Sonic The Hedgehog #93 Review by Rolland Therrien
"Crime and Punishment"
Written by Karl Bollers
Pencils by Fry
Inked by Pam Eklund
It's a real crime the way Sonic and Co. have gotten treated by their own creators, and... Oh, it refers to -Sonic's- Crime! ...Never mind, my original statement stands... Especially since this issue is full of painfully obvious errors in plot managment and characterisation.

We start this issue's first story in the Great Forest, where Sonic is bemoaning the fact it's his fault King Max got cold-cocked back in Robotropolis, about his failure to use the Sword of Acorns to find a way to free his Uncle Chuck, and about losing the Sword of Acorns along the way. Ok, now there's mistake number one right there.

SONIC DOES NOT WHINE! Failure or no failure, the Sonic I know would never just give up without a fight, and would redouble his efforts at fixing his mistakes. Heck, the Sonic I know would never have come back to Knothole without the Sword in the first place!

But anyways, Sonic is brooding his way through the Great Oak Slide, when he gets stopped at the end by a net, placed there by the Secret Service, which promptly arrests him! (Wait, since when is the Secret Service the Secret Police now? I guess Elias is letting his power get to him...) Sonic decides to resist arrest, saying he doesn't answer to St John. That's when Elias steps in and tries to put his foot down as the new guy in charge.

Meanwhile, in Robotropolis, the Overlanders are slowly being marched into town with an Ominous Shadowbot escort, with little girl Hope and her Grandma not feeling so secure, despite Colin's assurances that it's better then being attacked by Furries. The Hologram of Doc Robotnik shows up and assures everyone that his city is perfectly safe and secure, and don't mind the looks (or the smells). In fact, he offers Colin a luxury suite at his Palace!

Ok, now this is Error #2: Back in Sonic #72, we learn that Robotnik originally escaped from Overlander territory, rather then suffering a 10 year imprisonnment for Illegal Experiments, sentanced by Colin himself! And then he went to work for the Furries, selling military secrets and advice! And now COLIN ACTUALLY TRUSTS HIM? Bollers is actually contradicting HIMSELF! How bad is that?

Meanwhile, underneath Robotropolis itself, Kodos is doing the classic villainous rant about how, with the Sword of Acorns, he's now undefeatable and doesn't need anyone. Ho hum, let's move on.

Back in Knothole, Sonic is looking for Sally, but Elias insists that whatever he needs to tell her can be told to him instead. Considering that Sonic's intentions involve trying to act all lovey-dovey and begging for her forgiveness, that's out of the question and Sonic storms off, leaving an indignant St John, held back from lashing out by Elias.

Sonic just walks off, thinking about how he messed everything up, when all of a sudden, Mina shows up, sees Sonic and runs towards him at Super-Speed, and collides head-on, not having mastered super-breaking yet. Sonic and Mina, then dazed on the ground, just recover and laugh at the situation, then look at each other in a sickeningly cute way... And then Sally arrives, sees Sonic flirting with another girl and smashes him over the head with a large hammer, yelling out "Sonic No Baka!"

...No, not really. But it would've been more entertaining then them simply getting interrupted in their "cutey" eye lock by Antoine, Bunny and General D'Coolette, freshly arrived from Mercia. Heck, Sonic didn't even know they were gone (geez, how long was that trip, anyways? It's barely been days since the big battle where they left in the first place.) Antoine needs to speak St-John and King Max at once, but as they soon learn from Nate "Plot Device" Morgan (who arrives just in time to further the plot), King Max has been left Paraplegic from his insuries, and handed down his authority to Elias (the guy who never wanted the job in the first place). And once more, Sonic goes into "Sulk Mode", moaning "All my fault..." like a cry-baby, explaining everything he's done wrong. ...Again. See a pattern forming? Just as Nate tries to reassure Sonic, explaining Max never should've lead that mission in the first place, Sonic just runs off, saying he needs to go where he needs to be. Ok, more on that later.

