Accidental Aesop: Going through the book's history, it seems that many of the problems could've been avoided had certain people learned to live and work better with others, understood that their value systems need to change overtime, or just let go of their grudges with certain characters. Sally follows this when she talks to the Prowers and forms the council, but many of the councilors didn't let go of their grudges with the royal family or Freedom Fighters. Similarly many arcs involve the heroes making Fire-Forged Friends with previous adversaries or being forced to let go of previous grudges, a lot of which were formed by hubris and poor communication (eg. Sonic with Knuckles, Monkey Khan and Silver).
Alas, Poor Scrappy: Tommy Turtle was liked in his debut appearance, where he apparently died, but after being brought back and used again nobody liked him. Despite this, his second, permanent death won some fans over.
It's generally agreed that "Iron Dominion" overstayed its welcome due to its length and Idiot Ball moments from heroes and villains alike.
The "Shattered World" went on for nearly three years. The "Worlds Unite" crossover popping up in the the middle of the story and delaying things only compounded this. Ironically, after "Worlds Unite", the general consensus in the later issues was that the arc was rushed due the Strictly Formula format in Key Guardians part of the story, the Master Emerald subplot taking up around half of each issue and the lack of development of the Sonic Unleashed characters, especially Chip.
Archive Panic: It can be hard to get into the comic at first because of its vast, complex backstory developed over 200 issues, any one of which can be referenced at random in a newer issue. Though thanks to the retcon, it provides a good jumping on point without having to worry too much about history.
Ian Flynn's fans believe he has managed to pull off a lot of these, especially regarding plots left dangling or satisfied unsatisfactorily by the previous authors.
The reboot saved a comic that had many of its characters and lore ripped out by flip-flopping the focus from SatAM material to Sega material.
Sonic Universe 50 and Sonic the Hedgehog 256 are deliberate saving throws in regards to MetalSonic since they both address the character's Adaptational Wimp status in the comic, with SU 50 giving Metal a rematch against Shard and effectively winning, albeit by self-destructing. 256 had Metal Sonic fighting against Amy, Cream, and Sally at once without damage and was only defeated after Tails dropped a missile on him, which even then only destroyed his legs—the rest of Metal was perfectly intact.
Metal Sonic got hit with this hard in this series; he is much less powerful than in other series, and got curbstomped every time he's encountered, and the fact that there were multiple Metal Sonics rather than one didn't help. Even Sega got tired of this and told series writer Ian Flynn to knock it off, and he admitted to wanting to avert this with Metal in the future.
Princess Sally Acorn. Depending on who you ask, she’s either the absolute best female Sonic character, if not the best overall character in the franchise, who is the perfect foil and love interest for Sonic, a proactive Action Girl, has a loving personality, and a positive influence on all the characters. Or a very boring and unlovable character whose influence has a very negative impact on the other characters (especially Sonic and, as of recently, Cream), reeks of Positive Discrimination, and a Faux Action Girl. Not helping matters at all is Sally’s prominent usage, which has increased even further ever since Ian Flynn took over as head writer of the comics, causing detractors to label her as a blatant Creator's Pet. And that's without getting into the shipping side of things.
Geoffrey St. John. Some people see him as a sympathetic guy who was fed a bunch of lies as a child which lead him to making the biggest mistake of his life which he regrets wholeheartedly. Other see him as a boy who was fed a lot of lies as a child but should have know better than to trust Naugus a known Villain and a jerkass who crosses several moral lines by betraying and/or manipulating his friends who are citizens in the country his is trying to protect. Added points for the latter seeing how he knew his wife would be against any of this from the start.
"Sonic Live", in which Sonic and pals travel to the real world and interact with real kids, and Super Special #17, a crossover with characters from Image Comics. Neither is considered canon by fans or the creators.
Seasonal Rot is largely the cause of this. Where did the Dork Age start? Where did it end? Did it end? Was Sally's Chickification justified, or was it a hideously huge breach of established character just to sink the fanbase's largest ship? The typical benchmarks are that the series started to decline after Endgame, took a full-on nosedive during the Bem/Xorda arc, and has only started recovering since issue #160 with Ian Flynn being head writer.
The reboot's set off a whole new schism among fans between those who like it and those who don't.
Character Rerailment: Many fans feel that the early Flynn era managed to re-establish Sally as the tactician and Frontline General of the Freedom Fighters, after the Penders/Bollers era, especially the latter end of it, had seen her undergoing a serious bit of Chickification and becoming a more passive character who was often relegated to the sidelines.
