Sonic The Hedgehog #94 Review by Rolland Therrien
"New Order"
Written by Karl Bollers
Pencils by Fry
Inked by Pam Eklund
New Order is the name of the game in this issue, folks, and it's really appropriate. Useless fact time: most conspiracy buffs tend to use the term "New World Order" as a euphamism for the concept of a total dictatorship. Kinda puts Elias's new rule in a whole new light, right?

We start this issue a few weeks after the end of Sonic #93, thus cheating us of the sight of Sonic complaining to Elias and St-John (Whom I shall now affectionally call "The John", in homage to the toilet), and just cuts to what Knothole has been doing since we last left them: They've started turning Knothole into a full fledged Kingdom, complete with modern accomodations: Royal Castle (A huge prority, I'm sure), Hospital, Prison (What, the Devil's Gulag wasn't good enough?) and, worst of all, a Public School.

Ok, Elias and The John are quickly showing their incompetence as leaders already: Dr Robotnik, the guy who wants to turn all the Mobians on the planet into robotic slaves, having already done so to countless many, is out there, plotting to destroy Knothole, and building castles and public schools is a priority? This makes the Clinton school of Military Administration look smart! People, just leave the kids with guardians who'll double as tutors, and focus on building up your military forces before the guy turns you into cuisanarts, ok?

We cut to the sigh of Sonic with his friends (minus Sally, at the castle, and Antoine, apparently visiting his father in the prison). Sonic's been doing some narrating thus far, and then asks the question we all want to know: "Since when to Freedom Fighters need to learn Algebra, anyway?" His primary concern is what happened to Sally, however.

We cut to the Royal Castle, to see Sally in her new room, checking her own school materials. Uh, since when does Sally need to take new lessons? In Sonic #19, it's established that Julayla, her late Mentor, fully trained Sally in the arts of science, litterature, and even leadership. Heck, she -COMPLETED- that training before Julayla died. Sally needs to go to school like Sonic needs to become more impatient!

Anyways, as she's going through her stuff, a picture slides out of the book, which shows Sally and Sonic (as drawn by Art Mawhinney). Sally starts to get melancholic about how she misses Sonic, but as soon as The John pops in to tell Sally her family wants her, she hides the picture! Odd... Why would she be ashamed of it?

She meets with her parents and brother on the balcony, looking over the nearly completed new Kingdom, and the Queen comments on how beautiful the kingdom is, and how Robotnik can keep the dirty old city of Robotropolis. Yeah, Queenie, let Dr Eggman keep the city with the large factories and robot armies, along with the thousands of roboticized slaves, so he can continue plotting the downfall of you and your people. (Folks, am I the only one who's wondering where Sally got her brains? Lord knows she can't have gotten them from either her mother OR her father...)

Meanwhile, back in the "Awful City" of Robotropolis, the Overlanders have settled into the grim and gritty metropolis, and into an urban reality reminiscent of Orwell's "1984", complete with Robot cops and 9:00PM Curfews. Meanwhile, Colin and his family are still guests at Julian's pad, and Colin seems to insist on making quality time with his "dear brother", no matter how much it annoys The Eggman. Agnes complains about the robot guards being inside the city, but Julian assures her they're there to keep the furries out of the city, which leads Hope to start thinking "But wasn't it THEIR city?"

Before she can ask the question outloud, however, Colin comments on how much Julian's changed... in personality, apparantly (How this guy got his job, I'll never know.), since the time he was condemned to ten years in prison. When Julian asks about why the Overlanders where in outer space, Colin tells him his people, after losing the war, wanted something new. And apparently, a ten-year vacation into deep space, without rhyme or reason, was the thing. Before Colin can continue with the nostalgic narrative, they get interrupted with the knews the robots captured a curfew violator: Snively.

More on that later, as we return to Sonic and Tails, preparing to go to sleep in their room, after a little teasing on Tails' part on how Sally "loooooves" Sonic. Let's try to remember that fact, though, shall we? The next morning, our heroes get a rude awakening from an earthquake which shakes Knothole without announcement. After some quick preperation and checking up with Sonic's parents, Sonic and Tails go out to save a construction crew from getting smashed by a falling tree. Enjoy this scene, it's the only Sonic action sequence you get this issue.

