FCBD 2016 Sonic Sampler Review

It’s time for the annual Sonic comic. It is definitely commendable that Sonic is around year after year. The comics are still going strong and I don’t see it ending anytime soon. Imagine if we had a Super Smash comic like that which could have been around for over a decade at this point. That would be awesome and maybe it’ll happen someday. We just gotta keep on hoping and waiting for that day when we can see the Smash Bros cast fight and team up with hype all around.

This is a double story as seems to be the norm for Free Comic Book Day. The main comic is about Sonic helping Chip find all of the Light Gaia pieces. While Tails and Chip nab it, Sonic fends off a mean biker gang as a distraction. These guys are actually pretty tough and with their sheer numbers, they manage to give Sonic a nice run for his money. Sonic still had the victory in the end if you ask me, but I did feel good for the villains since Sonic let them think that they had defeated him this time. They even went all “Miller Time” on us as they went to break out the “good” stuff. Beating Sonic is a fairly huge feat so they definitely had good reason to be so thrilled at the moment. A stronger opponent would have been fun though since Sonic didn’t really have anyone to spar with this time. It is also a little strange to see that the comics are only just now adapting the Sonic Unleashed game. Either they are doing it once again because a reboot event changed things or this is a sequel at some point. Either way, it’s intriguing I suppose.

The backup issue is about Eggman as he finds out that one of his bases has been attacked and goes along with Metal Sonic to find out just who would dare to do such a thing. Well, it turns out that three mysterious board riders did and they have obtained a serious power up since the old days. In fact, one of them gives Metal Sonic a good fight and appears to possibly have the edge. If Dr. Eggman wants to win this round, then he is going to have to do something very drastic this time. Let’s hope that he can pull it off! After all, he’s a lot more likable than these three new villains although they are fairly decent I suppose. I like the Polar Bear, although I don’t really care for the other two all that much. Metal Sonic better win though because I consider him to be extremely strong. Getting wrecked by these three newcomers would be a little humiliating if you ask me.

As always, the art is very solid for the Sonic issues. There may not have been a lot of action, but the art ensures that every page is very easy to read. The pages aren’t busy and everything is very bright and vibrant. This universe has done a great job of adapting so many stories and the issues just keep going on and on. I haven’t read a trade paperback in a little while, but there are certainly a lot of epic stories for me to look forward to someday. I want to see more of Shadow since he seems to be a fairly rare character to spot in the comics. The Metal Sonic fight is the highlight of the comic so keep your eyes open for that.

Overall 7/10

FCBD 2016 Archie Review

Looks like it is time to enter the world of Archie. Unfortunately, I can’t say that the series shows a whole lot of promise since it will be heavily romance centered and the setting is high school. What can’t go wrong with this premise? It’s a new take on the classic Archie universe though so hopefully it is able to power through and surprise me in the end. This isn’t even a bad start to the series, I just don’t see it going over well in the end.

Archie broke up with someone over a debacle which is currently the main mystery of the series. Archie tries to convince everyone that he’s over the whole thing, but keeps on proving otherwise. Jughead tricks Archie into performing in front of the whole school which helps Archie start to deal with his new single life. It’s easy to see that most of the series is going to be about the drama between the characters and Archie will keep finding himself in tricky situations. As for how long this premise can go on without getting repetitive…it won’t be very long at all. None of the characters are even all that likable at the moment.

The backup story is a quick one about Jughead. He doesn’t believe in defying authority because he believes that it is ultimately pointless. This changes when his principal is fired and replaced with someone who got rid of the school cafeteria menu and replaced all of the items with green mush. He quickly runs to his friends and demands that a war is started, but they ignore him and hurl the insults right away since he didn’t help them the first time. Will Jughead be able to do anything or is it already too late?

I can’t say that this story has a lot of potential either to be honest. The side characters are actually right for a chance. He wasn’t bothered about anything else before so why would that change as soon as his lunch was taken away. Is lunch really that important? Jughead’s easily still the best character, but I’m afraid that it is not saying a whole lot. I also think that he may have a difficult time holding his own series for even just a few issues. The art was quite bad as well and Archie looked nothing like himself here.

I didn’t expect much else out of a romance drama story though. There’s only so many ways that you can tell this kind of adventure before it starts to plummet down the ranks. I miss the Archie vs Predator series that came out a while ago. That one was certainly new and different even if it was a little too extreme in the end. This Archie comic certainly is not a winner.

Overall 5/10

Sonic The Hedgehog Archives Volume 5 Review

I told you that it would only be a short while until I reviewed the next Sonic comic right? Well, volume 5 is here and it’s time to see if this volume could top the last one. There aren’t any real big milestones compared to the last one, but Scourge returns. I’m almost 99% confident that this is the same Scourge thanks to the design and the fact that it is the Dark Sonic who raced with Sonic a while back. Needless to say, the comic doesn’t disappoint and it’s a fun adventure.

I already mentioned it, but one of the big comics here involves Scourge. Mecha Eggman has taken over a universe so that world’s Sonic goes to the main planet to get some backup. Sonic is happy to help and kindly offers his services, but little did he know that the threat would be so real. Sonic enlists the help of hundreds of other Sonics including Wolverine Sonic and Batman Sonic. The classic Eggman also arrives to help since he can’t have anyone else conquering the universe before him. It’s a fun adventure and the stakes were certainly much higher than the average Sonic comic during this time frame.

Another big comic was the Death of Sonic. Sonic was caught in a big explosion and the other Freedom Fighters mourn his loss. Tails knows better of course, but the others decide to attack Eggman. Tails tags along and now Sonic must save his friends from utter destruction. Does Sonic have what it takes? Also, this collection brings a never before seen story where Eggman uses a Universal level Salamander to attack the team. He easily takes on the whole Freedom Fighters gang and the heroes realize that they will not be able to defeat the menace. They must use their brains instead of their brawn this time.