The original Dr. Ivo Robotnik, during the Great War, intended to test weapons he'd developed for the government on his own people and fled to the Mobians' side when he was to be punished for his actions. While acting as warlord for King Acorn, he secretly captured a peaceful village of Mobian monkeys and utilized them in an early attempt to create mechanical slaves by surgically implanting cybernetics, and of that entire village only one survived the process. Afterwards, he sabotaged the roboticizer developed by Charles Hedgehog just as it was to be used on his wounded brother Jules, making him think he'd turned his own brother into a mindless drone. When Jules's wife discovered the truth, Robotnik had Jules toss her into the Roboticizer and transformed into a robian as well, orphaning Sonic and crushing Charles's spirit to the point of retiring from being a Science Minister to running a chili dog stand. He then did similarly to Tails's father Amadeus on the day of his birth, making it seem as though Amadeus could care less for his newborn son and subsequently shattering his wife's heart, throughout which Robotnik maintained a straight face. Afterwards followed his betrayal of King Acorn and the takeover of Mobius, during which countless families were broken and millions enslaved, and over the course of a decade, he'd wreak havoc upon planet Mobius, destroying the ecology and pushing more than a few mobian breeds to the brink of extinction. And just prior to his death, he displayed a deeply disturbing relish at the thought of murdering one of his own kind and was positively gleeful when he got the chance to use his latest and greatest weapon on a fellow overlander.
General Kage Von Stryker is the leader of the Eggman-backed Dingo Regime. After ousting his father from power, Kage led his people in conquering Angel Island, imprisoning the Echidnas in what were clearly concentration camps, which led to countless deaths. He personally tortured Knuckles's father for the location of the Master Emerald, tried to wipe out the last echidna village on two occasions, and during the second attack boasted that he had crushed more Echidnas under his boot than he could remember. While like Helmut, Kage also hated the echidnas, unlike his father, Kage just wanted to Kill 'em All.
Dr.Finitevus was once a fellow scientist of a race of prosperous echidnas, until a freak accident changed his looks and intelligence. Despite his new-found genius, he was declared mentally unstable and was to be put down. He escaped and later sold out his home to Dr. Robotnik, resulting in everyone who had once lived there dying later. In addition, Finitevus manipulated four whole sides in a war—Dingoes, Echidnas, and two Dark Legion factions—into providing the fuel for the fire of his master plan, which is him deciding the world is hopelessly corrupt and wanting to purify it...in fire. He, to this end, manipulated Dimitri, a head in a jar, into providing secrets and information, and then manipulated Knux into becoming Knuxerjak and starting a battle with his former friends after the whole corruption from power thing. Finitevus's expression at the scene where Knux becomes Enerjak shows he is not only mad, but completely delighted, even as his betrayed allies watch on and denounce him.
Hunter is a sociopathic Overlander known as a poacher of the Mobian kind. Hunter first debuts forcing Knuckles and his partner Monk into a hunt for their lives by threatening to murder Julie-Su, forcing the two to fight for their lives which ultimately leads to Monk's death. Though seemingly killed afterwards, Hunter is saved by Dr. Eggman and allows Hunter further work in his service, giving Hunter the chance to gleefully participate in Eggman's genocidal hunts and capture scores of innocent Mobians to have the life tortuously drained out of them in Eggman's Egg Grape Chambers, leading to the deaths of dozens. Proudly boasting of the various heads he keeps on his own wall of previous victims, Hunter's supposed sense of honor in his first appearance falls to reveal a sadistic mass murderer who hunts purely for the thrill of it.
Dark Enerjak, the tyrannical ruler of another dimension, is actually a version of Knuckles the Echidna fueled by a desire to make the world a better place, whose Chaos Powers went out of control. While he started out noble, he gradually went more and more insane as time went on, before he considered everyone an enemy. Among his atrocities are the sinking of a continent; the destruction of several enemy cities, such as Station Square, as punishment for their defiance; and the capture of his strongest opponents and ripping their souls out—victims include Sonic, Shadow, Tails, Amy, Sally, and all the villains. He turns the souls into robotic slaves known as "Prelates". His soulmate was one of his victims, and he made sure not to use her soul to form a Prelate until the final battle, when he summoned her to fight their daughter, much to said daughter's disbelief. Dark Enerjak's mainly motivated by his own amusement, despite saying how much of a hero he is at other times. He allowed the Freedom Fighters to exist to give him something to do, sent soldiers to other dimensions to try and find new worlds to conquer, and continued to indulge Silver because of his power to actually give the living God a challenge. He derives joy from people's suffering, as seen with how he forces his own daughter to fight her mother and his former mate and how, upon seeing how upset Silver is at Enerjak using the souls to make his Prelate Army, he summons them all at once.
