Sonic The Hedgehog #76 Review by Rolland Therrien
Business as Usual
We start out this issue with the our heroes (Sonic, Sally, Tails, Bunnie, Antoine, Sonic's folks) and Snively barely escaping from a squad of Beefed-up Shadowbots and hiding in the outskirts of Robotropolis. Sally interrogates Nicole about how the city is deserted, and Nicole says everyone who could escape is out in Knothole. Snively points that, although the new Robotnik may not know where Knothole is, the old one may have left the info in a file in the computers. And he points the new, Robotic Robotnik will have escaped the exploding satellite last issue by downloading his mind into a new body. Sally's decision is simple: "...It's up to us to prevent him from accessing that file!" At this point, Snively tries to ditch our heroes' company. Sonic has other plans, however. He wants Sniv to help them get that file. And he won't take "no" for an answer. Sniv grudginly agrees. He, Sonic and Sally will go for the file, while Tails, Bunnie and Antoine will take Sonic's parents back to Knothole (after a side-trip to the library in this issues' back-story)

Meanwhile, in Knothole, we get a large crowd shot panel showing everyone packing into the small village. It also makes a nice "Where's Waldo" number (I found him, and many other small cameos. Can you?). The king makes an appearance, and makes a short speech/proclamation to get things organised. Prince Elias, in the back, wonders how his father can keep his royal bearing, while knowing Sally and the others may be in dire trouble. Nate assures him his father has dealt with much, and he can handle it. Okay. We'll get back to him on that.

Back in Robotropolis, Sonic, Sally and Snively have arrived in front of Robotonik's HQ, where a squad of Shadowbots are herding a bunch of captured Mobians. Sonic goes on the offensive, taking out the bots, while Sally and Snively sneak their way inside (good thing Robotnik hasn't changed the locks yet). Meanwhile, Dr Robotnik, fresh from his rebirth, it seems, sends out another large bunch of Shadobots at the Hedgehog, this batch equipped with Eye-lasers. Sonic handles them after ordering the civilians back to Knothole.

Inside the base, Sally has Nicole do something to the file (we'll find out what later), and, when a Shadowbot attacks, gets her life saved by Snively (ain't that Ironic?). Back outside, Sonic gets rid of the Shadowbots by using speed heat to melt the tar under their feet. (of course, none of them thinks of using it's eye-laser to free itself. Creative thinking ain't part of their programming.) He then keeps a young mobian girl (if you can tell what kind of animal she is, you're a better reader then I. But she was briefly shown in one panel in Sonic #52's back-story) from going into Robotnik's HQ to save a (nameless) "loved-one." He tries to talk her out of it, by sharing survivor stories with her ("I couldn't save my uncle and pet dog from him."...You know.) When Sally and Snively get out, Sally conforts the girl (who's called Mina), while Snively parts company. Back in his HQ, Robotnik tries to access the file with Knothole's location, but ends up catching a computer virus. Sorry Ivo. Better luck next time.

Rating: Rings

A nice story. Self-contained, yet fits in nicely into standard continuity. The "Back to basics" approach has been used properly, with all the characters (even King Acorn and Prince Elias) being true to nature (or as close as can be in Elias' case). Fry (Jim Fry, but artists are known for exentricity)'s art is great, with a Manga-based flavor a reader can love. The way he draws faces convey emotions well, and he has a good sense of humor (That crowd scene was a nice touch, and I know I saw a few characters from the "No Need For Tenchi Muyo" Anime series in one panel. You gotta love a guy who does Cameo sketches)

I honestly only took off one ring from this rating because the "Mina" character seemed an unnecessary wrinckle. Her "loved one" element was sketchy and undefined, and the small emotional bonding she displayed with Sonic in that two-page scene seemed to hint at things that may not be used further down the line. Other then that, this was a great issue!

Tales of the Great War part 4 Another point of View

Anyone else slowly staring to get tired of these back stories? Me too. This one especially doesn't contribute a lot to the overall storyline.

First off, we get Tails, Bunnie, Antoine and Sonic's folks avoiding Shadowbot patrols while trying to get to the library. We get a short speech on how books are necessary (a bit pointless, really.), then we get to the library. Once there, we get some more exposition until Jules Hedgehog picks up a book and starts (for no reason in perticular) to read a passage about the Great War.

Okay, we get a short scene explaining how the Overlanders where trying to blast Mobotropolis and it's people to extinction, and a small thought balloon showing us how far Colin Kintobor will go to get rid of his brother (let me put it this way: He's not sorry he's killing lots of innocent furries), while many furries (amongst them Jules and Charles) rush to the bunkers for safety. From there, Bernie and a cat who appears to be Hershey's mother (Her name's Cocoa. Har har...) lead a counter attack group through the sewers to go behind enemy lines for a surprise attack. Once there, there is a large battle between Mobians and Overlanders. Amadeus gets his eye-shot out (he lives) and Colin barely escapes. 'Nuff said.

Afterwards, The king shows a pic of the Overlander leader to Julian (he suggest continued combat) and the King presents the new warlord to the people. Jules makes a small statement about how important books are and they decide to take all they can carry, before coming back for what else they can need.

Rating: Rings

This story was utterly unnecessary. The art was questionnable, the storytelling forced and preachy ("Books are important!" Yeah...we got the point the first time already!), the narration was needlessly formal, and way too much stuff was forced into one short story (Did we need to know Hershey's mom [or whatever] was called Cocoa? Or that Amadeus lost his eye then and there?). It seems Archie's backstories are once again dragging down the rest of the book.

Overall Rating: Rings