The usual SPOILERS alert.
Sonic #33 [April 1996]
Cover art by Spaziante has Sonic up to his ankles and elbows
in...well, it sure LOOKS biological!
"Let's Get Small" (in 3 parts)
Story: Mike Gallagher; Art: Dave Manak
WARNING: There's no way I can describe this story without
tipping Gallagher's hand and quoting some truly awful puns he's
worked into the script. To compensate, I will be rating some of
the puns in the course of this review, using the following
-- Way Past Bad
--- I Think I Shall Hurl
---- A Capital Offence on Mobius
So, on with the fun 'n' games. Sonic returns to Knothole
from a patrol to find the place almost deserted. It turns out
that everybody is laid up with a microbionic infection introduced
into their food supply by Robotnik. Since he apparently placed
the bugs in an order of take-out fries, everyone has contacted
"the French Frirus" (--). Rotor hangs in to give Sonic and the
reader the details before passing out. Using a gizmo left over
from "Lizard of Odd" [Sonic #3], Sonic gives himself the title
treatment and we're off on yet another "Fantastic Voyage"
Since Rotor has the decency to pass out with his mouth open,
Sonic travels down Rotor's gullet until he meets...ROTOR IN
DRAG!! Seriously, he comes across a mini-Rotor wearing a print
dress, gaudy earrings, and 10 pounds of cotton on its head. This
singular entity is called Rotor's "Auntie Bodies" (----). Auntie
tells Sonic she's given up fighting against the French Frirus.
Not willing to take this lying down, Sonic continues on only to
encounter exploding pustules which also speak with Antoine's
bogus accent: The French Foreign Lesions (----). Where's the
French Anti-Defamation League when you really need them? After
Sonic spins past them, he encounters the beret-wearing, equally-
accented "Paris-site" (---) who tries to cook Sonic using Fever
(an animate flame--you've seen 'em in cartoons a hundred times
before). Sonic learns that he can't punch out a flame, but just
as he's about to get hit by the Paris-site's "microbe-bar" (-),
Auntie Bodies intervenes. Emboldened by Sonic's "unselfish" [and
unspecified] act, she conks Paris-site while Sonic runs rings
around Fever and extinguishes him. So now it's time for the
story's DEUS EX MACHINA: Rotor's Auntie Bodies uses a single-
celled cellular phone (--) [she should have used a T-cellular
phone!] to contact the Auntie Bodies in the other freedom
fighters. Medicine by telepathy...or is that telephony, with a
capital PHONEY? Anyway, the sharp of eye can enjoy images of
Sally, Tails, Bunnie and Antoine dressed like little old ladies
beating up on Paris-sites. Where's the American Association of
Retired Persons when you really need them? With Rotor on the
road to recovery, Sonic leaves Rotor only to realize that he's
too small to reach the controls of the miniaturizer/enlarger. In
order to work the switch, Sonic jams himself up Rotor's nose (all
together now: EEEEEEEEW!!), causing him to sneeze Sonic onto the
controls. Gallagher may think this is a credible turn of the
story, but it's snot (sorry, but Gallagher didn't use that joke
in the story and it was just lying around).
The last time I was down with the flu I felt like I'd been
hit by a truck. Still, I also knew that in a week's time the flu
would just be a bad memory. Gallagher, however, tells us nothing
about the French Frirus. Is it potentially fatal or just a
disabling annoyance? There's no way that a comic book aimed at
kids would entertain notions of the former, and if the latter is
the case then all Sonic has to do is wait for everyone to
recover. In short, there's no story. The character of Auntie
Bodies doesn't seem to be of much help; if she/it had been
threatened by Paris-site in some heinous fashion, you'd have the
makings of a Mobian equivalent to a serious immunodeficiency
condition. Or would that be too close to reality? The biggest
joke in this story, unfortunately, is its display of medical
knowledge. Where's the Centers for Disease Control when you
really need them?
There is, however, one redeeming feature to the story which
deserves a place in the Sonic canon. No, it's not the sight of
Rotor in drag. At the very end, Sonic prepares a batch of "my
Auntie's secret recipe for chicken soup." Not only has such a
person as Sonic's aunt never been mentioned (does this mean Uncle
Chuck became a widower at some point?), but Rotor points out that
"it's made with chili dogs." So that answers one of the long-
simmering (--) debates on the list: those chili dogs Sonic's been
scarfing all this time have been made with chicken franks!
