Sonic Super Special #8 Review by Rolland Thierren
"Zone Wars - Prelude"
"Running On Empty"
"Den Of Thieves"
"Ghost Busted"

Dan Slott, Roger Brown, Frank Strom, And Jay Oliveras(W)
James Fry, Nelson Ribiero, Frank Strom, And Jay Oliveras(A)
In my now continuing career as a comic book critic, I have decided to review some past issues of Sonic comix, while waiting for the new stuff to come up. Today, I have decided to review the much Hyped SSS#8, dubbed "the Sally Moon" special. we will begin with the feature story, Zone Wars:Prelude

First off, notice the revealing title; a prelude means we'll get some more of this kind of stuff in the future. Remember, you have been warned.

The story begins in a place called the No-Zone, which is said to be "90 degrees from everywhere", O-Kay... Some guy called Zonic, the Zone cop, is paged, and is told that some DR. Ivana Robotina (Robotnik, but born without a Y-chromozone; think Robotnik in drag. *shudder* okay, stop thinking about that) has breached from her zone into Mobius Prime (our hero's world), where she is now fighting Sonic the Hedgehog. Zonic says he'll get right there, as soon as he "Zones up" some reinforcements. That's it for the beggining. No explaining as to how things got to there. No build up, quick, slow or otherwise. That enough is confusing, but wait! It gets even worst!

One page and a dimensional quarter-turn later, We see Sonic trying to dodge Robotina's Monsterizing bolts. Sonic starts griping about "when it's not Robotnik trying to roboticize you, it's a wannabe tryin' to monsterize you." Just then, a golden bolt shoots at Robotina, followed by the typical Sailor Moon "...and that means You!" speech, followed on the next page by Pretty Soldier Sally Moon, and her assistant, Chibi Rose (*Holds himself from laughing*), who now pose in typical Sailor Moon fashion. As an aside, I kinda noticed how Sally Moon seems to have Ludicrously long legs compared to normal Sally. Before Sonic can finish asking what's going on, they all get tossed to their feet by one of Robotina's blasts (Here's an important lesson for all japanese heroes: Beat the bad guy first, then pose). Fortunetly for our heroes (well, one hero and two weirdoes), just as Robo-in-Drag is about to deliver the finishing blow, a rose lands right on her neck, nocking her out (Either there's some drugs on that rose, or Robotina has a really low pain tolerance; either way, the writers must be smoking the same stuff as the guy from Batman, the Movie, who made the Joker shoot down the Batplane with a singleshot). Chibi rose points out to the recovering Sally Moon That Tuxedo Knuckles has come to save them. Tuxedo Knuckles? How did that happen? Before Sonic (who's still disoriented) can recover, Sally Moon rushes to TK's arms, and it then becomes obvious that those two are an item in their dimension (the little floating hearts never lie), leaving Sonic even more disoriented. Hang in there, Sonic; it gets more complicated from there.

Zonic comes along, walking on the side of the panel (Jesus, eat your heart out), just in time for Sonic to get hysterical about asking what's going on. Ignoring the qestion, Zonic opens a Zone portal and tells everyone from the Luna Zone (Sally Moon's home dimension) to go home. As Sally Moon and TK drag Robotina (Heh. I made a funny) back home, Sonic grills the Zone cop for answers. Zonic goes on to explain that he comes from a perpendicular Zone, which runs through every parallel dimension (winner of the 1998 Rube Goldberg award for most ridiculous theory explaining the hows and whys of alternate world travel).

