"Flynn Never Meant To Kill! Flynn Only Meant To Maim, Or Seriously Injure!"
First off, I'm going to go out on a limb here and claim that I think we've officially hit rock bottom in the comic in #235 and we have nowhere further to fall (except for one thing brought up in 235 I'll talk about later). That being the case, I expect the story to finally pick up again, the writing to hopefully get much better now that the main focus will be the story and not just Flynn trying to "upset and unnerve" the fans, and in effect mean I won't have to call out the comic so much every month to prove just how badly flawed the story has gotten and how lazy it has been for so long (some decent emotional scenes in 235 though). At this point, it's up to Flynn to finally show us his master plan that he's constantly talked about and to prove that he can fully deliver on a story.
This being the case, if you are a hardcore Flynn supporter, I'd advise you to stop reading the journal now, content in the fact that I think that now that we've hit rock bottom and the story can finally continue after half a year of almost nothing, I should have much fewer issues to point out with each and every issue release, because let me tell you, if you continue reading from this point on, you'll only get annoyed by how many flaws and mistakes I am about to point out not only concerning 235, but this entire arc from 231 to 235 and even farther back then that.
However, before I go into all of that, let's talk about #235. First off, what in the world was with the cover? It shows classic Mecha-Sally, and Silver and Antoine in the gang attacking her. I know the covers don't always represent what's in the comic, but misleading much? Anyway, the beginning of the comic shows Silver reading a journal leading him to the conclusion that Antoine is the traitor. We then move to the present in which Antoine is alive but in critical condition, and we see Bunny claiming that she's going to take actions to make sure she doesn't lose anyone else, and leaves the Kingdom with a note in Antoine's room, hoping Antoine won't hate her for what she's about to do. Silver then decides to go back in time, but Mogul says he is to stay in the past and is forbidden to return to the future until he officially catches the traitor...to ensure that he doesn't cause any more harm to the future. We then get to see a touching scene where Tails and his father get to have a heart to heart about dealing with loses during war.
After this....we move to the council chamber...where Ixis and the council vote for Nicole to be banished from the kingdom and essentially trapped in Freedom HQ until she is ever needed again (She was trapped there thanks to the Battle Bird Armada Invasion Universe arc). The only one against this banishment is Rotor who is essentially disgusted with everyone, including Uncle Chuck, and resigns from the council.
After this Amy gets to have a touching moment with Sonic's parents due to Sonic trapping himself in his room and refusing to come out, until he catches Silver out the door. Silver tells Sonic that he thinks Antoine is the traitor, to which Sonic drags Silver to the hospital and shows Antoine in the comma and reads a note saying that Bunnie is gone, to which Silver claims she must be the traitor instead. Upon hearing this, Sonic SNAPS completely and tries to attack Silver, claiming that Silver is a flake that's done nothing while his friends are a hundred times the hero Silver wants to be, and tells Silver to get out of his sight. After he leaves, Geoffrey comes in and pays his respects to Antoine and gives his condolences to Sonic as well. At this point, Sonic can't help but barely hold back tears as he admits to himself that the Freedom Fighters are done. After this, Silver is acting depressed until Harvey runs into him and recruits him into the Secret Freedom Fighters and our story ends there.
I know many people will be surprised when I say this, but I think Silver was actually right when he claims Antoine is the traitor. Now actually saying the word traitor isn't correct. If we look at exactly what it was Mogul says, he claims that, "One of Sonic's founding Freedom Fighters took actions that destroyed the team." Did he himself say there was a traitor, or that someone simply took actions that broke up the entire team? Well guess what guys, Antoine took actions to protect the King, that put himself into a comma and sent Bunny running from the Kingdom to do a mysterious mission. Add on the fact that Sally is roboticized and Rotor has a bad back, and the team has officially ended; this is why the Freedom Fighters are no more in 236, because Flynn has essentially crippled or removed all of the none game based characters from the team, and the final action that caused it to break entirely was Antoine's actions.
Of course if I'm right, that would mean Silver's entire story arc has been a complete and utter waste of time from the beginning and there never was a traitor to begin with in that sense. However, we might also find out that there isn't so much a traitor, but one of the members does an action to save a life that in effect causes the end of the world. Of course Antoine's actions actually did destroy the team indirectly, so the later option doesn't seem too possible. Essentially, Flynn turned the traitor hunt into one big goose chase that led nowhere and feels more like a troll move, if I am correct. We will have to see where Flynn takes things from here to see if he actually came up with a good answer to the traitor arc and doesn't make it as super lame as "there never was a traitor". (Interestingly enough though, there wasn't even a single mention of whether Sally could be the traitor or not, kinda surprised by that one.)
