Guest Post -James M's review of Archie Sonic Online
Whats up bloggers out there, CrazyGamerHistorian1999 here, and today we will be taking a look at the most popular of Sonic fanworks, the Sonic fanbase's love letter to the late Archie Sonic era -Archie Sonic Online.
As many of you know, after a long-fought, 3-4 year legal battle between Archie and one of its former writers, the Archie Sonic comics continuity was forced to change and reboot in 2013. Issue 247 served as the final issue in the old continuity before the events of the Sonic and Mega Man Worlds Collide crossover set in. Near the end of the crossover, Sonic attempted to restore his universe to normal only for Eggman to interfere. In Issue 252, we learned that the botched Super Genesis Wave reversal created a whole new world, one that was identical to that of the Sonic games.
With the continuity reboot, the old universe was gone and then-ongoing plot arcs were given a rushed conclusion and/or just abandoned all-together. While few fans were happy to see the reboot happen, a handful were outraged and did not like it. A few years later, SEGA severed ties with Archie, bringing an end to the comic and thus dashing the dreams of many who wished to see the abandoned stories from the old continuity get a proper conclusion...
This is where the fans came in. In 2015, two years following the Archie Sonic reboot and just a few years before the end of the Archie era, a group of fans came together to create Archie Sonic Online. Originally a forum that discussed the Sonic franchise as well as the comic books, ASO eventually became more and those involved began working on a fan comic to continue the old continuity and finish the stories that were unfinished thanks to the legal behind the scenes issues of 2012-2013. It took a long time to get the project off the ground, but in the end, the wait was worth it...
In November of 2016, we got the very first entry in the Archie Sonic Online comics -Archie Sonic Online Mobius Legends issue 1. Now, Mobius Legends (like Sonic Universe) was an anthology series that expanded upon the world of Mobius and told its own stories. However, Mobius Legends was a miniseries and wasn't really meant to be. It ended with issue five, but it was not the end of Archie Sonic Online. In 2017, we officially got Archie Sonic Online issue 248, which picked up right after the official 247 of the Archie Sonic comics. Trust me, I actually looked into this whole thing and looking at it all now, it is really good and I dig this one, I feel as though the reboot never happened and I'm still reading the Archie Sonic comics set in the old universe again.
Oh and guess what? The folks behind Archie Sonic Online are so nice enough to actually revisit the Endangered Species story arc that ran from Archie Sonic #243 to #246 around the same time the legal behind the scenes court case issues were beginning to take their toll on Archie Sonic, beginning the build up to the reboot. In fact, the writers of this amazing project are working to present the whole arc as it was meant to be, actually taking it in the direction it was supposed to go in when the behind the scenes issues got worse to a point where certain characters could not be used and things changed. But the continuation of the old continuity and the resurrection/rewrite of Endangered Species aren't the only big benefits of Archie Sonic Online and fan-fiction in general...
Remember Sonic Underground? That cheesy Sonic cartoon that aired in 1998-1999 where Sonic had siblings and got cancelled without having a proper conclusion? It was supposed to get an epilogue in the pages of Sonic Universe around Issue 50. However, that got nixed thanks to a combination of the upcoming Sonic & Mega Man Worlds Collide crossover and the behind the scenes issues ranging from a certain lawsuit to increasing mandates by the higher-ups.
In 2013, shortly after the reboot, Ian stated that the Underground Epilogue was on hold and the main reason was due to the fact that material from Sonic Underground was off-limits. Four years later, Archie Sonic ended and any dreams the Underground epilogue happening were dashed...
Until now. The writers and artists who made the continuation of the Pre-reboot Archie Sonic continuity a reality are finally bringing to life the long awaited conclusion of Sonic Underground in the first issue of Sonic Universe Online known as Archie Sonic Universe Online #50 with the story known as Swansong. While we may not be officially getting this from SEGA or the writers of Archie and IDW, at least there are fans out there willing to take matters into their own hands.
Sonic's nearly three decade long legacy is a strong one and has left a strong impact on the hedgehog's fan base to a point where so many are willing to write their own stories about Sonic. Archie Sonic Online is a fine example of when fans come together to bring to life what could've been for the defunct old continuity for the old Sonic comic. I proudly commend the fan base for its best efforts in reviving the old stories from years past, these people sure as heck are Sonic fans and do their best to respect and hold in great regard the characters and the source material.
But of course, these fine, brave and devoted Sonic fans are not alone in this incredible effort to revive Archie Sonic to its old glory. A handful of others are hard at work on the comic known as Sonic Retold, which also revives the pre-reboot Archie universe but takes it in a different direction, and then there's Archie Sonic Restoration, which revives the post-reboot New 252 Archie Sonic universe to finish the cancelled story lines and plans on going in new directions. As of this report, the first issue of Restoration has dropped and ASO has yet to release Sonic #250, the next part of the Knuckles Endangered Species and Sonic Underground Online.
If you are reading this, ASO staff members, I wish you good luck on giving the Archie Sonic comics the proper conclusion it deserves. If there was one story I'd love to see that would serve as an epic finale to Archie Sonic, it would be one where Eggman was defeated and imprisoned, bringing an end to the Second Robotnik War and saving Mobius as Sonic and Sally tie the knot. Just like that, I close out this review.