Monthly Archives: April 2018

Cinema Dispatch: Avengers: Infinity War

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Avengers: Infinity War and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo

You know, for a while there I COMPLETELY forgot that this was supposed to be a two parter, and I don’t think I’m ENTIRELY at fault on that because PART ONE is never mentioned anywhere on the poster, on IMDb, not even on the Wikipedia page!  I don’t know, that just seems kind of curious considering they ARE for sure planning on doing another one of these (unlike what happened with Justice League PART 2), and yet they seem to want you to forget that little fact.  Either way, whether they put Part One, Part Three, or Part Sixty-Five on the poster, people will still come out to see it in droves because the brand is just THAT powerful at this point.  However, as was once said by a dude who presumably lived in this universe and died a horrible death, WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY, and with so many characters to juggle at once it is surely a responsibility not to be taken lightly.  Can Marvel pull it off once again like they’ve done pretty much every time they’ve stepped up to the plate, or is the build up to Thanos and the Infinity Stones a challenge even they aren’t truly prepared to face?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is, well basically everything we knew it was going to be leading up to it.  Thanos (Josh Brolin) is a purple alien who wants to destroy at least half of all life in the universe, and he’s finally making his big move to collect the Infinity Stones which is the only power source in existence strong enough to complete such a heinous act, and now The Avengers (as well as Avenger adjacent characters) are finally aware of what he’s up to and try to stop him from obtaining further gems.  Primarily, we’ve got three groups working together to try and stop him; The Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Pom Kiementieff) as well as Thor (Chris Hemsworth) in space who are trying to stop him from getting that one Stone from Thor The Dark World, Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr), Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) are stuck on a spaceship heading to his home world after attempt by one of Thanos’s minions to steal the Time Stone from the Sorcerer Supreme, and basically everyone else back on Earth which includes Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), The Falcon (Anthony Mackie), War Machine (Don Cheadle) The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) trying to find a way to protect The Infinity Stone lodged in The Vision’s head (Paul Bettany) which involves a trip to Wakanda and everyone we remember from that movie a few months ago (Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright) minus Nakia who I’m guessing was off fighting crime elsewhere.  Oh, and as much as I KNOW it will break your heart… Hawkeye is not in this.  I’m sure Jeremy Renner will find a way to cope.  ANYWAY, that’s about it.  We’ve got three stories running parallel to each other with a giant purple jerk wad right in the center of it; tearing through anyone foolish enough to get in his way!  Can The Avengers (and its loose affiliates) manage to put up enough of a resistance to stop Thanos from causing mass genocide across the MCU?  What is he truly after, and will his backstory reveal any possible weaknesses that can be used to stop the evil tyrant once and for all?  Thanos may be strong, but can he defeat the one entity stronger than himself?  Disney’s reliance on BRAND NAME RECOGNITION!?

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“All your sequels have been canceled.  I made sure to it myself.”     “The HELL did he just say!?”

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Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #4

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Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America

We’re back with another issue of Sonic Empire, though hopefully THIS comic book shakeup won’t try throwing Nazis in to seem edgy.  It’s also THE LAST issue they’ll be putting out on a weekly basis as every issue going forward will now be released monthly, so this is the last chance they have to hook new readers in (and old readers of the Archie books) before things go back to a more realistic schedule.  Not only that, but this is also the issue where we get introduced to an original character for this series, so on top of keeping Sonic the Hedgehog relevant in the world of comics, they also have to sell us on something new for the Sonic franchise, and we all know how often THAT works out (*cough* Silver *cough* Sonic Boom *cough*).  Can IDW tie everything together as they wrap up this month long sales pitch to fans new and old?  Let’s find out!!

The issue begins as these invariable do with the always fast yet perpetually late Sonic the Hedgehog happening upon yet another town mid-besiegement by an army of Ruthless Robotic Rabble Rousers; though this one seems to be the worst yet by a large margin as there’s a freaking imperial star destroyer (or at least a dropship that big) raining a deluge of ticked off robots onto the unsuspecting and barley coordinated masses!  Things seem pretty grim as Sonic EVENTUALLY barrels his way through the city gates, but don’t lose hope just yet!  There appears to be at least ONE fighter within their midst!

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A NEW CHALLENGER APPROACHES!!

