Sonic The Hedgehog #74 Review by Rolland Thierren
"Don't Call It A Comeback!"
"Tales Of The Great War - Part Three: Enter...Robotnik!"

Karl Bollers And Ken Penders(W)
Steven Butler And Art Mawhinney(A)
It's Issue #74! One more to go before the big #75 anniversary! And people, is this going to be a ride... The title of this issue's main story is "Don't Call it a Comeback!". (Anyone else want to sing "Momma said Knock you Out" ?)

As we start our reading, we see Sonic, whose look gives a simple message: "My whole world has just been taken away from me..." and the one thing he says sums it up: Knothole's gone. We then see he's in the middle of the throne room, with the whole cast looking on. Sonic reveals that everyone in Knothole, from his parents to his dog Muttski, have vanished without a trace. After reactions of shock from everyone and the king asking how that can be possible, Sonic points out the satellites in orbit must be behind this, and decides he's going to do something about it! In fact, Sonic's not taking any suggestions that he should calm down, be it from the king himself or even from Sally! Sonic them storms out of the throne room, while the king tries to order him to stay. But Sonic's not listening to him now, or, so he tells Sally, maybe never again.

Later on, Sonic's on the outskirts of Mobotropolis (standing on top of a trash heap), trying to think of how investigate the matter concerning those satellites, when the Ex-Freedom Fighters catch up with him. They want to help him; as Sally says: "[They] don't have to be freedom fighters to be friends." Wonderful sentiment, Sally.

Nate then suggests a way to look up the satellite problem: It seems Robotnik had a blossoming space program, complete with space shuttle. Nate can use Power Rings to fuel the shuttle part of the way, and Sonic inlists good ol' Dulcy the Dragon to carry the shuttle high enough so they can spare the fuel. Amy Rose stays behind, Sonic telling her to keep an eye on things with Nate.

After a short and uneventful trip to space, they exit the shuttle to do some space-walking, looking for the satellites. Sonic asks Sally why Nate helped them out, when he knows the king will be mad, Sally says Nate has a high opinion of him. Sonic and Sally then resume their old banter of Sonic boasting and Sally shooting him down... Aaah... ain't it cute to see them doing that again? They then find the orbital station, and with Nicole's help, make their way in through the garbage chute.

Once inside, Sonic starts to look for Snively, whom he believes is responsible for his family's disapearrance. Instead, he and the others find a squad of dark colored swatbots who attack them. After a very short fight (one panel), they encounter a bigger threat: another squad of swatbots, these ones looking like they went nuts with the steroids; but before they strike, their master holds them back.

And Robotnik makes his big comeback entrance, presenting his new minions, the Delta and Gamma class Shadowbots, his new vanguard. Sonic and Robotnik trade insults, with Robotnik hitting below the belt ("Didn't your parents teach you better manners?" Ouch...). Bunnie punches Robotnik back a few meters (Way to go, Bunnie!), and he stumbles back unto a catwalk over a large chamber. Below, all the missing robians have resumed their mindless servitude to Robotnik, laboring in the sweatshop factory inside the space-station.

Sonic, mad as hell, rushes Robotnik and himself off the catwalk and down amongst the machinery, fighting like never before. Well, Sally and Tails has never seen that before. Bunnie and Antoine have, however. Sonic went berserk once before, during endgame, when Sonic thought Sally was dead. Meanwhile, Sonic and Robotnik are still fighting, on a conveyor belt, of all places, heading to a stream of corrosive fluids. Sonic manages to escape the spray, but Robotnik gets a full shower of it.

The story ends, in cliffhanger motif, with the silhouette of Robotnik, drenched in sizzling acid, with the heroes looking at him, in shock. Sonic just says: "It's not Robotnik! It's... It's..."

And we end there. I guess we'll find out who the guy under the Robotnik mask is next month.

Rating: Rings

Good art, nice story. Sonic's portrayaly was true to charater, and it's good to see the writers are loosening their way around the "No emotions" policy required be Sega (a small tear on first page, a few outbursts of rage). Sonic and Sally also seem to be back on the rigth track, relationship wise (The witty banter from the SatAM series is back), and all the characters had some decent screen time (with the possible execption of Elias). Now, I may be the only guy who thinks that, but I'm glad to see Robotnik's back! (although it doesn't seem to be entirely Robotnik... but hey! If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, and acts like a duck, them it must be a duck! Now matter how you slice this guy, he's the new Robotnik!)

And now, a brief intermission; we see Nate and Amy Rose looking at Ducly, carrying the shuttle into the stratosphere, talking. Amy is still in shock at how the Robians all vanished, and that she and Tails were talking with Uncle Chuck just yesterday.

Tales of the Great War, Part 3: Enter... Robotnik!

We see Charles telling the young cubs how he regrets having saved Robotnik life so long ago. But he then says if he had known then what he knew now, he'd still save him. He believes all life to be sacred, and won't take a life, even for the greater good. He saved Julian from getting killed because it was the right thing to do. As for the king, he welcomed Julian into the mobian ranks out of guilt for exiling Nate, dispite some doubts from General D'Coolette. Robotnik managed to scam everyone in the palace into beliving he was a peaceful scientist who was willing to help protect the mobians, including Warlord Kodos, who normally trusted no one.

Kodos sees in Julian a kindred spirit, and tries to talk him into co-conspiring with him to take over the kingdom, and maybe the world. To seeten the deal, he shows Julian Naugus' workshop, and some of his toys, like the Atomic Mace. He then shows Julian the portal to the Zone of Silence, and the way to open it. But as he turns his back on Julian, he takes the Mace, knocks out Kodos, tosses him into the portal and leaves.

He tells everyone Kodos tampered with something best left alone, and everyone believed him. (Continuity note: in Sonic #36, Robotnik delivers about the same story, not telling what really happened to Kodos.) The king appoints Julian to replace Kodos as Warlord, and asks his recommendation regarding the overlander situation. Julian's advice? Fight until all opposition hsa been annhilated! (gee, the guy really likes his own people, doesn't he?) Of course, Robotnik's plan was the have each side pretty wipe out the other, leaving him to pick up the pieces, but who knew? And the story ends here for now, resuming in Sonic #76, after issue #75 has run it's course.

Rating: Rings

Well, This backstory was filled with twists and turns, and was overall fun. Robotnik's deception does fix some continuity problems, as the conflicting stories about his and Kodos can be summed up as overt lies from the Eggman. Also, the way he scams his way into mobian society; he's the fox allowed to step into the henhouse, if Tails' fans will allow me the expression. This story was somewhat less violent then the last two chapters, but no less poignant, as it shows how many people willingly allow villains into their midst. good writing, along with good art, makes this back-up story fun to read.

Overall Rating: Rings