Monday, 7 May 2012

Video game adaptations return in Sonic Super Special Magazine #3

Here at SEGA Memories we usually don't cover the Archie Sonic comics, except for special occasions and collection posts. Main reason is, I don't follow the series anymore and neither does Gagaman. However I did want to highlight the latest issue of the Sonic Super Special Magazine. Taking its title from the 48 page specials of the '90's, Sonic Super Special Magazines collect old materials and usually adds in a few new bits via short comics and articles. The magazines consist of harder covers, but inside is a softer newspaper-like paper. So despite the larger than comic book size, they are pretty light. The previous issue of the magazine collected the Archie adaptation of Sonic Adventure from the late '90's, which was quite a bizarre story arc at the time. Imagine the SatAM universe suddenly having to incorporate humans, Station Square, Chaos and massively contradictory Knuckles backstory. Suffice to say, it was a mess, but it was a fun mess. In this third issue, Archie decided to do a little marketing tie-in with the soon to be released Sonic 4 Episode 2. Since I'm a sucker for game adaptations and marketing tie-ins, I picked this issue up.

Sonic 4 Episode 2 actually takes up a small part of the magazine, despite the cover being all about the event. After a few unrelated articles and a letters page, the story kicks off with a brief synopsis of Sonic 4 Episode 1, and then the adaptation begins.

The story is simple, and takes place at the conclusion of Episode 1. It's actually a bridge between the two episodes. I'd imagine if Episode 2 was a physical release, this is the sort of thing we'd see printed in the manual and touted on the game box as being a "Special Sonic Comic Book Inside!". The artwork is excellent, makes me wish issues released in the early 2000's looked this good. Maybe I would have kept my subscription going.

It should be noted that the story takes place outside the Archie continuity, in a place I wish a main series of Sonic comics would go: the video game universe. Yeah, I admit to not being a huge fan of the current Archie comics. Princess Sally and the gang served their purpose in the early 90's, acting as much needed additional characters and as a way to promote the Saturday morning cartoon series. However, after twenty years of Sonic games, I think there are more than enough SEGA characters, locations and stories to fill a comic series. Thus why I like these sorts of adaptations, despite how short they are. Why not adapt a game when it releases, treat it as a really special event, and in between games tell original stories with the characters and locations provided by SEGA? Oh well, at least I have Archie's Mega Man series.

The story ends on a cliffhanger that will be resolved in Episode 2 and the Episode 1 lock-on Episode Metal. Considering that the game has already leaked on Steam, most Sonic fans know where this leads. I've been avoiding spoilers, despite how tempting the YouTube videos are.

Oh yeah! Before the Sonic 4 story, theres a fun little box highlighting the three non-Japanese Sonic cartoons. 

The issue continues with a reprint of Sonic the Hedgehog #25, which was the Sonic CD adaptation. Sonic Retro has a great article series that highlights this issue. I recall getting this issue when it released and being so excited. It had a silver cover (oooh!). Since I didn't own a SEGA CD at the time, this was the only way I could see the story. Unfortunately, Archie went with a loose adaptation, so Little Planet and time travel are absent. Also SatAM characters and Tails are brought into the story. Still, it's a nice bit of nostalgia and the artwork is beyond awesome. One of the best drawn issues of the series, in my opinion.

Hey look! A SEGA Saturn reference complete with a logo and Akira of Virtua Fighter. 

The issue concludes with three more recent issues of the comic. None are Metal Sonic stories, which I think would have made for a much better issue, but they're decent. A two-parter features Big the Cat, Sonic, Sally and a bunch of oddly out of place wolfs who look like furry fan art. The final story left me really confused, it definitely isn't a stand-alone story as it appears to be the finale of some story arc. 

Overall, SSSM #3 is worth picking up for those who remember the good ol' days of shameless marketing tie-ins. We can't find Sonic in our Happy Meals anymore, but at least we get the occasional comic adaptation.


The GagaMan(n) said...

Hang on, why are there Sega Saturn references in the Sonic CD adaptation? Did they really do that adaptation that much later on?

Barry the Nomad said...

Oh yeah, they were really late with their Sonic CD adaptation. Comic released June 1995, almost 2 years late.

Anonymous said...

i would love to have that magazine. by now im just collecting all sonic games.
Claire, from arg.