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Rebirth)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

We’re back with another episode of Tim & Eric’s Brazil, where government bureaucracy and dark humor go hand in hand like chocolate and something that goes really well with chocolate! The episode begins with Tom who decided NOT to go to The Mayor this time and instead is taking his case directly to the city council. His plan is to start a consultation company called Tom Peters Business Consulting, and I’m guessing he’s at the point where he needs to apply for local licenses and permits. I assumed that would just involve filling out a form rather than giving a power point presentation in front of city council, but I guess each town has their own laws regarding this stuff. Speaking of laws, the City Council is unable to grant Tom his license yet as he hasn’t registered his family through Jefferton’s Department of Families; a system put in place by The Mayor himself. I actually like this idea because it’s one of the few times where The Mayor being THE MAYOR plays a legitimate role in the story. He may be a wild and unpredictable agent of pure evil, but it helps to be reminded that he DOES have power in this town and that he was in fact voted in by the people despite him being… well, The Mayor. This would have been a lot harder to believe a little over a year ago, but considering what happened in 2016, it’s not TOO far outside the realm of possibilities that people would vote in such a megalomaniacal monster. Wait, DID TIM AND ERIC SEE ALL THIS COMING!?

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“Don’t forget; Big Mayor is ALWAYS watching you, guy. Now let’s get that bank account number!”

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Cinema Dispatch: I Feel Pretty

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I Feel Pretty and all the images you see in this review are owned by STX Entertainment

Directed by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein

You know, I should really watch Trainwreck at some point.  I mean I have it RIGHT here on blu ray, and yet I’ve never found the time to pop it in and see what it’s all about which would HOPEFULLY give me a bit of perspective on Amy Schumer because after seeing precisely one of her movies, I’m not sure if I get the appeal.   Now that’s not to say I’ve written her off yet, especially when the premise of THIS film seems rather intriguing if they can pull it off, but my rather limited track record with her has left me feeling a bit cold whenever she comes up.  Still, this does seem like a film that can play to her strengths while also having a positive message about self-esteem and body positivity, so let’s hope this is the one where I finally get it and become a fan!  Does this manage to live up to its rather clever premise without falling into the obvious pitfalls it sets up for itself, or will this fall flat on its face as it trips over its good intentions and lands smack dab into offensiveness?  Let’s find out!

Renee (Amy Schumer) is a typical middle of the road white woman in the big city.  She’s got a decent job, good friends (Aidy Bryant and Busy Phillips), a nice place, but she’s still unhappy with her life and is constantly searching for ways to fill that gnawing sense of emptiness that keeps us all up at night.  Her solution?  LOOK PRETTY!  She spends all her time trying to learn beauty tips, experimenting with her makeup, and working out to try and lose weight which I’d say are doing their job just fine, but she’s bought into the unobtainable beauty standards that society has pushed on us, and so no matter how good she looks she’s still not happy about it.  If only this were more like THE MOVIES where you could wish for a better life and POOF!  It just happened!  Well… it kind of does here!  During one of her spin classes, she falls off the bike and smacks here head which I guess isn’t the IDEAL way of initiation a body switch, but there wasn’t a Zoltar machine nearby so they had to go with plan B.  When Renee wakes up, she looks exactly the same, but every time she looks in a mirror she sees PERFECTION!  The body she’s ALWAYS wanted is staring right back at her and she couldn’t be happier!  She’s so happy in fact that she applies for the job she always wanted as a receptionist at a cosmetics company run by Avery LeClaire (Michelle Williams) and gets the job due to just how confident and pleasant she is in the interview despite not having the body type they usually hire for that position.  Things get even better from there as she starts helping Avery with her upcoming “regular folks” line of product (Renee being a FORMER normal person gives her insight into what average consumers are looking for in their makeup products) and she even meets a guy (Rory Scovel) who loves her outgoing and fearless personality!  Still, how long will she be able to keep up this momentum before society inexorably tries to knock her down a peg for not being the perfect body type?  Will she ever find out the truth and learn to accept herself for who she is rather than the fantasy she’s built up in her mind?  Who’s to say that her beauty wasn’t on the inside the whole time!?  And on the outside too!  She looks pretty great as far as I can tell!

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“I AM sexy, and I know it!”

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Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #3

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Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America

We’re back with another issue of The Blue 52 (I can probably come up with ONE more comic book continuity shakeup puns before I’m totally tapped out) which sees our old friend Sonic the Hedgehog getting used to his new spot in the IDW family after leaving Archie Comics under less than amicable terms!  Did you know they STILL haven’t put the Archie Comics back on ComiXology yet?  You’d think SOMEONE would’ve gotten on that already.  Still, the relaunch of this character in the world of comics has been a rather smooth one so far with two decent issues under their belt, but can they keep the momentum going through issues three and four as well?  Well we’ll have to wait a week to find out about four but as far issue three goes, let’s find out!!

