In Which Mah Cornbread Gets Buttered

Fun fact: this was the very first Sonic comic I ever bought. I was maybe six or seven (too lazy to do the math right now) and I saw the cover, where Sonic and Tails flat-out stated that no other comic on sale could compare to this one. My mom agreed to get it for me only if it didn’t have an ongoing storyline, since she didn’t want to get suckered into buying more of them. Now, two decades later, I am still an avid subscriber and I am writing a blog about this comic. I wonder how my mom feels about this.

Considering how the first Deadpool solo issue came out around this time, that's a pretty bold claim to make!

The Bomb Bugs Me!
Writer: Michael Gallagher
Penciler: Dave Manak
Inker: Jon D’Agostino
Letterer: Daryl Nakrosis
Colorists: Linda and Daryl America

Robotnik has THE BOMB! No, he’s not producing a new hip-hop album – that would be “Robotnik is the bomb.” No, this is much worse (unless you really hate hip-hop) – the Freedom Fighters know that if Robotnik detonates this massive weapon on the Great Forest, everything is toast. And if he’s got one, he can get more of them, so Mobius is basically doomed. Sally’s response to this situation is to “demonstrate our resolve for a bomb-free world!” I’m sure once Robotnik hears their side of the situation he’ll come around.

OKAY RANT TIME

Boomer is singing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” when they’re talking about THE BOMB. That’s an old African-American spiritual said to have been written about the Underground Railroad; it still has a modern following and apparently is popular among rugby circles. But what kid is going to know this? I’ve said in prior issues that Mike Gallagher likes to throw in jokes and puns that the primary audience isn’t going to get, which is fine when it’s done sparingly and when it doesn’t throw off the feel of the story. It’s gotten to the point – at this, the seventh issue – where it’s neither of these things any longer.

When the writer wants to make something happen in his/her story, it should normally enhance the actual story in some way, be it through moving the plot forward, strengthening characterization, providing clarity and insight into something, etc. Elements of a story don’t exist as disparate, unrelated pieces; they should all come together in some capacity. They don’t all have to be equally important, but they shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Nobody wants to waste time reading about things that are irrelevant.

A lot of the time, however, the writer will insert something into the story that doesn’t actually help the story at all. They might put it in because it’s a subject or character that they enjoy writing about. Maybe it’s a joke that only they find funny. Either way, it serves no purpose and is actually detrimental to the story as a whole – we invest time into this piece of the story, only to learn that our time was wasted.

Mike does this to a very small degree with his puns and references to things that nobody is going to get. They just take up space and probably only confuse people who don’t get them. Eventually he gets even worse about this with his pet characters (Downunda Freedom Fighters, Badniks), who get shoehorned into a bunch of stories they have no business being in.

The undisputed king of irrelevant story crap (as far as this comic is concerned) is Ken Penders, but we’ll get to him eventually. One of the reasons I really like Ian Flynn as a writer is that by and large his story decisions are made based on what works best for the story as a whole, not necessarily what he wants to see happen. It’s a fine line, sure, but it’s definitely there.

THAT WAS MY RANT HOPE YOU LIKED IT

Back at the city of Robotropolis, a Swatbot tells Robotnik that some protestors are outside and he thinks they’re talking about Protestants (that’s a little more obvious a joke but it’s still intrusive!). It looks like Sonic, Sally and Boomer are literally standing outside holding anti-nuke protest signs. Robotnik’s response to this is to organize a brigade of Swatbots and… charge directly at them. WHY ARE YOU SO DUMB HOW DID YOU TAKE OVER MOBIUS WHEN YOU’RE THIS DUMB

Surprise! It was a… movie projection of them. Which Robotnik somehow didn’t notice. And now that he’s unconscious and apparently the Swatbots are too (???), the Freedom Fighters can sneak in and retrieve the nuclear device.

The second phase of this brilliant plan is to have Boomer dress up like Robotnik (but not before offering to do a James Cagney impersonation WHYYYYYYY) and fool Crabmeat into bringing him the bomb. But the Badnik thinks something is fishy, and it’s not just Boomer’s breath. There’s a tussle outside and Boomer comes back in, wanting to rush back to Knothole to analyze the bomb, but WAIT – Robotnik is claiming that Boomer is Robotnik! But Boomer is claiming that Robotnik is Robotnik! Robotnik (one of them at least) also uses the ludicrous name “Bucktusks” for Boomer. What does that even mean. We are then treated to an absolutely hilarious sequence of mask removal that pretty much makes up for everything else in this story:

I'm pretty sure this was the plot to Mission: Impossible 2.

