Ivo Robotnik here. Well, the fool who usually writes these reviews is off somewhere, probably still maundering over Princess Sally's demise or entering some poem or other into that "Cybershrine" he set up in her memory. Allow me to contribute something of my own. I call it "Ode to a Princess". Ahem:
Sally was here but now she's gone;
Her furry friends must carry on.
I knew the Acorn brat quite well
And thanks to Archie she's rotting in...
"Excuse me, Dr. Robotnik."
SNIVELY! You interrupted me just as I was about to climax my declamation!
"Terribly sorry, Sir, but you might want to get on with the review before someone detects our presence."
I might ALSO want to grind you into powder! Keep THAT in mind, Snively!
Now let me see, where was I? Oh, never mind, let's recap that delightful story in #47. Sonic escaped the destruction of my headquarters, as I had anticipated....
"YOU had anticipated? It was I who suggested...."
You were saying something, Snively?
"Nothing at all, Sir. (You bloated sack of...)"
Anyway, he arrives back at Knothole to discover that not only is the love of his life dead, but that he's charged with her deliberate murder! Her attempted murder would have worked just as well for my purposes, but the Princess's demise was icing on the cake. I don't need to rehash everything else about the story so let's get on with the present story, shall we?
Let's see: we start with what is appropriately called (in the Princess's case) a "splash page" with just enough words on it to obscure the sight of that troublesome rodent. From there, we watch as he's being taken aboard a plane to what he thinks will be a jail sentence. He should be so lucky. Page 2...just some inconsequential dialogue by that pack of furry adolescents who thought they could possibly do me any harm.
"I wouldn't be quite so sure, Sir."
What did you mean by that?
"Well, Sir, rumors are beginning to circulate on the Net that the Princess may not be dead after all."
You've been watching too many episodes of "The X-Files", Snively. They speak of her death three times on pages 1 and 2 ALONE, and they actually use the WORD! That's more than that bit player, Julayla, got in "In The Still Of The Night" (#18). AND there's that art on the aforementioned splash page! Penders can't have it both ways. He's written himself into a corner from which there's no escape without leaving his credibility as a writer in shreds. So I wouldn't pay any attention to the ambiguities. Not yet, anyway.
"That's not the worst of it, though. Rumor also has it that you and Sonic are to fight it out in #50 and..."
"And you're supposed to lose, Sir."
"As in, get killed, Sir."
What do you think I look like, a ground squirrel? Use that lightbulb-shaped head of yours, dear boy. The Princess is gone, but Robotnik will endure and conquer!
"How can you be so sure, Sir?"
Logic, for one thing. If indeed the fix is in and that Acorn whelp manages to come back to life, what's to stop the same thing from happening to ME? Her resurrection can only be justified because her death would violate some rule or standard of the comic book industry, a standard which applies just as much to ME as it does to her. Besides, I have something the Princess never had....
No, friends in high places.
"In the government?"
Yes, but also where it REALLY counts: in the boardroom of Sega! [A two-note musical phrase sounds; Robotnik and Snively genuflect toward Japan]. Remember, I've been through this before.
"Yes, I remember! When you were ... uh ... 'inconvenienced' in 'The Three Phases of E.V.E.' (#22), the people at Sega were MOST upset!"
I believe Mr. Penders said that they "just about had a cow" until he agreed to bring me back to life in "The Return" in the very next issue. THERE was a two-issue story arc that most people seem to have forgotten! But not me, Snively. I have logic and precedent on my side; all the Princess has on HER side are broken ribs and internal organs that have been turned to jelly by the force of impact! No, Snively, my position is secure for life...which is more than that Acorn adolescent can say!
("Your self-confidence will be your downfall, you rotund...")
I HEARD THAT!! Still, I'd better check the contents of my Survival Kit just to be on the safe side. Let me see: a copy of my Archie contract; a copy of my Sega contract; a copy of my DiC contract...hmm, better hang onto that just to be on the safe side...my paid-up AFTRA membership, my...SNIVELY! Where's Johnny Cochran's phone number?
"Programmed into your speed dial, Sir."
Excellent. And my portfolio of photographs of the executives at...
"Oh dear, one of them feel out. Permit me to...GOOD HEAVENS! WHAT'S HE DOING WITH THAT GOAT!?"
GIVE ME THAT!!! Do you know what this represents?
