Tails Wins the Gold Medal at Being Worthless

Before Mario and his ludicrously agile fat butt came along, Sonic already had an Olympic competition! Find out more – in this VERY ISSUE BE THERRRRRRRRE

Setting your own logo on fire is actually an act of vandalism in seventeen states.

Olympic Trials and Errors” (note how the title on the cover and the title in the actual comic don’t match)
Writer: Angelo DeCesare
Penciler: Dave Manak
Inker: Jon D’Agostino
Letterer: Dan Nakrosis
Colorist: Barry Grossman

New writer on the block! Angelo Decesare (or maybe DeCesare; Google gives me both results and the comic credits are in all caps) isn’t as prolific a writer as Mike Gallagher, but he pitched in a few stories in the pre-Endgame era. From what I remember, they’re in the same vein as Mike’s but a little more reserved and well-organized; I might be proven wrong as I review more stories, though. At least this one is more reserved and well-organized!

Sonic is playing baseball with himself while Tails watches. This is a hilarious concept to me – Sonic is just hitting balls and using his speed to catch them before they land, and Tails is watching and smiling and going “That’s why he’s my sports hero!” It might be better if he actually, y’know, let you play, Tails. It’s like the fox knows how useless he is, so he just takes any opportunity to brush shoulders with somebody competent and runs with it. Speaking of running with it, Sonic runs into a wall. This is the third issue in a row somebody has run into a wall. What.

…okay, in Sonic’s defense, he wasn’t watching where he was going. On the other hand, the thing he ran into was a huge stadium with an ugly Robotnik face painted all over it, and Sonic and Tails both act like they’ve never seen it before. There’s a Swatbot just hanging out by the entrance, and he relays a message to Sonic and Tails: Robotnik wants to challenge the Freedom Fighters to the Robotropolis Olympic Games. If they can win at least one out of four events, Robotnik will return Mobius to normal. If they lose, they become robots. There is absolutely nothing fishy about this at all – Sonic is fully aware it’s a trap, but he insists the team do it because he thinks he’s that amazing and he’ll win every event himself.

"Dammit kid, didn't I -just- say I was going to do everything myself? Why don't you watch me run in circles for an hour or something; what a treat that'll be for ya."

So Antoine basically tells Tails the truth: he’s useless and can’t do anything. The kid is saddened and goes off and nobody goes to comfort him. Sonic calls after him and Sally gives Antoine a shove. That’s it. What a great family environment! Not that Tails needs it; he perks up in the very next panel, having realized that he can make a sculpture of Sonic once he wins. He’s a trooper alright!

They arrive the next morning at the stadium, and Robotnik asks a Swatbot if he went through with the plan – to steal Sonic’s “special sneakers” and replace them with “special, look-alike, energy-draining sneakers” Robotnik came up with. It’s weird – they keep hinting throughout this story that Sonic gets his speed directly from his sneakers, but they never come out and say it; the only thing special about them is the fact that they don’t burn out. The Swatbot threw the sneakers in the trash. This is a trivial detail that will never come up again.

Sonic prepares to do a few warm-up laps as the team (minus Tails) cheers him on from the sidelines; Boomer’s even waving a little ‘S’ flag. But with a mighty ZZUNK, Sonic’s energy is drained. Antoine… actually starts acting cowardly, which is kinda neat, given that he’s mostly just been a doofus in these first issues and not an outright coward. Robotnik prepares the “portable robot making machine,” and… y’know, I can’t keep coming up with all these half-baked jokes on all the different names they’ve given the roboticizer. There’s been at least three of them! (names, not jokes)

But wait! Sally says the rest of the team will compete in Sonic’s place. This… goes about as well as you’d expect it to.

I have absolutely no idea what this trollface bunny is supposed to be. He was on the cover of the first issue too!