On to Bunnie...yeah so she's left the Kingdom to do something that might cause her loved ones to hate her...do you guys know what that might be? I seriously hope I'm wrong on this but it almost sounds like she's going to run to her Uncle and get herself legionized in order to get her cybernetics back, and in essense, make herself a slave to Robotnik since all legionares have explosives in their cybernetics. Now if that really is the direction Flynn plans to take with Bunnie, can any of you guys honestly tell me Flynn is doing the right thing here, writing a good story, or that he isn't just completely screwing around and doing whatever he wants for the sake of shock value? Of course we really don't know what Bunnie plans to do, maybe she's simply going to go to Knuckles and Julie-Su for combat training...but I don't know why anyone would hate her for doing that. Most of the issue I found harmless enough, but the Bunnie sub plot really has me worried about what Flynn has planned for her. I really hope he has something good planned cause if he decides to have Bunnie get legionized...he'll have lost almost all of the remaining respect for him that I've had... However, I was wrong when I was afraid someone was going to die and Sally would be the one to do it in 234, so I won't jump to any conclusions anymore until Flynn actually shows us his master plans.
Apparently Silver is here to stay for a while too (especially if there is no traitor). Now I've already seen plenty of people go back and forth on what happened between Sonic and Silver in this issue, where Sonic goes insane and chews him out. I can understand Sonic breaking down at this point with everything he's lost...but would it really be so much to ask that instead of taking out his frustrations on Geoffrey(233) and Silver(235) he actually unleashes his anger against the villains? In this issue Silver was practically acting like a 10 year old, simply saying that he thought someone was a traitor and then saying maybe it was Bunnie instead, with a smile. He was actually being more cheerful or energetic about finding the traitor then flat out being accusing and hateful about finding the traitor, so Sonic's outburst is understandable, but way over the top and not completely deserved.
Along the lines with Silver, I noticed who the Secret Freedom Fighters are now. If you ask me, they look like people Flynn would use for in house cleaning due to too many characters
As in Flynn created a team of Elias, Silver and a bunch of red shirts..... The next Universe arc with them should prove to be quite interesting to say the least. Although, how is having Silver in the past full time going to help Silver make "less" of a damaging impact on the future exactly instead of not allowing him to go back at all? The whole future thing confuses me as well. How can we have Sonic 30 Years later, and have the Silver 200 years in the future thing play out at the same time? Are they both different dimensions? Or they two possible futures for the current one? Both futures have interacted with the present one (Nicole being sent back in the past with the 30 years later arc and Silver from his own) so are they saying the big catastrophe doesn't happen for another 30+ years or is Flynn just ignoring the fact that two futures exist right now?
As for Nicole..........why were there grounds for banishment again? Because she didn't try HARD enough to protect the kingdom? I didn't know not trying hard enough was grounds for banishment. However, I think it's quite obvious to see why Flynn created the Council in the first place. Amusingly I saw someone claim they were put in place to stop Naugus from taking full control of the Kingdom, but it is actually quite the opposite of that. The Council was the MAIN reason why Naugus was able to take over the Kingdom so easily. If Elias was still in control and there was no council, things would have played out the way they did last time Naugus tried to claim his thrown, where Sally essentially said no and had the FF kick him out of the Kingdom. Unfortunately, we have a bunch of civilians playing leaders now and it's painfully obvious they are too incompetent and "by the book" to be good leaders. At least in 237 Mina finally gets to fix her character and make up with Nicole...
So yeah, as I've said before, I think we've hit rock bottom and starting next issue, things will finally get to start moving again, and if Flynn's latest journal and fan comments in forums are any indication, it looks like it couldn't have come soon enough: [link]
For the fan comments, I'm definitely starting to see people start to see the huge cracks in Flynn's writing as of late. From his own website forums or from others, people are not simply freaking out over characters getting injured, but just the writing in general is starting to get people confused and annoyed, with how things are playing out. (will talk about that farther down). Essentially, people are just getting plain tired of what Flynn has been writing lately and are just finding it harder and harder to swallow his tripe. Of course he's still surrounded by die hard supporters that would probably cheer him on if he killed off half the caste in one issue, so go figure.
