So, last time, outside of some HORRIBLY bad politics, I managed not to lose my mind over anything I read. The same could not be said for Dr. Robotnik, who went insane and left his empire in control of the Iron Dominion. So, without further ado, let us discuss the next twenty-five issues (and possibly four more of Sonic Universe). BE WARNED: THIS IS GOING TO BE AN EXTREMELY LONG ONE!!!! BE WARNED 2: I'M GROUCHY IN THIS ONE!!!
.....Monkey Khan is the second biggest douchebag in the entire Sonic canon. There, I've said it, it's out in the open. I NEVER liked him, even if he's based off my favorite Chinese legend. He's such a relentless TOOL, and while he can kick butt, he's SO unlikable.
And what does Archie Comics do? They push him into a relationship with Princess Sally... My FAVORITE character outside of Sonic himself. I know they're not doing it on purpose... but it seems like Archie is taking every opportunity they can to p*** me off. Expect a LOT of complaining about Monkey Khan in this edition of the journal... but if Archie'd stop giving me crap to complain about, I'd stop complaining. The only GOOD news is that it didn't last long and outside of two issues in particular, they kept it out of my face.
Issue 201 starts out with the celebration for defeating Robotnik. Enter Monkey Khan in all his douche-iness to blast Mina Mongoose with a bolt of lightning (...Okay, maybe he's not so bad after all. ;3) and ruin the party. He rages on for a while and EXPECTS the FFs to know everything that's going on without anyone TELLING them, thus ingratiating himself to the readers OH, so well.
This leads into a plot where Monkey Khan and Sonic go into Robotro-... New Megaopolis, whatever, it's still f***ing Robotropolis (seriously, why even pretend when there's NO difference between the two cities); and have a big fight with the Dark Legion and the Ninja Clans and the Iron King.
Honestly? The storyline was kinda lackluster. It was mostly just sniping back and forth between Monkey Khan and Sonic, and didn't really have much content. However, it wasn't BAD, and it did what it was supposed to, which was set up the next major story-arc with the Iron Dominion.
Issue 203 was notable, because it revealed a bit about Bunnie's robotics, that they use up her life force to function, and that the more she uses her energy cannon and jet boots, the more exhausted she gets. Honestly, I was SLIIIIIIIIIGHTLY disappointed because the cover implied mind control and we only got body control. Wah. At least Monkey Khan gets brainwashed into being Iron Khan (not Iron Monkey? Really? No Chow Yun Fat reference? I is disappoint!)and foreshadows Iron Nicole. Also Issue 204's cover says "My Enemy, My Friend" in reference to Monkey Khan. Really? FRIEND? Since when have Sonic and Khan EVER been friends? They hate each other's guts, even if they fight on the same side. Issue 204 also had a TRULY bada** moment from Antoine, where he's the first of the FFs to stand and fight Iron Khan after Sonic.
So yeah, I don't really have much to comment on for the next several issues. It's just more tussles against the Iron Queen and builds up more of the plot. Monkey Khan is portrayed as more of a nice guy than previously, and he ALMOST makes me like him...
Until Sally decides to date him in issue 207. Yeah, I haven't exactly hidden the fact that I'm a Son/Sal shipper right? As much as I hate to say it, issue 207 is well written and actually quite good, but it p***ed me off to NO end since it basically had Princess Sally "falling" for Monkey Khan... Contradicting the last 50 or so issues that have had Sonic and Sally slowly growing back into being more than friends. *Headdesks.* .....So... Yeah, good issue, but it made me mad to read it. Also, the Iron King is a pretty fun villain at first because of how Juggernaut-like he is... until you realize after several dozen skirmishes with him that there's literally no way to beat him. Even the Juggernaut has a weakness to telepathy. The Rhino can be suffocated or just beat down. The Iron King is literally invincible and can only be blown out of the battlefield.
And finally... Issue 208. Iron Nicole. *Sighs happily.* THIS was a good issue and not just because of the HEAVY mind control elements. We got a HUGE battle between Sonic and the Iron King, and then got to see AMY of all people go toe to toe with the unstoppable juggernaut... AND WIN!!! This issue isn't as good as 125 or 175, but it's DEFINITELY among one of my favorite issues EVER.
