…some Fleetway Christmas reviews.
For the uninitiated, Sonic the Comic was a comic book series published by Fleetway (and later Egmont Fleetway) which detailed the adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog in a form far different than its counterpart in America, Archie Comics. While the latter used the setting of the Saturday morning series, the U.K.-based comic opted instead for the “official” story the west used at the time – that Dr. Robotnik was once kind Dr. Ovi Kintobor, who turned into the evil doctor because of an accident involving the Chaos Emeralds and a hard boiled egg. Hey, it was the early 90’s…that was a perfectly normal comic, who were we to question? Sure, we had no idea the storyline in the Japanese games was completely different, but…
Using that origin as a jumping off point, the comic closely followed the game storyline as best it could, still having to come up with their own concepts and ideas in the space between releases. Quite a few Europeans have made the claim that Sonic the Comic was far superior to what Archie was producing at the same time, but that’s not the point of this post. The point is that they released Christmas-themed issues. Oh man, Sonic and Santa. Together again, for the first time!
From 1993 to 2000, each Christmastime would deliver an issue that had some sort of relation to the holiday, even if it was just Sonic shouting Merry Christmas after running through the Ice Cap Zone.
…wow, Amy sure looks like she’s about to take Sonic and…give him a Christmas present. Yep, that’s it.
The first of these stories was found in issue 16, “Happy Christmas, Doctor Robotnik!” by Mark Millar and Brian Williamson. Being so early in its run, the story isn’t exactly Pulitzer Prize-winning material. Then again, there’s only so much you can do in six pages. Basically, Dr. Robotnik (oh man, I feel so weird calling him that. But he never was Eggman in this comic!) shows up unexpectedly in the Green Hill Zone, dressed as Santa and giving away gifts to all the good little animals of the world. Sonic is at first suspicious, but some random non-Flicky assures Sonic that everything is on the up and up. And heck, who is Sonic to argue with a pink bird? He has a rave to attend to!
Of course, the bird is completely wrong (maybe that’s why Sonic wasn’t quick to help Amy out in Sonic Adventure) and the Robotnik parading about is actually a robot. With a bomb inside of it. And how does our hero find out about this dastardly plot? From a robot that is drunk on “High Octane Oil.” Fantastic.
Sonic saves the day, even setting aside time to insult Tails (because if there’s one thing Sonic is in the Fleetway series, it’s being an ass to everyone) and then wishes everyone a Merry Christmas. It’s inoffensive enough, but the art is more than sloppy (count how many times they reuse the exact same “Santa Robotnik” drawing) and the writing isn’t as charming as it should be. There’s no sign that the comic would be entering its most creative period, the Sonic CD-Sonic 3 & Knuckles adaptations and surrounding storylines. And…wait, why didn’t Robotnik just give away presents that were boobytraped in some way, instead of relying on the animals he continuously captures to love him for a day? But at least Eggman got a present from his robots…even if he did thank them by making them work a double shift on Christmas.
Issue 42 is where Amy and her…stare…come from. Which is about all the Christmas you get. So let’s move on to Issue 68. The main story of the issue, “The Return of Chaotix Part 2” has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, but is instead part of the high-quality creative period I already mentioned. So, if you want to read it, start at like…issue 25 instead. But the back-up tale, “Amy in Snow Business” is (as proudly stated on the front page) “A Complete Story!” Engaged in a snowball fight with Sonic and Knuckles (oh and Johnny Lightfoot), the group dashes off after Amy tries to catch Sonic under the mistletoe. Determined not to give up in annoying Sonic to the best of her ability, she accidentally awakens Snownik, who is basically a snow version of the Sandopolis Act 1 boss. Pretty sneaky, sis. Heck, Amy even defeats the creation in nearly the same way, except instead of quicksand it careens off the side of a mountain. Sure hope there wasn’t any animal hiding out in that one…
Overhearing the commotion, Sonic runs back to see if Amy needs any help, only to finally get attacked by her mistle-kiss. And Sonic…he don’t look too happy about it. Doesn’t help that Amy promises to do something even sneakier next year…oh god oh god I don’t even want to know.
Something like that hasn’t stopped me before, though! So let’s jump to issue 93, which has not one but two Christmas stories!…and Amy isn’t in either one. Oh.
To be fair, Amy doesn’t have the chance to act even creepier to Sonic as he is trapped in “The Special Zone,” a place outside of Mobius that holds the Chaos Emeralds, among other things. And yet even this place celebrates Christmas – and even has its own version of Santa Claus – as shown in the story “The Christmas Wish” by Lew Stringer and drawn by Roberto Corona. The body of the story focuses on Richie, one of the citizens of The Special Zone’s New Tek City, who awakens Christmas Day to find his gifts under the tree. Among them? A pint-sized costume based on his favorite “real life” superhero, Insect-Guy! Who happens to resemble Spider-Ham far more than his human counterpart. Conveniently, the small child also gets bitten, but instead of thinking “hey, maybe that’s just a regular bug” he immediately decides to jump out the window.
Thanks for telling me, Sonic the Comic. Charmy Bee luckily comes to rescue the puppy from certain death (oh I forgot to mention – The Chaotix are the protectors of The Special Zone) and proves to everyone why he is considered the most annoying Sonic character to this day. Jeeze Louise, he’s almost as bad as Megaman from the Captain N cartoons! “Insect-Pup” doesn’t stop there, wanting to prove himself as a true hero, daring to face off one-on-one against “The Blazer” (who has no relation Blaze the Cat or any community members). Sonic rushes in to save the day, rescuing Insect-Pup and spraying snow on the fire-based villain, whom the Chaotix finish off.
What’s a Christmas story without a moral, though? Sad that he was unable to do anything, Sonic comforts the boy with the knowledge that you don’t have to run around and beat up bad guys to be a hero. All you need to do is give presents to kids in hospitals. Well, maybe not that specific, but that’s the example Sonic shows the young dog-person. And filled with all that Christmas spirit, Sonic can’t help but give the kid a present himself – a can of flea spray.
I told you Sonic’s an ass in this comic.
“But wait!” you say. “Wasn’t there another Christmas story in this issue?” Why yes there was. But you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow for the STARTLING CONCLUSION of Sonic having Christmas in England.