Back in Robotropolis, Robotnik goes to visit Snively in his holding cell, and makes a deal: help him continue the scam over the Overlanders, and he'll help Snively get revenge on Colin, the father who never appreciated him. And judging from Sniv's evil grin, he seems to like the deal. So much for Sniv becoming one of the good guys later on, huh?

Back in Knothole, Sonic and co. arrive at the school and hook up with Rotor, who's now dressed like a Limp Bizket fan, and Bunnie, who's now wearing the latest in "Southern Ho Chic" (So much for family aimed entertainment), before Tails has to leave to go with the other kids his age.

Back in Robotropolis, Hope, after 6 weeks of working up the nerve, starts to sneak around Robotropolis to find out more about it, and gets spooked by a Robian Slave, just before running off crying... I guess it'll take her a few more weeks to work up the nerve to do that again...

Back in Knothole, Tails breaks off from his fellow students to fetch his bookbag, but gets interrupted by a vision of Athair, who whisks him away without warning with only a "You are Needed" for explanation. (Don't you hate it when that happens on the first day of school?) Meanwhile, in Sonic's class, our hero finds out Mina's in his class, with a seat right next to his. Sonic's disappointed Sally hasn't shown up, though. Lord knows I am. Bunnie takes the other seat next to Sonic, but gives Mina the cold shoulder. Then again, if I was a girl who's best friend's boyfriend was being stalked by another girl, I wouldn't be too friendly with said other girl myself.

Before this can continue, however, Nate Morgan appears and announces himself as their physics teacher. And now we know King Acorn doesn't pay his people well, if they have to take TEACHING jobs to support themselves, of all things. After a grueling class, he gives a curious Sonic the latest bombshell from the Royal family: Sally's recieving private lessons at Castle Acorn, and isn't gonna mingle with the "Commoners" anymore.

To be continued...

Rating: Rings

Ok, anyone get the feeling things were better for the Freedom Fighters BEFORE they brought back the Royal Family? One wonders why they went to the trouble to get King Acorn back in the first place...

The story isn't terrible, but it isn't a breakthrough either. The plot advances slowly, but so far only to make things as bad as possible for Sonic and his friends. If it isn't The Royal Family making things impossible for Sonic, it's Mina trying to pull him away from Sally. Good thing Robotnik's got family problems of his own, or else things would really hit the fan for our heroes.

Ok, I'm starting to think that maybe... just -Maybe-, Bollers is doing all of this intentionally: darkest before the dawn, and so on. But still, the way Bollers is setting up this big storyline of his, he's alienating a lot of good fans in the process. The climax of this story had BETTER be good...

"The Best Laid Plans..."
Written and Inked by Ken Penders
Pencilled by Ron Lim
We pick up this story from where we left off last issue, with the Weasel Twins packing up their gear after leaving Knuckles with the Echidnas of Albion to get Chaos Drained. Meanwhile, Charmy and Saffron are searching for their friend. This will be important later. Really.

Back with the Echidnas, Knuckles is being tied up to a Chaos Syphon, even as Gala-Na explains why this is necessary: Knux' power is growing too much for him to control safely, and the only way to deal with that threat is to use the Syphon... No matter what may happen. And without more of an apology, they activate it.

Much to their surprise, however, Knuckles starts to resist the drain, forcing the Echidnas to try increasing the power. But before they can succeed, Charmy and Saffron show up and shift to micro-size to interfere with the process, causing a feedback loop which actually Super-Charges Knuckles' power, transforming him into... A Green Knuckles with no pupils, actually. Of course, before anything happens, Knuckles suddenly vanishes from sight, after commenting that it felt as if someone had flipped a switch and changed things.

So while the Echidnas contemplate their failure, they try to contact the Weasels for another mission, but only get a "Sorry, we'll pass" as a response. How nice and professional, guys. They fly away, leaving Gala-Na asking "Now what?", echoing the thoughts of all the readers in the process.

Rating: Rings

Ok, This back-up served only one purpose, it seemed: To set things up so Knuckles becomes a prime suspect for the part of Ultimate Villain in the upcoming storyline for #100. Otherwise, the story is completly forgettable, which Is what I'd rather be doing about it, if no-one minds.