Issue 209 was JUST as good as 208, as Sonic and Sally go into the Digital World and face off against Iron Nicole and the Iron Queen. And in the official canon, Iron Nicole becomes the first non-hedgehog character to perform a Sonic Spin, since in the comics Tails and Knuckles can't perform the move. This was one of the best battles I've seen in Sonic comic, and just a REALLY well-written issue. And while the "power of love" DID come into play, it wasn't the final solution to freeing Nicole, which was refreshing.
Despite people telling me to, I only took a cursory glance at the Sonic Universe tie-in... it wasn't interesting and didn't have any vital information I needed to appreciate the ongoing story. No comment on it.
Okay, so I'm gonna speed up and just summarize my feelings on the rest of the storyarc, because I've gone on too long about it. It was generally pretty darned good. It introduced Legionization, but it would have been nice if we could have actually SEEN someone get Legionized, rather than TOLD what it does (particularly the brainwashing part!!!). I understand it involves SURGERY , so they can't show it on panel, but a simple before/after shot might have been nice... The Iron King was too overpowered as a villain, and I wish they had made him a LITTLE weaker, so that they could actually deliver a satisfying beatdown rather than having to search for a magical fan. Nicole is a SUPREME bada** and her fight against the Iron Queen emphasized that. Also, Robotnik's return made him SCARY AS HELL.
Sonic 212. The only thing this chapter did was finally get rid of Monkey Khan... and OFFICIALLY bring Sonic and Sally back together as a couple. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also, I SUPPOSE I should mention how MARVELOUSLY written Espio's character is. He has gone from a generic stoic ninja to someone who is shown to TRULY love his friends. But other than that, this issue was lackluster save for Sonic and Sally (WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!).
The fact is that most of the rest of this batch of 25 issues was just 2-parter stories showing the FFs going around and fighting the Dark Egg Legion, and establishing what Legionization meant. It felt disjointed and episodic and not a cohesive story like a lot of the last 75 issues have been. They weren't BAD for the most part, but they were just... kinda jumping from place to place. This was a low point in the series for certain, since it was mostly the same formulaic plot over and over. Freedom Fighters go someplace for some reason, discover a new branch of the Dark Egg Legion, act surprised, then defeat them and achieve their original goal before going home.
Okay, I'm lying about being bad. The next two issues, 213 and 214 bored me to tears, but not due to the story. I haven't mentioned this, but Lupe and the Wolfpack are the most intensely boring characters ever introduced into Sonic. THE most interesting thing that ever happened was them getting roboticized and written out of the series around issue 75. Okay, they're kinda vaguely Native American and they're wolves. That's their whole gimmick. There's nothing particularly interesting about 'em beyond that, and I really don't understand their popularity, to be honest. And since 213-214 featured the Wolfpack so heavily... I wasn't engaged in the plot. I read through, did due diligence and moved on, pretty much forgetting I'd ever read it immediately after I was done. I WILL note that I like Big the Cat, so I was happy to see him in these issues.
Issues 215-216 were more interesting, but suffered the same basic problem stemming from the formulaic plot. I really can't comment on it that much, because it's just the same issues as the last two. Also, while there IS a mind-control element... Let me ask something... Has Rotor's Herd ever NOT been under mind control? ...No, really, has there been a single issue starring them that hasn't involved him going out to try to rescue them from some sort of hypnosis or brainwashing or whatever? Because I can swear this is like the FIFTH F***ING TIME. There comes a point when even Rotor's gotta be getting tired of this.
These two issues also introduced some stuff that I did want to remark upon. First, it further set up the Council of Acorns as being complete jerks who are out of touch with what's REALLY going on in the war. Second, it also began the plot involving everyone being scared of Nicole. I'll touch more upon this in a later paragraph. Third... I know it's probably just ME, but this is kinda the first glimpse of a Rotor/Nicole romance which I've kinda popularized in my stories. I REALLY hope Archie makes the smart move of making it official in the future, but for now, it was just a nice sequence with the two of them. . It also brought Silver into the mix and emphasizes that he's... a bit of an idiot. Rotor's NICKNAME is Boomer. He was called that because he kept blowing stuff up in the early issues. I'm also making a prediction: Silver himself is the traitor without knowing it.