Back in Kodos' lair, Uma Arachnis, apparantly concerned about losing her job do to a sword, swipes the Sword of Acorns right from under Kodos' sleeping nose, and starts to study it intently. O-k...

Back in Knothole, Sally gets from Elias and St-John the news on Sonic's deed, and the fact he gave no explanations. (She probably didn't get the part about Sonic looking for her, though.) Sally starts out asking what she should do, but corrects herself and asks Elias what he'll do about it. Queen Alicia reassures her that her brother, with St-John's help, will handle the situation, and that she should help her mother find something decent to wear. (Amazing... Back inside that tube, she changed dresses from issue to issue, but now she's spent three issues out of it, and hasn't changed clothes once.) St-John agrees with the queen, stating it'll give him the opportunity to council the prince.

Then, after the womenfolk have left, St John turns to Elias, and states the obious: Elias ain't no leader. (Well DUHH!) He then explains even more of the obvious, stating that Elias never expected to become Prince, and that Max should've appointed Sally his successor, despite being stuck in his old ways (In other words, Max is a sexist). He then makes an ominous offer: He'll become the power behind the throne, helping Elias to make his tough decisions so Max won't be disappointed. And, showing once more that he sucks at making good decisions, Elias accepts.

(And what have we learned from this, kids? 1: Sexism is a bad idea, 2: appointing someone to a position out of nepotism instead of actual skills always brings trouble, and 3: Geoffery St John is a fink!)

Back in Robotropolis, Colin, along with the little girl and grandma from earlier, finally meet Robotnik, who seems delighted to see them. Colin offers a handshake, but Robotnik refuses, due to germs. Colin seems surprised at Robotnik's sudden worry about germs (Totally ignoring the fact that this Robotnik looks almost NOTHING like the old one), but simply introduces his companions: Lady Agnes and Hope. He remarried after Snively's mom died, but his second wife didn't survive the Star Trip. Agnes is his mother-in-law, and Hope his stepdaughter. and after they all find out how much of a villain Robotnik is, I'm sure both of them will never let Colin forget it.

Back in Knothole, Sonic races all the way to Elias and Geoffery St John, apologizing for his behavior, admitting his deed, and stating that he's ready to face the consequences for his crimes. But rather then getting imprisoned, Elias simply strips Sonic of his knighthood, and confines him to Knothole's borders! And meanwhile, Geoffery is standing behind Elias, smiling wickedly. (BOOOOOOHHH!!)

Rating: Rings

With Fry's return, the quality of the comic's art has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, the best art in the world won't do much to save a lousy story, and this is one. For one thing, Karl Bollers continues to dig his own grave by insisting on making Sonic a whiner who moans about his mistakes rather then a hero who strives to correct his mistakes at great personal cost, and quite frankly, I think all the Sonic fans are getting tired of it. Lord knows I am.

Secondly, the feud between Julian and Colin was clearly established by BOLLERS HIMSELF in Sonic #72, showing that Colin neither trusts nor likes his own brother, having condemned him to prison for illegal experiments with the Universal Anhilator, and then saw his own brother become the chief advisor to King Acorn during the Great War, leading the furries to victory against his own people. And now, Colin simply accepts Robotnik's offer of asylum, without even suspecting his brother of foul play? If Bollers was continuing someone else's story, this would already be a bad idea, but he HIMSELF established that feud in #72. This, people, is bad writing even by the standards of Star Trek Voyager's writing staff.

Thirdly, I don't mind the "Elias gets the throne and St John gets the power behind it" subplot, except for how Sally seems to have lost her backbone entirely. She's not only given what little authority she still had, she's just given up trying to keep in control of the situation! The Sally I knew would've excused herself from helping her mother find a dress and offered Elias HER assistance in making command decisions. Heck, I'm sure Elias should normally have asked for HER help instead of St John's. That would be the sensible decision for anyone in his position.