As for Flynn, apparently he's managed to piss some people off so much, then he's getting spammed with hate e-mails and even physical assault threats. Now you guys know I've been super harsh on the guy with my art, but I would never go as far as to threaten the guy and I've even said I don't want him fired, just to improve the quality of the story or to bring on more writers so he's not the only person making up ideas. I've also been respectful when it comes to actually talking with him or others, which is shown in the fact that he's answered back the e-mail I've sent to him. However, I must admit that Flynn has quite the silver tongue. In the journal he's made claims that most people that have a problem with his stories hate them cause they don't like seeing bad things happening to their favorite characters. He's also hinted to the fact that the people that are freaking out simply don't have enough faith in our characters and a belief that they'll be able to make a come back.
Now I think having faith in the characters is completely wrong in the context of the Sonic comic. The problem isn't faith in the characters, it's faith in the writer. Let's look at a few things Flynn has done as head writer: Destroyed Fiona's personality and gave her a completely new one turning her into an entirely different person, turned Robotnik from a sinister force that you could love to hate into a cliche stupid villain and then had him go insane and then turn into a pure monster, had Mina write a hate song without even bothering to talk to Sonic about it, had Sonic and Sally not tell anyone in the kingdom that Nicole was undercover for most of the Iron Dominion arc, had Naugus turn almost EVERYONE in the kingdom into a brainwashed hater of Nicole thanks to them never knowing Nicole was under cover, had Naugus somehow deroboticize Bunnie with his magic by accident and then turned her into a complete and utter fool (I wonder if his magic cleans windows too...), gave Geoffrey a retcon where he's always been a traitor in waiting and was just waiting for the right time to give Naugus control, reset the entire universe just so Sally could be roboticized, and made Elias stupid enough to leave the Kingdom in the middle of the day at a planned time instead of at the dead of night in secret, making it easier for anyone to ambush them.
I'm sure I'm missing a few things here, but what's the point in having faith in the heroes if Flynn simply pulls a string and suddenly they act out of character at a moments notice just to allow his plot points to work? Usually writers will make stories that works with the characters, but for Flynn he comes up with ideas then manipulates the characters to make the story work. If it comes down to having faith in Flynn...sorry I don't have that yet.
As for seeing characters getting hurt, I don't think that's as much an issue as the story that has it happen. Now I'm going to say this now, the last half a year of the comic has been a publicity stunt. Flynn pretty much wanted to freak everyone out to the point that they'd start talking and create a buzz that would get readers that quit reading it to come back. Now what's the problem with that? Simply the fact that the story he's written lately has been nonsensical, full of filler and quite honestly, not very good. Now I know there are people out there that say every single issue is the best thing Flynn has written yet and that they're loving the new direction of the comic. And you know what, people loved Michael Bay's Transformers movies too. All they cared about were the explosions, the shiny robots, the suspense, and for the most part completely zoned out on the plot. Who cares what the story is as long as there's a lot of explosions and fighting right? To me, the last half a year has been like Michael Bay has been writing the comic story line...Take away the explosions, the shiny robots and the dark vibe...and you're not left with much. I mean really, ever since Sally has been roboticized half a year ago, what has happened in the comic up to now? Things have happened TO people, but as far as the story goes? Elias left the city and Silver is here to stay for a while....what a fun half a year right?
Well let me ask a few questions that might bring to light a few issues I've seen in the comic for a while: How is it possible for Nicole, a computer 30+ years in the future, to get hacked by someone from the current time, and by hacking her hologram? Why didn't Mina talk to Sonic before writing her hate song? Why did Mina hear for the first time that Nicole was working under cover for most of the Iron Dominion arc from Sonic after the concert, meaning why didn't Sonic tell everyone in the kingdom this piece of information? (really, that's something you don't want to be kept secret...) We learned that the nanites can operate separately from Nicole, so why didn't the council just fire her from her guardian duties and make her an ordinary citizen and leave the nanites up to Rotor to deal with? How is it possible to turn metal limbs into flesh and blood when they weren't the roboticized limbs to begin with? Why did Bunnie go into the battlefield without any weapons? Why didn't Antoine force her to bring a weapon? Why did Elias meet Harvey at night in secret yet made himself leaving the Kingdom such a known event to the point that people knew the time he was leaving? Does anyone remember that this is robo-Robotnik and that our Robotnik has been dead for a long time now? (the little talk Robotnik and Naugus had in 234) How does it help to keep the future from getting ruined by forcing Silver to stay in the past instead of doing short jumps?