The first couple of issues of Sonic Universe have this problem. #1 gave such a quick summary of Sonic Rush Adventure that only people who played the game knew what was going on. Also, #1 continued from Sonic X #40 (a whole different series), which continued from Sonic the Hedgehog #196, which was part of a large story arc from the main series. #2 was an adaptation of Sonic Adventure 2 (probably an attempt to explain how it did fit into the continuity, as the original adaptation didn't really tell the reader much of anything about the game's story or how it fit into continuity), but would probably be pretty confusing to anyone who didn't play the original game. It should be noted that they can't get too into the Sonic Rush side of things, as they're apparently forbidden from using Eggman Nega beyond a few ominous references. ...And one "Off Panel" strip.
This is the fate of the pre-Nu252 comics because it relies so much on characters and concepts created by Michael Gallagher, Ken Penders, Karl Bollers, and others.
Bean The Duck, an insane Cloud Cuckoolander duck who throws bombs at everything and loves shiny things, and Captain Metal, a crazed version of Metal Sonic who has become a stereotypical pirate that makes hilariously bad jokes and puns and plans to take over the world using the dimensionally displaced Wily Egg (renamed the Egg'O'War).
Dr. Robotnik developed into this under Ian Flynn's pen, similar to his game counterpart.
Creator's Pet: Tommy Turtle, a childhood friend of Sonic that had never been mentioned before, but had once taught him a valuable life lesson. He died in his first appearance while performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save Sonic, but about a year later was revealed to not have actually been killed and was brought back. Unfortunately, after bringing him back, the writers didn't seem to have any real idea what to do with him, and attempts to make him more relevant (such as having him become infested with nanobots, causing him to develop Transformers-esque abilities) ended up just appearing ridiculous and making fans hate him. In Sonic Grams while Archie staff admitted that they knew a lot of their fans hadn't liked the character, they'd hoped they could change their tune, showing the clear divide between the staff at Archie at the time and the people actually reading the book. In the end writer Ian Flynn said when compiling a list of the comic's most unpopular characters, Tommy still ranked very high among the fanbase despite efforts to make him popular by previous writers. Tommy was therefore killed off (performing anotherHeroic Sacrifice) and hasn't been seen since.
Die for Our Ship: Relic the Pika got hit with this the moment she was introduced, both by Knuckles/Rouge shippers and fans of Julie-Su, who felt that introducing another potential love interest for Knuckles so soon after Julie-Su was purged from the comic was hitting a nerve. Notably, she and Knuckles aren't actually romantically involved, and despite some noticeable Ship Tease, Ian Flynn has said he has no plans to make them a couple.
Among the comic-only characters, Scourge has a large following (his girlfriend Fiona Fox and the rest of the Suppression Squad are a semi-case too through association), as do Mina Mongoose and Dr. Finitevus. The fandom rejoiced when Scratch, Grounder and Coconuts were revealed to be returning after more than 100 issues of absence.
One of the few major Brotherhood member to get any big artwork was Spectre, who has one of the most imposing appearances of anyone in the comic.
Nicole, Sally's handheld A.I., had been an ancillary character since almost the beginning of the comic. Then along came Tania Del Rio's "Stargazing", which gave her a Mobian form and sent her popularity right through the roof — and Nicole subsequently catapulted to Major Character status, overtaking even longstanding characters in the fanart department since her debut and never halting since.
Shard the Metal Sonic became pretty popular as well, from his design to his personality.
From the new reality, Eclipse the Darkling has become rather popular as well. Also, when Breezie the Hedgehog made a triumphant return after near 20 years of absence, the fandom's reception has been overwhelmingly positive.
The Metal Sonic introduced in issue 50 of Sonic Universe was massively popular for having a personality, bringing Metal closer to his canon portrayal, and being a One-Man Army that made the character scary and badass again.
All of the Egg Bosses since the reboot. It helps they're written as being far from one-dimensional villains, being morally complex and having their own reasons for joining the Eggman Empire.
Epileptic Trees: There are many fans who believe that Lien-Da and Finitevus were involved at some point during the X Years Later timeline, and that he's the father of her son Rutan (this being mostly due to the fact that the tips of Rutan's dreadlocks are white, like Finitevus' fur.)