Speaking of giant opponents, there’s also a big robot. I forgot the exact name, but it’s a parody of King Kong and this guy means business. He punches Sonic clear out of view and kidnaps Sally. It’s a tough monster to be sure, but still no match for the teamwork that the Freedom Fighters bring to the table. It’s never a good idea to mess with the heroes eh? There are a pair of mini stories with Sally, which end with cliffhangers that don’t go anywhere. One of them has a Crystal Ball, which Sally considers using to make her life perfect. Another one has Sally infiltrate an Eggman base and blow it up, only to come face to face with the leader of British Intelligence.

There was also a comic where Sonic and Sally decide to hold a play where they get married and the world lives in peace. You get the jist of the stories from these and I mentioned most of them. There’s nothing quite as dramatic as the debut of Knuckles, but the return of Scourge is fairly important I suppose. The collection brings 4 main comics, which is the norm, but the bonus issue at the end helps to make the collection a tiny bit bigger than the last one. It’s still a quick read though and you will be through it in no time.

The art is essentially identical to that of the last volume’s so it is still quite good. I’ll never tire of this retro style as it is simple and straight to the point. All of the illustrations hold up quite well and a casual glance at the page is all that you will need in order to figure out what is happening. It simply doesn’t get better than that folks and while the new Sonic art style may still win, both old and new Sonic comics look good.

The cast of characters is just as solid as they were in the last volume. It’s fun to see all of the cameos from various other forms of media like having the Bat Signal appear or making a Wolverine Sonic. Sonic The Hedgehog is still the best character in the series as he always knows when to put out the stops and start the puns. His unwavering confidence in all circumstances is why he is still known as one of the strongest characters around. The rest of the Freedom Fighters are fun to watch as well and Eggman still makes for an interesting antagonist.

Unlike the last graphic novel, the enemies here were actually able to make Sonic take the battles a little seriously this time. Sonic was actually being defeated by the King Kong rip off as well as the giant lizard. Is Eggman slowly starting to figure out how to overpower Sonic? In later comics, Eggman admitted that he could have destroyed Sonic and the Freedom Fighters at any time. It’s fun to look at these comics and wonder if that was the case. Likely not as Eggman appears to be out of his depth, but with an army of over 4 million robots on his side, Eggman really shouldn’t have any difficulty dealing with the heroes. This is just one of the reasons why Sonic needs some more powerful allies. Bunny is a decent start, but we need more super powered allies if the Freedom Fighters ever want to truly take down Eggman.

Overall, If you’ve stuck with the series until volume 5, chances are that you are here to stay at this point. You’ve made a good decision as the series is quite good and it is quality reading. You won’t find a better or more humorous story out there without really trying. It’s going to be a lot of fun to keep up with the Archives and to gradually notice the comics getting more and more modern. Once Shadow or any of the other Post Sonic DX characters show up, we’ll know that the comics have made it. All of the comics are fun and this is a good read from start to finish. It’s a title that I’d recommend to anyone and you won’t regret giving the series a spin.

Overall 7/10

Sonic The Hedgehog Archives Volume 4 Review

It’s been about half a year so it’s time to look at the next volume of the Sonic archives! In this collection, good ole Knuckles joins the fray. I always liked his first appearance in the Sonic games and the comic is fairly faithful to the original events while adding that Archie humor that we all know and love. As always, this makes for a fun Sonic collection and you’ll certainly enjoy checking out the various stories.

The big story is naturally the one that involves Knuckles. Sonic and Tails land in a new island and Knuckles keeps trying to destroy them to keep his Chaos Emerald safe. Little does he know that Eggman is playing him for the sap! A short story has Bunny and Sally prove to Eggman that girls can fight just as well as boys and even better as they beat him up. Another short story has Sonic make the ultimate sacrifice of jumping into the mud to save an animal. As for the other big stories, one of them had Sonic get kidnapped by Eggman along with the other Freedom Fighters and locked into a Virtual Reality simulator. Sonic wouldn’t have any of that and admitted that the real world is tougher, but still the best. Another entertaining comic was when Tails became a super genius and it corrupted him. He wanted to be the leader of the Freedom Fighters and attacked Eggman, but it was a doomed plan. Eggman is simply too powerful when surrounded by his robots. Tails was really good in that issue and I liked his evil form. It would be cool to see it return. We also can’t forget about Sonic’s three gems of power. They gave him incredible abilities to use against Eggman, which was cool. Naturally, this is just the tip of the iceberg as far as the comics go.

It’s a pretty short collection. The Knuckles comic is really the big one, but there are 1-2 other big two part adventures and then a lot of one shot stories. It may sound like there are a bunch of stories, but many of them are only a few pages long, which is why it still makes for a very quick read. It’s safe to say that Eggman underestimated Sonic and his friends. The Freedom Fighters are a threat to any villain as long as Sonic is around and even without him, Bunny and Sally proved to be more than a match for the evil genius. This was back during the days where Eggman had no tough allies to help him. It’s hard to believe that there were days when Metal Sonic wasn’t around to help very often right?

Naturally, the art is good and flows quite well with the stories. The designs have aged well although it’s safe to say that all of the modern looks are better than their old counterparts. Tails being brown just seems odd at this point and a chubby Sonic? We’re not exactly in the Mushroom Kingdom are we!? A part of me misses this Eggman look as well, but I’m still glad that we ended up getting the sleek re design from the modern games. That Eggman looks like a more formidable fighter while this guy was typically a pushover.

Sonic is still the main highlight of the comics as he always steals the show. As the comedy angle was played up more than in the modern issues, Sonic got a lot of crazy feats back in the day. This comic is no exception as Sonic moves so fast that he can dodge all of the raindrops on a rainy day to stay dry. That ends up being one of the mini comics and it’s an even more impressive feat than you may think. See, someone like the Flash can do this by simply going fast enough so that the air just nullifies the raindrops that get close to him or phasing through him, but that’s not what Sonic is doing. He’s simply dodging them all at super speed and if you’re ever been outside during a downpour, you’ll know that this is clearly impossible. Sonic is so fast that he’s essentially throwing away your reality and replacing it with his own. his speed defies logic and understanding, which is why he’s still one of the fastest characters of all time.

