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Princess Sally 1 (Archie Mini-Series)

From Sonic Retro

PrincessSally1Archie.jpg

Sonic the Hedgehog Presents:
Princess Sally
 #1
"Deadliest of the Species"

Writer: Mike Kanterovich & Ken Penders
Pencils: Art Mawhinney
Inks: Rich Koslowski
Letters: Bill Yoshida
Colors: Barry Grossman
Editor: Scott Fulop
Managing Editor: Victor Gorelick
Editor-In-Chief: Richard Goldwater
Cover Art by: Art Mawhinney/Jon D'Agostino
Special Thanks: Jennifer Hunn, Cynthia Wilkes
& Bob Harris of Sega
Cover Date: April 1995
Release Date: February 1995
Country: North America

Princess Sally No. 1 is the first of a three issue limited series published by Archie Comics. The second mini-series related to the world of Sonic the Hedgehog, it was the first to focus on any of the supporting cast. Printed was one story, "Deadliest of the Species, Part 1." Also included was a page of select fan drawings called "Sally Art," as well as "Sally-Grams," which in lieu of letters contains an editorial from then-editor Scott Fulop on the future of both the series and main Sonic title.

The events of the book take place between issues 20 and 21 of the main Sonic the Hedgehog ongoing.

Summary

Deadliest of the Species, Part 1

Continued from Sonic the Hedgehog #20
With Robotnik's forces growing constantly, Princess Sally Acorn of the Freedom Fighters has realized she must do the same with her forces...

Accessing Sally's personal journal, NICOLE recalls the prologue to the story, of how the Princess infiltrated Robotropolis on her own to sabotage one of Robotnik's power substations but in the process ran into Geoffrey St. John. A skunk with an Australian accent, he claims that he was a member of His Majesty's Secret Service and current leader of the rebel underground.

Before she can decide if she can trust his word or not, Geoffrey notices a group of SWATbots arrive, knocking Sally out of the way just as the robot troops fire. Their shots barely miss the two, but they continue on to eradicate the rebels. Hiding behind some scattered ventilation pipes, the pair fire as more SWATbots arrive and surround them, Geoffrey using his wrist-mounted crossbow, Sally her slingshot. As her mud bombs make contact, the leader of the Freedom Fighters commends St. John on his skills, but wants him to pick up the pace. Unfortunately, he has run out of bolts for his arrow. She scolds him for his lack of boy scout skills, but he retorts that he flies by the seat of his pants. Reaching into her vest, she tells him that he reminds her of somebody as she pulls out a grenade. Quipping that she comes prepared, she throws it at the remaining SWATbots as the two duck for cover. The grenade explodes, allowing the two to escape from Robotropolis without further trouble, Sally telling Geoff to hold back his compliments until they reconvene with her group.

Meanwhile, in the Great Forest, a group of potential Freedom Fighters sit around a campfire, waiting for Sally to return. Hamlin the Pig grows concerned about Sally, while Arlo, an armadillo, tries to reassure him. Penelope Platypus is more concerned about their lack of physical training, something Dylan, a porcupine, responds to by telling the platypus that patience is a virtue, and that following orders is the most important attribute of a Freedom Fighter. Their conversation is interrupted by a cracking noise nearby, making the group silent and alert. The tension is broken by Geoffrey jumping out of a nearby bush, attacking Hamlin. Sally, now wearing a purple vest, runs in before the rebel leader can start pummeling him, yelling out that they are her friends. St. John apologizes, but Hamlin is not amused, threatening the hot headed skunk who is about to lunge again before the Princess steps in. Sally then introduces Geoffrey to her new Freedom Fighter recruits and vice versa, much to the dismay of Hamlin. She orders everybody to get some sleep while she updates Geoff on their plans for the next day.

Once dawn approaches, Sally awakens everybody for their briefing. Before camping out on their own, the resident Knothole genius Rotor Walrus had theorized that by knocking out various energy substations in Robotropolis, its defense system protecting it from ground attacks would be compromised. Sally had split the core Freedom Fighters to take down certain substations, she and her band of trainees tasked with three to knock out. With one down from the night before, the second substation is their next target. She asks for questions, Hamlin asking why St. John has to join them. She tries to convince him that he's an asset to the team as he was a former secret service agent, recommending that he watch Geoffrey to learn tactics. He's still not convinced, saving he will keep on eye on the skunk, still untrusting of the man. With that, Sally leads the group on their new mission.

They cut through long foliage as they arrived at the edge of the Great Forest to the substation, located in a large Aztec-like temple. Dylan notices the lack of guards, but Arlo tries to convince him that what he can't see can be the most dangerous. Sally tells everyone they'll have to chance it and slip into the temple through the back, but before they can proceed, two flaming boulders are launched out directly at them. With their cover blown, they decide to go the direct approach, charging at the temple. Sally takes the lead, climbing a rock brick and throwing a grenade into the slot where the attack originated. With the defenses taken out, the rebel Princess goes to the temple door and cracks the access code with NICOLE.