Evil Is Cool: Pretty much any villain that isn't a Butt-Monkey. Notable stand-outs are Dr. Robotnik, Scourge, Mammoth Mogul, the Dark Legion, and Dr. Finitevus.
Lien-Da. A sexy as hell Echidna girl in skintight leather and a habit of whip wielding? What's not to like here?
The Iron Queen has more than a few fans too. As does Finitevus, Scourge, Fiona, and Snively and Eggman.
Nicole's lynx avatar doesn't look half bad. Iron Nicole looks even better.
Fandom Berserk Button: If you want to really make a good number of fans upset, say that Ken Penders caused/forced the comic to reboot, as fans will call you out for saying such a thing. While he was a contributing factor to it, he's not the sole reason why the comic was rebooted, as Archie and SEGA are equally at fault too.
Fanon Discontinuity: There are a good number of people that refused to read the comic after the reboot for three main reasons.
The first reason is for removing every character not owned by Flynn or created by Sega or the cartoons from the comic.
The second reason is for how it was executed. The final storyline before the comics' reboot was not given a proper ending and so many questions and problems were left unanswered. Things would have been fine if the final storyline had a proper ending instead of giving it a combination of No Ending and Cliffhanger, but because it didn't many people wish that they would have finished the old storyline instead of ending it the way it ended.
Finally, for all of the Executive Meddling SEGA has done with the comic ever since its reboot. To name a few examples, the characters cannot have any Character Development unless it's approved, Sonic always has to win no matter what and the characters can have no parents or relatives. Before the reboot was forced, the comic was able to have all of that and even more creative liberty, but post-reboot, it was much more restrictive.
Clashes also tend to erupt with dedicated fans of the games continuity, with many arguments over which incarnation of the franchise is better and more definitive.
Franchise Original Sin: A lot of the problems with Ken Penders and Karl Bollers's run (too many plot points, too much focus on people other than Sonic, inconsistent art, etc.) later down the line can be traced back to their critically acclaimed earlier days (storylines like "Endgame" and "Metal Madness" are considered excellent to this day). The difference is that back then, the two weren't engaged in constant petty fights with each other over the comic's story direction and the Echidnas weren't Ken's pets. That coupled with the lack of a solid threat or plot now that Robotnik was dealt with, caused the comic to slip into its infamous Dork Age.
It's generally agreed that the comic became genuinely good around the issue 25 mark, which introduced Metal Sonic into the comic and was where the comic developed an actual plot. It lost its beard during the comic's Dork Age and there's debate as to where or if it regrew; some feel that Ian Flynn taking over restored the comic's respectability, others see the reboot as the comic finally doing away with the massive Continuity Snarl and unmanageably large cast (not to mention Sega personally intervening to end Metal Sonic's Badass Decay and get rid of the Romantic Plot Tumor), and of course there are those who feel that it never regrew.
The 4-issue "Champions" Arc. The reception has generally been positive as most readers note that it's probably the best the comic has been in a while. Highlights include a revamped Ensemble Darkhorse in Breezie, amazingly expressive and vibrant art, and a more character-driven plot than what the series usually tries.
From his first introduction Silver mistakenly thought the Freedom Fighter Traitor was Sonic to counter his first Sega in game appearance. His second guess was really made in Sonic Universe 6 where upon realizing the Freedom Fighters disbanded because Queen Sally thought they were no longer needed. Silver guess this but for the first and only time he thought he was wrong. Fast forward a couple hundred comics later and it turns out he was somewhat right.
Issue 3 had everyone think Robotnik got hold of atomic bombs and went over the destruction the weapons could cause. While it turned out he had only gotten a bomb to be used against bugs, later on Robotnik did get atomic bombs. Robo-Robotnik wiped out Future Mobius with them, and Robotropolis got nuked by missiles.
The images of Knuckles turning into Super Knuckles in issue 141 are similar to the final boss transformation montage in Mega Man Zero 2. While they haven't gotten to that point, Archie Comics now publishes Mega Man comics.
In Sonic Colors, Sonic lets out a Badass Boast that no copyright law in the universe could stop him. As you can see the comic managed to last a few more years even after the first lawsuit occurred.
In October 2013 we saw the release of The Complete Sonic Comic Encyclopedia, which pretty much tells us everything that has happened in the comics since it's release and information on the characters. Unfortunately, it was released five months before the comic's reboot due to the lawsuit. So the encyclopedia covers almost everything that happened in the comic before its reboot, making it a good way to remember the old comics' story.