Knuckles got tricked into thinking that Sonic is a villain like usual, but at least he saw the light and helped Sonic take down Eggman. Knuckles isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but he means well and he was a likable supporting character here. It was fun to see the iconic character make his debut. This was back during the days where Tails wanted to prove himself fairly often so he doesn’t look quite as good. The comic where he turned into a genius was certainly enjoyable though and Tails definitely isn’t a bad character. I don’t think that I’d say that any of the characters were bad. It’s one of the reasons why the Sonic series has been so much fun. Even if some characters barely register for me, they typically won’t be downright unlikable although that will certainly happen at some point.

The other Freedom Fighters are around, but don’t get to do a whole lot. Bunny and Sally had their fight against Eggman, which was neat. Antoine is still the punchline for all of the jokes and you feel bad for him, but at least he never seems to notice or forgets the insults very quickly. He’s definitely one of the more entertaining characters in the series even if nobody ever takes him seriously. It’s similar to Eggman. I love this version of Eggman, but he didn’t get much to do this time. In previous comics, he literally broke his robots while having a tantrum and put one in the shredder. That was an awesome and iconic moment so it’s tough to top. He didn’t get too many burns or big moments here, but I suppose that he will have his time to shine soon.

This was before the modern days with Shadow and more of a plot based storyline, but the issues still hold up well. Sonic has always been able to succeed in whatever medium or style he has wanted too. The Sonic franchise has had successful video games in the 2-D Platformer, Racing, Fighting, 3-D Platformer, and Party game genres. He had successful TV shows in the comedy and action genres and the comics have ranged from light and happy to cheerfully dark. It’s no exaggeration to say that Sonic is one of the greatest franchises of all time and he’s not going anywhere. I’ll be checking out the next Sonic archives soon so be on the lookout for it.

Overall, I definitely recommend this collection. Whether you are already a fan of Sonic or not, the humor is very well written and the comics will go by in a flash. All of the characters are good and the smooth art really completes the package. There’s really nothing to dislike about the comic and you’ll just wish that it was a little longer. Sonic has been a consistently good comic series for decades at this point and I am confident that it will continue to be one of the best comic books out there. I’m still looking forward to checking out the two crossovers with Mega Man at some point although there should be a lot of plot hax around there.

Overall 7/10

Sonic Universe Volume 7 The Silver Saga

It is time to look at another Sonic Universe arc. Unlike the Journey one, this proves to be an epic of immense proportions. It is no exaggeration to say that this very well could be the greatest Sonic comic that I’ve read. That’s quite the feat considering that Sonic and Shadow don’t really get a role here. You will be on the edge of your seat for this story!

200 years from the current Sonic comics, Silver is still trying to find a way to save his future. All he knows is that a traitor from the Freedom Fighters will do something in the past that destroys his world. While he tries to unravel this mystery, Silver learns how to harness his abilities. Suddenly, an intruder breaks into his universe and attacks. Silver manages to defend himself and follows the opponent back to an alternate past where a demi god known as Enerjak rules. Enerjak has destroyed most of the inhabitants on the planet and now plans on ruling every planet in the multiverse. Can Silver defeat a being of unlimited power?

Right from the get go, you can tell that this is not going to be your average Sonic adventure. For one thing, it’s a lot darker and more serious toned than the rest. The setting is a ruined city and only a few heroes are still alive. We really haven’t seen a Sonic comic that was this intense. Even my other favorite Sonic comics never had this much of a sense of danger. Now, the Silver Saga is fairly dark and intense, but it never goes overboard. Silver is still throwing around jokes through these turbulent times and the other characters contribute when necessary. It helps to prevent things from getting too intense and it is still in the usual Archie style so we get to have some incredible fights.

I don’t think that I’ve seen any better fights in all of the Sonic comics either. Silver and Enerjak’s battle could pass off as a DBZ battle as they hurl islands at each other and land some tremendous blows during their fight. It is incredible and I remember a big Silver fan commenting on the blog years ago about how much cooler Silver was in the comics than in the games. I can’t deny that he is very awesome here. I liked him a lot in Sonic 06 as well, but this is certainly the definitive Silver.

It almost goes without saying that the art is very good. The author does a good job of showing how different the alternate world is from the current one. All it takes is one small change and things can really go bad. Absolute power corrupts after all and it is one of the main themes in this graphic novel as the being who calls himself Enerjak was once a hero, but he was tainted by the powers of the Chaos Emeralds.

Silver is the main character of course and this comic should help fans draw a lot of similarities to Trunks from DBZ. These two characters have always been compared as their back stories are very similar. I even found myself reading his lines with Trunk’s voice as a result and their personalities are more similar than I could have guessed. Future Trunks was a great character in DBZ so this certainly helps Silver’s case and it is safe to say that he has moved up the character ranks for me. He’s still behind Sonic and Shadow of course, but after that, he may just be a few spots away from them.

I am certainly convinced that he is one of the strongest Sonic characters. Enerjak had the power of all 7 Chaos Emeralds and he was able to beat Super Sonic and the rest of the heroes. Silver wasn’t even using his Super Silver form and he actually had the upper hand against Enerjak. He remembers that he shouldn’t solve every issue by fighting and quickly changes tactics, but it is heavily implied that Silver could have kept on going if he wanted too. It seems like he has Chaos Energy within him and can access Chaos Emerald levels of power without actually possessing them. There’s a chance that Silver has unlimited power within him, which is being hinted and that would be really cool. He’s a lot like Superman as well since Silver always tries to find a peaceful solution and can take quite the beating. It’s just hard not to go on and on about how impressive Silver was.

Enerjak made for a great villain as well. His design is really good and he did defeat the heroes. Upon destroying them, Enerjak stole their souls and uses them to power robotic copies. He never uses Sonic’s, which is too bad, but we see almost everyone else. The robots don’t have the original’s experience and ingenuity so they aren’t quite as lethal, but they are still powerful. Although, Enerjak doesn’t need them to fight. He can sink continents with ease and throw islands around. Enerjak’s power is unlimited as long as he possesses the Chaos Emeralds and he’s another top tier Sonic character. I would have loved to have seen his fight with Super Sonic as that would have definitely have been a lot of fun. I want to see Super Sonic take on foes like this as it has been quite a while since I have seen him.