Yep, once more, Karl Bollers has twisted the characters around just for the sake of fitting them all into his funked-up story, throwing common sense and continuity to the wind in the process. In fact, the Mina/Sonic love interest bit barely even registers as a problem anymore, what with Sonic, Sally and company all being written out of character like they are. So far, Bollers is striking out issue after issue. If I was the editor, I'd be telling him to shape up or get shaped out. Oh well, I'm giving him one more chance. But if Sonic's not telling St John and Elias to stuff that knighthood where the sun don't shine, and announcing that no-one's keeping him cooped up in Knothole, then I'll officially declare this book unsalvageable.

And now, the Knuckles Story.

"Bagging the Big One"
Ken Penders: Writer, Penciller, Inker, etc etc etc...
(In other words, he's the only one to blame here)
We finally pick up where #91's back-up "story" left off, and we find Charmy and his fiancee Saffron doing what all newly engaged couples do: the girl talks about how many children they'll have while the guy is stuck hearing about it, probably wondering how he can chew his own arm off to escape. I'm also pretty sure Saffron will reconsider the number of children she'll want after giving birth to the first one.

Before they can continue with this sweet (and somewhat pathetic) scene, Knuckles teleports in from a wormzone and meets up with Charmy and Saffron. Charmy is surprised to discover Knuckles is now glowing green, while Knuckles is surprised to discover Charmy is much bigger then he normally is (We found that out back in the Knuckles book, around Issue #11 or 12, I think). Then they proceed with a little "Catching up", while Nack and Nic are spying on them from nearby, having used deduction (and "Well, Duh" reasoning) to figure out that Knuckles, now alone, would try to find his only remaining free friend, Charmy. (NM the fact that Sally is a closer friend then Charmy, and that she would've been easier to find)

Before Nic can use her sniper rifle to attack Knuckles, Nack stops her, reminding her that it's not likely to do much on him. Instead, he decides to play it subtle, and goes in for a closer look... Meanwhile, Knuckles is trying to bring Charmy and Saffron up to speed with recent events, except he seems to suffer from slight amnesia: the only things he remembers about what happened on the Floating Island was fighting the Dark Legion, then winding up floating on the water, all alone. Before he can explain the green glow, Nack shows up and asks for a little help with his Sky Master (Saffron first displays her now obvious cluelessness by thinking he's talking about a critter, not a ship.)

Knuckles, despite having met the Weasel in the Triple Threat adaptation, apparently doesn't recognize Nack, and offers to help, but in time. Unfortunately, Nack doesn't give him a choice in coming with him, throwing his knife between Knuckles' feet. (Saffron makes her second display of cluelessness by stating "SAAAY! That isn't nice!" Well Duh, Saffron!) Nack doesn't seem to leave Knuckles with ANY choice, when he reveals his sister has Saffron and Charmy in the sights of her Sniper rifle (Personally, I'd just let her shoot: Get rid of Saffron, and put Charmy out of his misery, knowwhatImean?)

Knuckles, probably desperate to get out of the neighborhood before being talked into being the best man, agrees to follow Nack to his ship, where they find Yanar (with Nack and Nic's payment and instructions to forget everything) and Gala-Na (and a bunch of Echidna Storm-Troopers) Gala-Na tells the indignant Knuckles that he wields more power then he can control, and that the best thing to do before he becomes a danger to everyone, is to use the Chaos Syphon on him, and may Aurora herself have mercy on his soul.

To be continued.

Rating: Ring

Ok, first off, am I the only one here who thinks that Ken Penders' art leaves somewhat to be desired? His art is both flat and lifeless, especially when compared to the art of other Archie artists. I can draw pics about that well, and I'm a hack sketching artist...

The story wasn't too bad, and actually does a little work to further the plot of Knuckles and his current fate. Except it's not much of a plot in the first place, is it? After four or five issues, we're still no closer to seeing Knuckles confront the Dark Legion and free his friends and family somehow. We're no closer to seeing Knuckles even do something about the situation! Ken Penders really need to take his fingers out of his derrière and do something to further the plot.

Overall Rating: Ring