In issue 19, Sonic teams up with several of his alternate counterparts from other worlds to stop Robo-Robotnik; one of the counterparts is a Batman version. Nearly 20 years later, Sonic's current voice actor becomes Batman.
Megabeatman, a Youtube reviewer who reviews the Sonic and Mega Man comics, jokingly called King Acorn of the new universe "Nigel" based off his speech in Sonic Universe #87. Come Sonic #284, we find out that really is his name in this universe.
One early issue featured Tails temporarily becoming a genius. Most later depictions of him, as well as the original, show him as a Child Prodigy, capable of building planes and even a translator for a language he doesn't understand.
"Holy Shit!" Quotient: High during the wham episodes and milestone issues, but the "Endgame" and "Countdown to Chaos" story arcs stand out in terms of sheer HOLY SHIT inducing moments.
Idiot Plot: Done at times, most frequently (but more intentionally) in the earlier comical issues.
The Iron Dominion arc in particular dangles a long time for the same of climax build up, relying too much on the entire Freedom Fighter squad being blindly overconfident enough to give the villains blatant advantages (eg. letting Snively go free and ignoring his activity after Eggman's defeat (despite his usual track record), oblivious to the harm a super powered techno mage may have on a city completely composed of artificial life). Sally at least has the decency to Lampshade these were exceptionally stupid moves afterwards, but all the same, surely someone else had enough brain cells to see it coming.
in the Endgame arc. Dulcy explains that dragons are able to sense truth, something treated as common enough that Geoffrey St. John, Knuckles, and Espio believe that Sonic's been framed for killing Sally. No one questioned why she wasn't called in before, especially since this story was about the third time Sonic's been framed for treason. Also, it was revealed earlier in Sally's mini-series that Robotnik could make robots that flawlessly imitate real people, so there was no real reason for everyone to take this at face value.
Sonic himself. He never lets any of the crap that he gets put through keep him down for long. Even the absolutely brutal Darkest Hour in issue 175 doesn't stop him and he manages to flip it back onto Robotnik 25 issues later.
Sally is also this. Her position as a princess and leader of the Freedom Fighter is very stressful since she has many responsibilities to take care of, and at age five, she dealt with loss and death as the world collapsed. Her father was trapped in a void while her mother was presumed dead. Also, she actually witnessed many of her loved ones getting robotocized and/or killed.
It Was His Sled: At this point, if you don't know that Sally was roboticized in issue 230 then you have been living under a rock. Not that it matters, since in the Retcon she isn't roboticized anymore.
It's the Same, Now It Sucks: Of the many complaints the reboot received, one of the notable ones was the due to the new rules being enforced by SEGA, (Sonic can't show any emotions, he always win no matter what, no character development, etc...) fans felt that the comic had become too similar to the games. Before the reboot, there weren't any restrictive rules, so as long as a original Sonic character had something to do with the plot, the comic could go into any story direction it wanted to and readers liked things that way. With the reboot restricting the comic to not having anywhere near as much creative liberty as before, it was seen as too similar to the games, which resulted in many who have read the comic for many years to just stop reading it altogether.
Strangeasitsounds, you could actually make the case for Fiona. She really does have serious abandonment issues and her self-esteem is such that she'd sooner stick by a womanizing creep like Scourge over Sonic when the latter started to question her loyalty to him. Even Word of God has hinted that she's still not all bad.
Scourge himself gets this treatment toward the end of the "King Scourge" arc, even to the point of shedding tears.
Snively is also a classic example. Nothing goes right for the poor guy in his life, so you pity him...but he brings so much of these problems upon himself due to his treacherous nature, so you also think he's an asshole.
Dr. Robotnik during the "Darkest Storm" arc where he's tricked into murdering his own surrogate daughter Mecha Robotnik, the only person he ever truly cared about. At the end of the story he actually lets Sonic walk away sadly commenting that "I've lost a lot today".
Geoffrey St. John felt that working with Naugus would help the Acorn Kingdom in the long run. When he first met him, he had no idea that Naugus was evil because he was a kid and his father had just died so he wasn't emotionally stable. When he does learn that Naugus was Evil All Along and that he wanted to control the council, he hated the idea and he wanted to back out, but Naugus reminded him that there was no way he could stop him. When Silver sits to talk with him later on about how working with Naugus is bad, Geoffrey agrees with him but he says that it's too late for him to change. Geoffrey had good intentions and he believed working with Naugus would have good outcomes. It's too bad things didn't work in his favor. Even worse, because of the comics' reboot in 2013, which removed all characters not written by Ian Flynn or SEGA characters, he will never get a chance to redeem himself.