I am convinced that I may never see a Sonic comic that is this good ever again. The Silver Saga was simply exceptional. There is a cliff hanger which leads into the next Universe volume and that one should be fun, (The character gets a lot of hype as everyone could be in danger according to the cops!) but topping the Silver Saga is going to take a lot more than that. We’re going to need a Sonic and Shadow team up or something like that. Every series has an ultimate arc eventually though so I guess Archie finally got one. The scene where we see all of the fighters who Enerjak has defeated may be iconic at this point and it is when we knew that things would never be the same for Sonic and his friends.

I’m also interested in seeing Silver continue with his plot to find the traitor. I’m wondering who it is and if the plot is still relevent with the recent universal shakedowns that have been happening. Hopefully Silver got to find him/her in time or his adventure will have had an abrupt end. Meanwhile, I can’t say that the new Freedom Fighters were terribly interesting, but they didn’t need to be since they just acted as distractions for Silver in this fight. They weren’t bad either, which is great since I can safely say that this comic had no negatives. It was just incredible and the ultimate Sonic experience.

Overall, The Silver Saga is one adventure that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. It really had just about everything that I could have wanted in a Sonic comic and I was not expecting it to be this good. It was amazing and felt like an epic arc that could have been in any show. I saw glimpses of the Justice League Unlimited Two Part episode, the Trunks special, and more. The idea of alternate timelines can still work. I don’t like when they get a whole movie or show about them that doesn’t seem to ultimately serve a purpose, but when it is similar to the original like with the Justice Lords, then there is more potential. This opens the door for good what if fights like Enerjak and Silver. This comic really had it all and succeeded in all areas. I highly recommend checking this out if you’re a big Sonic fan and especially if you want to see a dark Sonic adventure. Even if you’re just a comic reader, this is one of the best comics of all time so you should really check it out! Get ready for fights that will rock your world!

Overall 9/10

Sonic Universe Volume 4 Journey To The East Review

It is time to finally review another Sonic Universe collection! The title already shows that this was not going to be your average Sonic adventure as we typically don’t have many journeys in the series. Sonic is always where he needs to be or he can zoom on over to the next fight so why would he need to travel. The key thing to consider is that he is not going alone this time! While not quite as good as the average Sonic comic, it’s still a decent adventure.

The Iron Dominion has taken over just about every part of the world, including the heroes’ home. Sonic and Tails have decided to tag along with Sally and Monkey Kahn as they try to convince various clans to break away from the evil empire. Will they be able to do this and weaken the main villains enough to finally overtake them or will this journey be too much for our heroes. Moreover, another faction decides to enter the fray and stir up some trouble for Sonic. He’s going to have to move quickly if the world is to be saved.

As I mentioned earlier, this comic wasn’t as good as the typical one and I believe that the plot is to blame. Why are Sonic and friends liberating all of the clans instead of going straight after the main villain? Saving their home should be top priority if you ask me and no villain can stop Sonic from saving the day. The Iron Dominion also doesn’t get to even appear so it is hard to say if they are good villains or not. They won’t be appearing in the other Sonic Universe collections so I will have to wait until I see them in the main title, which really could be a while. The journey is simply not very interesting and you can’t help, but feel that the stakes are very low.

Where’s Eggman? Where’s Knuckles or Shadow? Most of the main cast is gone and Monkey Kahn is not a great replacement. I’ve read comics with him in the past and while he is a decent fighter, Kahn simply isn’t very likable. He is fairly arrogant and believes himself to be a match for Sonic, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Kahn was easily taken down by the villains in the opening pages and Sonic had to save him. Kahn’s thunder abilities certainly do make him more powerful than most of Sonic’s allies, but the prince will never be a top level threat when it counts. His romance with Sally is also very short lived and never actually goes anywhere.

Sally looks all right, but leading on Kahn like that wasn’t a nice move at all. She needs to choose someone and then stick with the decision instead of constantly wondering. Beyond that, she will likely make for a good leader of the kingdom. Tails is still a little sensitive about how young he is and certainly doesn’t like it when villains comment on that. That being said, Tails really proves them right here as Fiona messes with him and he doesn’t look too good against the villains. He’s looked better in other Universe issues and the main series though so I’m sure that he’ll be ready next time.

Sonic is naturally the best character of the series and he always looks good. It’s just easy for writers to depict him accurately because Sonic’s formula is simple yet effective. His confidence knows no bounds and Sonic can always back up his tough talk. It’s why the hedgehog is such an incredible character. He gets taken by surprise when confronted with Fiona and her gang, but he quickly gains the upper hand and gets serious once they start to taunt Tails. Sonic’s a natural born leader and he always looks out for his comrades. Without him, the comic likely would not have been anywhere near as good.

As for the villains, most of them are one shots as the heroes go to a different clan each issue. That being said, Fiona does arrive with her posse. They help the heroes because they want to get one of their members back from another clan, but then they leave to scheme some more. I’m sure that we haven’t seen the last of them, but I don’t see how they will be much of a threat to the heroes. Sonic could easily take those guys out thanks to his speed. The villains have a speedster of their own, but he’s nowhere near as fast as Sonic.

Espio actually appears and it is interesting since we find out that he has been spying on the heroes the whole time. He knows all of their dark secrets, but still wants to be their friends. The heroes give him a bit of a hard time about this, but I’m sure that they will come around. It wasn’t personal after all and at least Espio didn’t flat out betray them, although this was close. I used to be a huge Espio fan back when I was a kid. I still think that he is a decent character, but he certainly fell down the ranks. He’s nowhere near the all stars like Sonic and Shadow nowadays.

This collection would have been a lot better if we had gotten some more action. Uniting the clans just seems like a waste if you ask me and it was practically filler. The plot will end in the main series, but that means that this one didn’t get to have much of a climax. It ends with the heroes about to head home, which is a good cliffhanger. It is just not as exciting as it could have been and this took away our chances of having a good fight.