And don't you forget it! Now, where were we?
"Page 3, Sir."
Ah, yes. The REAL fun begins on page 4 when my SWATbots bring down the plane.
"Without killing the passengers, sir."
Yes, unfortunately. It's SO hard to build good help these days. But what did you think of page 5?
It went right by you, didn't it?
"I don't follow, Sir."
Of course not. That's the genius of it: the subtlety with which I destroy the hedgehog inch by inch, thanks to that cat's paw Penders. Look at the words he used: "Not one single joke or wisecrack escapes his lips...for the first time in his life Sonic is devoid of humor..." You know what Sonic is without humor?
He's no longer Sonic! I'm depersonalizing him step by step, gradually destroying his personality. And when I'm finished with him and he has no personality to speak of, nothing even vaguely resembling an emotional life, it's only a small step to simply roboticizing the body because the soul will be gone.
"Extremely diabolical, Sir."
I thought so. Let's just jump to the bottom of page 9. Another masterstroke, thanks to my connections at Sega and the pressure they put on Archie Comics. Any of those fanfic scribblers on the Net would have had Sonic "feel[ing] the true impact of Sally's passing" by showing the hedgehog weeping and mourning and carrying on. Right?
"It would be the thing to do, I would think."
So what does the hedgehog do? He passes out and goes to sleep. Her death doesn't even trouble his dreams on page 13; he's dreaming about his dog! It's all yet another step in my plan: leave the little rugrats who buy this rag with the unspoken impression that Sonic in his heart of hearts never really cared for the Princess at all!
"Excellent strategy, Sir."
Let's see...Oh, let's just skip to page 17 and get to the good part. After some gratuitous demeaning of the so-called "freedom fighters", the King introduces his perfect candidate for the reinstated position of Warlord...
"Do I have to guess?"
Any more backtalk from you, Snively, and you'll get...the "Heaven's Gate" treatment.
"You mean that suicidal computer cult?"
No, Snively, something much worse. Look at the label on this videocassette.
"No! Not that! Not the motion picture 'Heaven's Gate' written and directed by Michael Cimino!"
And this is a bootleg copy of the director's cut! Five hours and twenty-five minutes of what even the film's producer called "intolerable, unbearable, unwatchable, staggering self-indulgence"! And after I've made you sit through it, you'll have to watch it again. And again! AND AGAIN!!
"Stop!! Stop!! That's too horrible, even for YOU! Spare me, Sir!
I promise I won't be disloyal to you again!!"
That's better. Now, let's just bask at the magnificence of my entrance. I'm able to easily dispatch that low-tech pea shooter they tried to use against me. Exactly how will probably be better explained in "Battle Royal", which is why I insisted that its distribution be held up--no sense giving the game away too soon. Unfortunately, they cut away from me just when I start showing those little throw rugs who's the REAL power of this Brave New World they've been talking about. I could contemplate that sequence for hours.
"We may not have that much time, Sir."
I thought I told you to get me unlimited usage on AOL! Well, let's just take one last look at my handiwork on page 20.
"You're not on page 20."
No, but my influence operating through my minions at Sega is! Once again I was able to undercut Mr. Penders' best efforts, and the hedgehog is prevented from demonstrating any recognizable, credible emotion connected with Princess Sally's death. In fact, if you'll look closely, the one with the tear in his eye is that paramilitary polecat, St. John! Honestly, though, he's SUCH an amateur in the art of verbal sparring! If I'D have been there, I could have reduced the hedgehog to psychic mush in three seconds.
Well, I'd have replied to the hedgehog's declaration of love (which Penders had to fight tooth and nail to even get into the script) by asking him: "And did you have the chance to tell her while she was still alive?"
"Devastating comeback, Sir!"
Remember, Snively: your enemy is dangerous when he loses control, but let him lose HOPE and he's like clay in your hands!
"Sir, we really have to post this and get going!"
Let me see: one last bald-faced bow to some motion picture, advertisements, letters, hype...nothing worth mentioning, really. Very well, post this and let's be off; I don't want to be late.
"Late for what?"
The story conference at Archie Comics. Now that Mobius is practically within my grasp, what's to keep me from extending my influence? Those worthless teenagers in Riverdale could also use some attitude adjustment. Besides, Betty and Veronica are more to my tastes than Sally ever was. Today Mobius---tomorrow, Mamaroneck!