Les Yay: Between Sally and Nicole in the Spark of Life storyline. Sally seems to be closer to Nicole than to anybody else, and gets extremely pissed off at Nicole's creator for considering her a failure. Nicole, meanwhile, constantly makes glasses at Sally, teases her, and specifically wanted to see the stars the way Sally did in a flashback. Ian Flynn confirmedthat this was intentional.
Mammoth Mogul eventually decided to wait for the heroes to die of old age, while still causing trouble for them on occasion.
Dr. Robotnik took a majorstep up into this after reasoning himself out of insanity. Probably the most notable example of this is "Genesis" where he successfully manages to manipulate everything so that he can rewrite reality itself. And than after Sonic reverses his rewrite what does he do? Rather than take a total loss he roboticizes the injured Sally while Sonic is distracted, thus giving himself a deadly new weapon that Sonic is terrified of injuring. And he does all of this while casually drinking a glass of wine.
While Ken Penders was a major factor in contributing to the Cosmic Retcon, Archie was likewise to blame for not checking over the polices concerning ownership of previous writers' characters, which he used to claim copyright. Archie then sent him a cease and desist after Ken acquired copyright on all of his characters, leading to the first lawsuit. Former writer Scott Fulop then sued Archie over reprinting rights for the same reasons.
Some likewise blame Bioware for apparently sparking this for making characters based on some of Penders characters for their Sonic Chronicles which likewise got him riled, though most will argue that they weren't outright copying his characters and could be seen as a tribute to the characters from the comics. Sega doesn't get off scot-free either as they were the ones to enforce the new rules once they settled with Penders, forcing the retcon and in turn losing a good chuck of the cast, neutering most of the character development, and limited what could be done with characters created by them.
When the title was officially announced as cancelled, a few fans blamed SEGA due to them trying to enforce special rules on what Sonic can and cannot do. Most of the blame in this case lands at Archie's feet - having dealt with one lawsuit only to turn around and deal with a second involving the title and their mismanagement, frivolous spending, the "Riverdale Reborn" initiative (which lead to an aborted Kickstarter attempt) and focusing all of their attention on Riverdale, as well as an initiative to get away from the action-adventure series in general.
ADAM tricking Robotnik into killing Mecha Robotnik. Even with how evil Eggman is that was just pointlessly cruel.
Thrash has definitely crossed this when he literally made Knuckles the last of the echidnas.
Metal Sonic finally crosses it for good when he seemingly murders Shard.
My Real Daddy: Ian Flynn is considered this for Scourge for giving him a cool and distinctive new look and making him into a more intimidating and complex villain instead of the stereotypical Evil Twin he was before.
Some fans go further with this and consider Flynn the real daddy for the comic in general, though this view is veryfar from universal.
Never Live It Down: Many fans aren't willing to let Sally live down the time she slapped Sonic in anger. Even after repeated displays of remorse from the character, and even a Cosmic Retcon rendering it Canon Discontinuity, there are still fans who will hold it against her. Her vest and boots and nothing else design from the cartoon and pre-reboot is also what a lot of people remember about her, despite the reboot changing this.
Shadow and Rouge. For the longest time, the comic had no idea what to do with either of them after the Sonic Adventure 2 adaptation. As Sonic Heroes was rendered moot due to comic events, using them for that was out of the question and the two would make sporadic appearances afterwards, Shadow working on his own and Rouge with Evil Sonic. It wouldn't be until Ian Flynn took over that both performed a Heel–Face Turn and led into the creation of the much beloved Team Dark.
Ian Flynn rescued Princess Sally, mostly concerning her past Sue accusations and trying to present her as a more flawed character. While it's not a universal case by a long shot, most fans have let go of her infamous outburst in the Home arc following displays of remorse from her and getting in on action scenes again.
Romantic Plot Tumor: Plagued the comic for quite a long time, particularly around the time where Sonic went from dating Sally to Mina to Fiona. Luckily the comic has since moved on.
The Great Desert Dark Egg Legion were turned into mindless Robian mooks thanks to Unwilling Roboticisation and forced to fight the Sand Blasters, an extremist group of Freedom Fighters. After being turned back into Mobians, they tried to make peace with the Sand Blasters, but were instead hit with Fantastic Racism for being former Robians. In order to survive, they went to Eggman for help, who legionized them. When The Baron, leader of the Great Desert DEL, was confronted about this by his niece, Bunnie, he responded that being in the DEL isn't so bad. Being legionized means cybernetic upgrades, which in turn make for an awesome health plan.