The collection’s writing and art are good as expected. Sonic’s witty dialogue is one of the reasons why the series has done well for so many years. Naturally, the art is good as well and all of the scenes are clear and easy to follow. This is a winning formula and it’s why the graphic novel is still fun despite the rather dull plot. After all, the plot isn’t quite as important when all of the other areas are good. It is still something to take note of and a terrible plot can outweigh the other positives, but this one never went that far. I wasn’t in the mood for an adventure with Sonic, but it was unique and we got to see Kahn again. That should count for something I suppose.

Overall, Journey to the East was not my favorite Sonic comic, but the title helped to tip me off to that. Even the cover wasn’t very exciting. Sonic steals the show as expected and I’m glad that he never backs down to Kahn. Kahn’s thunder powers are good though and hopefully he will get some good fights someday. I don’t care for the various clans and their plots so I’m hoping that they don’t last for too long in the future. You really can’t have a Sonic comic without more members of the main cast and higher stakes would be good as well. I still recommend this if you’re a Sonic fan. Reading the collection will only take a small amount of time and it still makes for an enjoyable read. It won’t be a thrill a minute, but it gets the job done.

Overall 6/10

Sonic Universe Volume 2 30 Years Later Review

It’s time to head back to the good ole Sonic Universe series! I’ve sporadically read a few volumes already and I can safely say that more are on the way. By the end of this batch, I should have read almost all of the Sonic Universe comics! They have been fun although they can be a bit more of a mixed bag since Sonic isn’t always the main character and these comics like to have fun with the typical format. After all, these are universe stories so they don’t necessarily have to be about Sonic…right?

Well, it is 30 years from the current comics. Shadow took over the world and enslaved everyone, but then Sonic mysteriously appeared 25 years from the present and dethroned him. He now rules the kingdom alongside Sally and they have led Mobius to a new era of peace. Everything seems to be going well, but Shadow’s army of enforcers are not pleased. They aim to get Shadow back on the throne of Mobius and they will use any means necessary to achieve their overall objective. Does Sonic still have enough strength left in him to take these villains down!?

One plot point that is mentioned a lot, but never elaborated on is Sonic’s fate. It’s intentional of course since this is still a future story so the authors should leave themselves a little wiggle room for future stories. Although, with the Mega Man crossover that altered the timeline, that may not be a problem anymore. Either way, Sonic states that he had to write himself out of the timeline and then he chose to come back at this specific moment in time. He still aged the full 25 years, but he was apparently out of the time stream. I’m not sure how this affects past events, but it does make you wonder what threat was so big that Sonic had to leave time. For now, I’ll assume that it was some kind of time bomb that Eggman made or something of that sort.

It doesn’t have anything to do with the plot, but it’s something to think about. The concept of a future story has always been a fun one, but it can be tough to execute. That’s simply because it typically feels pointless to the reader. Whenever a comic tries to show us the future like Marvel, DC, or Archie, we know that the present will never reach that point. Anything that happens in the future comics would likely not happen once the comics eventually reach that point. 100 years from now, I’m sure that the comic world will look strangely similar to the current ones even though the in world time will still match our own. It’s simply how comics work, characters can’t age past a certain point or the readers would leave. We’d just get a reboot if things were getting too hairy.

So, the future comics shouldn’t try to feel to relevant, but they should still be exciting. Batman Beyond is a prime example of that. You can really treat it as more of a what if than anything else and it’s cool to see how everything turned out for the heroes and villains. I treat the Sonic comic in the same way, but it’s not quite as exciting. The comic puts a lot of emphasis on the new designs and status of Mobius. Potentially too much as there isn’t a lot of action or fun banter to make it quite as good as the typical Sonic comic.

Naturally, it still has its pros though. Sonic is still a good fighter and he really hasn’t changed in all of these years. He’s still the Hedgehog that we’ve always known and he’s always ready to fight for his friends. I’m not a fan of the redesigns for the characters of course, but they’re meant to look worse since everyone is old and robotic at this point. Julie Su is one of the main characters here and now she has some actual Chaos Control abilities. She manages to defeat Shadow off screen, which is certainly impressive. She does a good job of protecting the kingdom here.

Mobius doesn’t have many defenders anymore so they’re lucky to have her and Sonic around. The rest of the Freedom Fighters disbanded long ago, but they still live in the city. They just live as normal citizens now since there has been peace in the land for so long. It’s interesting to also see the villain’s side of things. Shadow’s minions are interesting although they should have known that they were in over their heads. Shadow is the guy whose development may surprise you because he’s always seemed so happy and chipper in the comics. What made him turn back into a total villain after all of these years?

He makes a brief speech about how he tried to lead by example and when that failed he turned to force. I guess he was just disappointed that villains were still popping up everywhere back when he was a hero. That’s sad and all, but certainly not a legitimate reason to turn into a villain. He actually decides to destroy the world at the end, which is certainly pretty far out. I have a tough time believing that Shadow would go this far off the deep end, but maybe Sonic’s disappearance had something to do with his losing hope.

The final boss of the comic is neat as Perfect Chaos has merged with Tikal into the ultimate fighting force. The odd part is that Tikal’s inclusion doesn’t really make Chaos any stronger. If Chaos is more powerful, the change isn’t very obvious on the outside. The new Freedom Fighters have to deal with him and in the end, Sonic’s not enough to win this time. Actually, that reminds me that Chaos does have one new skill involving his energy projection skills. That is a decent improvement I suppose.

Naturally, we also get to see a lot of the next generation here. Most of the characters had sons and daughters so they are the ones who will protect Mobius in the future. It’s interesting to see that some of the main characters of Sonic Underground have decided to join the fray. Manic and Sonia are Sonic and Sally’s kids so I guess that’s their origin in this world. Most of the other kids are around too of course, but those two had the biggest role. They were crucial in the final fight as they both have super speed and knew Chaos had a weakness thanks to the supporting characters.

I almost forgot one supporting character…Silver! It’s safe to say that his fans will not be pleased as he really doesn’t do so well here. For starters, he’s outsmarted by Sonic when it comes to time travel and then he refuses to even say what threat is approaching until it actually appears. He got one shotted by one of the evil minions and you have to wonder why he is here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that he was as his role is pretty humorous, but his fans will likely want to avert their eyes. Silver is hardly as experienced as he lets on and he still makes many rookie mistakes. I look forward to seeing how he handles himself in his own arc. (Sonic Universe Volume 7!)