If you think about it, most of the big plot points atm all come down to one thing, "a wizard did it". Nicole got hacked by a witch, the citizens got brainwashed by magic, Bunnie got de-roboticized by magic. I'm starting to wonder just what kind of deus ex machina thing Naugus will do next with his bag if infinite tricks. Does anyone even realize how broken Naugus is right now? Why doesn't he just de-roboticize Sonic's father now? He was able to turn metal limbs into fully working flesh and blood limbs, so I don't think the fact that he was badly injured before getting roboticized will matter much. If Antoine goes cyborg, why can't Naugus de-roboticize him right after too? If you can think of good reasons for why he can't do that...what makes you think he will be the reason Sally gets de-roboticized? Even Robotnik resetting the world wasn't really even explained. Essentially, every big plot point Flynn has done lately in the story has been things that have been super ridiculous and that we're supposed to simply accept without question. Exactly how many times can you do this in a row before people start crying foul?
Now the problem I have isn't that characters are simply in commas or de-roboticized, my problem is that the writing itself has just been incredibly lazy and relies on the characters to act stupid to allow for any of it to work. Flynn has essentially concentrated so hard on "shocking and unnerving" the fan base that he put story and plot second on the list of importance. Now that's not to say upsetting and unnerving can never be done. What was a good example of this done right? Issue #230 is an almost perfect example of this idea done right. Surprised to hear me say that the issue Sally gets roboticized was a good issue? Well let's look at it, the stakes were HUGE, there were wasn't any other way to save the day then what Sally did, and she went out with a roar instead of a whimper. Sure the hole world reset thing was silly, but the issue itself was well written, epic and done pretty good. When I did my review for 230 I actually said it was well done and I hope he follows through with the good writing from here on out...which he most certainly didn't do.
To make my point, let's see how the issues could have gone if Flynn decided that story took place over just trying to shove shock value at us every issue just to upset and unnerve us. As I said 230 was pretty good and 231 I don't mind leaving alone, except let's keep out the part where Bunnie gets crystallized. For 232, you could cut out everything to do with Bunnie and turn the entire Geoffrey issue into a side story for that comic. Not only was the Geoffrey issue a filler comic that proved to be a completely useless trial thanks to Naugus, but 234 gave a complete and utter middle finger to Fragile, which was the side story in which Bunnie laments and worries about losing her abilities and Antoine comforts her saying that she may have lost her power but she isn't powerless. This would mean that the majority of 233 can be cut out, and instead we can condense Elias' plot into talking with Harvey at night, getting his family together and leaving all at the same time, in secret. Plus was I the only one that got really annoyed that Robotnik and Naugus were talking like old friends when this isn't the Robotnik Naugus knows, and is actually robo-Robotnik from a different dimension? You could say that the dimensions were almost identical but still... Anyhow, as I said, 234 makes absolutely no sense if you look at it from all angles. The stakes were nowhere near high enough to merit what happened to Antoine, and Bunnie was treated like a complete and utter fool (and the whole fact it runs completely opposite to Fragile). I still don't get why Bunnie didn't bring any weapons at all with her, when even Rotor can fight when using a battle suit made of nanites. We've seen that Rotor can control them so why couldn't he have fit her with rockets boots and power gloves or something in the mean time to still allow her to fight? Lastly, why did Elias make it a known fact that he was leaving, and why in the middle of the day? You'd think he would want to leave in secret and at night, to better get away from Naugus...but oh wait Flynn wanted to upset and unnerve us by doing implausible things, silly me. This would mean that 234 would be the Silver comic and he'd still be stuck in the past, just not sure who the traitor is. As for Sally, Robotnik could have done a test run with her first in the Universe arc before sicking her on her friends. After all, the Universe arc takes place AFTER 234, so having Snively run off and sicking Sally on him before being able to attack our heroes would have fit in fine.
In fact, just think about Bunnie's situation for a second. She's powerless right now right? But she lives in a city full of nanites that are capable of creating a power suit that allows Rotor, with a crippled back, to fight on par with Silver. He can fly in it, shoot projectiles and has super strength. Did everyone forget that Bunnie could just get a suit of her own and only use it when on missions or in battle?! Who says she has to be super 24/7?