He then tells Sonic he's a kind of dimensional hall monitor, keeping everbody in their respective Zones. (Side Note: Dc and Marvel tried this Cross-Over explanation with their own co-owned character, called Access. That character was used twice since DC vs Marvel, then never again, as DC traded up for Hyper-Time, the return of the Multi-Verse concept. I wonder how long this guy'll last?) Sonic talks back, saying no-one's ever stopped him from travelling from Zone to Zone before. Zonic then responds that he's the one who sent Sonic there. He then explains that Zone Portals didn't just pop-up at random, leading Sonic to zones where he was needed by accident. He then mentions a few illustrated exemples, from Sonic # 4, #11, #19 and # 52. Apparantly, Zone Travel is anything but random chance. Sonic was unwittingly recruited by Zonic to fight whatever evil was in those Zones. But he does warn Sonic that Zone x-overs might be more frequent now that the Universal Anhillator has weakened the barrier between the dimensions. Sonic suddenly realises the scope of this, and Zonic starts to leave, saying Sonic can thank him later (Thank you? for using him? arrogant, ain't he?) As Zonic fades away, Sonic asks him why he was always chosen, and not another counterpart, and Zonic answers that our Sonic alone is Sonic Prime, the one True Sonic (Sega might argue with that), and that it is his destiny to become the most pivotal hero of all time and space. With that, Zonic fades for good, leaving Sonic flabbergasted by the revelation. He then pops out of his trance, asking why didn't HE get the girl? Honestly, that line alone makes this story worth reading (but not by much).

Rating: 1/2 Rings

Now for my gripes: I honestly thought this story got botched, if only because it was crammed into an 8 page format. if they had taken a few more pages to tell the story (12 pages of story, not 8), then maybe it would have been satisfying. ..

Sally Moon, for a character who was Hyped about for months before the comic hit the stands, showed a definitive lack of character. We saw her for about two and a half page, during which she posed, got nocked out, was rescued by Tuxedo Knuckles and rushed into his arms. Is she like Sally, or like Sailor Moon? Does she have any Sailor Scouts back home? Why is she dating Knux's couterpart instead of Sonic's? Apparantly, Robotina and Sally Moon where but plot devices, to bring in the explanation for Zone interaction. I for one, would've liked to know more about Sally Moon's world: Why is she dating Knux, how many friends does she have, is Sonic's counterpart also female (maybe that would explain why Sally ain't dating Him/Her)?

Finally, I think Zonic's explanation takes some of the mystery and mystique out of Zone travel. Basically, whenever some one travels through zones, it's because Zonic or some other Zone Cop wants them to do something there. Kinda takes the magic out of it, doesn't it? Before, you had a feeling of Cosmic Purpose in the deed; now, it's just beeing a deputy. What about the numerous Sonics assembled in #17? What ever became of them? And what about that grouping of Robo-Robotniks from Sonic Live? Could it be that the many Sonics stayed in contact, helping each other to free their worlds, leading the many Robotniks to form their own union, a Collective of Robotniks? (You will be Roboticized. Resistance is Futile.) We don't know, cause Zonic won't tell us!

Basically, after you're done reading this, you're hungry for more. A lot more. This feature had all the filler of an appetiser. Not a good way to make a special.

Next up, Running on Empty. This is a "During Doctor Robotnik" Story, and one that was originally shedualed to appear in the Sonic Kids special, but was delayed for some reason.

Sonic and Amy a sitting on a hill overlooking Knothole, enjoying the view, and Amy feels a little chilly, saying she forgot her jacket. I think she wants an excuse to cuddle with Sonic, but he decides to show off, and runs to her hut and back, fetching the jacket in question. Amy, suitably impressed, says how wonderfull it must be to have that kind of speed. Sonic responds by starting to tell a story about how his Speed nearly killed him (The story we're about to read).

Sonic, while in the forest, hears Sally yelling for help (good ears. There aren't any Yell onomatopeas), and rushes to her aid, only to find a holographic decoy. Snively, hidden nearby, springs an energy trap, that apparantly does nothing. Apparantly is the operative word here. As Sonic runs off after dissing Snively, Bottle-nose plucks a flower from the trap location and throws it on on the trap proper, where it fades after it's zapped, while Snively jokes about Sonic racing himself to Death. (dramatic pause) Sonic, meanwhile, considers himself happy to have come out unscaved.