The art is solid as can be expected of a Sonic comic. Everything is bright and vibrant so you can easily see what is going on. Typically, the panels are very large, which means that there are fewer of them per page, but we get some great art. I typically like big panels for these kinds of stories as they work very well for talking scenes, but many other series use smaller panels which works as well. Each style has its merits to be sure.

Overall, This was a decent volume of Sonic Universe. It likely will not come as a surprise that I did enjoy this one a little less than most of the other volumes. I think that the future could have been shown to have been more exciting. Most of the villains may be gone, but I would have liked some cool references to the past or something like that. The most interesting plot is certainly Sonic’s travels through time and I would have liked to have seen more of that. Nonetheless, this is a good Sonic comic that’s worth checking out and I would definitely recommend it. Everything else aside, you will be sure to have a good time as you read this adventure and Sonic has always been a great lead. He doesn’t disappoint here. You can also expect more Sonic Universe stories coming up soon!

Overall 6/10

Sonic The Hedgehog Archives Volume 1 Review

I’ve read a lot of the newer Sonic comics, but I’ll admit that I have not really experienced most of the classic ones. The first volume of the archives is a good start since it brings some of the first Sonic comics that were ever written! It’s an interesting change of pace from the modern issues and you can definitely tell that things have changed. Luckily, these issues still hold up pretty well.

Giving you a plot summary can be a little tricky though. It’s not as if these stories really had a whole lot of continuity back in the day and they’re all self contained stories. They are also really short stories. One of them features a battle between Super Sonic and the Universalmander, which was pretty cool. I can’t say that I expected to see any of them so early. Another story has Eggman hire a pretty powerful monkey with explosive coconuts to take out Sonic and the Freedom Fighters once and for all.

Sonic is as cool as you would expect. He’s always got a good pun at the ready and he doesn’t mind breaking the fourth wall when necessary. He’s ultimately confident and his personality actually hasn’t changed all that much when compared to the newest issues. He doesn’t have to worry about a lot of different dramas and side quests so he’s totally devoted to showing off and using his super speed to mess with Eggman. This is how you write a main character!

The Universalmander is probably the strongest enemy that Sonic has ever faced up to now. Sonic still defeated him with incredible ease as he just jumped right through the poor guy, but we can’t forget that Sonic did need to use the power of the Chaos Emeralds first. I don’t believe that anyone will give Sonic a real run for his money for a while, so this was good enough for this fighter. You gotta love the name though!

One of the enemies had explosive coconuts, but there isn’t much to say about him. I remember him from the games and even Sonic DX has a variation of this opponent. Throwing things is cool…but not very effective against an opponent as fast as Sonic. The other Freedom Fighters don’t get much of a role yet. Antoine is already starting to feel sorry for himself because the other never ask for his advice. (Little does he know that they always try, but he’s too lost in his thoughts to hear them) Sally is already the tactician of the group, but the plans are all fairly basic since Sonic likes to be direct. She’s not really a fighter yet. Tails is still in the kid phase. He doesn’t really seem to understand what’s happening and everything is a game to him. He gets the heroes into a pretty dicey spot by mistake. (And he gets mad at Sonic in 100 issues for treating him like a child!) I’m definitely glad that Sega severely changed his design later on since the brown just didn’t work for him.

Eggman is the main villain of course and he’s pretty solid. It was cool to see him literally feed his minions to the scrapper. This guy isn’t playing around. Naturally, Eggman mostly takes the brunt of every joke, but he takes them in stride. His minions always comment on his round shape, but he ignored them and just goes about his business. Of course, he did destroy some of his minions so I guess the insults may play a part in that. I’m don’t care for any of Eggman’s minions at this point so it’s good to see Eggman thinning out the ranks. He does get a good shot on Sonic when he throws him around through the pinball machine. Even then, Sonic is too busy making puns to really be in any danger, but at least the mad doctor got his kicks. This was definitely how his comic relief era started and I’m happy to say that it works better for him than his rivals in Wily and Bowser.

It’s pretty cool to see how the comics have changed. This same series is still going on today as the series nears its 300th issue. (In about 30 issues) These were definitely simpler days for the heroes and we don’t have any extra hedgehogs. I’m sure that Metal Sonic and the others join the crew soon, but the issues are still fun. There really isn’t a lot of action in it, but this one is really more of a fun comedy. Breaking the fourth wall becomes pretty regular after a while and the characters continue to trade insults and puns.

The art is a little rough around the edges, but it’s still pretty good. The attention to the details can really make some scenes have an extra punch and the action scenes that we do get are pretty great. Just one look at Sonic’s speed is enough to make you feel a little bad for the villains. They really don’t stand a chance at all.

Overall, This is a solid start to the Sonic comics. I doubt that the writers could have ever dreamed that it would get so popular. Archie has done a great job with Sonic throughout the years. This collection may not be quite as intriguing as the new Sonic Universe and Saga collections, but every good franchise must start from somewhere. The issues definitely hold up from the good ole days. They are more comedy based so that could be a turn off for some, but the humor is very well done. The collection is also very short so you are able to go through it rather quickly. I imagine that you can currently buy it for a very low price and it’s worth it. You can proudly say that you own the very first Sonic comic that started the epic comic franchise that we see today. It’ll be fun to see if the change to the modern times is very sudden or so subtle that I won’t even notice. We shall see!

Overall 7/10

Mega Man Rock of Ages Review

It’s time for another batch of Mega Man comics! Mega Man has been a consistently good comic series just like Sonic The Hedgehog and that doesn’t change with this volume. It is a little light on the action, which can be a little sad, but we do get some foreshadowing at things to come. To be honest, we probably got a little too much foreshadowing, but it’ll be nice if it all happens at some point.