217 and 218 seemed to focus a lot on the friendship of Bunnie and Sonic, which is always fun for me. Also, despite what Archie is TRYING to pull... It's Rab-BOT, not Rab-BOH. Nice try at wiping away SatAM, but it ain't gonna work. They did a nice job with this one, even if it was the EXACT SAME STORY again. FFs go somewhere, find the Dark Egg Legion, fight 'em, then go home. At least they gave it a little flavor by having the DEL actually NOT be the bad guys. Or at least not ENTIRELY the bad guys, I should say. It was a good two-parter with an awesome brawl.
Also... SQUEEE!!! Cream is finally in the comics!!! @_@~<333
I'm gonna talk about the next arc as a whole, because frankly, I'd be writing for days otherwise. I'm gonna focus in on some stuff I either REALLY liked or didn't like, and try to articulate everything in a level-headed manner... Because frankly, this story arc did a lot of good and bad, and brought out some anger and delight in me at the same time.
Yeah, remember how I said I don't hate Mina Mongoose any more? I take it back. She's worse than cancer and I want her to die horribly. And unlike LAST time, where I was mistaken with my reasons for hating her... This time I actually HAVE a legitimate reason to do so. 219 begins Mina's vendetta against NICOLE, and she essentially turns into a villainess for the entire arc. I could rant on this for hours, but frankly, I'm gonna try and give a calm explanation WHY Mina is horrible.
She was introduced in Sonic 76 and her WHOLE PURPOSE as a character was to be a speedster girl for Sonic to fall in love with. She had NO personality outside of "I love Sonic." Her WHOLE purpose in being created was to start conflict between Sonic and Sally over her. And ever since then, she has been EXACTLY the same. She has no personality outside of "I love Sonic." She's a complete vapid bimbo, and a coward to boot (this was specifically emphasized multiple times to explain why she couldn't be a Freedom Fighter). The only reason she's in the comic is so that the writers have someone who is severely unintelligent to cause unnecessary conflict whenever they want some drama to spice things up. The PROBLEM with this is that they can use OTHER more likable characters to cause similar drama, making her character completely superfluous... Yet they keep forcing her on us over and over, like Tommy Turtle.
Frankly, if I ever get my wish and become the writer, the FIRST THING I'm doing is having Robotnik kill her in front of everyone as a shock death. The best part is that it's in character for him, since he's tried to have her assassinated twice...
However, it IS important to notice that Mina doesn't act out of malice, but instead she acts out of ignorance. Supreme, UNFORGIVABLE amounts of ignorance, but ignorance nonetheless.
Also, remember how I said that Monkey Khan was the SECOND biggest jerk in the Sonic canon? Yeah, Geoffrey St. John is the first. Frankly, I'm HONESTLY surprised that they held off just making him an outright villain for so long. He's ALWAYS been a villain in everything but name only, and now they finally make it official. I must admit, I'm curious to find out how Hershey got killed off... but my guess is that they're gonna pull a "she's not dead, she's been captured the whole time" on her and give St. John some BS excuse to try to redeem himself. However, I maintain that he SHOULDN'T be redeemed. He's already a full-blown traitor and he's always hated the Freedom Fighters (with the exception of Princess Sally). Why quibble about it? Just keep him as a villain where he's much more effective .
Issue 222 is a HIGHLIGHT of the series. One of the top issues, hands down. The Freedom Fighters take a break, a calm before the storm to come. Sonic and Sally go on a date together and happen to come across the ongoing argument over Nicole. Amy Rose of all people steps in and forces them to leave the pair alone. This emphasizes just how GOOD that Ian Flynn writes Amy Rose. Amy doesn't care if Sonic doesn't want to be with her, as long as he's happy with the one he truly loves. Nothing would make her happier than to see Sonic live on with Sally, as long as he was truly happy.
In addition, this issue focuses very heavily on Sonic and Sally's relationship, and wipes away the last traces of that HORRIBLE issue 134. Sonic and Sally are together again, as Sonic promises her that the only one he'd ever slow down for is her. It is TRULY a good issue.
Also of note in this storyline is Dimitri, Knuckles' great-great grandfather. This story-arc features a backup story that focuses on his redemption, as he comforts Nicole after Mina basically ruins her life. It then leads to his reconciliation with Knuckles. It is MARVELOUSLY written, and these two issues single-handedly redeem his entire life of evil.