Later on, near Knothole, Sonic meets up with Rosie, who's out to pick apples in an orchard, and warns her to be careful. In fact, he decides to escort her. As they arrive to the orchard, Sonic sees an apple about to fall, and in his usual showiness, decides to run off and catch it before it hits the ground. But just as he reaches the apple, he realises he can't stop, and hits a tree face first. As a testiment to the hardiness of hedgehogs, Sonic shrugs off as a minor pain what kills many unexperienced skiers and snowboarders every winter, hard-core tree-hugging. After some swift recovering, Sonic helps Rosie bring back an armload of apples, then notices one of Robotnik's surveillance drones and runs off to warn the village (You get a bonus point if you notice how quickly Sonic got rid of the apples before the drone came around; one panel, his arms are full, the next they're empty). In mid-run, he feels like he's running faster then normal, but shrugs it off as the result of training with Tails.

As he races towards Knothole Village, our Sonic, now glowing with an weird green glow (a green glow's never good), starts sucking up behind him a long trail of junk, including: a Winnebago, a spare tire, a cell phone, something that is 1) either a playstation (in a Sonic comic?), or 2) a DreamCast extra part, something that looks like Nicole, and some thing resembles the Matrix Container from Transformers. As he arrives at Knothole, he warns those he sees, Sally, Tails and Rotor, that he can't stop, and zooms right passed them, finally stopping some 12 feet away. While the FFs are puzzled by Sonic's new Speed record, they suddeny get trashed by all the junk that was trailing him. Sonic apologises, and Rotor suggest a few tests to see what's the matter with Sonic, to which he agrees. They go to Rotor's lab, where Sonic has to run on a treadmill hooked up to a computer (another Transformer reference: the Autobot insgnia on the computer). Sonic, of course, burns out the treadmill in mid-course, but Rotor still gets some good data before then.

Later, Rotor delivers his findings to the others: Snively has super-accelerated his metabolism, giving sonic super-super speed (woo-hoo!), but, at the same time, aging him with each use (Uh-oh!). Just then, Sonic enters the room, and we have the visual exemple of this: Geriatric Sonic. He didn't age well, either. Sonic then tells the others that, according to Rotor, it is possible to reverse the effects by rewiring the machine Snively, but that it means going to Robotropolis to find it. All the others, except Antoine (still in his cowardly period), and Bunnie (who isn't there, in fact; I think this story could be pre-Rabbot Deployment), go along with Sonic and Rotor. Once in Robotropolis, they infiltrate an old laboratory (in front of which is something that, if you know your Tranformers lore, will be familiar: Soundwave in his Cybertron alternate form, with some Cybertron Decepticon fighters up above) and start looking for the ray-machine, while Sonic is getting worse by the minute.

Rotor finally finds it, but has to work around the security codes to modify it. Just as he succeds in reversing the ray, Robotnik arrives and summons his Swatbots (apparantly the old models) to surround the Freedom Fighters before they can use it to reverse Sonic's condition. Sonic, though in pain all over, decides to help his friends, even if it kills him. After briefly taunt Robuttnik, he speeds towards him a maximum speed, pulling all the swatbots behind him and throwing them at Robotnik so that the bad doctor ends up buried in 'bots. Snively arrives just then, gloating over a now dead-tired and suffering-all-over Sonic, while Sally tries to figure out how to get Sniv to use the now-reversed ray on Sonic. Solution? Sally brakes out the waterworks and begs Sniv to finish off sonic with the ray (not very PC, but it's a proven tactic). Sniv, who isn't curious as to how Sally knows about the ray, agrees to do so. Of course, the ray now heals Sonic and our hero leaves with his friends, leaving an enraged Snively to smash up his ray, which is the end of Sonic's story, leaving Amy, now in infatuation mode, to ask for more stories. sonic agrees, adding that he'll try not to speed through this one. Ouch! Sonic, that one is bad, even for you.

