Sonic The Hedgehog #88 Review by Rolland Therrien
"Family Matters"
Written by Karl Brollers
Pencilled by Fry
Inked by Andrew Pepoy
Well, after the mediocre "storyline" of Sonic Adventure, we finally get a story that goes somewhere!

After 6 months of the SA adaptation and it's consequences, the Freedom Fighters finally return to Knothole, and find the King leading an army of furries, to rescue Prince Elias. The king gives us a short recap: Elias was captured by Robotnik's troops, while bringing back a cure for Queen Alicia from Robotropolis. So now Acorn's gonna lead his troops to save his son from getting roboticized. (What some fathers will do to watch over their kids...)

Sally orders Sonic to protect her father, while Geoffery is to make saving Elias his first priority. Meanwhile back in Robotropolis, Elias tries to reason with Chuck, but doesn't get through to the robian... Back in Knothole, King Acorn excuses the wounded Antoine from battle, who gets some reassurance from Bunnie, who stands by him (aaaawwww... ^^). Sonic takes the time for a brief reunion with his folkds, then goes to meet with the war party. As the heroes leave, Sally remains in Knothole to wait for the doctors to treat her mother.

Later on, the attack begins and actually goes very well for the people of Knothole, which forces Chuck to hasten the Roboticizing of Prince Elias. Meanwhile, back in Knothole, Antoine and Bunnie request from Sally a leave of absence to go to Mercia, where Antoine intends to confront his father, now the High Sherrif of Mercia. Amy, who's Rob'o the Hedge's cousin, decides to go with them. Sally was worried enough about her mother and her brother, and starts to cry after Antoine and Bunnie said they were leaving for Mercia... Poor girl's world is crumbling around her...

Back in Robotropolis, Sonic, Geoffery and the King manage to keep Chuck from roboticizing Elias, but fail to save Chuck and Muttzki, who, just as they start to recover their senses, disappear behind a secret panel, before Sonic can try to reach out to them. Just then, however, King Acorn gets blindsided by a Shadowbot and knocked out!

The story ends back at Knothole, where Dr Quack leaves the operating room after working on Queen Alicia. Sally is about to ask Dr Quack if her mother's gonna be alright, when Sonic walks in carrying her unconscious father. Geez, as if Sally didn't have ENOUGH on her nerves as it is... She's on her way to a breakdown, mark my words.

Rating: Rings

Folks, this is the first time in a long time I've rated a Sonic story 5 rings, and believe me, I'm glad I did. Whatever curse was on the Sonic titles has been lifted, and we're getting some great stories again. Karl Brollers has shattered my expectations concerning plot and characterisation, and I thank him for it. Even Fry's art was virtually perfect, combining simplicity of basic design with extensive styling. Made for some great visuals, including the "Army Assembled" scene on page 7. Check it out, it's great.

It's good to see Karl Brollers finally giving all the characters some exposure, and some plotting that actually leads into the following stories, including Antoine, Bunnie and Amy's departure from Knothole, which leads directly into this issue's back-up story, which we'll cover soon. Even Sally gets some great characterisation, as everyone in her family suffers in some way or another, causing her to worry more and more as the story goes on, until that climactic scene where she sees Sonic, carrying her fallen father... Boy, is Sonic gonna get it next issue.

"Picking up the Pieces"
No credits, but it looks like the same crew from SSS#14's storyline.
And now, for the back-up story, which picks up directly after the events from "The Best of Times, the Worst of Times" from SSS#14, which left everyone on the Floating Island trapped inside another Zone, with the exception of the Dark Legion, which where the ones behind the incident, and Knuckles, who fell off the Island and landed on some debris in the middle of the Ocean.

He wakes up and finds himself alone, in the middle of the Ocean, wondering what happened to his people, and what to do now. Just when he asks, he promptly gets a mystic vision of Athair, who tells him he must go to Mercia to find Rob o' the Hedge, who will guide him to a solution to his problem. He uses the Guiding Star Gem to go there.

At Mercia, Rob o' the Hedge confronts some weary travelers, whom he believes are agents of his arch enemy, the High Sherrif. They turn out to be Antoine, Bunnie and Amy, who were making their way through the forest. BTW, fun fact: We get a small appearance of Mary-lin with Rob before the confrontation... and it would seem She and Rob have already had a child... Gee, those two work fast...

Rob first doesn't believe Amy is who she is, then believes she's bewitched, and accuses Antoine, whom he realizes resembles the Sherif, of being the one behind this. Before the argument can degenerate into a fight, however, Knuckles arrives in extremis and stops the argument, and clears matters up for everyone.

After Antoine explains his reasons for being there, Knux reveals he's going to Albion, where he believes they were all fated to go there. "...I can't believe it's a coincidence we five have come together here!" And so the collected crew prepare to leave for Albion...

next issue. ^^

Rating: Rings

This story was as good as this issue's main story, actually. We get some great characterisation from everyone from Knuckles to Rob, with Amy getting a realistic reaction to her "aged" condition from Rob. The plot moves at a good pace, with the plot not taking a backseat to the acting of each character, but not ignoring the characters either. Very well done. The art was also great, with everyone looking terrific.

All in all, I can't wait for the next issue. After a long while, I'm finally excited about an upcoming issue of Sonic... Happy Days! ^^