sonic's posing in page 9) Another thing I like of his art is the way he draws hair: Sally's do actually looks real, as opposed to the plastic "never go out of shape, even if wet or in a hurricaine'' hair she had at the beggining of the series.

The pace of this issue was well done as well. Like last issue, this one was short in actual action sequences, but you can't just squeeze action scenes in a story line, just to please the adrenaline junkies, or it will seem tacked on. Nonetheless, I was not bored, seeing our heroes putting the past events of the last few months together and coming to the realisation that something was out there, and that they were in danger. Though Why Sonic didn't smell Robotnik's hand in this, I'll never know. That, and seeing the satellites come together in orbit while they were talking, gave things a matter depth, showing the world didn't revolve around them. And that cliff-hanger at the end? Wonderful! I can't wait for next issue!

Now, for the back-up story: "Tales of the Great War, part 2: The Big Bad One."

After a editorial note that says this story taks place before this issue's main story, we find Jeremiah the librarian, Tails and Amy Rose, in the Great Library of Mobius, reading the History of Mobius, when, all of a sudden, Uncle Chuck walks in. It seems he's a regular here at the library. According to him, the library is the greatest storehouse oh knowledge he knows of. Another editorial caption says Charles must be unaware of Albion, except for a few legends. he then scolds the kids, saying the library isn't a place for young ones. Great comment, Charles. That kind of attitude is why litteracy is down in north america... He then picks up the book and realises what it is. Apparantly, he's been a great reader of Kirby Dane's work.

Tails tells him they were up to the part when Emerson got shot by accident, and king Theodore fobidding all contact with the overlanders. Charles remarks that that incident would be the source for many more troubles in the future, as small skirmishes became a regular event from that point on, though never escalating to a full-fledged war, until two treacherous villains began plotting together. As a team, they started a fight with Overlanders, blaming it all on Nate Morgan (as seen in Sonic #68). Of course, afterwards, Kodos tried to kill Naugus, but the wizard used trickery and illusion to escape to the Zone of Silence, waiting for the war to end to claim what ever would be left. Kodos impounds the rest of Naugus's possessions. When Tails asks how Charles know all this, when even Kirby wasn't sure, he tells the cub he managed to dig things up while spying in Robotnik's old datafiles.

At this point, Two scouts from opposing sides met while doing their jobs. They didn't want to start a fight, and apparantly, didn't want their people to start one either. So they planned to tell their respective people that the odds would make a war futile for each people. Unfortunetly, Kodos's men captured them both before they could put their plan in motion.

Brought Kodos, the warlord goes all high and mighty on the mobian, saying he was planning to lie to the king about the enemy (Gee... I guess falsifying evidense and forging an "incident" wasn't treason, huh?) and sommerely executes him, by breaking his neck, from the sound caption, I'd guess. He then does the same to the Overlander, an "Enemy of the State".

He then has his troops plant each body where their respective people will find them, with a message "From the other side", warning them: "this is what happens to all who dare oppose us!"

Kodos thus made it seem to each people as if their enemies were brutal savages, a misconception that remains to this very day.

The story ends here, but next time, we will see what happened when Robotnik joined the Mobians.

Rating: Rings

Well, a great story and great art made this tale a true joy to read. The subject in this storyline just keeps getting more and more serious and grim, as should any story about war be. The subject of death was handled in a very mature manner, and Kodos' callous disregard for life only makes him an even more dispicable villain. It also proves that wars are often the result of two sides not wanting to communicate. Had the Overlanders and the Mobians been willing to talk, they might've figured out what really happened to their scouts, rather then jumping to conclusions.

Overall Rating: Rings