I don’t care what you do Ian. You can never make me believe Geoffrey St. John, a man (skunk)very loyal to the kingdom could possibly be a Ixis Wizard AND a traitor to the crown! It’s impossible for you t-holy crap he did it! Read on to see how and find out Who is conspiring against the new king. (Hint: I just told you.)
We start off the story where “Babylon Rising” ended. Sonic and Tails are looking over the wrecked Babylon Garden and Battle Bird Armada ship. Sonic notes that they look to be evecuating the crash victims and leaving. Just then, two Armada soldiers show up to attack Sonic and Tails. “I’ll take the one with the beak, you take the one with the feathers.” Sonic says as the two make short work of the feathered foot soldiers. They high-tail it back to New Mobotropolis which has rather large sinkhole now thanks to the Armada’s previous attack. As the trial begins, a bored king Naugus looms over the proceedings while rarely used characters Hip and Hop (from Sonic Spinball) act as the judges in the case. Antione who’s acting as prosecutor, grills Geoffrey on his acts of treason. It’s here that we finally learn of Geoffrey’s secret past and how he came to know Ixis Naugus.
It starts all the way back to Geoffrey’s childhood. It’s here that we learn why he became so dedicated to Naugus’s Cause. He lost his father to overlanders during the great war and found a magic artifact in his father’s belongings. Naugus, trapped in the zone of silence communicates with young Geoffrey. He says that the new overlander (the human you know as Robotnik) can’t be trusted and that the king is a fool. He says to follow his instructions and together, they can save the kingdom from the overlanders. A young Geoffrey with much hate in his heart for the overlanders, accepts this mission from Naugus. After the take over of the kingdom by Robotnik, Geoffrey left to train. He studied his father’s combat manuals during the day and practiced Ixis magic by night. When he learned that King Max has sworn fealty to Naugus, he started the rebel underground to help take back the kingdom in order to make way for Naugus as the new king. But of course, if you’ve read the series, you know what’s happened to Naugus over the years to keep him from that goal.
Antoine accuses Geoffrey of having Hershey in on his years of deception. This causes Geoffrey to freak out and lunge at Antoine. He then tells of the fate of Hershey. She was working undercover in Soumerca while investigating a local D.E.L. chapter. She was presumed killed in action. Geoffrey went looking for her but could find no trace. I guess this is good news for Hershey fans as it means she may still be alive. When he thought Hershey was lost to him, he went back to his original mission of getting Naugus on the throne. That’s when he back stabs Sonic…quite literally.
After his admission, judgement is passed on Geoffrey. Since he had stolen documents and was plotting against the former king during his time of rule, he has been found guilty of treason. However, Naugus makes use of his new role as king and under a constitutional loophole, immediately pardons Geoffrey making this whole ordeal for nothing. Meanwhile, Eggman has just finished modifying Metal Sally with a new look and a power ring. He says that the modifications will keep her from having free will as he gets ready to launch another attack on Sonic. Next month, it’s Sonic vs. Metal Sally!
In the short story “From the Shadows” former king Elias pleads with his mother and father to leave the city while Naugus is in charge. Max however, refuses to leave. Claiming the kingdom belongs to the acorns. Elias decides that he has to do something and comes to the house of Harvey Who, a former director of the secret service. Elias pleads with him to help his cause, but Who refuses mainly due to King Max’s past mistakes which he worries have passed onto his son. “I told him I didn’t trust Kodos, but he made him warlord. I told him to kick out Naugus, but he booted Morgan instead! I told him not to trust that overlander, and he let Robotnik take it all over! I had to watch his back because he never listened to me!!” He goes to slam the door on Elias, but Elias jams his foot in. He pleads with Harvey that Naugus will not just be happy with the crown. Who agrees and they start their plans for a new team that will work underground. A team of Secret Freedom Fighters!
One of the problems I had with the book last year was Geoffrey’s sudden change. I mean, to go from being a loyal servant of King Max to an all out betrayer who was also an Ixis wizard seemed out of nowhere and was very hard for me to believe. In order to even get me to think any of this was plausible would take a great backstory that managed to retcon events while not missing any little detail. To my surprise, Ian handled it beautifully. It was believable, it was done with great care and it even made me feel great sympathy for one of the biggest jerks in the Sonic comics. I was even a bit peeved at Sonic for throwing in the “In your face, jerk!” line so shortly after he poured his heart out about his supposedly dead wife. But hey, Sonic is not well known for tact. The ending came exactly as I thought it would with Naugus pulling a Gerald Ford and immediately giving a pardon to his co-conspirator. In the words of Mel Blanc, “It’s good to be da king!”
The backstory was great too. We finally see Elias grow a pair and do something about the situation he’s in now. Plus, for a character in his first debut outside of an off-panel from years and years ago, Ian did and incredible job with Harvey Who. In just a few short panels he comes off as knowledgeable, intimidating and wise. He’s already one of my new fave characters. I can’t wait to see what he and Elias do with the new Secret Freedom Fighters.
If I had any nitpicks, it would be that we STILL never got any ceremony or trail for the removal of Elias as king. It was simply Geoffrey snatching the crown away and that’s that. Also, while Steven Butler’s art has improved with no awkward human anatomy, what’s with the stubble? I know he’s trying to show Geoffrey as tired, but it’s like having facial hair growing out of facial hair and that’s just weird.
If you’re new to the Sonic comics, this is not a great jumping on issue as it deals with a ton of backstory new readers would be unfamiliar with. However, as an issue for longtime fans or even fans of Geoffrey St. John, this is an absolute must-read. It’s one of the best retcons I’ve ever read. Don’t miss it.