The DEL's post-reboot counterpart, the Egg Army, also falls into this. While many Egg Bosses, such as Thunderbolt and Maw, are evil, others, like Clove and Nepthys, are treated sympathetically. Both only joined the Eggman Empire out of desperation rather than loyalty to Eggman. Clove joined so that Eggman could save her sister from a debilitating disease, while Nepthys joined to keep the Eggman Empire from completely taking control of Shamar by locking her division of the Egg Army into a stalemate with her longtime friends, the Shamar Freedom Fighters. Even Conquering Storm, who falls very much into evil on the alignment scale, is shown to be somewhat reasonable compared to the people she's fighting; whereas the different clans of Yurashia are highly antagonistic of one another and refuse to work together, she welcomes anyone and everyone into the Egg Clan, provided they pull their weight.
Tommy Turtle probably got it the worst, as he started out as a pretty milquetoast and largely uninteresting one-off character, but for some inexplicable reason he became a recurring character and a Creator's Pet to boot, and as a result was imbued with what was seen as a really disproportionally large amount of importance and attention, especially for a side-character original to the comics, all while his personality continued to be very bland.
Drago Wolf, a traitor to the Freedom Fighters who was also an abusive dick to his girlfriend and soared over the Moral Event Horizon in "Endgame". He's a massive douchebag and later on joined the comic's resident Psycho Rangers which he promptly contributed absolutely nothing to. No one likes him in-universe or out, and Ian Flynn had gleefully admitted that he only brought the guy around when he wanted someone to be beaten up.
The one thing these scrappies have in common is that the lawsuit had the positive effect of ensuring they didn't even have the smallest chance of returning, even before Archie lost the license completely.
The post-Endgame stories were this due to the fact that they had intended issue 50 to be the end and when it turned out to still be popular, they were forced into a Post-Script Season, but without their main villain.
The reboot has also been seen as this. Without the original characters that existed for many years, plus the rules SEGA has enforced on the comic, it is seen as a shadow of its former self.
So Bad, It's Good: The early comics were this, being funny due to how lame the jokes were at best. Once it started developing an actual plot, the comic became straight up good.
The "Endgame" story arc, though this has waned over time. It's also famous for cementing the transition to plot-driven stories and killing off the original Robotnik.
"The Slap" from issue #134, where Sally angrily slaps Sonic and calls off their engagement, after he rejects her imposition to retire from active fighting as he considers fighting Robotnik a more urgent matter, is a more infamous version of the trope. The artist who pencilled the page, Jon Gray, admitted in his commentary for the page that the scene pretty much encapsulated "what was wrong with the Sonic comic both verbally, artistically and editorially" at the time.
After some small Ship Tease moments in issue 3 and 23, Antoine and Bunnie Rabbot were thrown together in Endgame with almost no build-up beyond the same issue they got together revealing that Antoine had once saved Bunnie's life. Thankfully, the relationship was well handled after that point, and it was easier to accept than most examples because neither of them had any romantic chemistry with other characters.
Echidnas have what is called "the Soultouch" - a Sixth Sense that also acts as a literal Red String for them and that once they've found their soul mate, they pretty much stay together, although there are some exceptions. This is why Knuckles and Julie-Su hooked up only after 24 issues and why he hasn't dated anyone else.
Thrash admits he doesn't know exactly why the echidnas experimented on his people note it was to fight Mammoth Mogul's Order Of Ixis, viewed as a horrible crime by echidna society, and would've been reversed had one of the Knights of Albion not turned into the second Enerjak and crippled the civilization at the time, thus making his "justice" more like revenge. But between the Brotherhood of Guardians never fighting Robotnik at all, Albion not getting involved either, the Dark Legion, Enerjak incarnations, and a chapter of the Dark Legion willfully joining Eggman for power, he's not exactly wrong in his views.
Mina is depicted as being overzealous and callous for making a public statement about how dangerous NICOLE is and indirectly starting a mass paranoia concerning her. However, as sympathetic as she is, NICOLE was shown to be extremely dangerous as a result of the Iron Queen corrupting her programming, leading to a takeover that led to the Mobians being enslaved and many legionized. The Freedom Fighters are outraged by Mina's actions and labelled the public as being vindictive, but as she angrily pointed out, people had suffered because of NICOLE, and largely because they were cocky enough to make a huge oversight. Naugus amplifying the crowd's bloodthirst doesn't help.
