|The theme of this issue's main story is extremely simple...
We start out with a "teaser" of Locke in Mysterious Cat Country, agreeing to take on the cat's champion, Razorclaw, before he can sit with the queen and negotiate.
After a brief, one-page fight, Razor's down for the count and Locke tells the queen it's time to talk.
We cut to Super-Sonic, who's now on "round 2" of his big fight with Perfect Chaos, continued from last issue. While those two are knockin' and rockin', Knuckles is down on the ground, helping to clear the area.
When Antoine's gets hit by a falling stone, Knux jumps to his rescue and gets him to safety, before deciding he's going to go help Super Sonic. About time, Knux...
While Super Sonic is still throwing down with Perfect Chaos, Locke is getting a tour of the kingdom from the queen, while talking about the shared history of their race. He's trying to convince her he and his friends aren't here to make war. Unfortunetly, the queen isn't convinced, referring to past disputes. When he says his clan have alwayds tried to strive for good, she shows him something...
...Which we'll see some other time, as Knuckles arrives at the city's Generator station and dives into the flooded building to reach the generators, fighting his own fear of water (Funny... I didn't know he had one...)
Back to Super-Sonic, who decides to try and run PC ragged by making it chase him around the ruined city. Along the way, he passes Sally who tosses him a copper pipe and tries to tell him to head for the Generator Station; that's all Sonic hears as he zooms by with PC in hot pursuit.
While Sonic gets in position for PC to run into the live wiring and get shocked, Knuckles arrives at the generator, but finds everything crashed and disconnected. So he slides under the whole thing and, calling on the power of the broken Master Emerald, manages to lift it into place, charging everything up just as PC runs into the wires.
As Knuckles emerges, Sonic helps him out of the water, and gets the news: Chaos has turned back into his good, peaceful self, and he and Tical will return to the zone they belong to now.
While Sonic complains that "After all that--It's over! Doesn't seem right somehow", thereby echoing all the fans' opinion of this issue, Knuckles is just glad it's over, so he can go back to the Floating Island with the shards of the master Emerald. So he picks up his bag, says goodbye to everyone and goes home.
It was an okay story... except it didn't entirely feel like a Sonic story. It was fast-paced, it had action and drama, but... It just wasn't a Sonic story. For one thing, we get the feeling Super-Sonic fighting Perfect Chaos was just a side-show to fill in time while Knuckles got everything in place. Hardly a big, heroic moment for our boy in blue, is it?
Ken Penders wrote an incredibly well-done story... except it was a Knuckles story, and not a Sonic one. Not that I have anything against Knuckles, mind you. It's just that, in a book called "Sonic the Hedgehog", you'd expect Sonic to be the one who saves the day, not the Echidna. The hero can get help, but ultimatly, it's the hero's bravery which wins the fight, not the secondary character's actions.
Ken should've kept that in mind as he wrote that story.
"Bridge over Troubled Waters"
And now, for the back-up story, a Knuckles story. (if you hadn't had enough of Knuckles during the main story...)
Well, after Knux leaves the Freedom Fighters at the end of the main story this issue, Knux uses the Guiding Star Gem (from Knuckles #12) to find his way back to the Island with the Chaos Emeralds. This might say something about his sense of direction...
He gets greeted by Spectre and Sabre, who immediatly take him to the newly designed setting for the Master Emerald. Since the Chaos Chamber was destroyed, the Guardians decided to copy the old Black Emerald setting design for the Master Emerald. (since we never saw any of them leave the Island, I think Knux should start searching his body for hidden cameras...)
Somehow, the Guardians manage to reform the Master Emerald, and the Floating Island regains it's name.
Later on, a ship leaves the Island and lands on the coast of Cat Country, with Knuckles stepping out, greeted by some Cat Guards. They take him into the Country, where he gets greeted by the Chaotix.
They lead him to his father and the Cat queen, who are standing besides a large statue commemorating Pachacamac, leader of the late Knuckles Clan, and a foe to the Cats. Locke explains that, while researching his family history, he discovered his family had descended from the Knuckles Clan, a family that left the Echidna homeland and landed in Cat Country, where they began to make war with the locals, lead by Pachacamac, leader of the warrior faction of the family.
The Scholars and laborers of the family wanted no part of the bloodshed, and rejected Pachacamac, his followers and even the Knuckles family name, and left, eventually settling in Downunda, where they would found what would become one day the Floating Island.
After much thought, Locke decided to reclaim some of this lost family heritage by naming his son after the old Knuckles clan name. Which shows how much thought and work Locke went to name Knuckles. ...And here we thought he named the kid because of his hands...
The Queen explains she was expecting an actual invasion from the Island, until Locke convinced her otherwise.
Well, that's pretty much it. After that, everything added is anti- climactic.
Nice back story for Knuckles name, but... Was it really worth an entire back-up to tell? It might've made a better side-story to another, larger story. Other then that, it's ok.
Overall Rating: Rings