Comics, Humor

How Fleetway Played The Games, Part One: Of Flying Battleships and Space Eggs

It’s easy to forget with the ongoing popularity of the Archie Sonic comic that there was a second Sonic comic, by the (self-explanatory) name of Sonic the Comic. Published by Fleetway Editions in the UK between 1993 and 2002, it was officially Sega licensed and did comic stories about not just Sonic and pals (that as a whole tended to stick closer to game canon than Archie did), but also other Sega franchises like Ecco the Dolphin, Shinobi, and more. And naturally, like in the USA, there were a few game adaptions. However, unlike Archie, they tended to be spread over the course of several issues. Many fans still regard the Sonic 3 & Knuckles adaption one of the finest game adaptions that’s been done in printed media.

But that’s not what we’re looking at today – we’re looking at Sonic the Hedgehog 2. Early on in the comic’s history, in issue #6 (with #1 coming out in May 1993, Sonic 2 had already been out for a good 6 months, so the comic from the very start was set post Sonic 2), there was a single-issue loose adaption of the final 2 zones of the game – so, let’s dive in and take a look!

Our story starts with Sonic the Hedgehog sitting in front of a computer in a dimly-lit room of the former lab of Dr Kintobor, the man Dr Robotnik used to be before an accident involving a machine composed of rings, 6 Chaos Emeralds and a gone-off egg turned him into the fat maniac we all know. Quite what he’s looking for isn’t immediately apparent – not that it matters too much to Sonic, he’s too busy being a dick to Tails.

Wait, what?

Yes, this might come as somewhat of a shock to those only accustomed to the US comic, but Sonic in the StC canon is somewhat of an enormous prick to just about everyone, though as Tails spends most of his time around him he tends to be the most common punching bag. Still, it could be worse. Though he’s an egotistical dick, it’s not like he’s a psychopathic maniac who just wants everyone dead, or anything…

Anyway, back to the story. Telling Tails to button it, Sonic ignores his keyboard (with only one visible massive key on it) and just outright tells the computer (or rather, the Kintobor computer program) to put on screen the “something” that’s going on out there. Despite this incredibly vague instruction, the computer seems to know what Sonic’s on about and displays a wire-frame image of the Death Egg, only presumably because Sonic 3 had yet to come out and show us what it looks like, it’s a giant egg with a satellite dish on it. It seems that it hadn’t actually been destroyed at the end of Sonic 2, and it’s on a crash course for the middle of the Emerald Hill Zone (though it’s not obvious how Sonic’s figured this out, it isn’t on the screen. Maybe it’s written on Kintobor’s forehead, out of shot, or something?) Regardless, Sonic and Tails run out into an aircraft hangar where we see TWO Tornados sitting on the ground. Forcing Tails out of the way and chiding him for not moving fast enough, the fox apologises (you get the feeling it’s habitual, regardless of whether it’s warranted) as Sonic jumps onto the one with a jet booster underneath it (so between the start and end of Wing Fortress Zone Tails swapped planes instead of grafting a jet booster on it? I GUESS it would be faster).

Flying out of the bunker’s roof hatch, Sonic announces their destination – Wing Fortress Zone! Tails is puzzled by the change in where they’re going, but quickly gives up questioning Sonic (“Oh, what’s the use?”), and the battleship is soon in sight, looking almost as structurally unsound as it does in Sonic 2. Flying by the opening gantry (right at the other side of the zone. Why doesn’t Sonic just get Tails to fly to the OTHER end of the thing?), Sonic hops off the plane and onto the fortress. Tails says he’ll stick around in case assistance is required, but with a quick rhetorical question of “Since when did I need help?”, the hedgehog dashes off into the zone. Noting that what he needs should be around the zone somewhere, Sonic dodges Cluckers and drops down the hole leading to the Wing Fortress laser boss, talking to himself as he does so that the place appears abandoned. However he quickly realises that that doesn’t mean the place is defenceless, as he wanders into the boss arena and the light walls activate themselves, trapping him – though his first thought is that he’s glad Tails wasn’t there to see him walk into it – his ego remains intact, which is the important thing! We then get Tails’ voice coming from the ceiling – it appears he’s found somewhere to land the Tornado, and he asks if Sonic’s alright down below. Sonic, dodging spinning spiked platforms, promptly lies (our protagonist, ladies and gentlemen. Truly an ideal role model) and asks what the matter could possibly be, ordering Tails to get back to the Tornado. Tails is insistent, to Sonic’s annoyance.