The issue begins once again with Sonic happening upon a town besieged by jerk-bots, though this time around he may have been a little late to the party (GASP!) because Knuckles is already elbow deep in the cybernetic guts of one of the bigger metal monstrosities.  As it turns out, he’s basically pulling a Sonic of his own; what with the robot smashing in nearby villages rather than taking part in a more coordinated effort with the rest of the resistance.  Seems like an odd decision to make THE LEADER into a flakey and self-righteous free spirit, but it’s doubly weird that neither one of those identities feels like a good fit for Knuckles.  Making him either a leader of any sort or a wander without roots seems to go against the usual characterization of the guy.  He’s a total loner and overly serious compared to everyone else, AND he’s charged with protecting the Master Emerald which means he’s stuck in one place with a sacred duty.  Now sure that hasn’t ALWAYS been his characterization (I’m looking at you AGAIN, Sonic Boom!) but it still seems like an odd choice to make HIM in charge instead of Amy who actually seems to WANT the position.  It’s also possible that I’m jumping on this aspect of the story too early and it will be addressed later on, so for now we’ll just go with it.

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“So… you DID get someone to guard the Master Emerald while you were away, right?”     “… OH CRAP!!”

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Super Recaps: Tom Goes to the Mayor (Pipe Camp)

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Tom Goes to the Mayor and all the images you see in this recap are owned Warner Bros and Adult Swim

Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim

Welcome back to another adventure with our loveable hero Tom Peters just trying to make it work in the big city and be the best darn stepdad in the process!  Okay, Jefferton is HARDLY what I’d call a “big city”, but it’s the place that Tom calls home and is where he goes on his wacky adventures with The Mayor; only half of which end in massive casualties!  Now first things first, this episode has a slightly different visual style than any other episode in the series as it goes for more of a classic sitcom vibe with new music cues that evoke the feeling of shows like Full House or Family Matters (inoffensive instrumental tunes during scene transitions) and a few Tom Goes to the Mayor bumpers at the bottom of the screen like you’d see on network television.  Now these are all fine ways of subverting the traditional sitcom formula, but I guess I’m a bit confused as to why these gimmicks were used for THIS episode specifically.  The whole series is one great middle finger to the corporatized artifice masked over the realities of middle and lower class America which corny American sitcoms have reveled in and have helped perpetuate for decades, but I don’t really see THIS episode as being PARTICULARLY biting in that regard.  Sure it’s messed up and has some dark moments as we’ll get to soon enough, but that basically describes every Tom Goes to the Mayor episode already!  Still, it’s a decent enough gimmick for this kind of show and limiting it to a single episode ensures that it doesn’t overstay its welcome.  Anyway, the episode begins with Tom’s step-kids having heart attacks (all at the same time), so Tom goes to The Mayor to propose a health camp for children that will help his kids and many others lead more active and healthy lifestyles!  Sounds like a great idea, right?  Well too bad he brought it to The Mayor who’s already got a plan to twist it into something horrible that will not doubt get Tom in a whole lot of trouble.  The Mayor has been a very stead patron of Pipe’s Buffet (an establishment right above his office) where he smokes copious amounts of tobacco while eating fatty meats.

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“Oh, The Mayor!  You wacky sassafras!”     “Ha ha ha, oh Tom.  Don’t you ever talk that way to me again…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Truth or Dare

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Truth or Dare and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures

Directed by Jeff Wadlow

Another day, another PRESENTED BY BLUMHOUSE film, which basically means it’s time to flip a coin! Heads Blumhouse wins, tails I lose but Blumhouse still makes a bunch of money! They’re certainly a studio that’s had their ups and downs as they’ve been responsible for getting films like Get Out and the Purge Franchise to the big screen, but are also responsible for The Gallows, at least half the Paranormal Activity movies, and that first Ouija movie. Now normally I’m at least SOMEWHAT aware when Blumhouse is putting out a horror film (at least one that has a shot of getting a wide release) but this one flew COMPLETELY under my radar which can only mean good things, right!? Does this film manage to rise above the underwhelming marketing it’s received and be a gem in its own right, or is this gonna be worse than Jem in its own right (yet ANOTHER of Blumhouse’s failures)? Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with a group of friends traveling to Mexico to celebrate Spring Break by drinking booze and eating nachos! One of the young women named Olivia (Lucy Hale) ends up meeting some cool dude named Carter (Landon Liboiron) and he leads the whole group to some abandoned church in the middle of nowhere to… I don’t know, party I guess? Doesn’t SEEM like the place to get wasted considering how much dirt and broken stuff is littering the floor, but Carter ends up convincing them to play a game of Truth or Dare. It goes… alright I guess, but Carter eventually flees and leaves Olivia with a warning; KEEP PLAYING THE GAME OR ELSE! Well THAT certainly seems weird. Anyway, the group heads back home to continue their college education, but soon enough ghostly figures and other strange occurrences compel them to continue the game with HORRIFIC results. Basically you can either do the challenge the ghostly visions propose which USUALLY involves hurting someone or hurting themselves, OR the ghosts will make them commit suicide because THAT’S not tasteless in the least! So I guess the game is on as each one of them has to take turns being tortured and risking death until… something happens I guess? I mean, that something is PROBABLY death considering there doesn’t seem to be a Get Out of Jail Free card for this situation, so… keep your chin up I guess! Can this group of friends find a way to outsmart this game that for whatever reason has followed them back home? What secrets will they learn about each other as the game continues, and how far will they be pushed to go just to survive? Did someone fall asleep at the wheel over at Blumhouse, because that’s the only excuse I can think of for how this managed to get past even THEIR lax standards!

