‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ #0 sets a fun, breezy bar for years to come

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Sonic the Hedgehog #0Sonic Cover #0
Written by Michael Gallagher
Penciller: Scott Shaw!
Inker: Jorge Pacheco
Letterer: Dan Nakrosis
Colorist: Barry Grossman
Editor: Daryl Edelman
Published by Archie Comics

Imagine a time, 1993. Super heroes ran the comics with their magnificent, pumped up anatomy, the SEGA genesis battled the NES with its “blast processing”, and Michael Gallagher was contacted by Daryl Edelman to write a sonic comic for Archie. As was described to him by Edelman, Sonic is a wisecracking blue hedgehog who battles Dr. Ivo Robotnik, which is evident on the cover of the premier Issue #0. This cover is of a lower quality compared to the art inside this issue, but has the charm of a brand new series. Robotnik’s eyes are white on the cover and the page 1 full-page art, introducing the cast. All of the character art definitely reminds readers of SEGA concept art for the Sonic the Hedgehog series. Every animal easily fits into the series, and the badniks leave a familiar taste in the brain. This issue is split into a two-part story that serves as an introduction called “Don’t Cry For Me, Mobius!” and another two-part story titled “Oh No—Robo! No Mo’ Mobo!”, acting as backstory for the comic series. This would later take the mold of two small, one part stories and one large, two-parter that a specific book would be marketed for.

“Don’t Cry For Me, Mobius!” opens with Robotnik chasing down Sonic with a hedgehog-stopping formula called “Mega-Muck”, which could very well be a reference to the Chemical Plant Zone’s Mega Mack from Sonic 2. All this time, our Blue Blur is taunting the egg-shaped man, like saying the famous line that all’s fair in love and war, and adds “and this ain’t love!” Ivo loses it while Sonic says he loves driving him insane. This immediately sets the tone for the comic as not very serious, as a Caterkiller badnik cuts him off, taking offense to being called a roadblock instead of its name. Robotnik takes a shot at Sonic and misses, splattering his badnik as the Blue Blur dodges. The art in this story is light and full of motion, using many lines to denote various speeds of motion and swinging, such as Sonic pulling an act straight out of Tarzan to enter Knothole village, as well as the famous circular running feet from the Sonic series. Knothole, which threatens to be flooded, horribly devoid of live and other people, which sets the overall tone of survival for all non-Robotnik characters. The leak is found above ground as a grove of willows weeping from pollution. The team of Sonic, Miles “Tails” Prower, Antoine D’Coolette, Rotor, and Princess Sally are all drawn as if they were playable in a Sonic game, as it closely resembles the Sonic 1 box art. Robotnik shows up as a large love letter to SEGA fans, his eggmobile being outfitted with the checker-board pattern wrecking ball. Sonic, of course, pulls out a ring to boost his power and saves the day. The visual of the dreaded wrecking ball crumpling Robotnik and his ride is wonderfully drawn, and the man-egg’s facial reaction to these events is priceless. The scene closes with the team planting some saplings, while Rotor buries Antoine, thinking that they were to bury saps instead. This leaves a brighter side of environmentalist mentality through planting new trees, which is rendered even more obvious that they need a place to live.

The second story, “Oh No—Robo! No Mo’ Mobo!” serves as a backstory to why Sonic is all wrapped up in Princess Sally’s fight against Robotnik. Simply enough, Sonic is testing out new shoes invented by his uncle Charles, and an order comes in for a stack of 200 chili dogs. The image that stands out the most is when Sonic stops, spraying dirt into his dog, Muttski. While Uncle Chuck is incredibly patient with his expression, Muttski is less enthusiastic, who turns away and appearing to growl. We learn that Charles is kidnapped and Sonic is against Robotnik purely for revenge at first. It adds character depth the Genesis games could not. In the Archie Sonic universe, a character is considered roboticized when their free will is totally removed, and is shown through a hypnotized swirl in the eyes accompanied with the bubbles around the eyes, much like if a far-too-bright flash camera went off.

Overall, an impressive first entry into the Sonic universe. Even though the art hasn’t aged well, it retains the quirky charm that the original SEGA Genesis games did. With the visuals straight off of the SEGA box art and a playful, tongue-in-cheek dialogue, Sonic #0 sets a fun, breezy bar for years to come.

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