The door opens and they enter slowly, noticing the room is full of destroyed SWATbots from the grenade attack. Walking up to the main control panel, Sally slides NICOLE to directly interface with the system, uploading a virus that will activate a self-destruct sequence in the complex. Just as she finishes, the entire group notices a loud "THOOM" noise getting closer to their position. It doesn't take long before they discover the source: two Orb-Bots have entered the room. The robots look as their name implies, orb-shaped bodies perched on towering legs, mounted with laser cannons that immediately fire on the Freedom Fighters below. Everyone splits up (with the exception of Sally and Geoffrey) and take cover. Having used her last grenade getting in, she is forced to improvise, similar to how a certain hedgehog and skunk would in the same place. Ripping open a control panel nearby, she tears out some wires and uses them as a makeshift lasso, entangling one of the Orb-Bot's legs. Tying the other end to a hook on the wall, she tugs, causing the robot to tumble down. Hamlin finds himself in the path of the falling robot, but before he can be crushed underneath the machinery, St. John swings across, catching the pig and taking him to safety just in the nick of time.

With one more Orb-Bot still on the offence, Geoff asks about their options, Sally confirming the self-destruct imminent. The group of new recruits follow as they all decide to get out of there as fast as possible, the Orb-Bot still in hot pursuit. Robotnik's defense robot crashes through the wall of the substation before the structure explodes, unrelenting in following the Freedom Fighters. The group reaches the edge of a deep chasm, and as the robot reaches them, they split in half, rushing off on either side. Trying to follow both sides with laser fire, the bot continues to go forward, losing its balance and falling into canyon below.

Looking down at the destroyed robot, the rebel Princess realizes that Robotnik has increased his security details, which means they must by extra precautious next time. Hamlin uses the moment to say how you can never be too careful about who you trust, either, turning his attention back to Geoffrey. The former member of the secret service gets in his face, Sally forced once again to step in, reminding Hamlin that St. John just saved his life back there. She then goes on to note that if he can't trust him after that, then he might as well not trust her.

Night falls, and the Freedom Fighters go to sleep, except Geoffrey. Crawling out of his tent, he takes a quick glance at Sally before treading slowly out of the camp, hoping not to wake anyone. Once out of range, he presses a few buttons on his wrist device, activating a portal. Stepping through, he is transported to an unknown building. Entering what looks like a bunker entrance, he travels down a long staircase, reaching yet another door. Opening that door, he walks into the room, walking up to a glass tube. Tapping it, he talks to himself, saying "soon my luv, soon." Inside the glass tube: Princess Sally.

Commentary

My then-partner Mike Kanterovich and I were asked by then-Sonic editor Scott Fulop to submit an outline for our take on a 3-issue mini-series featuring Princess Sally, whom Sega was interested at the time in developing a video game for. So we worked up a story in which the villain turned out to be a roboticized Queen Alicia, who ruled over her roboticized subjects deep in the underground sewers of Robottropolis. We were looking to set up Queen Alicia as a potential threat to Robotnik as well as the Freedom Fighters, but Sega rejected this treatment with no explanation. All we were told was "Try again".

So we decided to make the story a Thelma & Louise style adventure featuring Sally and Bunnie taking on Robotnik and his minions. Once again, our treatment was rejected with no explanation. So once again we were told "Try again".

By this time, we asked Scott for some guidance, a hint of what Sega was looking for, but even he didn't know. So he went and asked the Sega Licensing Dept, and all he got in response was that we couldn't use anything established except for Sally and Robotnik. No Sonic, no Tails, no Knuckles, nothing from the games.

Since we had to come up with an all-new scenario, Mike and I started with the premise of Sally recruiting and training new recruits to help in the fight against Robotnik. It was then we decided to add a potential love interest that could also be a rival to Sonic for Sally's affections. The question then become "Who?"

Since Mike and I were both fans of the Looney Tunes cartoons, we were joking around about the character being a take-off of Pepe LePew, only we'd make him British, seeing as Antoine already was French and a potential rival as well. Once we decided the love interest would be a skunk with a British-accent, it wasn't much of a stretch that he would be a member On His Majesty's Secret Service. When working out his name, I threw out a suggestion inspired by the Christian martyr St. George, which ended up being reworked into Geoffrey St. John.

We did throw in some bits of business inspired by the James Bond movies, especially in the story's prologue that saw print in SONIC #20, but that was more for our amusement, as we both felt the story that ended up seeing print was a far cry from what we originally wanted to do. Sega wasn't too thrilled with it either, but they had asked for it and Archie had committed to it, and they were desperate at this point to have something completed in order to avoid any penalties at the printer's if the deadline was missed.

— Ken Penders[1]

Scans

Miscellaneous

  • Hamlin, Arlo, Dylan and Penelope are all introduced in this issue. They are the first Freedom Fighters, outside the main characters, to be introduced as continued supporting characters in the Archie comic series
  • This issue is the first cover drawn by Sonic artist Art Mawhinney
  • The entire mini-series, along with the prelude from issue 20, was reprinted in Sonic Select Book 7
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