A major problem with the comic, especially during the Penders/Bollers era. Because of how these two men operate, established Sega-based characters and characters created by other writers tend to get knocked to the wayside or not even introduced. For instance, Ensemble Darkhorse Bean the Dynamite Duck and Bark the Polar Bear were first introduced game-wise in Sonic the Fighters in 1996. It would be 10 years later, in issue #160, that they'd appear in the comics. There's also the Bird Armada for 'Tails Adventure, which didn't show up into the comics for 15 years. Comic wise, for example, the Iron Queen. She first appeared in issue #60. She is not heard from again for 140 issues. With issue #268, it seems that Ian's reaching back further with the first appearance of Breezie the Hedgehog from Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog.
Many fans agree that Chip was seriously wasted in the Sonic Unleashed adaptation. Chip's friendship with Sonic, which was a core element of Unleashed, is completely glossed over until the very end of the saga. Things wouldn’t have been so bad had Chip got to meaningfully interact with the rest of the cast to compensate but he doesn’t get to do much with Knuckles before he’s inevitably given to the Freedom Fighters and Chip’s bonding with them is only shown in a single page flashback. Chip's whole Identity Amnesia sub-plot is also removed as Tikal informs Chip of his true nature as Light Gaia the instant she sees him, subsequently taking away the impact of the scene where Chip regains his memories, which is instead used for more World Building.
Cream the Rabbit was heavily underutilized after being officially introduced, though this was changed late in the comic's run.
Every last one of the post-reboot new characters is this now due to the comic's cancellation.
Issue #108 had both the original and the new Dr. Robotnik together in the same reality... only to have them dink around for a third of the issue before the old one disintegrated.
This is a big complaint about Ian's post-cleaning up works, up to and including the Iron Dominion saga; many plot points he brought up during this time had lots of potential for interesting stories of their own, but were pushed aside for a Snap Back rather than being delved into.
The Mecha Sally arc, due to the fact that she never won a fight and some outside circumstance got in the way of her rescue every time. Also not helping is that it only seemed to happen to explain her redesign which could've been easily explained as a result of the first Genesis Wave having residual effects on some people like it did on Naugus.
The introduction of opposing heroic fractions such as members of the Acorn Council. Having characters who call out or cause alternate conflicts for the main Freedom Fighters could have made for an interesting grey dynamic within the team. However they are mostly limited to Strawman Political types with Hate Sink personalities, only appearing as a minor frustration in a handful of issues.
Some considered the whole Sonic Unleashed adaptation to be this. Other then introducing new Egg Commanders and giving some new backstories nothing remotely interesting was done on the heroes' side. It's very by-the-numbers, doesn't expand or focuses on Chip's role at all, and even the whole drama of Werehog Sonic is quickly glossed over (Eggman doesn't even comment on it in the final battle) and is just used as an extended power-up at best.
Madonna, Sonic's cut human girlfriend from before the first game came out, was featured in Super Digest #12 as an agent of GUN and as an apparent expy of Agent Topaz from Sonic X due to her appearance and last name, Garnet.
Unintentionally Unsympathetic: According to Ken Penders, readers are supposed to sympathize with Locke as someone who did what he had to do, and a great father at that. However, many a fan instead saw him as an abusive dad who was willing to put his unborn son's egg through experiments because of a dream, and even fake a suicide right in front of him. Needless to say, the fans, and even other writers on the book, didn't see Locke the way Penders did.
Vanilla Protagonist: Princess Sally became this in her own mini series. Her role in the main books being largely to play The Straight Man to Sonic, she was left with little chemistry in his absence, leaving her supporting cast to provide most of the conflict and foibles while Sally simply progressed through the mission. Some argue she was still this when she got her own arc in the main comic years later, which similarly relied on several supporting characters and has a somewhat inconsistent mark on her character.
Vindicated by History: Karl Bollers' stories, with some exceptions. Back in the day, many hated Bollers' stories, especially issue 134 where Sonic and Sally broke up. While that story is still hated and his reputation still isn't perfect, he's held in much higher regard than he was, with many of his stories like Return to Angel Island getting more respect.
The Woobie: Post Shattered World, it's really hard not to feel for the nobler members of the Egg Bosses, namely Nephthys and Clove, who are just doing their damnedest trying to stake out an existence of some dignity under Eggman. Clove is effectively a case study of a Broken Bird as she breaks.