Telling him again to bugger off back to the Tornado, Sonic jumps for the laser cannon and thwacks into it, causing the device to break and power down, giving Sonic just enough time to drop to the floor and casually kick away a piece of it before Tails finally arrives in the room. Sonic tells him that his concern is appreciated, but if he says things are okay, they’re okay, and asks him if he understands this. Tails says he does and apologises AGAIN, and they head off down a slide to the gantry on the far side of the zone from where they started. Sonic says that he supposes Tails can come along now (what was he up to this point? Just a taxi driver?), with a veiled threat that if he can’t keep up it’s entirely his own problem (our protagonist, ladies and gentlemen! “Sure, you can tag along, but mess up and you’re screwed!”), until they come across – a space ship!

It seems that the one Robotnik flew off to the Death Egg in at the end of Sonic 2 was one of, again, two vehicles; begging the question of why he built a second when there’s only one of him (I suppose the same logic for building two Egg Carriers, but this would be a hell of a lot cheaper, I guess. Mind you, the logic for the Egg Carrier 2 was stupid, anyway). Sonic mocks Tails for thinking they could have reached space in a bi-plane, though presumably his only actual issue with it is the power of the aircraft, considering breathing in space has never been an issue for this franchise. Boarding the ship and flying off above the clouds, the spaceship (which now bears more than a slight resemblance to an X-Wing from the Star Wars franchise – I realise the Death Egg is an obvious take on the Death Star, but what next? Porker Lewis in a knock-off Millennium Falcon? Kintobor getting a portable holo-projector that looks like R2D2? Remember that true fans know that Grimer shot first, kids) makes quick progress and arrives at the Death Egg, which Tails gazes at in awe – only to get insulted again by Sonic for stating the obvious.

The pair dock the ship and wander around the zone. Tails asks how Sonic intends to stop the space station crashing into the Emerald Hill Zone, to which the hedgehog replies he has no idea, but that something is bound to occur to him. Glad to know we’re in safe hands, then. However, Tails has no time to apologise again, as the pair run into Sonic’s robot duplicate!

Oh, if only you’d said strange instead of sad there, Sonic – a chorus of simultaneous Sonic OVA impressions from the internet have been denied! Still, it seems the ol’ robot duplicate has taken a battering from the last time Sonic passed through – and seems to have been at the robot chillidogs too, the thing is about twice the size it was last time! Sonic makes a few quips about how he thought he’d thrashed him the last time through, but decides that this time he’s going to do it properly – and kicks the robot’s fucking HEAD OFF.

That’s a bit hardcore for a kid’s comic isn’t it, even for a robot? Anyway, while daring “Ironsides” to get out of this second beating (and not even making any quips about it being a bad time to lose one’s head), Tails is being slightly more productive and looking out of the window towards space, and the fox realises that the station is beginning re-entry into the atmosphere of Mobius and about to turn Emerald Hill into a crater the size of Chicxulub. The scenery of the room suddenly changes, and we now find our heroes on a room that resembles the bridge of just about every scifi spaceship. As Sonic quickly taps buttons (suddenly he’s an astronaut, apparently), he informs Tails he’ll have to bring the station in manually, telling the fox to get to the escape pod (considering when he was telling Tails earlier about how Kintobor makes the computer easier to use, how does he expect to be able to pilot this moon-sized space station? But I digress). Tails protests that there’s only one escape pod, but Sonic’s hearing none of it, and yells at him to go – now! We then cut to the sea (presumably the one behind Emerald Hill) as the Death Egg smacks into the water, Tails looking on from an egg-shaped escape capsule descending slowly by a parachute, screaming Sonic’s name out (what, you’re Chris Thorndyke all of a sudden, Tails?). Tails muses that not even Sonic could escape a crash like that, and that he gave his life so the Emerald Hill folk might live. He even starts a eulogy on how he was the bravest hedgehog he ever met (well, at this point, how many others are there, Tails? We haven’t even met Knuckles yet!), and Sonic jumps in with how he’s also the coolest, fastest & bluest (how is your skin colour relevant as a notable trait, Sonic? Our protagonist, ladies and gentlemen: a racist!) – yes, Sonic, who has somehow got on top of the capsule. Tails is delighted – but Sonic takes the opportunity to have another jab at him regardless.

