Sonic The Hedgehog #81 Review by Rolland Therrien
Sonic the Hedgehog
"City of Dreams"
Well, this issue begins with Amy doing a convenient inner-monologue-recap of the two past issues to explain what's been going on, including her own transformation to Teenage form and their arrival in the Ancient City. Then, she gets cut off and we're treated to a splash page featuring Sonic and co. standing in the middle of a street, looking very conspicuous. Just as Sally talks about contacting the local authorities, who should arrive but the local police force! Fortunetly, Nate knows the head officer (curtosy of the Department of Serendipity), so the situation is quickly explained, with the cop learning that Nate's "pets" (I know if I was a furry, I'd resent the implication) are sentient people, and that Sally's a princess, and emissary from the royalty, with all the privileges. They even get a quite suite at the Station Square hotel (don't miss the Sonic comic staff as Hotel personel cameo).

Next morning, the Freedom Fighters get a grand tour with, for guide, the city's Mayor Bullyani himself (note: New York's mayor is called Jullyani, and is one of the more famous mayors out there); we get some info concerning the city, Station Square, including it's canopy, which imitates either day or night sky, seasons and weather (though why would one want to imitate winter...). The tour could last a while, so Sonic, Amy and Tails decide to skip it and go to the set-up scenes we've seen from the game: Amy's shopping (she's enjoying her puberty like a kid with a new toy), Tails' flying his plane and Sonic decides to hanging by the Hotel pool, apparantly charming the local women-folk. ...That last bit seems a bit OOC for the Sonic I know, though. Elsewhere, though, the Freedom Fighters learn that the people of Station Square call themselves Humans, and not Overlanders, and that they've been keeping themselves isolated from the outside world for a long time. But they're ready to open up now. And so this chapter ends.

Rating: Ring

I honestly wanted to like this story, but I'm sorry, I can't. The SA plotline drags on with little plot development in this issue. We spend the whole story exposing Station Square, with no significant plot point being presented. The FFs are once more given little more then "Hello, I'm here, this is what I'm doing" treatment, with Sally being practically limited to a background character. Nate is once again a plot device, who helps cut down the Intro to accelerate things. Personally, I wouldn't have minded seeing Sonic do his stuff, disarming the cops so Sally could talk to them. Would've been nice seeing Sonic do anything beside just "hanging, looking cool amd flirting with the girls", actually. First, Sega don't want Sonic doing the "mushy stuff", and now they let him get turned into a Lady-killer? That whole pool-side scene was just Out Of Character, IMO. Only good thing about this storyline was the art, and that doesn't do much to save this story.

Knuckles the Echidna
"All you need is a Bit of Chaos"

We return to Doc Robotnik's lair, where he's begun feeding emerald shard energy to Chaos, who's now starting to grow and develop. Just not enough. Turns out one of the shards ain't a Chaos Emerald piece, just some random crystal from the Chaos Chamber that got mixed in. So Robotnik goes out to get more Chaos Emeralds, and sends his E-Series of robots out to get some specimen of Amphibian DNA, hence E-102's capture of Big's froggy friend last issue.

Meanwhile, our favorite monotreme Knuckles is flying over the ruins Doc Robotnik tampered with in Issue #79, on the now cold trail of Robotnik's ship. He sees the ruins, realizes they've been messed around with and decides to check them out and look for clues to Robotnik's past actions. The ruins remind him of ruins he's seen on the Floating Island, and he begins to suspect there have been Echidnas there at some point, and wonders where they went and why they left.

He then starts getting nostalgic for his old "pre-series" days, when he only did guest shots as Sonic's friendly nemesis, before his musings are interrupted by his "Guardian sense", apparently triggered by the presence of more Chaos Emerald shards, left around by Robotnik, when he broke Chaos out. He decides to keep the shards in his glove sleeves and continues his investigation, before he turns around to see...

Something we'll see next issue, apparently. For now, we cut to the Chaotix, who've all been captured by those spear-slinging cats from last issue. While our friends argue on theory regarding these strangers, the cats are doing the silent treatment until they reach ashore. They then get brought to a castle. One of the cats goes on ahead, saying she'll inform the Queen of their presence, before she arrives there, is given a cloak and called Majesty. Looks like the royalty decides to take a "hands-on" approach to things. She makes a foreboading statement about interrogating the prisoners and making "examples" out of them. Not good for our heroes.

Rating: Rings

Not a bad story, overall, but the execution is still short and sloppy. When it gets to the point we get explanation for events the issue after they occur, you know something's wrong with the editing process. This story was obviously the first part of another 2-parter, as I'm sure we're not supposed to wait a month to find out what caught Knuckles' attention. Still, the story seems more interesting now, and the art was pretty good. The parallel development of Knuckles' game storyline seems to compliment well with the Chaotix' present misadventure. It'll be interesting to see where this is going.

Amy Rose
"A Rose Plucked"

And now, for the back-up story. We start with Amy coming out of the shooping center from earlier in this issue, with a lot of bags full of stuff (never mind the question of wondering what a teen, female hedgehog morph could possibly find to buy in a store aimed at humans). Her shopping is suddenly interrupted when a flicky-like bird with a plaque around his neck flies overhead, pursued by a flying robot that's shooting at it. Poor bird gets zapped and falls on Amy. She decides to help the poor little bird and confronts the large robot, only to get attacked.

She back away, desperatly wanting to do something to stop it. Like by magic, a hammer appears in her hands to everyone's surprise (her's first and foremost) and swings at the bot, knocking it down. Just as she thinks she's safe, another robot shows up and grabs her hammer arm before she can swing. Another one shows up to grab her other arm and they take her away to...wherever, leaving the poor little bird to fly off to her rescue. ...wait, weren't those bots after the bird in the first place? Why'd they forget him? Just a plothole, I guess.

Rating: 0 Rings

Well, I've never had high expectations of Sonic back-up stories, and this tale was up to them. Little characterisation on a character I'm sure many fans dislike as she is like this, and this story was full of glaring holes in the plot. I'd say more, but then I'd just go off on a rant, and I'm sure the Amy fans would dislike this.