The first two parter is about the origin of Proto Man. Dr Light built him after the government wanted to see some progress on their funding. Unfortunately, Dr Light got a little too excited about the concept and he became friends with Proto Man. His coworker…Dr Wily, quickly showed Dr Light the error of his ways. Unfortunately, Proto Man short circuited during the demonstration. Fixing him would be tricky and he may have lost some of his personality. Dr Light doesn’t help matters by complaining to one of his friends that he wishes he could take out part of Proto Man’s rebellious streak. Proto Man streaks off and Dr Light quickly claims that he was kidding. (A little too late for that…) Now, Proto Man has to come to terms with the fact that he is dying. It’s pretty emotional.

The next issue is about Roll and her friends as they head to the Beach. Their vacation is quickly interrupted when they notice that a ship is sinking. They quickly call in Oil Man and Splash Woman. Now, they have to try to save everyone before it is too late. Unfortunately, Tempo is one of the robots on the scene and she isn’t very good at this kind of thing. If only Mega Man was around!

The final comic features a lot of time travel. Mega Man gets thrown into the future and he continues to accelerate during the years. We get scenes from Mega Man and Bass, Mega Man 7, Mega Man 5, and so on. He has to find a way to stop going further into the future if he wants to even stand a chance at living through this. It’s a fun comic full of homages, but it can be a little dicey for fans who just want to see what’s going to happen next. It’ll really take years to adapt all of this, which is a little sad, but I can only hope that these events will occur soon.

So, this was a pretty solid volume. I will admit that I did have two main problems with it. The first is the startling absence of Mega Man. He doesn’t really get to appear until the final comic. I’m all for the side characters getting their own plots, but we really need Mega Man to get a larger role. He deserves it and I have to say that he’s more interesting than the others. Even Proto Man lacks the raw ability that Mega Man has at his disposal. Mega Man basically steals the show once again when he re appears.

The other would be the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of action in this volume. There is no actual villain for the first three comics and the final issue with Mega Man is the only exception. That one definitely had some pretty solid action scenes, but they all get interrupted before the fights can really get going. That’s a little disappointing right? I want a full fight where we really get to see how Mega Man stacks up!

Mega Man’s role may have been small, but it was definitely a good one. He essentially stole the show and showed why he is a natural born leader. It can be a little sketchy to see Mega Man lose his cool so quickly in the time travel story since he was supposed to have already gone through that character development, but maybe he’s just going to end up being the next Sonic. I’m cool with that, as long as Mega Man continues to rack up those wins. He is really the only hope for the heroes at the moment since the rest of them aren’t very powerful.

Proto Man is really in his human persona for most of the collection, but he’s a pretty good character. I don’t blame him for leaving during the first misunderstanding, but he shouldn’t have left the second time. He’s a hero through and through. Proto Man kept trying to help everyone even when he was dying from the effort. He’ll be a good partner for Mega Man down the line, but that likely won’t happen for a while. His ending is definitely hinting at the reverse.

Tempo was easily the worst character in the batch. She’s pretty worried the whole time and she really lacks confidence. She’s still a robot master though so she needs to act as one. It’s not like she couldn’t survive a fall from a super large height. These robots are super durable after all and she mostly spent the whole time embarrassing Roll. She has no role in the comics so far so I’m hoping that she’ll develop into a good character. I’m hoping….

Roll gets her own comic and it’s good to see her get a big role. I do wish that it had been a combat role since I’m sure that she can quickly be modified to fight. Still, this was good enough I suppose and she got to prove that she’s great at rescue operations. Dr Light tried to stop her, but nobody can really stop a robot master when they get serious. If Roll had not been around, things definitely would have gotten dicey.

Splash Woman and Oil Man are really just guest stars in the rescue comic. They have some pretty good team work and their abilities do go together pretty well. They don’t seem to be very powerful, but things could change. In the future comic, we see that Splash Woman is fighting Mega Man since the hero seems to have been framed. Of course, Mega Man is holding back so that he doesn’t hurt her.

Dr Light is a main character I suppose, but he’s pretty unlikable for the most part. He doesn’t want Roll to live up to her full potential and it’s really his fault that Proto Man is gone. We also find out that he (possibly) installed the engine wrong, which is why Proto Man is dying. He’s technically a nice guy, but he’s way too oblivious at some points and there’s no reason to really become a fan of his. He’s just too distant and protecting of the heroes..even though they already surpassed him.

Bass is the main reason why the final comic is epic. He has finally arrived! It’ll be quite a while before he gets a role in the main series at this point so I’ll take what I can get. He has a quick fight with Mega Man and then he proceeds to talk tough the whole time. He doesn’t back down from anyone and that’s what I always liked about Bass. I’m not sure if I’d say that it’s my favorite interpretation of the character, (Giga Mix portrayed him better) but it’s not bad. Hopefully Bass gets some big roles in the future.

The art is pretty solid as always. Everything is very clear even if it’s a little on the bland side. The artist may need to add some effects to spice up the battle scenes. They’re just a little too clear…even for me. Of course, that is what makes them so easy to read so it’s a mixed bag. Either way, the art is definitely very good.

Overall, This is another good batch of Mega Man comics. It may have been the weakest entry in the series, but it can only go up from here. You can definitely draw a lot of similarities from the Mega Man comic series to the Sonic one. Both of them are very up beat and the personalities of Sonic and Mega Man are starting to get a little similar. This is the kind of comic that’s easy to pick up and read at any time. The plot is pretty light after all as there are no plot twists or big cliff hangers. I do expect the next batch to have a lot more action though since I don’t want the series to start losing steam. I have heard that the crossover with Sonic is pretty awesome though so I can’t wait to read it! Bass is on the cover of that one so I’m confident that he will get a roll. I definitely recommend this collection and the story is fun enough that you can get past the lack of action.

Overall 6/10

Sonic Saga Series Volume 4 House of Cards Review

Well, the legendary Sonic Saga Series continues with this electrifying volume! To be frank, this volume wasn’t quite as exciting as the last few, but it was still pretty fun for the most part. I definitely preferred the first half, but the cliffhanger definitely hints at cool things, which are to come. We will see if Sonic has what it takes or if he will be quicklu defeated by this threat.

The first half concludes the big Eggman event. Eggman has followed Sonic and his pals to their new home. After Sonic was casually crushed in their first encounter…does he really stand a chance!? He hasn’t gotten any stronger after all and he’s still pretty fatigued from their last bout. Luckily, Sonic has a plan, which may turn the tides against Eggman and his army. It’s going to have to be a doozy at this rate!

