Archie Sonic the Hedgehog: Issue 68

Archie Sonic the Hedgehog: Issue 68

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Sonic and Tails leaving Knothole Village behind to explore the world, chasing after Ixis Naugus, was a story met with some controversy. Many feared, not totally without reason, that this was a way for the comic to write Sally and the rest of the SatAM crew totally out of the book. This fear turned out to be premature. After bringing the Naugus plot to an abrupt end, Sonic and Tails are returning to Mobotropolis, rejoining Sally and the rest of the gang. In another story turn Sega would be unlikely to approve today, issue 68’s cover story “Surprise!” has the hedgehog growing a year older, turning sixteen.

Sally and the Freedom Fighters have been hanging out in Knothole Village, still stuck in a pocket dimension three hours into the future, when they receive a message from King Acorn. A face from the past has returned. Sally and the others presume the king is talking about Sonic. Sonic has returned, in fact. Along with Tails and Nate Morgan, they wear heavy robes, concerned that Morgan being an Overlander might upset the populace. Above Mobius, another mysterious satellite activates, sending asteroids raining down on Mobotropolis. Sonic has to spoil his own surprise, rescue Sally and help dismiss the chaos. Turns out, Sonic’s return isn’t the one the King was hyping. He was referring to Prince Elias, Sally’s long lost brother.

When Karl Bollers incorporated a sense of emotion into his stories, not allowing it to be swept away by the plot, they usually worked out very well. “Surprise!” has a little bit of heart. While the rocks are falling from the sky, Sonic zooms pass Sally. She pauses, recognizing the figure as her returned boyfriend. She’s so excited that she doesn’t see the space debris headed right towards her. Luckily, Sonic rescues Sally and the two have a heartfelt if brief reunion. (A mild clever moment has Sonic telling Sally “surprise.” I see what you did there, Karl!)

The story, sadly, doesn’t focus more time on Sonic and Sally’s reunion. There’s so much other stuff to attend too. When Prince Elias marches onto the page, King Acorn takes a panel to explain who the hell this guy is. This info-dump is presumably for the “Sonic” readers who don’t read “Knuckles.” On the same page, Geoffrey St. John unmasks Nate Morgan and immediately accuses him of being an Overlander spy. Even though, you know, the war with the Overlanders has been over for a decade. Naturally, Max recognizes Morgan and re-embraces him.

The opening pages are a practical non-sequitur, showing Snively and the Fearsome Foursome hanging out with the crystallized Kodos and Uma Arachnis, who then de-crystalize. The book doesn’t bring that plot point up again. Along with all of that, there’s also the asteroids plummeting down on Mobotropolis. Again, the book is hinting at Robontik’s inevitable return. It would take another five issue to reveal that, even though we readers already figured it out.

Of course, the natural disaster allows for some solid action. Steven Butler continues to do some fine work. This is his first time drawing Sally and the gang and they all look fantastic. It’s impressive how Butler can filter Sally, Rotor, Bunnie and the rest through his style without loosing the original aspects of the character. The falling asteroids feature some crumbling buildings, fleeing innocents, and Sonic racing around, being a badass and rescuing people. (A nice touch shows Bunnie and Dulcy saving people too, since Sonic isn’t the only hero around) Butler’s sense of motion is very well utilized on these pages. His sense of detail is also given a work-out, during the stories’ two double-page spreads.

Though crowded, I still thought the cover story was pretty good. As for the back-up story? “Survival of the Fittest” picks up from last time. Lupe and the other wolves ride their raft to solid ground. Climbing aboard a dock, they soon discover an abandoned building. Inside are two Overlander children. The little girls, a mute redhead name Athena and a blonde named Ariel, aren’t given the warmest greeting by the wolves. Lupe, however, wants to protect them.

Last time, I criticized Ken’s back-up for not developing the other wolves. Well, he fixes that a little bit here. Diablo is focused on the mission. Reynard is naturally suspicious. Leeta is afraid of heights. Lyco and Canus… Well, the one has a sister and the other is a big guy. Still, Ken is trying. As for the introduction of the Overlander children, it’s hard to say where the writer is going with that. This back-up story is so brief, just when it’s getting started, it ends again. Sam Maxwell’s artwork could be better. His Mobians look fine but the human children are weird lookin’.

That’s so often the case with this book. You can see the writers struggling to introduce something bigger but they’re always held back by Sega mandates, a limited page count, or strangled by their own plot machinations. 
The Archie Sonic the Hedgehog: Issue 68 is a sensational customer favorite, and we hope you like it just as much.

Inventory Last Updated: Jan 28, 2021

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