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‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ #269: A Real Slobber-Knocker

‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ #269:  A Real Slobber-Knocker

Sonic #269 Cover

Sonic the Hedgehog #269: Champions Part 2

Writer: Ian Flynn

Penciller: Diana Skelly

Inker: Terry Austin

Colorist: Gabriel Cassata

Archie Comics

Licensed by SEGA

 

Time for the main event! In this exciting issue of Sonic the Hedgehog, we finally get to the long awaited fights of the “Sonic the Fighters” story arc.

At the top of the comic, we are treated to a part two of the flashback concerning Sonic’s “rescuing” of Breezie. As it turns out, she had been giving his location away to Robotnik’s various badniks and now Silver Sonic, who is based on Sonic 2‘s Mecha Sonic. Breezie then reveals in a somewhat tragic twist that she was out on the streets without a job or a home. When we snap back to the current time, we see that its her flashback, and she knows that she can still manipulate the Blue Blur.

We then jump straight to the end of Sonic’s match, against a man who shares more that a passing similarity to the SEGA Saturn mascot, Segata Sanshiro. After his match, he has to run back to his hotel room in order to keep the public from seeing his monstrous lycanthropic transformation. With the other matches, the brawling characters are elaborated on much more than in the Fighters game. Amy beats the stuffing out of her opponent, showing that she truly shows no mercy with the task at hand. When Honey fights Tails, we see a more cunning side to her strategy. Even though she still insists that she is on the Freedom Fighters’ side, she is still in the competition to win, pulling out every stop to send Miles out of the ring. As Espio fights Bean, the green duck merely toys with the expert ninja. This serves as a reference to how difficult Bean was in the arcade game, often using confusing strategies to pull out a win. This time, though, he doesn’t use a single one of his trademark bombs. The Sonic comics have always made him out to be a goofball, not a serious threat. This does a wonderful job of dispelling that notion.

However, the truly great fight is between Knuckles and Bark. At first, Knuckles doesn’t even know he is entered into the Sonic #269 Full Pagetournament, but realizes that getting a Chaos Emerald from winning certainly helps him and the Freedom Fighters out, so he just rolls with it. Not only are two of the physically strongest characters on Mobius duking it out, but this is the best section for the art. Skelly draws Bark much taller and sharper than Knuckles, signifying the difference in raw power. Every punch carries significant weight in how the characters receive them, and up until the end of the struggle, the characters are visually worn down with well placed scrapes and bruises. Even Knuckles wall-splat is wonderfully drawn in the same cartoon-style as the game depicted it.

Cassata’s work with the colors is spot on as usual. Every character meshes perfectly with each scene, but is visually distinct. Nothing feels out of place. Flynn’s writing is much more focus with this issue, befitting something more of a tournament arc. It is action filled and a bit quipy, but it all drops during the slobber-knocker of a fight between Bark and Knuckles, appropriately showing the desperate struggle between the two powerhouses.

Now, it is time for the reference round. Of course, Segata Sanshiro is one of SEGA’s previous mascots. In the Saturn TV ads, he flips people with mad judo skills. Many of the fighting moves used by Honey, Tails, Espio, Knuckles, and Bark stem from the Sonic the Fighters arcade game, although Espio could never throw shuriken as projectiles. The most noticeable move is Honey’s distraction, which is the infamous “Look, Over There” grab from Amy’s move-set, which does the same thing as in the game. Espio’s “Espio Spin” also makes an appearance. It has the same properties as the Spin Dash, but it is a vertical spin. Finally, Bark only barely losing to Knuckles is a reference to how tough he was in-game. As the second opponent, he could eat through your health bar, and he was the only character who could move and guard simultaneously.

In this issue’s “Off Panel”, Scratch, Grounder, and Coconuts argue about minor characters from the past, as Breezie just looks on in confusion. The old design of Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik also makes an appearance. Is it foreshadowing anything? Probably not, considering that it is in a joke strip. Nevertheless, Sonic the Hedgehog #269 picks up the pace and is a Round 1 Knockout.

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