The second half is mostly an arc to help you pick which side you’re on. Team Sonic or Team Tails. It’s a clear choice right from the get go as far as I am concerned. Tails looks pretty bad for the entire volume, but more on that later. Tails’ (shady) parents have decided that the place needs a new ruler and they want the King to step down so they create a mob and attack the castle. The King arrests the parents, but Tails helps them to bust free. While the parents go to dispose of the King, Tails stays behind to take Sonic down. Sonic is going to have to choose between the country’s safety and his friendship with the kid in this big climax. How did it come to this!?

Sonic is the main character and that’s how it should be in a Sonic collection. He does pretty well throughout and it reminds me why I’ve always been a fan. One part that I didn’t care for was Sonic’s resolution against Eggman. In the end, Sonic basically admitted that he couldn’t win. He did get wrecked during their first battle, but I like to think that Sonic would find a way to use his speed to his advantage and secure a win. Let’s face it, if it is to be it’s up to me Sonic will always be able to crush Eggman’s robots when the going gets tough. The other part would be the ending to his battle with Tails. He’s being nice to Tails of course, but the stakes were decently high so I’m not sure how great that was. If something had happened…well, it would have been very dicey for Sonic. The whole issue wasn’t really his fault at that point. Nontheless, Sonic definitely did well in these issues and I look forward to seeing how he’s going to deal with the next threat. The Sonic comics definitely wouldn’t be the same without him since Sonic provides most of the laughs.

Well, Tails definitely goes through a lot of character regression in this volume. They’ve been hinting at it for a while now so it’s not like the issue came out of left field. Unfortunately, everything finally blows to the surface in the comic as Tails has his big fight with Sonic. Now, Tails is doing all of this to break his father out of prison, but the guy deserved to go there. He organized a mob and basically made everyone crazy. Tails has to realize that justice must come over his personal feelings at times. Sonic naturally arrives to stop Tails from making this mistake and the fight begins. It should be noted that Sonic is trying not to fight Tails, while Tails is getting in every cheap shot that he can muster.

It’s definitely not a very effective way of accomplishing things. We also find out that Tails is mostly mad at Sonic because of the whole Fiona incident. Tails should have spoken up about it sooner and it’s not quite as serious as he makes it out to be. Romance should never come before justice and teamwork. Tails talks tough to the end, but I can’t say that I liked him at all in this volume. Hopefully, he will put this behind him and become a better Freedom Fighter for the next collection.

Eggman returns after his big victory in the last volume. He continues to explain how he has been toying with all of the heroes up til now. Even as he leaves, he explains that the heroes are basically doomed when he comes back to get them. He doesn’t really get to have a rematch with Sonic in this volume since a few others decided to jump in. It was short, but Eggman’s big run is already over. The collection ends with him making a truce with the Freedom Fighters so that they can combat the next menace. Eggman still makes for a solid villain and he’s much better than how he looks in the video games. At least, the newer ones. He was pretty decent in Sonic DX and Adventure 2 Battle. I would argue that he went downhill from there with the exception of Shadow The Hedgehog.

Scourge and Fiona only get a small cameo. They’re mostly just here to show us how powerful the new villain is. Hopefully Scourge has another fight with Sonic coming up and Fiona will likely toy with the heroes’ emotions for a while. It’s what she does best after all. Again, the next volume sounds pretty intense!

I personally blame Snively the most for the fact that Eggman didn’t win this round. He had an army at the ready so blowing up the forcefield should have been extremely easy. Not accomplishing this feat was pretty embarrassing at best. I’ve never really cared for Snively no matter how emotional they try to make him. He’s still more of a two bit villain and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

The very ending of the collection was definitely pretty intense though. Knuckles is finally going back to his island, but we see that things have definitely changed since last time. Is he already too late? Moreover, one of Sonic’s deadliest foes is about to return and that’s not good for the unsuspecting heroes. It may be time to call in the mighty Shadow The Hedgehog! (He is seen on the cover of the next volume so this guess may be validated…..)

It should also be noted that there is a mini comic at the end about how Sonic met Tails’ parents. They were a lot nicer back then and they didn’t have so many hidden agendas. The times have changed them as they have changed many of Sonic’s friends. Luckily, Sonic’s held himself together all these years…that’s why he’s known as one of the greatest heroes of Mobius! This story was all right, but nothing really noteworthy happens in it.

The artwork in the collection is as solid as always. We don’t get any real dramatic moments like the last volume and things aren’t quite as serious. This means that we can’t test the artwork as much as we may have wanted too, but it still looks solid for the characters and action scenes. Archie definitely knows how to stay consistent.

One big criticism that I had with the first part was that Eggman’s army probably should have won. Sonic and Knuckles were the only two heavy hitters left and Eggman proved to be more than a match for Sonic. With the power of friendship, the heroes manages to prevail, but it was still a little hard to really believe. Snively not being able to penetrate the barrier with all of his warheads was also hard to swallow. No matter how you slice it….Eggman should have won this battle. He came in with the better plan and the better tech. Better luck next time I suppose.

The resolution to the other part was also a little suspect. Tails’ parents were completely unreasonable, but the comic tries to show that they were at least partially in the right. They agree to a reasonable compromise of having a committee for the residents to help in important decisions. They could have merely asked for something like that instead of demanding it. The current King is very reasonable and he would have had no suggestions. I don’t like the way that they went about it so I can safely say that I’m not a fan of those two characters.

Overall, This was a solid Sonic collection. The second half definitely has a lot of weak points, but it was still good overall. The first part was definitely a lot more exciting. The collection is a little lacking in the action department, but I’m confident that the next collection will change that. It’s time for the next big villain after all! I definitely recommend this collection to all Sonic fans. Their is a lot of dialogue, but it’s all pretty interesting since the writing is very good. I may not agree with the things that some of the characters say, but it’s not the fault of the writer’s. Some characters have to be the fall guy once in a while. At least we can be confident in the fact that Sonic will always be a solid character.

Overall 7/10