Archives for posts with tag: boomers gonna boom

The Betty Butterfly Variety Hour

Before Metal Sonic came around (and around and around and around), Robotnik tried another robotic duplicate, one that pretty much nobody but (surprise, surprise) Mike Gallagher cared about. I hear there was a character with the same name in an episode of the slapstick cartoon, but he was rather different in design; given how badly Archie was kept out of the loop in these early years, it wouldn’t surprise me if this was a total coincidence. Ladies and gentlebots, let’s give it up for PSEUDO-SONIC (uhhh).

Featuring: "Sonic of Two Worlds!" A spectacular story that is sure to become a classic!

Pseudo-Sonic!
Writer: Mike Gallagher
Penciler: Dave Manak
Inker: Henry Scarpelli
Letterer: Bill Yoshida
Colorist: Barry Grossman

So Robotnik’s been doing his research. “I know everything about you!” he yells to the poster of Sonic, which has as its only visible categories “Name” (Sonic the Hedgehog – where’s the Maurice?) and “Location” (Great Forest; ace deduction on that one, Ivo). He’s used this massive amount of completely helpful information to build Pseudo-Sonic, who basically looks like a clunkier version of the later Sonic robots, with absolutely no streamlining. Obviously Robotnik isn’t concerned about aesthetics! Pseudo shows off that he can run as fast as Sonic (which he… does not actually do at any other point in this story) and that he has a bit of a “bug problem.” Hopefully the Terminate-Nator isn’t around.

Soon after, Sonic leaves the HIDDEN TREE STUMP TO THE HIDDEN AREA OF KNOTHOLE VILLAGE, which is being guarded by Antoine, who is standing directly over it. You’d think there would be more surreptitious ways of concealing an entrance to your hidden base than having the guard on duty stand on top of it. “Hey, what are you hiding over there?” “Zut alors! Eet is just your normal tree stump. I do ze standing here when I am thinking in my brains, non?” Honestly though by this point you could drive a Death Egg through the plot hole that is Knothole’s location, and we’re less than 15 issues in.

Anyway, Sonic’s even more of a jerk than usual to Antoine, and he speeds off without telling anyone where he’s headed – why, he’s off to pick flowers for Sally, of course! What a guy. Any princess would sure be lucky to have passive-aggressive romantic tension with a hedgehog like that. As Sonic chills in the random meadow (mercifully not called “Mobius Meadow”), who should show up but our dear old friend, one of the greatest characters of the entire comic’s run.

I’m talking, of course, about Tommy Turtle.

Er… wait, no, it’s this random thing.

Butterflies can't understand ground Mobian concepts like "hideously allergic to poison sumac" and "introduction sequences that aren't horribly awkward". WHAT!

Betty Butterfly acts all familiar with Sonic (and later in this issue, the rest of the team) despite never showing up before, never being formally introduced, and – rather humorously – never showing up again. Basically she’s a plot device to tell Sonic he just wandered into poison sumac and to tell the Freedom Fighters that Sonic just wandered into poison sumac. It’s wouldn’t surprise me if people seem to remember her more than Pseudo-Sonic just for the sheer comedic value.

So OUR DEAR OLD FRIEND BETTY BUTTERFLY chills out with Swollen Sonic (who looks like a pinata) as Pseudo-Sonic basically gets let into Knothole by Antoine because it’s almost time for curfew (“Gesundheit!”). What a clever plan. Hey, it’s more than Metal Sonic ever seems to accomplish!

Inside Knothole, Bunnie is locking up her hair salon for no reason, since apparently nobody else but the six Freedom Fighters live in Knothole. Boome-excuse me, ROTOR (the name badge he was wearing reminded me) says Antoine and Sonic are late, and as Sonic arrives Tails decides to audition for a Tex Avery cartoon.

That's Tails's face when he runs off a cliff, looks down, and waves goodbye to the camera.

He also prepares to defend himself with a broom, which is kind of cute and hilarious. Something I also noticed here: Sally kinda runs to Rotor’s side in defense. They’ve been portrayed in earlier issues as having a unique relationship: remember in the Original Mini-Series, when Sally did her dumb Royal Proclamation that involved going on a mission to sabotage the portable robot-robomaker-that-makes-robots-WHILE-U-WAIT? She explicitly lied about this to everyone… except Rotor. You could argue that she needed him to design the special shoes for the mission, but in these early issues I’ve seen the two of them interacting probably more than any other non-Sonic duo, even Sally and Antoine, which is actually kind of a plot point. I’m not saying there’s any romantic potential there necessarily, just that there seems to be a foundation of trust that the others don’t seem to have. Curious.

Anyway, Robotnik has Pseudo on a monitor, which… is somehow able to look at both Pseudo and the Freedom Fighters. Is this a weird camera thing? If Robotnik can just follow along with Pseudo’s movements, why does he need Pseudo to send him the coordinates? Nobody else seems to care, maybe because Antoine is too busy giving the funniest excuse for anything in the history of ever:

Rotor, being the most fourth-wall-aware of the bunch, only looks concerned over the potential for abusing the artist. Also, nice little touch with having Pseudo tap his foot like Sonic.

Pseudo prepares to send him the coordinates to Knothole (ugh) which he prepares to write down on a memo pad because apparently he’s not a technological genius or anything (???).

BUT WAIT

IT’S

TAILS??????