Now I know what people are thinking, that I cut out some key things that will bring plot development down the line. For 233, chances are Geoffrey will betray Naugus once he learns about the trap set up for Elias when he left the city. However if you think about it, when he learns that Hershey is still alive and sees just how evil Naugus truly is over time, he would have betrayed him anyway. As for Bunnie and Antoine, it's apparent that eventually Naugus will get driven out for one reason or another. Imagine if Naugus fired a beam at Bunnie and Antoine during his fleeing that crystallized the both of them and began to mix and match them at the molecular level. In effect, when they eventually get freed, some of Bunnie's metal parts would become organic and some of Antoine's organic parts would become metal. It would essentially turn them into the cyborg couple (and allow Bunnie to have kids if that part of her is turned normal again and Antoine's part is kept the same). It would be shocking, it would be unexpected, but it would make sense. In fact if you wanted to get really original, he could have had the swap cause the creation of organic metal that is for all intents and purposes metal, but operates on blood instead of oil, can self heal and can even grow like the rest of the body (and make their kids being part cyborg make even more sense).
Of course all of this is just random thoughts that I came up with on the fly, hopefully Flynn proves that the stuff he's done from 231-235 will have some epic results down the line and not turn out lame or disappointing, which has always been my biggest fear. I mean can anyone think of an arc Flynn's done that has made you feel really excited and psyched when the ending came? I mean I would really hate for him to write himself into a corner down the line and give us something as lame as the Super Scourge fight where Sonic simply wasted time to beat him or for him to blame mandates for his short comings like with the huge buildup and lame ending to 175.
In the end, I just really don't think Flynn did justice to the comic when he created this "upset and unnerve the fans" arc. I think the comic deserved better then that, I think the characters deserved better then that, and I think the fans deserved better then that. He's been in charge of the comic for like 6+ years now? For that time he's given us plenty of interesting ideas but very little to no payoff which has made many people lose interest in the comic. Unfortunately, instead of trying harder to come up with epic, exciting and fun adventures, he took the easy route and just tortured our heroes for half a year to make it look like he's doing something better. I mean anyone can get attention by torturing the heroes of a comic, it takes no skill at all to freak the fans out by blowing people up and turning everything depressing, but it takes real skill to create exciting stories that makes you feel excited and fulfilled when you finish it. People claim Flynn is saving the comic with this current arc, but do these people realize Flynn has been in charge since #160? Chances are a lot of the problems people are complaining about are from things he's written. You're cheering on the guy that burned the house down, that started the leak in the boat. Sure the comic was in trouble a little from the prior writers but at least they gave us epic things like the Xorda attack, that required all the heroes and all the villains to team up in one giant fight for survival. What did Flynn do? Had people turn into traitors at a regular basis...turned Robotnik from a respectable villain into a joke that would point a hundred warships at you then leave laughing saying it wasn't your time...built up so many interesting story ideas that usually fell flat at the end...sure he fixed up Sally a bit but I mean even with issue 235 I still see Sally hate (from the fans) going around just by the fact that Geoffrey mentions her in the issue...so Flynn kinda failed to use the Mecha-Sally idea to get her out of the story for a while and give the fans a breather. If anything, I just find it sad to know that Flynn has been so mediocre up to this point that he deemed it necessary to have to reach such extreme measures as blowing up Antonie, making us think someone will die any issue or making a kids comic about fun and exciting adventures as dark and depressing as he's allowed to go just to try and keep the readers from losing interest.
I suppose when it all comes down to it, the statement "do the ends justify the means" comes to mind. Only for Flynn's case, it's more "will the
ends be good enough to keep us from feeling empty from the means used to reach it". For the most part Flynn has been mediocre but harmless with his writing, a lot of good ideas yet unable to really give a good payoff based on those ideas. However, he's decided to pull this stunt to upset and unnerve us all, to get a lot of eyes on him, and to see just exactly where he plants to take us up to 250. If he doesn't deliver with one pretty awesome story up to 250 and instead gives us incredibly lame story plots such as "Bunnie gets legionized a few issues after getting de-roboticized" or "There was no traitor to begin with" then I think he's proven he really is just a mediocre writer that should give someone, or a new group of writers, the chance to continue the Sonic comic from here on out (Since I think it's proven that one writer alone really shouldn't be making all the decisions).
I really honestly and truly want Flynn to knock our socks off in the coming months. Nothing would make me happier then if he can prove that all this time he's created one big epic story that makes us all clapping and rooting when 250 comes around and shows that he was able to take the current mess of a story, keep it from collapsing and even make it all work out for the better.
For the sake of the comic and its fans, Good luck Flynn.