Placing the title page and the credits on the LAST page of this installment may be only one of a number of tricks being perpetrated on the reader. I'm going to try ignoring all but the most glaring ones; if I wanted to do something cerebral I'd play chess!
Splash page: decent but again with the tricky wording by Ken at the end, juxtaposing "fallen" with "survive" as if to imply "falling=not surviving." Not even the first real page and already I get the feeling somebody's screwing with my head!
OK, Sonic and Sally manage to scale Robotnik's HQ while under surveillance from the Wolf Pack. Lupe' (VERY well drawn by Mawhinney, as is just about everyone he's ever drawn...OK, except Mobie!) does the verbal equivalent of hitting Drago on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper for suggesting that the Pack should be soloing this mission. Drago sends a signal to the Knothole crew which is aided by...Dr. Quack? He himself wonders why he was drafted: "I'm a doctor, not a commando!" He may not have studied medicine under Dr. McCoy but they must have had the same acting coach.
Cue the Princess's flashback, this time in shades of blue rather than sepia. After a quick one-panel reminder of the campout in #46 with NO elaboration at all as to the flinging of charges and countercharges, and an editorial box by J. Freddy which is no help at all, we jump to a scene which MAYBE will be covered in "Battle Royal." Or maybe not; J. Fred doesn't even contribute a box for this sequence, and it needs one badly. A definitely underutilized Rosie (a rather welcome presence, actually) summons Sally into another room where...
OK, this is where I had some SERIOUS problems with the story. If it was just a matter of continuity and the lag in releasing "Battle Royal", fine. But the next two pages of business between Sally and the King -- who is suddenly restored to normal -- are wrong from beginning to end. Sally observes that nobody had informed her of her father's recovery; you ain't alone, Sal! So what happens during this major moment when I'd expect at least a couple panels of father-daughter bonding in a tearful reunion, much as was done in both "Blast To The Past", Part 1 and "The Void"? The King launches into this weird tirade about how "we may have a traitor in our midst...Sonic the Hedgehog!", complete with banging on tables. Yes, he's talking about the same Sonic whom he talked with in the Zone/Void/Whatever during "The Dream Zone", the same Sonic who pulled the King's royal caboose out of said Zone in "And One Shall Save Him," the same Sonic who did the exact same thing in "The Void," the same Sonic who's been knocking himself out trying to collect Chaos Emeralds, power rings, magic rings, piston rings, WHATEVER so Sally won't have a father who'd end up looking like the daily special at a New Age crystal shop...you get the idea. The alleged King's performance leaves Sally in tears as she runs from the room. She, along with those readers who have been hanging in there all along, know better. The whole sequence can be summed up by a line from Buddy Love in the original Jerry Lewis "Nutty Professor": "Mood is wrong, mood is WRONG!"
Let's get back to the mission, shall we? For some reason, Sonic starts heading down an air vent while Sally lowers herself down the building on a rope. Even THIS looks too weird; you'd think that Mobians would have figured out how to rappel. Then again, since these ARE furries and rappelling works better when you're wearing pants, maybe not. Anyway, Sal is moving down the building in plain sight of Robotnik, who pays her the gratuitous(?) compliment of calling her "the apple of her father's eye", an eye which I'd increasingly like to blacken at this point. So Robotnik deploys several...I guess you'd call them cannons of some sort...which then begin shooting wildly, missing both Sally and her ropes despite the fact that they're firing from what can only be point-blank range. Antoine displays his new-found executive skills by observing: "She is in grave danger!", which is not only painfully obvious but sounds like another red herring. Or am I getting paranoid?
Rotor chooses this moment to "field test" that BFG he showed off at the beginning of "Black and Blue and Red All Over" (Sonic #44), mindless of the possibility that the schrapnel from the exploding cannons just might not be the best thing for Sally's health, either. Not to mention what would happen if his aim was off and Sally took a direct hit.
OK, time for things to go very sour very fast. The Knothole group notices Sonic...or a reasonable facsimile...on the balcony where Sally had secured the rope. They then see this figure cut the rope and it takes all five panels on page 9 for Sally, her terminal velocity having been slowed by an awning, to hit the ground. This may have been as much to avoid offending the delicate sensibilities of the Sega watchdogs as to prolong Sally's agony.
Bunnie begins to step in to evac Sally, which gives Robotnik another opportunity to display poor marksmanship until the Wolf Pack start laying down fire themselves. Bunnie reaches Sally first, so now is a good time to CUT AWAY from this development to...
Robotnik's control room, where Sonic arrives and confronts the big guy. Snively refers to Sonic as "reality challenged", which describes someone who thinks sales of Sonic Comics will continue rising no matter what. While Sonic is kept preoccupied avoiding blaster fire, Robotnik and Snively make a break for it. Sonic, meanwhile, manages to use the old mirror trick to take the lasers out of commission, then asks himself the question the readers were asking themselves two pages back: What about Sally? As for Robotnik, he figures now is as good a time as any to do the old Destroy-The-Headquarters bit to make sure Sonic is toast.
Speaking of toast, Ken perpetrates an obscure, unforgivable pun on page 14. Bunnie is carrying Sally in her arms, saying: "We're SHOAH not leaving without her!"(emphasis mine). This isn't just another attempt as a Southern accent. It so happens that "shoah" is the Hebrew word for a sacrificial offering, and Jews observe "Yom ha Shoah" in memory of those who died during the Holocaust...
Excuse me...I'm losing it....
I lost it. I swear to God, between seeing the picture of Sally stretched out in the center panel of page 14 and typing the word "Holocaust" I lost it. If Ken Penders didn't know the significance of the word "shoah" it was a powerful coincidence. If he DID know, it was just plain sick.
I'm sorry, I can't go on with this review. I scanned the issue, I know generally what's coming, you probably do as well but I'm not going any further. Not now. Maybe I'll finish summarizing #47 in conjunction with #48. Accent on "maybe."