You thought Sonic was gonna save the day and end up tangling with his robotic doppelganger? Naw, this is Tails’s time to shine, and he singlehandedly manages to disable Pseudo with a technique Sonic taught him. Raise your hand if you thought it wouldn’t involve running in circles. (I hope none of you have your hands raised.)

MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE MEADOW, Sonic is crawling out of the sumac patch and it’s daytime again for some reason despite Antoine saying it was getting dark out because it was almost time for curfew (“Gesundheit!”). Robotnik, however, has “triangulated the approximate area of Pseudo-Sonic’s last call” and shows up, ready to dine on hedgehog soup. As Rotor makes the incredible observation that Pseudo was built by Robotnik (guess that’s why he gets scientist pay), Betty Butterfly just barges into Knothole and tells them Sonic is in great danger !!!!! You know what else is in danger, Betty? My willing suspension of disbelief that you somehow got into this supposedly secret base and… okay, forget it, I’m just gonna drive myself crazy. >_>

Robotnik shoots this burst of flame from his Egg Mobile that ends up hitting pretty much inches from Sonic’s feet… while Sonic is just sitting there. So Robotnik didn’t just attend an academy for inept dictators, he went to the Imperial Stormtrooper School of Marksmanship as well. Good to know. He’s about to finish Sonic off but then we actually get to see everyone’s favorite sassy, Southern, pissed-off rabbit in action! Bunnie blows up Robotnik’s ship with one blast from ARM CANNON FINGERS (nice modification), does this weird bunny hop thing, lifts him up and then flies with him back to Robotropolis, hurling him into a factory. There’s also some actual continuity (!) – Robotnik’s never met Bunnie before and he reacts accordingly… well, except for last issue, when she was in the abandoned concert hall with the rest of the team. But this is the first time he’s seen her up close. Guess he’s not used to anyone other than Sonic being a threat!

Now that Robotnik’s been routed, Bunnie (who looks like she’s come down with a bad case of the Off-Models) shoots something else from her ARM CANNON FINGERS – some sort of disgusting ointment for Sonic’s rash from her “Aunt Lulumae.” (Wonder if that’s Beauregard’s wife.) Rotor then gets snarky again and makes fun of Sonic (“Aw, nothin’ much happens without you around!”) and Sonic completely misses the joke. And they put Pseudo’s remains in a trash can outside the hidden tree stump as he begs readers to write in for another appearance. And I weep.

Honestly though? Not a bad story. It was nice seeing the other members of the crew do something – Tails and Bunnie actually got to save the day, early Rotor is always a treat, and Antoine had that great line. Dave Manak’s art was a little funky though – as I said earlier, Bunnie’s hair kept looking strange and it threw off her model, Sonic looked very chubby the entire time, and Robotnik’s teeth rivaled Julia Roberts’s.

As far as Pseudo-Sonic goes, there’s probably a reason we didn’t see him again until Mike Gallagher forced him back into the story, and that’s because he did absolutely nothing. Seriously – guy shows up, walks into Knothole, prepares to broadcast the coordinates, and then loses. That’s it! Universalamander did more. Termite-Nator did more. Hell, that giant Burrobot Sonic and Bunnie fought did more! Pseudo’s a neat piece of Archie Sonic history, but that’s pretty much where he belongs.

What’s the Point?
Writer: Angelo DeCesare
Penciler: Dave Manak
Inker: Henry Scarpelli
That’s it for the listed credits!

Okay so it’s Sally’s birthday, and Sonic doesn’t have a present for her! This is particularly funny because the story doesn’t ever say that Sonic doesn’t have a present for her, but he’s running around before the party picking flowers and doesn’t have anything else planned once they get ruined due to his EXTREME SPEED. It’s like they don’t want you to see how bad a friend Sonic is.

But the answer falls out of the sky! Literally. It’s a bird. A “Mobian needle bird… half bird, half porcupine!” I have no idea how that works. We’ll say XORDA GENE BOMB and be done with it. Sonic sees the little dude’s wing is injured, gets him some berries (“Just remember that the black one is my nose!”), names him Thorny, and decides to give him to Sally as a replacement present. “She’ll be so happy!”

Cut to the obligatory next-page gag where Sally is not happy, citing all the times Robotnik’s used pets to almost infiltrate Knothole. To make matters even worse, Thorny starts eating Sally’s needleberry cake! She probably got that recipe from Modern Princess Magazine, too. Rotor offers to bake “another cake” (SEE????) but Sally runs off to pick berries, which will help blow off some stream. She then gets caught by a giant hideous tree robot, which Robotnik just randomly planted (DOHOHO) there. God why is everyone in this comic such an idiot.

Sonic, having stashed Thorny away safely, hears the EEK (“That was Sally’s EEK!”) and speeds off to her rescue… but not before this:

It would be pretty 'tree'sonous to not find this funny.

And suddenly the entire story becomes worthwhile.

I’m not even gonna bother summarizing the rest of this in detail, since you can probably figure out what happens – Thorny comes back to save the day because his wing randomly healed due to UNEXPLAINED PLOT and Sally ends up accepting him as an honorary member of the team. I guess he colored in that page and mailed it to Archie! As you can probably guess, Thorny never shows up again, lounging around with Betty Butterfly in the pile of “characters even Ian Flynn won’t touch.” Then again, who knows with that guy. He could probably do an OAK-K job of it if he wanted.

Sonic-Grams has a funny moment: when someone asks where is Mobius is, the editorial staff responds with “Mobius is a planet at an unspecified point in space.” Translation WE HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA

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.