Chaos and the Crown was the final story before issue 225, and it further proved that the Council of Acorn is made up of complete f***ing morons... but it is ALSO a TRULY good two-parter with an awesome fight scene between the FFs and Geoffrey St. John, and Sonic and Elias against Ixis Naugus. I would have a rant about how the Council is so incredibly stupid that they'd allow a known supervillain to take over the kingdom... but honestly, this was the whole reason the Council of Acorn was created. To have someone other than King Max make EXTREMELY stupid moves and add drama... and to allow Sonic to have someone to commit treasonous acts against without alienating Sally.
.......And then comes the big one. This is the BIG ONE. Issue 225. I have a LOT to say about this one, so buckle in for a bit of a talk.
I'm going to be honest. I never read the original Death Egg Saga. I missed out on it (and it IS something I'll remedy in the near future) so I'm going into this having never seen anything about the original storyline... Not that it's likely to have ANYTHING to do with this one, considering how long ago that comic was.
First off, where the last milestone didn't have a Sonic/Sally moment.... This issue was FOCUSED on them as a couple, and oh, man it's nice to see. Their chemistry is masterfully written by Ian Flynn, and it becomes all the more tragic when you know what's coming.
Sonic's eagerness to fight Silver Sonic was HILARIOUS. Despite everything, the person he hates and enjoys fighting the most is still Robotnik, because he's always pushed to his limits. I love Sally's disbelief that he's CELEBRATING having to fight a giant Sonic robot.
You can still see hints of Robotnik's insanity as the comic progresses. He's a lot more manic than he was in previous comics, almost comical in manner. He constantly reminds himself of Sonic's chaotic nature, and that any plans when it comes to Sonic will surely unravel. He tells his minions not to bother fighting him, for they'll miss attacks and lose. And he shows a shrewdness in knowing that Sonic couldn't resist fighting Silver Sonic, to the point that he'd even forget about Sally until it was too late to save her or stop him from achieving his plan.
Now, I've mentioned before that I have a GENERAL idea of what's been happening in the comics all along, so I DO know a lot of what's to come. However, I was still surprised to learn that they had actually KILLED Sally at the end of this issue. This was... magnificent. TRULY a masterful move, because for an entire month, you had to wait to find out what happened. Admittedly, I only have to wait the two minutes it'll take to download the next issue, but from a comic book writing standpoint, SPECTACULAR.
Honestly, the Milestone issues (every 25 issues) have GENERALLY been VERY good... and this one is NO exception. I'd definitely consider this a VERY high point of the series. It was very well written and had nothing but action through the whole thing.
Okay, so despite my complaining, I have to be honest... Outside of those formulaic issues in the middle, this batch of issues was SPECTACULAR. It was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY good. I have enjoyed reading every issue so far, even IF it p***ed me right the hell off. The ONLY two issues in this entire readthrough that I've honestly NOT enjoyed were 134 (Sally and Sonic's breakup) and 150.
Finally the Dark Mobius or Fractured Mirror saga of Sonic Universe, issues 25-28. AWESOME. ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. On one side, you've got mind control with the Prelates... You've got DBZ-scale battles with Silver vs. Enerjak (I think this arc finally won me over for him!). You've got absolute tragedy with the death of the entire alternate FFs save Jani-Ca (Lara-Su). I want to see stories that take place both in the past of Silver's history (and NO, I DON'T believe it's Mobius Prime, despite what Flynn says); and in the past of Dark Mobius. SERIOUSLY good.
As I said, this arc DID finally make me fond of Silver. While in the games, he's BLANDER than BLAND, in the Archie comics you get a sense that he's young and really impetuous. He's almost kinda childish, and even though I THOUGHT he was 16 or so, he acts like a 10 year old. He's very earnest, and doesn't stop to think about ANYTHING he does until AFTER he's been beaten stupid... which is almost kinda endearing in a strange way. Also, it's hard NOT to like a character after he asks a question like: "Did you just hit me with AN ISLAND?!!!"
On this topic, I complete the readthrough with the next batch of comics... 242. I will keep up with the issues month by month from now on, but I will obviously NOT be posting such huge journals about them. I'll comment on anything particularly interesting that I read worth commenting about, but it's probably gonna be quiet after my next two journals. My next journal will give all of my opinions up to the latest issue... and then I'll post one last one giving an overview of everything I've read, my general feelings on it... And I'll say what the best issues and worst issues I've read are.
SO! Until 242 (or 243 if it comes out before I'm done)! See ya then, and Rock On, guys and gals!!!