Rating: 1/2 Rings

Comments: Well, This was a good story, actually. The style is reminicent of the early adventures of Sonic and the FFs versus Robotnik's cinematic devices, like the weather control tower and the magnabot. the story is believable and the artwork is pretty decent; in facy, I just loved the Transformers image references. It's a nice game when you try to look for them. all in all, this the best story in the special, even though that's not saying much.

Now, for the next story. Bear with me as we go to the Dragon Kingdoms, more specifically to the townships of Lau Kar, which seems to have a pest control problem: a gang of thieving ninja-bats (with stubby wings that are useless for flying. These guys aren't related to one of Naugus's component parts). Two strange furries, Liu Chi Mei and Fang a brother-sister team of... what are they? huge ears, but they don't seem like either mice or rabbits, and they lack the bushy tails of Fennec foxes. They couldn't be chihuahuas, could they? anyway...Fang and his sis run off after a gang of the above mentioned ninjas, called the Yagyu, who have just robbed a temple in their village. Just as everyone thinks the Ninjas will escaped, a familiar staff cuts one down. Monkey Khan has arrived to save the day. *Yawn!* He attacks the Ninja, saying he's the hardest working crime fighter in show-biz. Sorry M-K, but that honor goes to Jackie Chan, the Only action hero who does all his own stunts!

One of the ninjas sends a pair of throwing stars at M-K, who says it'll take more then that to distract him. One panel and a flip of the page later, the ninjas have vanished. Slippery characters, aren't they? M-K, still wondering about the dissapearing act, is told that the thieves are probably holed-up in their lair at the haunted lake. Kahn doesn't believe in haunted lakes (this from a guy who flies on a magic cloud), and when he's told a dragon is in that lake, he says he doesn't beleive in dragons, either. This guy's never met Dulcy, has he? Monkey-boy offers to take out Yagyu solo, and tells them they can stay behind. Fang answers that he and his sis don't want to miss seeing a blowhard like M-K take a fall. Honestly, neither do I.

So here we are, at the edge of the lake nearYagyu headquarters. Fang says to be careful, so M-K suggests the subtle approach: the full frontal assault. This guy's a real master strategist, ain't he? Fang warns him that the Yagyu have a great reputation as master shadow fighters. M-K thinks it's all hype; *sigh*. He has to learn sometime, people; let him do it the hard way. The Yagyu, of course, decide to attack at that moment, rushing M-K with great numbers. Of course, M-K says he can handle them, But Fang still recommend moving to higher ground. Once they do, they hear the bragging of one Lord Yagyu, boss of the bad guys, who tells them they did a good job of following the trail they left, but that they won't find it so easy to take back the Yagyu fortune. You guessed it: our heroes walked right into a trap.

M-K and company end up in the Yagyu's treasure chamber, where they find all the stolen loot. Just as Khanie-boy comments that this place should be better garded, out comes the watch-dog, right on cue: the dragon (which looks like a robotic Gamera) is real. Okay, like M-K says, it's a robo-dragon, but with a thing that size, who wants to nitpick? It immediatly starts attacking the good guys, focusing on Monkey-Boy (Gooo Dragon!) Lord Yagyu, watching from above, says the dragon, Kamezon, has a taste for gold, and that it'sd homing in on Khan's headband. And like Fang says, "...I suppose the Awsome Monkey Khan is too pig-headed to simply give it up?" Yes! That is absolutly correct! M-K starts fighting the dragon, and starts theorizing that Kamezon can't be intelligent, so that it must be using some sort of tracking device, which he quickly locates and destroys (How'd he do that? He didn't even Nicole!). Kamezon, without his tracking device, goes nuts and starts attacking the Yagyus themselves.