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“I dare you to not suck, movie.”     “DAMN IT!  That’s a trap and you know it!”

 

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Cinema Dispatch: A Quiet Place

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A Quiet Place and all the images you see in this review are owned by Paramount Pictures

Directed by John Krasinski

We had quite a few good horror films last year like IT, Happy Death Day, and ESPECIALLY Get Out, but pickings have been a bit slim in the first third of 2018 with the only wide releases going to the fourth Insidious movie and the rather underwhelming Annihilation if you’d even want to count that.  THANK GOODNESS that Platinum Dunes has stepped up to the plate because they’ve ALWAYS made good movies, am I right!?  Okay, so the studio has a pretty shaky track record with some pretty awful remakes being their staple up until 2010, but they have gotten a bit better at picking movies what with The Purge series being under their banner and I even liked that Friday the 13th film they did, though I’m certainly in the minority on that one.  This movie at least has been getting some positive buzz despite what I feel what I thought were rather underwhelming trailers, so maybe the steady improvement of Platinum Dunes productions will continue unabated!  I mean as long as we forget about those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie… and the first Ouija movie.  ANYWAY, does this latest thriller with a unique premise manage to be all it’s cracked up to be, or will the silence in the theater be less due to enraptured awe and more due to straight up boredom?  Let’s find out!!

We begin this story in the near future where it seems that society has crumbled and the few remaining survivors are eking out a rather mundane existence as they try to avoid being hunted down by whatever it was that nearly wiped us all out.  What is hunting them exactly?  I don’t know, some sort of Silent Hill looking dudes with sharp claws that LOVE to slice and dice people whenever they can find them.  The key to their success however turns out to be some EXCELLENT hearing skills, so in order to survive in this world you need to stay QUIET!  At least the Abbott family has managed to make this new way of life work for them as Momma and Poppa (Emily Blunt and John Krasinski) have worked tirelessly to set up rules and precautions to protect their children and to keep their mouths shut!  Sure, they lost ONE kid, but they’ve still got two left who know not to make even the SMALLEST of sounds if they want to survive, and there’s even another kid on the way which SEEMS like a bad idea considering how hard it is to reasonably explain to a baby that they’re crying is not very helpful at the moment, but I guess we’ll cross that bridge when we get there!  Anyway, the eldest kid Regan (Millicent Simmonds) is having trouble dealing with the death of her little brother which she blames herself for and on top of that is deaf herself which makes it easier for her to communicate without sound but means that things might be a bit more dangerous if she can’t hear any approaching threats.  At least she’s better equipped to handle what’s going on than her brother Marcus (Noah Jupe) who’s REALLY traumatized by everything that’s happened since the monsters came to town and spends most of his time being terrified about everything around him; not the MOST impracticable of positions to take, but it does cause some friction between him and his dad when he has trouble letting go of his fears to focus on the basic survival tasks at hand.  So with one kid feeling guilty, another one scared of his own shadow, and a third one threatening to come out of their mother in the very near future, things may not be sustainable for that much longer no matter how much Super Dad tries to keep things firmly within his grasp.  Can this family survive this terrifying threat for as long as it takes for someone to figure out how to destroy these creatures once and for all?  Will they find a way to successfully have this baby and raise it without attracting the attention of the creatures that have the super strong hearing and extremely deadly claws?  Seriously, how have you guys survived THIS long if knocking something over is enough to get these creatures to come a knocking!?

