Robotnik vs. the Democratic Process (As Represented by a Monarchy)

Archie really dodged a bullet with this issue. No, literally – look at the cover.

"Wabbit Season!" "Hedgehog Season!"

It seems weird to have a bullet featured so prominently on this issue when nowadays they can’t have any guns on their covers; in one of the Knuckles issues, a character was shown wielding a gun and they had a hilariously bad NO SYMBOL over it. Well… I mean, I guess it’s a bullet. I could come up with a variety of other things it could be, but I promised myself I’d keep this blog PG-13!

A Crowning Achievement!
Writer: Michael Gallagher
Penciler: Scott Shaw!
Inker: Bill White
Letterer: Dan Nakrosis
Colorists: Barry Grossman and Nanci Tsetsekas

Sally is engaging in the act of calling Sonic by his logo, which is an annoying quirk that persists well into the comic’s lifespan. For his part Sonic shows off how inconsistent his speed is – remember how he couldn’t catch up to the Buzzbomber in Issue 0? Well, now he’s casually moving at “twice the speed of sound.” He must be a real pleasure in those ‘who would win in a fight’ debates.

Debater #1: Sonic’s demonstrated that he can easily break the sound barrier on multiple occasions!
Debater #2: What about all the other occasions (read: all of the time) where he’s not that fast?
Debater #1: SALLY IZ A MARY SUE

So Sally wants to show Sonic something, and it’s not why she suddenly switched hair and fur colors or the location of her royal birthmark (nor is it the truth behind that bul- okay, I’ll stop now). It’s a jewely chest containing the CROWN OF ACORNS, which is a fancy crown that holds the FREEDOM EMERALDS, which… do something or other that is probably good, I guess. They’re not very specific about this.

I guess if one tiny rock can keep an entire island in the sky, four tinier rocks can fight off ultimate evil? Is that CHAOS THEORY in action?

I guess the Freedom Emeralds are like the little brother of the Chaos Emeralds, maybe. But they don’t look similarly-shaped – they’re just little green circles. Maybe they’re the embodiment of democracy and individual choice. Maybe Robotnik represents communism, and the Freedom Emeralds are the Bill of Rights. Or maybe Sally is just playing dress-up because nobody has the gall to tell her otherwise.

Sonic worries that the Emeralds might fall into the wrong hands, but fortunately Antoine’s previously unmentioned Royal Guard keeps a tight watch on them. So naturally, when Sonic goes to open the jewelry box, the Crown and Emeralds are missing. They quickly come to the conclusion that Robotnik planted a robot among the guardsmen; Sonic thus sets off the sprinklers, and the traitorous swine (literally – he’s a pig) is revealed.

The implications here are pretty bad: Robotnik not only has the Freedom Emeralds, but he knows where Knothole now is. To make matters worse, Piggy Guard decides to explode, and Sonic actually does something legitimately self-sacrificing (like, without the promise of praise) for maybe the first time so far, racing off with the robot so he can’t blow anyone up.

Sally thinks Sonic is dead. This is an important precedent for their relationship, because it happens… at least five more times between the two of them that I can think of offhand, and I’m willing to bet there’s more examples. As with all the other times (well, maybe not the most recent one since that’s – as of this post – still up in the air), nobody is dead. Who knew?

Sonic's level of bemusement is almost as delicious as his pumpkin pie.

According to Sonic, Robotnik is scattering the Freedom Emeralds to various locations, instead of just… I dunno, invading Knothole? These Freedom Emeralds must be pretty powerful! Sally actually acts like a commander for the first time and orders Sonic and Antoine to retrieve them together.

After a blimp/hot air balloon chase sequence where both crafts go down, Sonic smashes the Swatbot pilot and a Freedom Emerald pops out. The Swatbot’s last transmission indicates that Robotnik is trying to hide them in ‘air, land, sea, and underground,’ which seems to unnecessarily complicate things – if they’re so powerful, why doesn’t he just use them himself? Maybe that question would be answered if we ACTUALLY KNEW WHAT THEY DID. Sonic then goes rogue and insists that Antoine take the Emerald back to Sally while he finds the other three.

We then get a little David Letterman-styled top ten list where the number 1 reason is pretty hilarious in hindsight:

*cough*

Back to the main story, Tails is fishing and Sonic has NO TIME FOR THIS DAMN KID, but Tails’s fishing pole gets hooked onto Sonic’s shoe and he gets dragged along anyway. So much for going alone! Of course, this being early Tails, the most he can do get saved by Sonic and then, in a page straight out of Looney Tunes, draw a picture of himself and Sonic on a rock to confuse Jaws (who is magically rebuilt). I also like how Sonic just knows that the Emerald is in this one cave he was in before. Honestly I blame Robotnik for not being more creative – Sonic probably just recognizes that the dictator is dumb and wouldn’t, y’know, use a new cave or anything.

Tails runs Emerald #2 back to Knothole and Sonic chases after a Swatbot carrying Emerald #3… who then just watches as Sonic falls into a pit from the ground. Like, he doesn’t even press a button or anything. The pit just opens up right where Sonic is standing and sucks him up. Oh, Robotnik.

After he lands, Sonic runs afoul of Burrobot, who is notably the only Badnik thus far Sonic’s actually intimidated by because he can “bore thru anything – including [Sonic]!” I guess that includes smashing through a Sonic Spin, which makes sense, given that Sally of all people can just grab him out of one. Sonic nabs Emerald #3 and Emerald #4 (which the Burrobot was also holding) and proceeds to wander around the underground caves for hours before finally realizing – hey, this isn’t 2D! He can burrow up! Which he proceeds to do, right into the middle of Boomer’s shop. Say it with me: how convenient.

Boomer has managed to find a replacement crown, or possibly the actual crown, it’s not quite clear. He does have a nifty sign on his desk that says “Crowns Repaired While U Wait.” Never gets old, Mike. The walrus proceeds to crown Sally, who makes a short speech with an acorn-themed scepter (LOL GET IT) about how the Freedom Emeralds will save the planet from Robotnik because ???. Robotnik, meanwhile, is a little peeved about his small role in the story and vows revenge. Not like they didn’t establish that he knows Knothole’s location now or anything.

There’s more filler pages in the middle here; the only one of note involves Sally actually being the one to sass Sonic and Sonic getting irritated by it. Kinda funny.

Looks like Sally's capable of getting under Sonic's skin. Or, more appropriately, his spines.

This issue also has the debut of Sonic-Grams, the monthly fanmail answering session. Gabriel Gardner asks where the Freedom Fighters are from, and the response is literally “Ummm, we’ll tell you later, Gabe. They’re in the animated series.” It’s, again, funny how the perspective’s changed so much since then – now the creative team tries to make everything fit and to present a unified world and vision, and back then they were just drawing silly comics for kids. How times change.

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