Sonic vs. the Underground Cage

Issue 0 of the original miniseries gave us a brief overview of the situation between Robotnik and the Freedom Fighters, as well as some ‘backstory’ for how things got that way. Issue 1 of the OSM just keeps going with this – now that the rules are in place and we’re more familiar with the characters, we’re presented with different scenarios based on what we already know. Also more plot contrivances than you can shake a weeping willow branch at, but hey!

FAST SECOND ISSUE!!! doesn't have as good a ring to it.

Run, Sally, Run!
Writer: Michael Gallagher
Penciler: Scott Shaw!
Inker: Bill White
Letterer: Dan Nakrosis
Colorist: Barry Grossman

We open with a scene out of the games – Sonic running and Tails trying to keep up. The game resemblance is even more pronounced when Sonic leaves Tails covered in dust and ignores the fox when he slams into a tree. Hey, Tails took a lot of abuse when I played Sonic 2 at least!

Sonic is distracted because he runs into Sally (now sporting a totally different fur and hair color), who doesn’t want anything to do with Sonic or his interference. Sonic, being the stand-up guy he is, immediately assumes Antoine is responsible despite there not being anything to suggest this.

If something stinks, it's usually the D'Coolette.

So the BEST FRIENDS head over to the Knothole secret entrance but Antoine’s coming out at the same time, and he reveals that Sally has issued a Royal Proclamation: she’s going to Robotropolis to negotiate the return of her father, the king, and nobody is to interfere. Naturally the trio of Sonic, Tails, and the not-cowardly-for-some-reason-this-issue Antoine run off to save her. Because that’s what heroes do, right? RIGHT?!?!?!

Sonic interrupts Sally’s negotiations with a Buzzbomber with a Sonic Spin, but Sally interrupts Sonic’s interruption by grabbing him out of the Spin and majorly messing him up. Man, if it were that easy all the time, why doesn’t Robotnik do it? Last issue showed he’s more than capable of POWERFUL GRABS. Sally tells them all to basically calm the crap down and flies off with Buzzbomber. As the heroes plan their next move, a cage conveniently pops out of the ground and traps them.

Thanks for the insight, Antoine. I just assumed it was a naturally occurring cage formation.

When Sally arrives at the city, Robotnik’s plan is revealed – he had no intention of going along with these negotiations at all! What a stunning development. Sally has a very specific denial of “Do anything to me, but don’t throw me in that robo-machine and turn me into a robot!” Robotnik, for his part, just rubs his hands together like an idiot.

BUT WAIT

IT’S

SONIC

“How did you escape from my underground cage?” Robotnik wonders. Two points, tubby:

  1. Sonic’s entire shtick in these early issues seems to be speed and cutting through things.
  2. How was the cage underground? They were clearly standing in an open field. Unless Robotnik views everything as “beneath him,” which would technically make it all underground. It kinda fits !

Robotnik reaches for his “atomic death ray,” but Antoine reveals he pickpocketed it at some unknown point and Tails also helped in some unspecified way, as he is keen to point out. Sonic smashes the robo-machine – which Robotnik claims will take him “at least two issues to rebuild” – and they heroically take off with Sally like heroes, with Antoine holding Robotnik at gunpoint. Heroically.

Once they get back to Knothole, Boomer asks how the plan went. Turns out (to nobody’s surprise) Sally had an alterior motive for wanting to get captured: she knew Robotnik would be untrustworthy, so she had Boomer design her some special boots to analyze, jam, and reverse-engineer the robo-machine, which would basically free everybody ever.

How dare you act like my friends and attempt to rescue me from a situation I had completely under control but didn't feel the need to tell you about? GEEZ

I really enjoy how Sally blames everybody else for this going wrong. This is kind of an important plan, with the lives of everyone Robotnik turned into “robots” at stake, but instead of keeping her team informed, she just issues this ambivalent Royal Proclamation, so naturally her friends are going to want to go and rescue her. If she’d bothered to keep Sonic and Antoine in the loop (Tails would’ve done whatever Sonic did), this entire mess could have been avoided. But then we wouldn’t have a story, now would we?

Honestly, looking ahead to later issues, I think this flaw of Sally’s – blaming other people for things she could have prevented – could have really led to some neat story opportunities. Once her character gets solidified she actually has the opposite problem: she blames herself for things other people do. If Sally had actually been given a compelling character flaw like this one early on, it might have led to some interesting development.

Also I like how Boomer is the only one who thinks this is remotely funny. Deadpan snarker indeed.

Something Fishy
Writer: Michael Gallagher
Penciler: Scott Shaw!
Inker: Bill White
Letterer: Dan Nakrosis
Colorist: Barry Grossman

Sonic is going fishing (again with the weird non-sentient animal implications) and he runs afoul of a strange creature that happens to be a Badnik and happens to be eating the fishing dock. Sonic looks down and notices “one of [Robotnik’s] factory drainpipes pouring pollution into the water”. Said drainpipe has a purple Bowser face for some reason. I didn’t know Robotnik was into dinosaur-turtle-gargoyle hybrid archecture.

SONIC, HOW DARE YOU DISTURB MY FAMILY VACATION

So Sonic swims down into the water, which… sometimes he’s able to do, and sometimes he can’t do it. Guess it depends on the story. (Knuckles would later have this problem, but there was no excuse for that instance, given that it was four issues apart and by the same author, and that Knuckles was able to swim from the bottom of the ocean in one issue and then not make it across a lake in another. But we’ll burn that bridge when we come to it.) Sonic, for his part, gets tossed around like he’s in the Labyrinth Zone, and when he catches up with the Badnik (who I guess is accurately named “Jaws”) he gets caught in a surprise net. Man, what is with Robotnik’s forces and convenient traps? First the “underground cage” out of nowhere, then a “concealed fishnet.” I’m imagining Robotnik going around parts of Mobius, installing random traps all over the place just in case a Freedom Fighters happens to come by. Or it could just be dumb plot contrivance, that works too.

Boomer and Tails, meanwhile, are dealing with a plethora of coloring mistakes. Also, Sonic is missing in action. The walrus conveniently has access to his BATHYSPHERE, some kind of submarine thing. Cue the obligatory Mike Gallagher over-the-heads-of-the-readers pun: “Now that’s what I call a sub-plot!”

Jaws tells Sonic his fiendish plan, and Sonic spins out of the net… which tires him to the point of needing air bubbles. So… how is he able to breathe and talk underwater in the first place? He’s been doing both ever since the CONCEALED NET grabbed him. Also I’m totally hearing the drowning music from Sonic 1 in the background right now and it terrifies me. Fortunately for Sonic, the Bathysphere shows up and fires some sort of laser gun thing at Jaws, Sonic is able to get some air bubbles and thus destroy the robo-machine, and everybody lives happily ever after.

There’s some more filler pages around these stories. The only one of note stars Boomer, the clear star of this cast thus far, as he’s the only one with a consistent personality who seems to recognize the absurdity of what’s going on. This one-pager also features more poignant Mike Gallagher social commentary:

This is especially ironic given what Rotor eventually ends up doing in the comic.

Truly tragic indeed.

It’s interesting looking at Scott Shaw!’s pencils throughout the original miniseries – they really set the tone for the early issues and their distinctive cartoony look, much the same way that Tracy Yardley! gave the current issues their modern standard. I bet it’s the exclamation points.

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