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“…”

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Cinema Dispatch: Rampage

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Rampage and all the images you see in this review are owned by Warner Bros Pictures

Directed by Brad Peyton

Does anyone remember that Tomb Raider movie that came out?  Yeah, it was like a month ago but I kind of just forgot all about it already, though I guess my blissful ignorance won’t last for long considering that movie made a HUGE amount of money overseas which will inevitably lead to a sequel, but until then it looks like we’ve got another crack at the genre with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s second attempt at a video game adaptation.  Despite being buff enough to topple buildings, he is not the one RAMPAGING in this movie as it’s instead an adaptation of the classic arcade game where three giant monsters (who are TOTALLY not Godzilla, King Kong, and The Wolf Man) destroy buildings and… well that’s pretty much it.  Seems like a decent enough premise to throw a bunch of money at to make CGI mayhem, but can they manage to make this more than another monotonous action blockbuster starring the world’s most jacked teddy bear?  Let’s find out!!

The movie begins with a mission in space going HORRIFICALLY wrong (seriously, it’s about as terrifying as the end of Life) which leads to a bunch of canisters holding some sort of RAMPAGE GAS landing at various places across the US.  One lands on top of an alligator, another crashes into a wolf pack, and the last one craters into an animal sanctuary which is subsequently found by George; an albino gorilla who can speak sign language and is total bros with Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson).  Davis JUST SO HAPPENS to not only be a primate expert working at the sanctuary, but he ALSO used to hunt down poachers and even saved George from a terrible fate which led to them being buddies ever since!  If only it wasn’t for that DAMNED Science Gas made by some company led up by brothers Claire and Brett (Malin Åkerman and Jake Lacy), we could have had a movie about these two hanging out, but NO!  Instead, the Science Gas makes George grow SUPER BIG (even bigger than The Rock!!) and gives him a serious mean streak on top of that which makes it hard for even Davis’s glistening bulging muscles to contain which forces the some secret agency within the US government led by Agent Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to capture the ape and take him to Washington for experiments before putting it to sleep.  Things don’t go as planned however as Claire and Brett have even MORE sinister plots for George as well as the two other creatures roaming the countryside, and if they succeed it could spell doom for millions of people!  Will Davis along with A SCIENTISTTM (Naomie Harris) find some way to save his gorilla buddy before Claire and Brett destroy whatever is left of George and turning him into a TRUE monster?  What untold destruction will the monsters unleash upon the city, and will it look totally bad ass?  Why didn’t they just make this an Ultraman movie so that they could make The Rock into a giant!?  I’d pay to see him the size of a skyscraper doing Rock Bottoms on monsters!!

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HE LOOKS SO TINY NOW!  HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE!?

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Super Comics: Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) – #2

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Sonic the Hedgehog (the comic book series) and all the images you see in this recap are owned by IDW and SEGA of America

We’re back with another issue of Sonic Rebirth!  The new series that is TOTALLY different from what we had before (but maybe not depending on what the writers want to keep) and seemingly WASN’T caused by a speedster going back in time (though I wouldn’t discount that as a possible story line at some point).  ANYWAY, after the inaugural issue turned out not to be quite what I was looking for, it falls upon this second issue to pick up the slack and get the ball rolling on what this series will truly be about and whether or not we’ll want to continue on this journey with the snarky hedgehog.  Does it succeed where the last one stumbled?  Let’s find out!!

The issue begins much like the first one with Sonic tearing his way through hordes of evil robots; snidely remarking and stylishly posing as he does so.  This first scene is actually pretty impressive in terms of scope as Sonic is fighting a giant mechanical spider , but I had a bit of trouble following the action beats as it took me a good three tries to fully grasp what’s going on.  Apparently he climbs up the spider (fair enough), spin dashes off of its head which causes an explosion for some reason (um…) and follows that up with an absurdly high jump (okay…) so he can come back down to smash himself through the machine’s core.  So not only can he generate his own downward velocity (I doubt gravity alone would accelerate him fast enough to pierce steel), but he is ALSO completely invincible while in ball form as the sudden impact of hedgehog to spider didn’t immediately liquefy his internal organs.  Well I guess that’s ONE way to make a cartoon animal look like a total badass, but organ liquidation though is not ENTIRELY off the table however because while Sonic is too busy basking in the glow of his adoring fans for destroying the robot menace, it turns out the machine had one more trick up its sleeve and… I think it’s gonna shoot a laser?  I don’t know, the artwork isn’t really clear here as to what’s ABOUT to happen (maybe it’s getting up?) but before anyone can worry about it, Amy comes in like a bat out of hell and bashes its robo brains in with her over-sized hammer!

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I’d be less sarcastic around her if I were you, Sonic.  Did you SEE what she can do with that thing!?

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