Well, after the Yagyus run off with Kamezon in tail, Liu Chi Mei and Fang start gathering up the stolen loot to bring back to the village, and invite Monkey Khan to go back to the village and enjoy a hero's welcome. M-K refuses, saying he doesn't want to ruin his own hype. Hoo boy! Can you feel the hot air from here? Let me tell you, that boy M-K is just so smug, it's not even funny anymore.

Rating: Rings

Well, that's the story. It's not what I bought that issue to read, tell you the truth. Let's talk a bit about Monkey Khan, shall we? This character, to repeat what Kedzie at The Sonic Foundation, said, is a Self-Inclusion Fan-fic character. Frank Strom invented him, and Frank Strom uses him exclusivly. This is the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Frank. We want to read about Sonic, and his supporting crew, the FFs. Monkey Khan isn't a Freedom Fighter, so he isn't part of Sonic's cast. STOP WRITING ABOUT HIM! When Sonic and friends come to the Dragon Kingdom, then you can use Monkey Khan. Until then, we don't want him taking up valuable Freedom Fighter space! Capice?

If the last story in this Special seems familliar, it's because it is. This story was originally a cartoon episode from SatAM Sonic which was adapted to Comic book format by Jay Oliveras, one of the worst Sonic artists in recent memory. The story is told from Tails's point of view, which starts like this: "Some thing funny happened to me on a camping trip." I'm not even going to comment on that line, so let's move on. After showing us Tails in front of the "Ghost", we start the story proper: Tails, Sonic and Antoine are out camping (This is Antoine before the personnality make-over, so I wonder for how long Sally nagged Sonic before he agreed to bring him along), and while Sonic is showing Tails the trick to tracking, Ant slips down a Mud ditch and hurts himself. He says he saw a ghost that he was trying to fight off. Sonic doesn't believe him. Oh well. When night time comes, the group is around the camp fire, and Sonic is telling Scary stories about, you guessed it, Ghosts. More specifically, about one ghost in perticular: the Headless Gopher(feel free to groan in pain at that last pun), who gained his status as a ghost after ctealing some cursed medallion. The story spooks Antoine and gives Tails so nightmares of his own. He wakes upa bit, then starts screaming when he sees a mysterious glowing object in the night. He and Sonic then discover that Antoine has mysteriously disappeared. Scary, ain't it? Nah, I didn't think so either. They decide to split up to look for Antoine. Tails flies around, eventually running out of steam (That's why you need a good night's sleep, kids) and falls in a bush.

When he takes a look around, he sees a glowing silhouette talking to Sonic about finding Tails, then starts thinking that the ghost brainwashed into working for him. He flies off to look for Sally, but bumps into the Ghost, who turns out to be Antoine, who sleepwalked into some foxfire bushes (foxfire bushes, poison sumac blossoms, metal eating acid producing shrubs...the wonders of Mobius flora...). The next day, the group is clearing the camp site and packing up, with Antoine grumbling all the way. Tails asks for more ghost stories, but Sonic, after seeing what happened last night, refuses. Then, when Tails rolls up his sleeping bag, discovers something: The Medallion of the Headless Gopher. A frightfull laugh is heard. The group runs away screaming, under the watchful eye of the Headles Gopher, while narrator Tails asks us to keep that story secret. Don't worry little guy. I'm trying to forget I ever read that dumb tale.

Rating: Ring

Well, Like I said: poor art, poor dialogue, poor plot; the episode was bad enough, but this adaptation was even worst. Somebody stop this Oliveras guy before he draws again, please! I know the Sonic series was originally aimed at the younger audiances, but that's no reason to give us art that looks like it was drawn by a retarded two-year old, kid.

I rate Sonic Super Special #8 an overall of / 5 rings. In all honesty, The boys and girls at Archie can do better then this. With artists like Dave Manak and Spaz and writers like Ken Penders and Karl Bollers, why did they let Oliveras draw "Ghost Busted", when anybody can see he shouldn't be allowed near a drawing board?