Okay, Stop me if you’ve heard this before…
So Sonic and his friends go to the Shazamazon to help two tribes fight off the Dark-Egg Legion. However, these tribes known as the Wolf Pack and the Felidae (Lead by Grand Chief Lupe and Queen Hathor) have an uneasy truce with one another and are always at the brink of…oh you HAVE heard this story before! Like, two years ago, right? Well, get ready to hear it again as Sonic comics 237 and 238 give you that always puzzling question…”Was this trip REALLY necessary?”
Eggman takes his Death Egg to the Shazamazon to be re-fueled and repaired. He doesn’t want any interference from the local tribes so he has Mecha Sally kidnap the two leaders, Lupe and Hathor. With them locked up and missing, Eggman hopes that a war will break out between the two tribes while he refuels and leaves. But Sonic and Team Fighters are still hot on Eggman’s trail. They arrive and Lupe’s children explain the situation. So they take off for the Death Egg along with Wolf Pack twins Leeta and Lyko, but are intercepted by No-longer-Queen Hathor. She explains that while captured, she had a talk with Lupe. Both agreed to make a sacrifice. Hathor was slim enough to escape via air duct, but had to leave her cape behind in order to do so which means she is no longer Queen. Felidae culture is all clothing based. Clothes literally make the man or cat in this case. Meanwhile Lupe agrees to take care of the cape and stay behind possibly to be robotcized or legionized. Hathor without her cape is a lot more nice and humble than her usual mean demeanor.
Later, Lupe is put on the chopping block. The chopping will be her arms as Eggman is preparing to legionize her. Team Fighters along with the wolf twins and Hathor break into two teams and set out after Lupe. Lyco and Hathor find and rescue Lupe, but not before Lyco kicks Drago’s sorry butt in an awesome scene. Meanwhile, Tails put a tracking device on the Death Egg, but then has to confront Mecha Sally and the two have a quick sparring match. Hathor puts her cape back on and demands Sonic take her away from the battlefield. They both quickly return with an army of Wolfs and Felidae once again united to drive off Eggman and the Dark-Egg legion. Eggman leaves with the Death Egg. Lupe and Hathor shake hands, but with a very tight grip telling them not to tell anyone of the sacrifices they made today. Leeta and Lyco tell Lupe they’d love to help out even more so Lupe tells them of a secret mission.
The side stories include Mina Mongoose apologizing and making up to Nicole and the origins of Shard with Larry Linx dropping in on the new Secret Freedom Fighters.
First off, this is almost literally once comic issue split into two halves with a short story for the other half. That’s why I decided to combine the two issues into one review. Second, we’ve done this before! Two years ago in “Reigning Cats and Dogs” only that story had a lot more fun and levity behind it. This one is more of a tool to show how Leeta and Lyco end up becoming secret Freedom Fighters. Even then, not much back story is shown. These characters are still a bit unfamiliar with newer readers and a little bit of backstory showing how they came into the Wolf Pack way back in the day would have been nice.I will say, I like the idea of Hathor having a completely different attitude when not Queen and showing her softer side. It shows what she would be like if she wasn’t burdened with being the leader of the Felidae. Also, the scene of Tails not holding back on Mecha Sally was great. It shows that Sonic has been leading by example and as much as they love her, they know the only way to save her is to fight back no matter what until the right time comes along.
One of my major beefs is with the ending. Here, Hathor and Lupe were captured together and Lupe helped Hathor escape. It was kind of a bonding moment between the two. Plus, their armies once again proved they are much stronger together than separate. Yet once again, they shake hands with a death grip and stare each other down meaning the truce they have is still very uneasy. This would have been a perfect time to wrap up this sub-plot and have peace between the two tribes. Why? Because at the end of the day, nothing changed! They are still two tribes ready to pounce each other if something goes wrong. I find that boring. An uneasy peace however, that would be very interesting. There would be a lot of folks who would still hold grudges against each other. Maybe some would hate the change so much they’d join Drago and Razorclaw in the Dark-Egg Legion. Maybe a Felidae wanted to marry a wolf and there would be this huge riot over it. There’s some good storytelling there to eventually go back to.
Speaking of sub-plots wrapping up, it was nice to finally see Mina and Nicole make up. The explanation was handled well between the two as Mina explained she just wanted people to question their leaders, not necessarily drive Nicole out. Also, I’m glad we FINALLY got the Shard origin we should have had in Sonic Universe #41 (or at least have #41 reference Sonic #238). I hated having a brand new character show up with no introduction at all. This was a good introduction and really showed why he is the way he is. Which is basically a Metal Sonic with Sonic’s more 90’s attitude.
As far as the art goes, Steven “boobs on a seal” Butler is about on par. His Sonic and Amy models are good, but everyone else still has a human anatomy with the wolf girls all having slender waists and long legs. It really throws me off when we have human size Razorclaw fight 4-foot-and-stumpy Sonic. However, I totally understand why they used him as he was the artist the last time these characters were around and he’s kinda made them his own. The difference between Butler’s Leeta and Lyco and the way Yardley does them is staggering! In this case, I actually prefer Butlers take on the wolf twins. Epecially after the way Lyco kicked Drago’s butt.
Tracy Yardley does his normal admirable job in his story (as always), but in 238 we are introduced to the newest Archie artist, Evan Stanley. She does a good job of staying on model with the characters while providing her own unique take. I will say her Nicole seems slightly chubbier with a smaller chest and wider hips (not saying that’s a bad thing, mind you). Her take on Shard was very expressive and she does the best Harvey Who I’ve seen so far. As you’ll see in my video interview, I even defended her art to Paul who had her keep Chuck’s ears in one direction as they were “all over the place” before. But I saw her original art and found Chucks’ ears much more expressive. He was being annoyed by Shard giving him lip so having his ears flip back was more natural to me. Also, her version of Larry Linx is downright adorable. If you like Evan’s work and want to see more of it, she’ll be doing some stuff in Mega Man soon and she has her own Sonic fan comic called “Ghosts of the Future”.
These issues were okay, but had that “been there, done that” feeling to them. Also, what was going on in the back stories was much more important to the overall, continuing plot of the book than the main story itself. In the back stories, Mina and Nicole make up and the Secret Freedom Fighters are forming. But in the main story? Tails puts a tracking device on the biggest ship in the air and the wolf twins decide to leave the pack. Everything else was just the same old same old with no real change. Anyone reading the Sonic comics could miss these two issues without missing almost anything. Next time Sonic and friends return to the Shazamazon, I want something big to happen that will actually mean something to the two tribes.