Finally, we watch the heroes continue to drop towards the ocean, and now it’s suddenly sunset – the Mobian sun must move pretty damn fast, it was broad daylight not 2 seconds ago! Sonic says that he supposes everyone will insist on fussing about him saving them – Tails says not if Sonic doesn’t want it, but don’t be silly Tails, Sonic needs more ego fuel!

And there we are, the first “game adaption” by Sonic the Comic, in quotes because really this one isn’t. Not that you can really blame them too much for it – Sonic 2 was months old at this point, Sonic 3 was still a good 6 months away, and the comic itself was only on its 6th issue. What’s in it is game accurate (the WFZ boss; space ship, albeit now X-Wing flavoured; the robot Sonic), and the Death Egg’s shape can be excused simply as it hadn’t been seen in-game at that point (it would turn up later, more accurately, in the S3&K arc). The story is harmless enough (though we are thrown into it somewhat – how exactly does Sonic know something’s up to go do further looking for it?), and not overtly cheesy.

Next time: Sonic CD! Better not irritate Sonic too much though, Amy:

Or heads will roll.

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23 Comments

  • Reply

    I like how stupid Metal Silver Sonic looks. XD

  • Reply

    Never did like Sonic the Comic.

    Why do British protagonists always have to be complete dicks and totally unlikeable?

  • Reply

    brings back memories 😀

  • Reply

    I like the more serious personality of Sonic in the Fleetway series, but jeez. Sometimes I just want to punch him in the gut and tell him to lose the rude attitude.

  • Reply

    Sonic the Dickhog. He will scold for the obviousness.

  • Reply

    Who was drawer for this story, because it seems to have some japanese influences?

    • Reply

      It looks like he just took artwork, traced over it, and bent it. I don’t remember seeing him doing any other stories.

    • Reply

      I’ve looked, but I can’t see an artist credit anywhere – your best bet would be to ask somewhere like STC-Online, the semi-official continuation: they can be reached at http://www.stconline.co.uk , Speedlines being their mailbag.

  • Reply

    Love how the spikes are only on Mecha Sonic’s head. Or should we call him Silver Sonic here? Either way, I look forward to this journey through the ages, Mr. Overlord.

    Also: howcum.

    • Reply

      Howcum nobody else pointed that out? Howcum?

  • Reply

    Wow.

    I didn’t expect someone to do this with Fleetway. But why not begin from the first comic?

    • Reply

      I think the point is to only talk about the specific game adaptations.

  • Reply

    I think Sonic was kind of supposed to be a jackass, he is the ‘anti-mario’ after all, and if Mario’s ‘Mr Nice Guy’, then Sonic’s ‘Mr bad boy’, or as Sega put it ‘the dude with tude.’

    • Reply

      It’s true that classic Sonic, at least in America, was meant to be an asshole, like you see in the old cartoons. But he was a likable asshole, the kind you would want to hang out with. Fleetway took it way too far.

      • Reply

        When I posted that I had never read any of the fleetway comic, but afterwards I read some on the official website, and to my surprise, yes, he’s pretty much continuosly ‘an asshole.’
        Now Personally I love how Sonic was portrayed in the OVA,he was a jerkass, but it wasn’t all the time; which is what I seem to be seeing in Sonic The Comic.

  • Reply

    I’m gonna do it anyway.

    STRRRRANGE, ISN’T IT?

    I feel better now.

  • Reply

    Sonic with attitude?!?! Blasphemy!!

    STC Ruled and it knew when to end, though i was kinda pissed that Knuckles story wasnt resolved. I only hope Tikal came back at some point as they would have made a cute couple. Tails as the Zone Runner was epic win, and the demise of Robotnik each time was kick ass. The travelling wagon was also a great idea. All in all, this is one of the finest stories of Sonic ever told. If only a cartoon version was made.

  • Reply

    Howcum I never knew about this comic before? HOWCUM?

  • Reply

    My god, he’s like a three-foot Charlie Sheen.

  • Reply

    I liked the Fleetway comics, but their Sonic was like “Douche-a-louche Supreme” on a constant basis. Tails shoulda sewed his ass for verbal abuse.

    • Reply

      You win 1 internet for introducing the phrase “Douche-a-louche Supreme”.

  • Reply

    Jeez, Sonic is really pushing it….

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