"The Big Picture"
Story: Mike Kanterovich and Ken Penders; Art: Penders
And now, an excerpt [sort of] from "Oliver Twist" by Charles
The evening arrived; the boys took their places. The
editor, in his checkered shirt, stationed himself at the desk;
his pauper assistants ranged themselves behind him; the story was
served out.... The story disappeared; the boys whispered each
other, and winked at Oliver; while his next neighbors nudged him.
Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with
misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the editor, the
two pages in hand, said: somewhat alarmed at his own temerity:
"Please, Sir, I want some more."
The editor was a dark, bearded man; but he turned very pale.
He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some
seconds, and then clung for support to the desk. The assistants
were paralyzed with wonder; the boys with fear.
"What!" said the editor at length, with a faint voice.
"Please, Sir," replied Oliver, "I want some more."
The editor aimed a blow at Oliver's head with a rolled-up
Archie Digest; pinioned him in his arms; and shrieked aloud for
The board were sitting in solemn conclave, when Mr. Fulop
rushed into the room in great excitement, and addressing he
gentleman in the high chair said,
"Mr. Goldwater, I beg your pardon, Sir! Oliver Twist has
asked for more!"
There was a general start. Horror was depicted on every
"For MORE!" said Mr. Goldwater. "Compose yourself, Fulop,
and answer me directly. Do I understand that he asked for more,
after having read the allotted two pages per month?"
"He did, Sir," replied Fulop.
"That boy will be hung...I know that boy will be hung."
Oh, and some hooded figure in a multi-screened control room
is watching Knuckles and the Chaotix. I wonder if anyone
remembers the plot, or even cares.
Story and Art: Ken Penders
The Mobian Freedom Fighters are engaged in a game of ice
hockey when Snively shows up with some SWATbots to take on
Sonic's team. Snively intends it to be a friendly game, and
insists he's there without Robotnik's knowledge. Somehow,
Robotnik discovers this and uses it to his advantage, issuing a
winner-take-all challenge. Sonic accepts and even though the
SWATbots play a very physical game against the Mobians, Sonic
makes a save at the net and scores the winning goal--so what else
This story came out of nowhere -- to say that Snively's out
of character is to have a firm grasp of the obvious. The reader
never knows how Robotnik is able to communicate with Sonic et
al., is there some kind of monitor at the rink (which had better
NOT be located in or near Knothole!), or what? Robotnik doesn't
even sic the SWATbots on the Mobians after the match -- he only
SAYS he's a sore loser but doesn't prove it by his actions. The
writing is flatter than a Zambonied ice rink; these Mighty Ducks
don't yield any mighty yucks.
No Sonic Grams: only covers for the Super Sonic v. Hyper
Knuckles special, and Sonic #34 (which hints that Uncle Chuck
might be suffering a relapse). Beyond that, there are 2.5 inches
of fine print stating circulation figures which still manages to
be more entertaining than the cartoons featuring Scott et al.
Ron Bauerle, after analyzing the figures, expressed worry that
something like 2/3 of the shipped comics are returned to the
publisher by comic shops and so forth, but Paul Castiglia got on
the list to assure us that Sonic's sales and circulation numbers
are just fine, thanks.
Not for long, if they keep on publishing magazines like #33.
There really wasn't much to redeem this one. Paul C. has
suggested that those of us on the list submit story ideas to
Scott Fulop for consideration, in the form of a single short
paragraph, three ideas per page. Yet I fear that if someone
were, for instance, to submit the plot of Michael Szal's fanfic
"Nano-Wars" it would, by the time Archie got through with it, end
up reading like "Let's Get Small." Still, in order to rescue the
mag from creeping lameness, maybe we'd better start coming up
with story ideas for them to work with. Can't be too hard; look
at what got into this issue: knockoffs based (however loosely) on
two movies: "Fantastic Voyage" and "The Mighty Ducks." Consult
Ratman's ftp site for Paul C.'s memo on submissions.
In keeping with the rather psychedelic cover art, attention
should also be paid to the 1 page ad for the Sonic-Knuckles
special toward the back. In the ad, a blue Sonic becomes a
yellow Super Sonic, and a red Knuckles becomes a magenta Hyper
Knuckles. Their dance-like poses remind me of those colorful
dancing bears that are a part of Grateful Dead iconography.
Actually, their colors also remind me of the uniforms worn by the
members of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. We're sorry,
but it's time to go.
Received on Fri Feb 02 1996 - 13:32:04 PST
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