Meanwhile, Tails is scrounging around in the trash since THAT’S WHERE HE BELONGS. Okay, he’s just looking for pieces of scrap metal for Sonic’s sculpture, but instead he finds…

…wait for it…

………………

…………………………………………..the FREEDOM EMERALDS

!!
(okay what do you think he actually finds)

Antoine is racing Robotnik’s fastest Buzzbomber and is obviously losing. Luckily, Sonic reappears, ZZUNK-free, and creates a cloud of dust so intense that Buzzbomber actually runs backwards, costing him the race. I don’t know how Antoine wasn’t affected by this, especially given that the Buzzbomber was right at the finish line, but hey. Robotnik orders them to be robot-machine-makerized anyway, but Sonic destroys the machine and the bad guys flee in terror (including trollface bunny, who just kinda flops around awkwardly).

Story karma is actually in effect at the end here: Tails’s running ends up saving the day, and Antoine the blowhard ends up passed out from the race. This is another issue where somebody other than Sonic gets to do something (in this case Tails), but it was still basically just helping Sonic save the day. WHERE IS BUNNIE WE WANT BUNNIE

Chomp on This, Chump!
Another unlisted story. Sounds like the usual suspects from the first story though.

Boomer is excited! Why is Boomer excited? Because:

  1. He found an ad for a nifty ant farm in a magazine
  2. He doesn’t have to eat Sally’s inedible pancake batter, which could probably break somebody’s skull

Nobody else seems to care about this ant farm, but Boomer is undeterred, and he’ll spend whatever the Mobian equivalent of money is (I still don’t think we know) ordering one. Sonic makes a crack about how boring it is, and Boomer just responds with “Very funny, Sonic! I’m going to mail my order form right away!” with this goofy smile on his face. Haters gonna hate; Boomers gonna boom.

I guess he uses Knothole as a shipping address. This would be bad enough on its own, but guess who’s actually sending the ant farm out? That’s right – it’s all a scam by Robotnik! This is at least the third or fourth time he’s learned about Knothole in nine issues. It’s right there on the envelope. ajfjkpjdslkslksfdlnjsljm

In lighter news, Robotnik makes the Swatbot holding the package wear a mailman’s cap. Such attention to detail is truly breathtaking.

Back at the secret entrance to Knothole Village (which is even labeled as such by a text box… they’re just rubbing it in our faces now, aren’t they), Boomer goes to open his ant farm, but surprise! It’s a termite. Specifically, a “Termite-Nator,” which eats anything made of wood or paper, and the more it eats, the bigger it grows. This has bad implications for the Freedom Fighters’ hiding place of the Great Forest. Now Robotnik’s sinister plan is revealed! Surely he doesn’t just have the location already or anything.

The Termite-Nator eats their entire collection of furniture (ouch) and books (not MODERN PRINCESS MAGAZINE?!?) but Sally can’t bear to part with her favorite cookbook. Sonic then gets inspired: he recreates her awful pancake batter and uses it to weld the Termite-Nator’s jaws shut. Boomer then looks at the sticker on its back that says “Made in Robotropolis.” Is Robotnik even trying? At any rate, the robot gets shipped back to the city, reprogrammed to eat metal instead. Hilarity ensues. Or something.

There’s actually some funny filler here:

This time it wasn't Sally's cooking! Sonic's just an idiot.

Sonic-Grams has two pages! Highlights include:

  • New editors Victor Gorelick and Paul Castiglia trying really, really hard (“Remember, always BRAKE for BLUE Hedgehogs” what)
  • The matter of Sonic’s max speed is decided once and for all: “In the time it takes the read this, Sonic can visit all the planets in the universe (even the ones we don’t know about yet) and still be home for dinner!” welp
  • Some kid makes his mom bring a comic he forgot to camp
  • Mario being compared to Robotnik in what I guess is an in-universe version of Godwin’s Law
  • Action figures and trading cards “on the way”… did we ever get these for Archie?

The best – the absolute best – has to be this letter, which I will type in full:

“Dear Crabmeat,
You’re my favorite Badnik. I think Dr. Robotnik should treat you better. Do you have a best friend? If you do, who is he? I’m 8 years old. How old are you? Does Robotnik make any girl crabs?

Zach Abram
St. Charles, MO.”

Writing in to villains isn’t too bad – Robotnik gets a few letters from time to time. It’s the ending of this letter that’s awkward. Zach Abram wants to ask a female version of Crabmeat on a date. He’s a burgeoning robot furry. It’s kind of awkwardly adorable.

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