Sonic solves the problem by – you guessed it – spinning things in circles. All the masks fly off, lying there creepily on the floor, and the Freedom Fighters head back to Knothole to dismantle the bomb… which turns out to be harmless bug spray. Well I guess we learned a valuable lesson from this, probably involving the name “Bucktusks.”

Rabbot Deployment!
Writer: Michael Gallagher
Penciler: Dave Manak
Inker: Jon D’Agostino
Letterer: Bill Yoshida
Colorists: Linda and Daryl America

Sonic and Sally engage in some more character-building banter: he’s snarky, she pretends to be aggravated but plays along anyway. At least that’s how I read between the lines! Boomer has taken pictures from… somewhere… that show “Robotnik making deep inroads into the Southern sector of Mobius!” Is this story just an excuse for Mike to make bad Southern jokes? For us to ‘grit’ our teeth and deal with it?

(Actually, this story is the introduction of Bunnie Rabbot, but I’m sure you knew that already.)

Kids, remember: if you're approaching the DANGER ZONE, make sure to wear protective gear.

So Swatbots have concerned this random bunny who’s in a field picking carrots or something, because that’s all bunnies can do except multiply rapidly, and this is an all-ages comic! The bots throw her into the “portable robot-maker,” which I guess is the new name for the robo-machine. This one probably comes with all sorts of new features, like maybe not making them normal animals with googly eyes. The Swatbots give each “high multi-function digits” (LOL GET IT) before Sonic buzzsaws them into pieces and busts through. Heroically, of course.

Turns out this portable robo-maker gave the rabbit selective robotic parts – specifically, her left arm, both legs, and the lower part of her torso. (It also gave her a pink jumpsuit she didn’t have before.) The bunny understandably passes out, so Sonic wants to take her back to Knothole. Boomer raises an objection that Robotnik could use her to follow them, which maybe he’d attempt to do if he bothered putting any effort into finding the damn place at all. I’m pretty sure next issue has Ivo flying by the tree stump entrance, so yeah. >_>

They arrive back at Knothole and the rabbit instantly wakes up once it’s her cue to come back into the story, happily explaining her name (Bunnie Rabbot!) and knowing all about her new powers, which include super-strength (thanks to the robot parts!) and “karate kicks” (thanks to… ancient Southern martial arts training I guess!). She almost decapitates Sonic and then proceeds to flirt with him.

"Sorry babe - I'm taken for now, but she's due to die for a few months soon. I'll pencil ya in, okay?"

Once she realizes who Sally is, Bunnie explains that she’s always wanted to be Sally’s “royal hairdresser.” Maybe she can borrow one of Grounder’s shape-shifting arms and use it as a blow dryer. Then Antoine comes barging in and she starts talking about how cute he is. I guess having her torso turned into a machine doesn’t slow her down, now does it?

Antoine has arrived with dreadful news: a giant Burrobot is tearing down the Great Forest. Sonic instantly leaps into action, of course… and Bunnie follows immediately after, calling herself “his new botbustin’ partner.” So we finally – finally – have another Freedom Fighter who actually does something. Everybody else has been pretty much dead weight compared to Sonic, but Bunnie jumps right into the fray along with the hero. And she’s not calling herself a “sidekick” – she’s his partner. This is so satisfying.

Once Sonic arrives, he almost gets totally flattened, but Bunnie pulls him back down in the nick of time. Sonic’s plan is, as usual, run in circles; he creates a tornado that… pretty much just makes the Burrobot aware of his presence. Sonic gets BLAMMO’d by the Badnik’s laser beam, but then Bunnie flings him upside-down.

"From foxes to ferrets, ya gotta have carrots - I'm Bunnie the sailor-girl!"

Sonic heads off to finish the job, which obviously involves more running in circles, this time using the time-honored ‘create a massive trench’ scenario. Bunnie is naturally welcomed onto the team with open arms. I really hope you didn’t like her too much, though – her appearances will be sparse until we reach the 30s or so. I guess the writers didn’t really know what to do with her, which made Bunnie-centric stories that much better.

At any rate, I (obviously) love Bunnie. Though you can’t really see it in this issue unless you look very hard for it, she’s a nice counterpoint to Sally: Bunnie is all about emotions and trusting yourself, whereas Sally is more tactical, logical, and uncertain. They make a neat “best friends” duo, and it’s a shame we don’t really get more interaction between the two of them. Seeing Sonic and Bunnie in action together here makes me wonder how a relationship between them would have gone – an actual relationship, not the awkward, out-of-character rebound mess from later in the comic. I guess that’s what fanfic is for!

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